I beat the Quadzilla, of course by beat I mean limped over the finish line battered and bruised, but victorious nonetheless. I even finished the final of the 4 marathons with my fastest 2km of the 4 days, amazing how you can find that extra burst when you know the end is in sight. Sitting here just over 2 weeks since finishing it all feels a little surreal really, the 4 medals sat next to me the only real evidence of what I did. My legs are pretty much back to normal now after feeling like blocks of lead for at least 10 days but I do still feel a bit achy when I get back from my morning runs.
It won’t surprise you that finishing the quadzilla was tough, getting up for 4 days straight to run another 7 laps of a lake in Milton Keynes hurts both mentally and physically. It was also almost as tiring making sure I managed my recovery well with nutrition, stretching and rest. Surprising how hard it is to force down carbs and protein straight after a marathon, but knowing if you don’t it’ll make a big difference to how you recover. The race route isn’t going to win any prizes for it’s scenery with the A5 whizzing past one end but it was actually ok and finding someone each day running at the roughly the same pace to chat to for a few laps certainly helped. Incidentally you make think I’m crazy but one guy I chatted to had run 58 marathons LAST YEAR. That’s a whole other level of crazy.
My mother in law passed away almost a year ago having fought ovarian cancer for 4 years and this challenge is for her. By coincidence I started running regularly just under 4 years ago in an effort to lose some weight and get fit after having serious back problems from sitting in an office all day. I can remember her concern every time she came to visit me that ‘I was getting too thin’ and that I needed to be careful, she never did quite understand why I ran but that didn’t stop her coming along to races and cheering me on. It is for her that I’m taking on this challenge, the Quadzilla, 4 marathons on 4 consecutive days. In the space of 4 days I’m going to double the amount of marathons I’ve done and find out what it’s like to run a marathon with the DOMS from 3 marathons. I’m also hoping to try and raise some money for 2 great causes.
Maureen was an amazing woman, mother, daughter, wife and nanna whose passing has left a very big hole in the lives of her family and friends. In the last few weeks and months when things got tough the support her and Nick received from her Macmillan nurse made such a difference. Care that the NHS simply can’t provide but that helps people in the darkest times navigate their way through and help them make decisions. That’s why I’ve chosen to support Macmillan with this challenge and hopefully raise some money in Maureen’s memory to help other people in the same situation.
This is me having just crossed the finished line after running (and walking) 100km. The race was last Saturday but it’s taken me this long to really digest what happened and also start to recover. It was a long and very tough day that took me on the full roller coaster of emotions that you expect from any endurance event.
The lows though were very low, low enough that I almost bailed on the race at 35 miles. I reached a point where I was hot and fatigued and the sheer enormity of the challenge ahead of me suddenly became too much. I sat in a pit stop and seriously considered stopping. My older brother was there armed with a cool bag full of beautifully cold water and towels. So I took some time to cool down and think about why I was doing the race, quite honestly if I hadn’t been running for charity I think I would have stopped. But knowing how many of you had sponsored me and supported my causes that just didn’t seem like an option so I got up and slowly but surely made some progress to the next pit stop.
What certainly helped was knowing that the further I went the closer to home I was, not to mention that the final 15 miles are on the trails I run every week and know so well. Mentally this was a huge help as there were no surprises, I knew how many hills were left and where the downhills were. The not knowing how tough it still would be I think would have been hard.
The rest as they say is history, after 13 hours and 40 minutes of being on the move I finally crossed the finish line having seen a wide variety of weather and scenery. There was blazing hot sun and humidity, thunder and lightning, torrential rain and hail and even a rainbow. The rain when it did come was heavenly, I almost stopped and just held out my arms to soak it in. It immediately cooled me off and got rid of all the sweat and salt covering my skin. There are few times I’ve been less bothered about being truly soaked to the skin.
Now that a few days have passed I can look back with a sense of pride, a year ago I’d never run more than a half marathon and now I’ve run 100km in a single day. The motto of the company that organised the race is ‘more is in you’ and I couldn’t agree more. It is amazing what we can do when we take on a challenge and we should never be scared to try.
Thank you to all of you who sponsored me, tweeted me or supported me. As I said right at the beginning of this challenge the 2 charities I chose to support are very important to me personally and I’m proud to have managed to raise a little over £700 for them. There are some truly awful stories in the news at the moment and while I can’t help everyone I hope that this small sacrifice does some good to help those in need.
If you haven’t sponsored me yet and want to there is of course still time, you can find my fundraising page here. All donations will be equally split between Tommy’s and Save the Children.
As you sit and read this I will be out there *points at the countryside* attempting to run 100km along the beautiful Ridgeway as I take part in the Race to the Stones. As I write this the day before I have to say I’m a little nervous, despite my bravado saying that it’s not that far it really is. It’s also going to be hot, humid and there is a distinct possibility of a thunderstorm, perfect timing of course to be running along a ridge that is the high point for miles around.
But I’m doing it to raise money for 2 very good causes and I hope that will be enough motivation and inspiration to keep going through the tough times. When I looked just now my fundraising stood at £546 including gift aid and I’d like to say thank you to all of you who have donated, I truly appreciate it. If you’ve haven’t donated yet and would like to there is of course still time, you can find my fundraising page here. The work that Tommy’s and Save the Children do can make a real difference to children’s and parents lives and are causes that I hold very dear to my heart.
Whatever happens tomorrow I shall wear my Save the Children vest with pride and fingers crossed I shall still be smiling when I cross the finishing line in Avebury 100km later. I’ll most likely be sending the occasional tweet or Instagram photo of the race during the inevitable times I’m walking up hills or taking a breather. So do follow me in both places if you’re interested in seeing how I get on, you can find a link to my Twitter profile over there on the right. If you can spare a tweet of encouragement during the day that would also be most welcome.
