I've been a busy boy this year but that hasn't stopped me from getting involved in a couple of challenges that will dwarf anything I've done in the past. I've learnt a lot from all my previous challenges including the numerous runs, the attempted but failed Walk Home for Christmas and the National Three Peaks Challenge but these will be nothing compared to what awaits me later on in the year. The challenges I have planned will test my endurance, will to succeed, mental and physical grit and overall determination. One will take place on British soil whilst the other will take place on foreign lands.
It tries to instil the 'believe - achieve' mindset that will prepare the children for different eventualities that they may face in their lives. You can find out more about the charity by clicking here. The challenge is coinciding with 'Wild Night Out' happening on the 16th July 2016, which is a combined initiative that tries to motivate children and adults to have an adventure no matter how big or small it may be. It might be a trip away to the mountains or national parks or just a simple camp out in the back garden under the stars. It's an initiative that tries to re-connect people with the natural world around them and away from modern living such as smart phones, TV's, computer games etc... To remind people that we are surrounded by natural beauty even so close to home. It's a known fact that people who spend a lot of time outdoors whether that is with a group of friends or family have a closer relationship and bond with each other. It's also a great way to meet new people; after all strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. There are numerous ways to follow our progress before, during and after this challenge:
And, if you would like to donate to the Youth Adventure Trust charity then please follow the link to our team Just Giving page:
"...strangers are just friends you haven't met yet..."
No matter how hard the journey was the elation of reaching the summit is something that I find hard to put into words. So, this brings me onto my second challenge of 2016 happening in August. I will attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; the highest free-standing mountain in the world measuring in at 5895 metres. This will be a 7-day return trek that will take me to altitudes that I have never trekked before. To say I'm excited is an understatement. This is a mammoth challenge and one that I'm looking forward to. I've decided to fundraise for Cancer Research on this trip, they have worked tirelessly hard to find cures and treatment for cancer but yet still only 50% of those diagnosed survive. This is a great percentage when you think of the survival figures from back in the 1950-60's but it's still not high enough. Cancer has blighted many a family and mine is no exception with my Nan having survived hers and my Grandad having it twice many years apart. The first time he survived, the second time was fatal. And, even today, I have an auntie who is currently battling the disease. This is why I think as a nation we should continue to fund cancer research so that one day not a single family will have to lose someone to this horrible disease. This challenge is about celebrating life and to help fund a company who is doing an amazing job with battling the one thing that is taking life away from many families in this country. With our help through fund raising then one day we may be able to celebrate a 100% survival rate.
If you would like to donate to Cancer Research then please click on the following link:
Again, there are numerous ways to keep up-to-date with this challenge:
"...Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being..."
"... as I began the final hill every fibre in my body started to scream. This was unchartered territory, I had never run past 12.45 miles before. A big question mark was hanging over my head: could I do it? It was only a mile but with exhausted legs and a hard course it felt like a big ask. As I neared the crest of the hill I could hear a rumble of a jet engine coming from behind, I looked up, as a Red Arrow thundered past at a low altitude, giving me a sudden burst of energy. As I got to the top of the hill I was presented with an awe-inspiring sight: the North Sea stretched as far as the eye could see, the road was lined with hundreds of supporters and as I started the steep descent three more Red Arrows sped by leaving a trail of red, white and blue behind them. It was a picture perfect moment..." [Marcus Samperi]
“I live an absolutely beautiful life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. If I wasn’t living this life, I think I’d be trying to”, says Dave Cornthwaite who is now a successful adventurer, published author and motivational speaker. But it was not always like this.
Up until 2005, Dave worked as a Graphic Designer in Swansea: “I followed societies path: I went to University and ended up doing a job that utterly stole my soul. I was one of the most miserable 25 year olds you would ever have met. [When I wasn’t working] I played PlayStation for 12 hours a day for about 3-4 years. I woke up after every session realising that I had literally been living in a virtual world”. It wasn’t until “I woke up on the morning of my 25th birthday and my cat was sitting on my chest; I realised that on paper I was a successful western adult: I had a house, a well paid job, a long term partner and a cat; but, the only one of those things I really loved was the cat! And, as I looked into her big green eyes, I realised she was about to have a much better day then I was!”
It changed my life.
Dave had not long taken up skateboarding and it was after one particular session, “I realised that this town I had been living in for 6 years felt completely different and it was just because I was travelling around it in a different way, a new way. I had a different perspective”. It made him think; “If I can re-discover my own town then I can re-discover the World”. Two weeks later he quit his job and the life that he knew and vowed to take on the Guinness World Record for the longest ever journey made by skateboard. It took him 4500 miles across Australia from Perth to Brisbane via Adelaide and Sydney, he completed it in 156 days.
This lead him to devise his own plan, Expedition 1000, made up of 25 journeys of at least 1000 miles in length using non-motorised, human-powered transport: “I have completed 11 so far that’s over 19000 miles under my own steam: skateboard, kayak, tandem bike, stand up paddleboard, sail boat, swimming and the list goes on and on”. He now makes his money by “speaking fees and book sales. I’ve started to look at other options as well. I think more sponsorship is on the way in”. He goes on to say: “I earn a fraction of what I used to, but the absolute key for me isn’t how you earn your money, it’s how little you spend”. He doesn’t have any permanent dwellings and spends 10-months of every year on the road: “If I had a house and a [conventional] job I definitely couldn’t afford to do what I love”.
