Final Cheque for Cancer Research UK

Final Cheque for Cancer Research UK
Dawn Harrison of Cancer Research UK receiving cheque with Team Kinglets!

Sunday 3 October 2010

Further Update - 1st October 2010

Following mention of my run in the November edition of "Runners World" have extended the donation period to 24 December - any more donations will be greatly appreciated by Cancer Research UK.

Perhaps we can get a new final total exceeding £6,000 which would be double the initial target!!

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Final Cheque for Cancer Research UK

UPDATE - August 6th 2010

I finally met lovely Dawn Harrison of Cancer Research UK at my home in Barnstaple. Final cheque for all offline donations was paid in to make the Final Total, including gift aid, a magnificent

£5,602.60 !!
(This represents almost £9 for each mile this old man ran over the 24 days.) Thanks once again to all the generous donors as well as the wonderful supporters without whose help the run would have been almost impossible! (Will be sending a DVD of the run to most of the main supporters.) We are now arranging for photos of cheque presentation etc to appear in the North Devon Journal. Note that there may also be an article in Runners World.

Ian and Ro Clewes 10th August 2010

Saturday 19 June 2010

Penultimate Post - probably!

Iansbigrun - done! I completed the 630 mile run on the SW Coastal Footpath in 24 days, finishing in Minehead at 14:55 last Sunday 13th June. At 26.25 miles a day average this happens to equal a marathon a day. (... just over actually!)

The website, will stay available for next 3 months - so there is still time for further donations - especially if any one feels disposed to take the current amount over the target figure! (currently at 99%!) And thanks again for all your on-line donations - am still collecting in sponsorship forms etc so final total won't be known for couple of weeks - but I suspect it will exceed £4000! Fantastic!
A few lines to cover some of the questions - especially for those who may be contemplating walking/running all or part of the UK's longest continuous footpath!

1. All distances mentioned on my blog were taken from the official SWCPA handbooks - the total of 630 miles was when the route was last accurately measured several years ago. Since that time there have been many diversions due to landslips etc. (Dorset is falling into the sea by the way!) and there will also be slight differences due to variations in ferries and river crossings as well as, in my case, extra mileage incurred due to missing signs or choosing the wrong fork in a footpath! However I feel that there is no need to be too pedantic about these matters - my personal challenge was to raise as much as possible for Cancer Research UK rather than official record breaking. And I would recommend a somewhat slower pace to those of you who would like to appreciate the wonderful scenery, places and people on the way! All that said, as a one-time fairly competitive 'veteran athlete', I now confess that I was secretly hoping to do it in 21 days (E.g. exactly 30 miles a day - which is double the fast walking rate.) but my pulled muscle put paid to that dream!

2. For any runners out there wanting to have a go note that the ascents and descents make the route more like running in the Scottish Mountains rather than other UK long distance footpaths - and like the mountains, many sections are too steep or dangerous to actually run - even for a seasoned fell runner! (If the route was flat it would be the equivalent of running about 840 miles!) Another major limiting factor is that even with a good support team there are long sections where it is essential to carry say up to 3 litres of drinking water - especially if the weather is hot - and the weight of the rucksack can become a real burden. (My minimum 'baggage' included 2 litres of drink, food, windproof jacket and trousers, gloves, hat, survival blanket, first aid kit, whistle, torch, compass, map (See Harvey maps) and mobile phone.) It is not a run that you can specifically train for - all I would say is get used to slow running up to say 6 or 7 hours in a day and then just try it - but would recommend more training than Eddie Izzard although even he surprised 'the experts' by running his final marathon in under 5 hours. Note that top runners over a single organised/supported race of say 34 miles on typical Coastal footpath might achieve an average speed (without a rucksack) of around 6 miles an hour - much less than the 10+ miles an hour they would achieve on the road.

3. The hardest part of it all? This was actually having the self-belief that I could complete the run before 'going public' regarding my intentions and aims for Cancer Research UK. Second hardest part was the two stages from Polzeath to Crackington Haven and then from Crackington Haven to Hartland. Third hardest part was having to find available Wi-Fi and write the 'blog' late every evening. Fourth hardest was trying to sleep at night - my legs kept going - am still having problems! And finally - fifth most difficult was getting my ASDA £10 mobile phone working again after soaking it in the bath in the pocket of my running shorts! (WD40 did the trick eventually!) Incidentally we found that our Orange phones had good coverage for most of the route - exceptions being some isolated valleys - especially in the area around the Lizard.

