Sunday, 25 May 2008

Pledges coming in just like old times.

Within minutes of the thepenninechallenge page being created on Thursday, the pledges started coming in once again.   

Paul Edwards got the ball rolling for 2008 and there were several other generous pledges including £50 from    

All of these guys supported me last year via and I'm really grateful that they've dug deep once more.  Thanks to everybody so far for your pledges.  

There are also a steady flow of names on the rest of the team's sponsor forms with Carlton Fletcher doing especially well so far.  

With so many people doing so many amazing things for so many good causes it is nice to see that our team's fund has made a good start.  The Children's Foundation is a very worthwhile charity and I hope the Pennine Challenge Team can get a decent 4 figure sum to reflect the hard work that will be put into this year's Pennine Challenge.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Pennine Challenge Team. Finalised!

After month's of telling my colleagues that the 22 mile route from Castleside to Middleton "isn't really that bad*", I finally have a team of 10 able souls to undertake the Pennine Challenge.

The Team is a mixture of 5 cyclists (doing 44 miles) and 5 runners (doing 22 miles). We have various levels of experience. From accomplished club runners such as the one and only Jimmy Bell (Elswick Harriers (pictured right)) to relative newcomers such as Jonathan Dixon (A gangly 6 foot odd runner who is there to provide the comedy as much as owt else!).

We will be raising funds for The Childrens Foundation (Charity No. 1000013) whose vision is "for the health and well being of children and young people in the North East to be the best in the UK.".

The five runners are myself, Jimmy Bell, Jonathan Dixon, Steven Moore and Carlton Fletcher. The five cyclists are Mike and Michelle Paul, Richard Scholfield, Fraser Scott and Ian "The Coach" Glasgow".

Having trained in the Pennines for the most of 2007, I can't stress how difficult this route is. Only last week, one of last year's runners (Michael Dunn (pictured left)), had an exploratory operation on his knee. The injury came near the end of last year's run on the hills around Middleton. Michael will be on crutches for a few weeks and I wish him a speedy recovery. I don't for one minute think we've seen the last of Dunny's running career. You can't write off a charity hero as quick as that! And you may notice that Ian "The Coach" Glasgow is a cyclist this year. He also sustained a knee injury on the route last year and hasn't been able to get much running in as a result. The route really is that treacherous!

My own preparation for this run has been not the usual itinerary of out and out running. I've really mixed it up this time with 4, 5 or sometimes 6 spinning classes, 2 boxercise classes and 3 good quality runs a week. I've managed to maintain this schedule for 3 months now so I feel very prepared. I'm running as fast as I have for a long time, posting 01:13:50 (a PB) for the 8.4 Havannah route last week and 01:15:05 only today. I'll be spending the next 4 weekends in the Pennines getting used to those hills and getting the distance up slightly. Oh and I mustn't forget the weekly workouts on Wii Fit. They aren't as strenuous but I do enjoy the change!

*yeah right!

Friday, 9 May 2008

The route planning starts....

Using Google Earth, I've started to take a very high level look at a potential route across the USA.  The route starts at Huntington Beach in California and I've managed to trace it as far as Las Vegas.

I must admit, my geography of the West side of the USA isn't the best.   I'm glad to report, though, that I'm starting to get a good appreciation of where the various places are.   Thankfully, this route is slightly south east of Death Valley.  That's a shame in some ways, as I could have got a few extra bob in sponsor money I reckon.  The official Death Valley website gives some advice for hikers - "When half the water is gone, it is time to turn back."!!!

I'll keep you posted as the route planning progresses.