Fool on the run
While you are sat reading this on what is promising to be a very wet and windy Saturday I am going to be plodding along 40 miles of the Ridgeway from Marlborough to Goring. This is my practise race before I take on the Race to the Stones in July. Yes that’s right, 40 miles of running as a practise!
I decided it was a good idea to find out what it feels like to run longer than a marathon without all the pressure of completing my fool on the run challenge. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t in terms of equipment, clothing and food. Including the shiny new shoes I had to buy this week after finding a hole in my other ones, not really ideal before a 40 mile race.
This is how important doing this challenge for Save the Children and Tommy’s is to me. This is the commitment I’m willing to put in so that come July I’m able to run the full 100km. What I’m asking from you is very simple, please click on the link below and it’ll take you to my sponsorship page. Any donation you can give no matter how big or small will make a huge difference and ensure I have no excuse for not finishing the race.
If you’d like to read about why I’ve chosen to support these charities you can find all details here.
Oh and if you do read this on Saturday morning all tweets of encouragement as I fight with the strong winds are very much appreciated!
[learn_more caption=”Sponsor me!” state=”open”] In July I will be taking on the challenge of running the Race to the Stones, a 100k trail race along the ancient Ridgeway path. This is a huge challenge and one I’ve taken on to support 2 amazing charities that are close to my heart; Save the Children and Tommy’s. If you would like to sponsor me you can go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BenjaminTipping [/learn_more]
As you all now know I’m taking on the challenge of running 100km in July, which if you say it quickly doesn’t sound too bad. But I’m doing it to raise money for 2 great causes and knowing that I hope will get me through what is inevitably going to involve some very tough moments. I considered many charities before deciding on these 2, there are so many worthy charities doing great work but I kept coming back to 2 that truly meant something to me personally.
Today I’d like to introduce the first of those causes which is Save the Children. A charity which I’m sure many of you know already but one I chose for 2 reasons; first they do work in both the UK and 120 other countries in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia; secondly a specific campaign – change the story.
Change the story is all about giving the UK’s poorest children the chance to have a good education. It’s about stopping the cycle of the poorest children in the UK leaving primary school without basic reading and writing skills. Stopping the scandal of those children not being given the tools needed to change their lives for the better.
I see the joy that Matilda and Henry already gets from books, the excitement on their faces when they sits with their favourite stories. Last night I watched Matilda sit in the bath and tell Henry the full story of Room on the Broom that she’d learnt at preschool. How amazing is that? Yet we take for granted having access to quality education like this while children potentially less than 50 miles from here don’t have that. We have a house full of books that we read with them and they read themselves everyday, but that isn’t the reality for many children.
To try to combat this issue Save the Children is recruiting 20,000 change makers to lead their Born to Read programme. A programme that will see them read with disadvantaged children and try to avoid children falling behind by the time they are only 7. If you’re interested in getting involved you can register to support this campaign here. Please also take a moment to watch this short video, I challenge any parent to watch this and not want to find a way to make a difference to these children’s lives.
Save the Children of course does many other great things, this is just one campaign of many but one that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve volunteered already as a change maker and when running this race will use the thought of Matilda and Henry and all the children like them reading to get me through tough moments.
Now it’s your turn, why not also volunteer to make a change or you can make a donation to support my race here and help Save the Children. These are children’s lives that we can make a difference to and they are right here in the UK.
Thanks for reading.
Fool on the run
This post is a big deal for me, something I’ve been planning for a while and finally can share with you. Please, please, please read it, it means a lot to me and no it’s not an April fool but I did think it was an apt day to be publishing it!
Regular readers may have noticed a certain tone in some my posts over the past few months, where I’ve been trying to reconcile some of the things going on in my life and the choices we make when it comes to work and family. Through all of it there has been this feeling building that I need to do something good and give back a little. Our life might not be perfect but it is safe and secure, we have a good education system (even with Gove) and access to free health care. So if I can sacrifice a little to help those less fortunate, then it’s something I should be willing to do.
I have to run how far?!
But choosing both the cause and challenge is something I’ve been struggling with. I don’t really get involved in charity activities, there are so many good causes but I needed to find something to connect to if I’m going to do more than just give the occasional donation here and there.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few months, taking time to read about the work charities do and find the ones that I can relate to. I want to support a cause that I can personally relate to because only then I think I can take on a big challenge with the motivation and passion needed.
Which leads me onto my big announcement; this fool is going to be really testing out his running legs and taking on a huge challenge. On July 19th I shall be running (and most likely a little walking) the Race to the Stones, 100km or 62 miles along the Ridgeway non stop. The race starts in Chinnor, Oxfordshire and finishes at the beautiful Avebury stone circle which is conveniently just a few miles from here. It follows the ancient path of the Ridgeway, a path that people have used for 1000’s of years and crosses some truly stunning countryside.
This is going to be a massive challenge there is no doubt of that but I’ve chosen to do it to support 2 charities that are very important to me personally and they are Tommy’s and Save the Children. With my goal being to raise £1,000 to to be split equally between the 2 causes. I’ll be telling you more in posts to come about why I’ve chosen to support these 2 charities and what they mean to me. I’ll also be writing about the training for it over on my running blog Lycra and Lunchboxes if you’re interested in hearing how that’s going.
For now I’ll leave you with a short video about the race, thanks for reading and I hope you’ll support me with your donations, your messages and maybe even cheering me on during the race! If you happen to want to give a donation already you can do so here.
Carphone Warehouse Race to the Stones from Threshold Sports on Vimeo.