4. Thanks to all the support teams - It would have been almost impossible to complete the run in 24 days without my wife (managing to cook pasta for 3 despite the broken arm) and friend John doing some quite tricky driving with our largish Campervan - slightly wider than the Cornish lanes in many parts, as well as remaining patient and enthusiastic through the whole trip despite having to cope with the vagaries of one very tired (and somewhat spoiled) runner, missing his wife Moira, and sometimes camping in a damp tent! Thanks to the King family - for driving all the way from Surrey for one nights camping near Portland! To Keith - he came from London on public transport to Poole harbour just to see me through the first few miles! To the Borg family for helping me across the shark-infested white-water rapids near Helford! To Bideford Amateur Athletic Club members for welcoming me on my arrival in Bideford. To members of Roundswell Church who also cheered me into a final 'sprint' at the end of a 31 mile day in Bideford. To team Griffiths (Anne & David) - who cheered me at Ilfracombe and supplied the pasty lunch at Combe Martin - essential long distance running food! They also looked after our house & garden (with Jenny & Ian's help) and provided us with a wonderful celebration meal on the Sunday evening together with John, Moira & Sam. And finally thanks to many friends who welcomed me at the finish in Minehead last Sunday ... and apologies for finishing over an hour ahead of schedule!

5. Many thanks to all those special people that supplied us with free accommodation, food and other much needed help during our challenge. Especially dear friends Sue and Chris who not only gave us 2 night's B&B and dinner at their picturesque riverside cottage and did our washing but also drove Ro back up to Barnstaple Hospital for an appointment - a full day's round trip from their home near Bodmin via South Devon. And to John's relative, Do, who again did B&B and Dinner for us as well as a hot bath for one tired old man. To Peter and Gabi Smith for both a wonderful evening meal as well as a free massage/muscle manipulation which I now realise did help the speedy recovery of my pulled thigh muscle. Thanks also to our old friends and ex-neighbours at Crackington, John and Lin not only for collecting a very tired chappy from the Haven after one of his hardest days but wined and dined and B&B'd the three of us us in their wonderful home. Last but not least many thanks to all the campsites and several B&B's which supplied us with either reduced rates or free accommodation as well as free meals in one case! Ask as we might however - no garage offered us free fuel for the 'van!

6. Special thanks to other runners mad enough to join me on some sections: Neil King, my son-in-law who ran with me for 15 miles from Portland Bill lighthouse to near Abbotsbury (on a very hot day.) To Mike Gilmour - a fellow Bideford AAC veteran athlete - who joined me for the last 7 miles or so into Bideford as well as the next 10 miles from Bideford towards Woolacombe the following morning. To a goodly contingent of Bideford Blues runners for seeing me to the Clubhouse from Appledore woods - diplomatically trained by Doug Jenkin to ensure that they didn't actually overtake me! Thanks also to Sharon Borg who ran with me for about 3 miles near Helston - despite the fact she was only wearing her best 'crocs'! (plus some clothes obviously) And last but not least to my dear daughter Sam King who ran with me for at least 4 sections over the final few days - especially when surprising me with much needed drinks in the depths of the woodlands near Heddon's mouth. (And I do believe that her total mileage may have been just slightly more than husband Neil's 15 at Portland!)


Will be making a DVD of the run later and will let you all know the final total for Cancer Research UK in a week or two. Thanks again for all your support and apologies if I have forgotten

Sunday 13 June 2010

Now is this really MINEHEAD?

Day 24 – 12th June 2010 The final push to the end!

Started the last day climbing over sleeping campers in the woods above Lynmouth (Music Festival this weekend!) before climbing 1000 feet to top of Countisbury hill – with shouts of encouragement from team in car on the road running adjacent to the coastal footpath. Then a very lonely but beautiful stretch until the guys met me with extra drinks just below County Gate; weather was again quite warm. Paths very good so made good speed to Porlock Weir where Sam joined me again to run across Porlock bay to Bossington. That just left me with 6 miles and another 1000 foot climb to Selworthy Beacon before an easy and very pleasant run into the finish at Minehead Harbour. There I was greeted by many friends, including 2 of John and Moira’s relatives – who had travelled from Scotland and Bath as well as our good friends Richard and Sue – all the way from deepest south Somerset. Last but not least, Bideford AAC stalwarts Glen Martin and Mike Gilmore and his wife were there to join in the fun - Sam had made a banner and strung it across the SWCPA official finish sculpture! Finally a short walk across the road to the Pub! (Where else?) 630 miles completed in 23 days and 5 hours. Sam then drove Team Crumblies back to Barnstaple where David and Anne had kindly asked us all to a celebratory dinner – complete with appropriate fizzy stuff! Will do a summary blog later with the really important stuff regarding the amount raised for Cancer Research; as well as the very generous on-line donations we have 4 very full collecting boxes yet to be opened by Cancer Research UK in Barnstaple – but I suspect that we will have achieved the £3000 target – this will also mean that ‘me little legs have been shuffling along tor at least £4.75 a mile! Great stuff and so many thanks to all you guys out there in Cyberspace!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Angel Sam looking over me!

