Day 50. April 5th 2020

Done. Finished. Completed.
Running 5km a day for 50 days to raise £5k and to finish on my 50th Birthday.
I just wanted to do something to celebrate my half-century, to try and make a difference in other peoples lives and to, perhaps, learn a little about myself.

I’m not sure what I entirely thought this challenge would be like. I did know that there would be days when I would think – “there is nothing worse that I could think of doing than go for a run when its cold, wet, rainy and I’ve had a crap day at work”. And, of course, those days came.
But here’s the lesson I learnt. I learnt that when you really don’t want to do something, just do it. Push yourself. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone. Those days that were the most satisfying. It was those days where I came in after my run feeling energised and feeling so satisfied that I’d bothered to make the effort.
And I think this is a lesson that I will take into life (even though its taken me 50 years to learn it!). Push the boundaries and just do it.

I’ve read about headspace and people finding time to think and de-stress, and how running can be a fantastic outlet for this. I’ve read about it, but never really got it. I’ve heard people talk about it, but never really listened!.
But now I get it. I had times when I had had such a rubbish day, or couldn’t get my head around an issue or a problem and running was a huge help.
I initially found solace in evening running in the dark with just the beam of a head torch to concentrate on. Somehow this focal point was my meditative place. My place to think logically and my place to think. It worked particularly well with motivational podcasts.
As we got closer to Spring and the clocks changed we finally got some kinder weather (rather than constant wind and rain) and then the headspace preference became cross country. Countryside. Good weather. Natures reset button.

On a deeper level this challenge was about improving peoples lives. Helping those families in We Love Football Academy in Cape Town, and trying to help fund improvements for them.
We set off at pace and raised funds quickly in the early days, but then things changed.

Suddenly we all began to focus on something that will affect our lives forever. Something that we will never ever forget and that will, more than likely, have the biggest impact on our generation – Coronavirus. Covid-19.

At this stage we’re into the second week of “lock down” with no idea as to how long this will last and how many deaths globally will occur. With this as a background, suddenly the challenge changed and, instead of being a push to help those worse off than us, we began to think about our own lives and frailties.

Of course this meant that donations slowed down, as did the effort to drive them. Suddenly it didn’t feel quite right to be sending emails and/or social media requests for more donations when families we’re thinking more about their own jobs and livelihoods.

And so that takes us to the end.

50 days have passed. 50 days of running every single day.

I have loved it. Become “a runner”, and learnt ways to find my own space.

I have welcomed guest runners – initially running alongside me and then, as social distancing came in, running with me virtually chatting on WhatsApp and even sharing video. This is where I’m running, show me your view and I’ll show you mine!

To date I have raised over £2000. Thats 45,000 ZAR which will make a huge difference.
I intent to keep the donations page open and keep pushing and, hopefully, will be in Cape Town in December this year handing over a cheque for £5k -100,000 ZAR.

But for now, a HUGE thank you for all those that supported me, ran with me and generally given me encouragement.

50 days run. None left.

Day 49. April 4th 2020

A sunny loop to Bampton and back with Mrs S (and a parallel run at the same time run by Olly and Sam Morris Adams.)

I sit here watching the coronavirus update where 4313 people in the UK have died to date. I write this both to take some time for those numbers to sink in and also as a record for when I read this back in 5, 10 , 20 years time.
I have one day left of this challenge and, as I have written before, looking back to when I started on February 16th 2020 to where we are now (April 4th 2020) things in the world have changed beyond belief.

I will keep pushing to raise money for We Love Football Academy and currently, the amount raised stands at £1812 which is just fantastic.

I’ll review things in more detail tomorrow but, in the meantime, that’s 49 days done. 1 left!

Day 48. April 3rd 2020

Early evening sunshine. Cross country. Steady pace. The sort of run that I have come to enjoy.

£1762 raised to date. Just 2 days left to run, and that means just 2 days until I turn 50!

I have definitely learned to forget about the clock (when I want to) and just enjoy the surrounding, the headspace and the feeling of running freely.
As we come to the end I am so grateful to all the support I have had and to the regular comments and guest runners.

It’s not over yet but, thankfully the weather looks like it’s going to be stunning -a long way from the early days of this challenge when all I remember is wind and rain and, on one occasion, hail!

Please keep donating

2 days left!

Day 47. April 2nd 2020

I think I might have broken the rules!!! 😉

I set out 47 days ago to run 5km every day for 50 days to raise £5k (and to celebrate my 50th year)…but today I ran 10km!!

Actually, to be honest, it was planned for last Sunday at an official 10km event run at Bowood House but, as you would imagine, this got cancelled. However the organisers then opened a window for all participants to run their own 10km, send the results in and then these would be published and medals sent out. So that’s what I’ve done.

Needless to say, after 47 days of training (and having done very few 10km runs in my life) by PD was smashed – more feel good.

Even more feel good is that the donations are rolling in thick and fast as I get to the end of the challenge which is hugely appreciated.

The total raised now stands at £1762 which, under the circumstances, is absolutely fantastic. So thanks to everyone who has donated.

47 days run. Just 3 left!

Day 46. April 1st 2020

The first “3 way” virtual run today. Joined by a new guest – Charlie Stanley Evans, and a returning guest (my very first one back on day 10!), his wife Rachel.