His life couldn’t be anymore different with his hard work paying off: “I’ve managed to turn travel, adventure, writing and filmmaking into a job, I’m totally freelance, I travel all over the world and get paid to do epic things” and he owes all this to a skateboard: “It changed my life. All it takes is the tiniest catalyst and off you go!”
Brownsea Island is located within Poole harbour on the south coast of England. It is one of only a few places to have a habitat of Red Squirrels and, because of this, is a protected nature reserve. It is owned and run by the National Trust and is visited by many thousands every year. I was lucky enough to be one of the few staying in a lodge on Brownsea Island for the weekend. A base in order to explore the Island in its day and night glory on foot and kayak. I have updated some photos below of the trip. If you like peace, tranquility, stunning vistas and being surrounded by wildlife then Brownsea is for you. Go visit, you will not be disappointed!
Click image to enlarge...
The 'Summer of Running' is now underway having today completed race number two in preparation for the Great North Run. This morning was the turn of Vitality's: British 10km Run that boasts an array of Central London landmarks on it's route including Piccadilly, Houses of Parliament and Downing Street.
I have been incredibly busy with work lately that has left me feeling exhausted and a little low. This played a huge part in feeling lethargic this morning. Taking this in my stride, I made my way to the start line finding myself in the first wave of runners ready to be unleashed on the circuit. The first 5 kilometres were difficult with my limbs feeling like lead, I felt like the tin man in 'Wizard of Oz'! After 2km, I picked up the beginning of a stitch that thankfully didn't materialise into anything too substantial; although, trying to manage it so it didn't take hold was exhausting work especially during the surprisingly undulating route. It was hard to believe I didn't give in and start walking.
It wasn't until I hit the 5 kilometre marker that I found my rhythm. It was accompanied by a short but brisk breeze that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I felt a tingling through my body as endorphins started flooding my system. By this point the route was lined with spectators supporting us by clapping, cheering, and making noise in whatever way they could. It created a beat that, up until this point, I was missing. It is usually provided by my iPod blaring away distracting my mind from the perils of road running. However, headphones were banned from this event so in the absence of my usual friend the spectators took over. It is hard to explain the motivation and rhythm that these cheering spectators can give you when you are struggling physically. For the next few kilometres I felt like they were sweeping me through the streets of London beckoning me to eventually pass the finish line, something that felt almost impossible a few kilometres before. I was riding high until about 7.5km when the course ran parallel to the finish line taking us past the end point and away from it in the opposing direction. This was mental torture, you would think that by seeing the finish line it would motivate me even more but quite the opposite was happening; it felt like every step from now on was taking me physically further away from it. I was essentially running away from the finish line. Every bone in my body was rebelling and questioning why this was happening. We were so close that, on passing, I could see some of the tired faces of those who had completed the course, relieved and happily yelling encouragement to those who were passing by: "Not much longer", "You are doing so well", "Not far now". And, it wasn't just me that hit a lull at this point, I could hear others commenting that running past the finish line was torturous!
Not long after my first encounter with the finish line, the course turned a corner leaving the final straight well behind me and hitting the 8km mark. Only two kilometres stood between me and the end. Seeing that sign motivated me no end and, from nowhere, the fire in my belly ignited, endorphins radiated throughout my body and my stride got longer, knees higher and my speed increased. From this point on I literally covered the last two kilometres in no time at all, running down Whitehall with my head held high and a smile on my face. Not long later I flung myself head first through the finish line completing the first 10km circuit of my challenge thus far. What greeted me was an orchestra of cheers, clicks from the official finish line photographer and a lady cradling a tray of water bottles. I had done it, I had finished, I was elated and happy to be there in 01:02:15. Not the fastest but completed none-the-less.
The whole circuit was a mental rollercoaster that was made even more so by the inability to lose myself in music. It was hard but not impossible and I have come away looking forward to my next event in 7 days time. All the while remembering that these shorter circuits are in preparation for the big half marathon that is waiting to greet me in Newcastle in September. I still have a lot of work to do in order to build up to that mammoth 13.1 miles but I do have time between now and then to get there.
Let's not forget, the running is only half the challenge with the other half celebrating the charity sector and the fantastic work that they do for so many millions in this country and around the world. As stated before, I would like to raise £1000 for charity and I am leaving it in your hands as to which charity will receive your money. All you have to do is donate to a charity of YOUR choice and let me know WHO received it and HOW MUCH was donated and I will add it to the total. This is a way to support as many different charities as possible as there are so many out there doing fantastic work. The power is in YOUR hands. Donate to something that you feel strongly about or maybe something that affects you or a loved one. Let this be an opportunity to help them out whilst motivating me to continue pounding those streets in order to prepare to take on challenges that are usually way out of my league. All I ask is when you do donate just drop me an email stating the details so that I can add it to my list in order to hit my £1000 target to support the charity sector.
Thank you in advance for any donation that you give. And, thank you for all the encouragement that you have given me in the past and during my current and next run on the calendar, it really is appreciated.
1. The Royal Mail Greenwich Park Run: 5km (May 24th) (Completed: 28 minutes)
2. The Vitality British London Run: 10km (July 12th) (Completed: 01:02:15)
3. The Morrisons Great Newham Run: 10km (July 19th)
4. The Morrisons Great North Run: 13.1 miles (September 13th)