Day 23 – 12th June 2010 Penultimate day before the final push to the end!

Another good day with much running support from daughter Sam! Felt good despite a very late night at our ‘home B&B’ – just going to bed when one of our burglar alarm sirens decided to wake up the neighbourhood – as resident in-house technician I had to dismantle the bell box stood on top of small ladder, working in the dark with dear Sam and Ro (her with broken arm) holding the ladder. I only mention this because I could imagine folks saying ‘How did Ian get on with the run?’ – ‘He didn’t finish as he twisted ankle falling off a ladder into a rose bed at just after midnight ... !’ Yeh – right.
Anyway, I digress. Started back in sunny Woolacombe with Sam joining me shortly after to run with me to Lee bay. As I ran into Ifracombe David and Anne Griffiths drove in alongside me to meet all the team at the Harbour car park – where we again met many generous people! We all met again at Combe Martin and consumed pasties generously provided by Team Griffiths! The days real work then began with the over 1000 foot climb over the two Hangman hills and on towards Holdstone Down – where I could hear Sam calling me but couldn’t see her. Eventually we met and both ran together to where rest of team were. Over the next hour or so I continued towards Heddon’s Mouth but my drink supplies were rapidly running out! So it was with delight and surprise when I heard a voice calling ‘Hey Dad’ in the depths of the woods near Hunter’s Inn – yes, Sam had appeared again like a guardian angel with drink supplies! I plodded on to be eventually applauded by all concerned at Lee Abbey – where Tabea, Caleb and Kim (from Lee Abbey) very kindly replenished our hot water flasks and supplied extra refreshments free of charge. Wonderful people. Sam ran with me again for the final lovely stretch past the Valley of the Rocks down to Lynmouth. A hilly 26 miles today leaving about 22 miles to the finish in Minehead tomorrow! (Wobbly old legs permitting)

Friday 11 June 2010

Run in the sun from Bideford to Woolacombe

Day 22 – 11th June 2010

One of the best days of the whole trip. Sam is back with us and Moira (John’s wife) so with the addition of a Senior HR consultant and a Senior nurse I believe we now have all eventualities covered! Started from Bideford AAC Club house where Doug had arranged for Rob, a photographer with the North Devon Journal to be in attendance both at the clubhouse and on the early part of run through Bideford and Instow. I was so grateful that Mike Gilmore had turned up again – this time to pace me through the first 10 miles or so to Barnstaple along with daughter Sam who also ran with us as far as Fremington Quay. Mikes pace judgment over a section of the Tarka Trail that I always find difficult (even when not tired from the day before) was immaculate – still would I expect anything but perfection from a Northern Ireland International athlete! Good support throughout the day including friends at Fremington as well as Barnstaple old bridge where Mike was to leave me. Team Crumbly (+ one smoothy) met me again at Saunton Sands where I was to receive the double delight of a leg massage and an ice cream! A quick applause was received as I passed through Croyde Bay before the final run around Baggy Point and across Woolacombe Bay to the finish for the day, somewhat unusually feeling less tired than I did at the start in Bideford. Day’s total 31 miles.

Thursday 10 June 2010

From Hartland to HEARTLAND is just 30 miles.

Day 21 – 10th June 2010
After a great free B&B at our home in Barnstaple John drove us back to Hartland Quay for me to continue the run on more familiar territory. Within the first hour John’s red and white umbrella was visible just above Hartland Point Lighthouse always a welcome sight! (The umbrella, not the lighthouse!) A long lonely stretch followed until I met Team Crumbly again for lunch just above Clovelly. Was prepared for another lonesome run until Westward Ho! So was surprised to find the team again at Bucks Cross for a drink top-up. The best part of another difficult 30 mile day was getting wonderful support from members of Bideford AAC as well as many friends from Barnstaple. Firstly Mike Gilmore met me about 2 miles before Westward Ho and ran with me to the finish at Bideford Clubhouse – don’t think I could have kept going without his help – especially going around the cold and windy Northam Burrows! Then just after Appledore a large contingent of Bideford runners also joined me to the finish – Many thanks to Doug for organising this. The final accolade came from many friends from Roundswell Church who came to see me finish the day’s run! (I am also well aware that they have all been continuously supporting us ‘in more ways than one’ since I left home on 21st May.) Back home tonight following a much needed shower and drink at the Club bar! What more could a tired old chap ask for? Planning to restart run from Bideford AAC at around 09:00 tomorrow, heading for Woolacombe via Barnstaple, Braunton and Croyde. Approx 552 miles completed leaving 78 to do in the next 3 days. Hmm.