It was great to catch up, find out what they’re up to and generally feel the warmth of friendship in this tough time.

Now, there’s something you should know about this couple -they are very fit and very competitive. During my first run with Rachel (when we were actually able to run together), she dragged me to a PB at the time, and yesterday was no exception. After a gentle start I began to pick the pace up and eventually (although admittedly by this stage I’d lost them both through their phone battery failure) I pushed hard through the final 1km to a PB fastest ever 1km at 4:49.

Whilst this challenge is about raising money for We Love Football Academy, the side benefits of getting fit and feeling much better are great and, every now and then when little PB’s are met, it gives you a further lift.

I’m 46 days in with just 4 to do. Onwards and upwards.

Day 45. March 31st 2020

Another guest day, although this time technology let us down a little due to the location of the guest i.e. in the middle of rural Hertfordshire with very poor 4G capabilities.

The guest? My brother David -an accomplished runner who has, for years, been a huge advocate of the headspace, de-stress capabilities and thinking time that running can bring. I am, indeed, late to this particular party, however now I too have grasped these benefits from trotting around on my two feet, it would have been good to have reflected wit David on these points. Unfortunately, as mentioned, technology meant that we had a few broken conversations before the run was suddenly over….well, on my part it was….I’m not sure my brother grasped the concept that “virtual running” still means that it is as if you are running together. Running the same distance. Not running different distances and carrying on when your running partner has stopped. In fact, in this instance, running 5km together as part of my 5 for 50 for 5!!!!! Oh well. It was still great to share the time.

So, there we have it. We’re in the home stretch. I can almost see the finishing line and am beginning to think about how best to end the final run. Still, I have a few hours of running left to nail that one.

Today’s route was predominantly cross country and, as the ground drys out, these are becoming much more pleasant than they were several weeks ago when I was running in mud and ankle-deep water!

45 days done. 5 left.

Day 42. March 28th 2020

6 weeks ago I started this challenge! On the one hand, it doesn’t seem that long ago but, on another level, it seems an age!

Steady run today with a gentle wind and a bit of an explore to find yet another local loop. It amazing really when I think that we’ve been living here for twelve/thirteen years and yet there are footpaths within a few kilometres that we’ve never even set foot on! Its quite exciting exploring and makes the running even more fun.

Great news from Cape Town that we have been able to buy some maize and some cleaning products for our We Love Football Academy families. I have no doubt that they have some serious challenges to come from the Coronavirus and am so pleased that our fundraising currently stands at £1602.

Day 42 done. Just 8 left.

Day 41. March 27th 2020

Guest number 6 – Mark Hewlett.
Following on from the first”virtual’ guest on Day 38 where the run was a WhatsApp call I progressed today to WhatsApp video which just brought the whole virtual run to life.

Whilst I was, technically, running around a village circuit, virtually I was running with Mark in Cirencester Park. Seeing the hills. Seeing the views and chatting with my mate….I loved it.

The run went by in a flash as we talked about the crisis, our families, work and generally caught up. It’s just such a great way to connect at the moment, at a time when we are now allowed to travel to meet to run even if we wanted to.

It’s crazy but this challenge has become a completely different journey that simply running 5kn every day for 50 days to raise £5k.
Its become a journey of self-development. A journey that’s seen the coronavirus come into our lives and become something that will be remembered and recognised for hundreds of years. This is something that is affecting the entire global population and really puts things into perspective, and yet my challenge has brought so much positivity into my life.

Day 41 completed and just 9 left. I think I’m going to miss this….

Please keep donating

Day 40. March 26th 2020

Felt good. So went for it and ran a PB.

As I’ve said throughout this blog it makes SUCH a difference to the run, the mood, when the sun is shining.

So we’re 40 days in. Nearly 6 weeks. We’re definitely now in a routine and enjoying it.

The coronavirus number of cases and deaths continue to rise and, of course, to all its a massive concern. But life carries on and we have to keep positive.

Keep giving.

Day 39. March 25th 2020

I wasn’t sure what effect this every day running malarky would have on me.
Would I become addicted? What would 5km times be like? What would be the difference in fitness? What would be the difference in my mental state?

When I started back in February nobody was really talking about Coronavirus.
39 days later and we are in lockdown, Death rates are climbing and my runs have become more and more a release from this. A release from the world around and a chance to gather thoughts and think about ways to try and keep the business ticking over, to think about friends and family.

Today was no exception and, as I set off, I made a mental note to completely enjoy the experience, the surroundings, the sunshine and the countryside and, perhaps because of that, it was one of the highlight runs to date.

It makes me realise how lucky we are where we live to be able to run out into the countryside and hardly see a sole. Compare that to the crowd on the tubes and trains in the cities and those even trying to get some exercise in crowded parks.

I then think about the kids in We Love Football Academy, in the townships surrounding Cape Town. The virus hasn’t really taken hold there but, if it does, it is likely to cause mass deaths, sweeping through townships where the idea of washing hands and keeping 2 metres apart is virtually impossible.

My feeling is that they will need much more help than we will and thus to support them now is even more important.
Donations, of course, have slowed down as our minds are on so many other things but, during today’s run, I did take a moment. Perhaps we all should take a moment.

Please, please, please if you were thinking of donating do it now.

11 days left.