In little over one week, I'll be setting off from John O'Groats on a truly epic journey to a place called Lands End some 868 miles away (by my route).
Apart from needing to raise a little more sponsor money (and rest assured I will raise enough), everything is in place for what is without doubt the most difficult and risky challenge I have ever undertaken.
The organisation of the event has been done on a shoestring budget with plenty of £15 travelodge rooms booked, £1.99 Easyjet flights here and there for my road side supporters and 11 out of the 36 nights to be spent in a tent! Lets hope the recent torrential weather dies down a bit! Not for my sake though. It's the road side crew I'm more concerned about. I'm prepared for any weather. I've trained in extreme heat, cold, snow, wind and rain. I'm prepared for any conditions. At the start of my training I used to hate the wind and had a really negative outlook while running. Now, though, I've got the attitude where I'm disappointed with a 25mph gale and I'm almost thinking "Is that all you've got?". I know it's a cliche but "Bring it on" really does spring to mind.
I've really toughened up mentally over the last 12 months. Just as well, because in my experience of ultra distance running (4 events now!) I think that success is based on 70% physical strength and 30% mental strength.
I've gained a lot of confidence on the road in 2007 and feel well equipped, mentally, for the long journey to follow. That's just part of the story though, as the backing and encouragement I've been afforded by my colleagues at Northern Rock has been absolutely first class and has undoubtedly contributed to that 30%. Some people I've talked to reckon that by miles 600 - 700 the necessary physical/mental ingredients will be more like 50%/50%. I'm not disputing that and I've set my expectations such that I accept there will be low points on the run. After all, 868 miles is a long way to run in 36 days. It's taken me 6 months to achieve that distance alone in training!
The routine of running a marathon a day for 36 days is bound to have some adverse effect on my body and mental state. However, I aim to enjoy each and every day on this run. There are 3 days where I'll be joined by colleagues. Then there are the fancy dress days! I'm going to be running through some real beauty spots in the country. I'm sure I'll meet many characters on the way. It'll be a real adventure for me as well as my road side supporters! My missus and the bairn are supporting me for 3 of the 5 weeks. So it's going to be quite a unique family experience. All I got when I was a lad was 6 weeks in a shoebox (caravan) at Seahouses and I was grateful. I got 10 pence a week to spend in the slot machines if I was lucky! Kids these days don't know they're born! READER - "YOU WERE LUCKY....etc etc......".