Thinking back to The Challenge and reaching the summit of Mount Snowdon on the 12th day after 11 unbelievably difficult days has to be one of my proudest moments. Sitting on the summit eating a sausage roll whilst casually drinking a few beers and being able to share such an achievement with many of my closest friends, will be an image which will always bring a smile to my face.
Each day presented itself a completely different range of problems, injuries and especially mental barriers. From Day 1 the mind games I used with myself in order to complete each day were all the way from silly and amusing, to incredibly deep, meaningful and even scary at times. However I always said this challenge would be completed in the head, with 40% fitness and 60% mental strength getting me through.
Running the marathon was always going to be my strength, however heading into Day 2 with my alarm clock set at 4:40am then swimming 13.1miles was an incredibly daunting thought… 9 hours 30 minutes later, completed, yet utterly exhausted.
Speeding through Day 3 and cycling 100 miles, I then had the horrible journey of travelling 7 hours to Fort William ready to take on Ben Nevis on the morning of Day 4. This was a particular day I hadn’t looked forward to, however heading to the start of the mountain i’d found a new surge of energy and enthusiasm, which can be hugely put down to my friend Dave, who I convinced to climb with me and not just wait at the bottom ready to drive me home! (I think he regretted the extra pint in the hotel when I convinced him!). However we made it, enjoyed the beautiful views and somehow drove 7 hours back home too… Ready to face Day 5 and my second marathon.
I knew the second set of 4 days I wouldn’t enjoy. The first 4 I could tell myself that it’s the start and it’s exciting. The last four days I could tell myself “you have no more marathons after this” or “you have no more swimming to do after this” etc… However the second cycle, the middle four days I knew would be difficult and I just needed to slog through day by day.
Unfortunately between Day 5 and Day 8 was the start of my body feeling like it was refusing to continue. I had two issues… My right knee was becoming incredibly painful and my left foot was agony to put any sort of pressure on. Mentally, I felt like I was somewhat destined to fail, not only was my body against me, but somehow my oven and microwave decided to break down too!? (Both still not fixed) This presented me a major problem, I was utterly exhausted, in incredible pain with only a hob to cook food on… Nevertheless, it’s amazing how much fried bacon and poached eggs you can eat in a day when you’re in need of calories!
Day 9, I thought it was all over. Out of all the 12 days, Day 9 was my worst. The last marathon of The Challenge, which I assumed would be ok due to me completing 5 marathons in 5 days last year for Sports Relief, was sheer agony from the first step, to the last step. Somehow I managed it and that day I met my limit, but somehow created myself a new one in my mind. (This is where the 60% mental would really push me through.)
After managing to get through two more incredibly long days I couldn’t wait to see everyone on Mount Snowdon, ready to complete the last day with an incredibly sunny end to The Challenge. Sunday 27th, marked the end of the hardest, most physical challenge I have set myself so far. There were many high points, and many low. Some of which to this day i’m still suffering with in terms of injuries. However the thought that together, with your support we managed to raise £2,250 for Help for Heroes means it was all worthwhile.
A few people in particular who made all of this possible… Thank you.
Everyone who donated and sent supportive messages.
Mum – Thank you for making sure I was prepared.
Jan – My emergency massage (still amazed you complimented my feet).
The Wolfpack – For daily abuse, banter and support.
Jane and Adam – Far too many things to mention, it wouldn’t have been possible without you both.
Dave – For driving me 14 hours and climbing a mountain in pretty much 24 hours.
Everyone who climbed the mountains and ran with me.
My girlfriend Seanii – From Day 1 of training, right through my recovery, you have been my rock.
There are far too many people to name individually and without all of you The Challenge was never possible.
Now onto the next challenge…
Love and passion,