Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: race to the stones

Mission accomplished

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.

Finish line

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.

thanks you,

The Fool

Fool on the run – Tommy’s

If you’re going to run 100km you might as well do it for a good cause, so the logic in my head goes at least.  Well today I’d like to introduce the second awesome charity I’m hoping to raise money for with my Fool on the Run challenge which is Tommy’s. Now I’m guessing that most of you have heard of Tommy’s but if you haven’t they do research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage.

Here’s a little video to tell you more about their work.

As you know the 2 charities I’ve chosen are ones I feel I have a very personal connection too and actually Tommy’s was the one that immediately popped into my head when I started planning this challenge. Like many parents the lady of the manor and I have experienced the pain of losing a baby through miscarriage, something which 1 in 4 mothers will also experience. We’ve had 2 miscarriages with the second just a few months ago which I wrote about here, but what I haven’t written about before is the first experience and I’d like to taken a moment to share that with you now.

Our first miscarriage happened before I was a blogger, before I’d built friendships with other parents on Twitter and before I was a dad. The combination of those 3 things I’ve come to realise made that experience so much tougher and more lonely. Becoming a blogger is potentially the best thing any parent or parent to be can do because you will never experience such support and kind words anywhere else.

I can remember the day very clearly even now almost 4 years later; I’d just left the house to run to the train station (yep even then I was a crazy runner type) and my phone rang. I grabbed my phone out my pocket and it was home calling, which was odd as I’d just left there. I answered and immediately I knew something wasn’t right, the lady of the manor didn’t need to say more than “Ben”, the tone of her voice made it clear this was bad.

After a frantic half an hour we managed to find out that Bath hospital had an early scan clinic that you could just turn up to so we raced off there barely speaking. Not wanting to say what we were both thinking, trying to think positively that it was probably nothing. Hours passed in a blur of waiting rooms, doctors, radiographers and nurses, all lovely and supportive but none could tell us that it was going to be ok.

We headed home to digest the words “we can’t see any sign of a heart beat”; one day we’re a newly married couple who’ve just bought their first house and are pregnant for the first time, the next day our world has fallen apart. That night was the darkest moment of my life so far as we sat together knowing that the baby we had been expecting was slowly slipping away from us. I rarely cry but that night the two of us sat curled up on the sofa and sobbed for the baby we would never get to meet.

Being so early in the pregnancy (9 weeks) we hadn’t done any ante natal classes or starting meeting other parents to be, we didn’t know the what’s or why’s of miscarriage. I’m not sure I’d even heard anyone else talk about it. It often feels like being in Harry Potter and no one wanting to say Voldemort. Yet once you do tell people you suddenly realise how many of them have their own miscarriage story and the support you receive is incredible. Nothing can take the pain away yet talking to someone who has experienced it helps.

Tommys logoThis is why I’m passionate about supporting Tommy’s; their research into miscarriage, still birth and premature birth is essential to help us understand why these things happen and if there is a way to prevent it or minimise the risks.

Tommy’s also provide a pregnancy line to give advice about how to have a healthy pregnancy and also offer support if you experience a pregnancy loss. I’m also very passionate about a dad’s role in this process, a pregnancy loss happens to us too even if not physically and we also need support in the grieving process in addition to be a key support for our partners.

This is why I’m taking on the huge challenge of running 100km and why I hope you’ll part with some of your hard earned cash and sponsor me. You can find my sponsorship page here.