Saturday 2 November 2002

Consett to Sunderland Marina

This was the most challenging day yet. I had 5 hours in which to reach the finish line. The press were to be at the Hospice at 1pm so I had to run a decent time in order to get my photo taken. I had to run at a pace slightly quicker than last year's New York Marathon if I was to finish in time.

It was a nice and easy first 15 miles downhill into Washington. I had asked Katy to meet me in Washington as I would do the first 15 miles unassisted. This was a key factor in getting me to the finish line on time. I had a quick sandwich at Washington Wildfowl Park before embarking on the remaining 9 miles.

The weather wasn't great but that still didn't stop me putting in a decent time. The 9 miles to Sunderland Marina felt like 19 miles though. The long winding cycle path along the River Wear seemed agonisingly long and winding!

At last though, as I passed Sunderland Glass Centre I had the Marina in my sights. And there was Katy waiting for me. I made it to the coast line at 3 minutes to 1. After getting my photo taken I quickly jumped into the car and we drove to St Benedict's Hospice. I got out just before we arrived and ran into the Hospice grounds where a small crowd awaited.

It was so nice to receive the applause of the crowd. Aunty Joyce presented me with a small home made medal and Katy received 3 sets of flowers. 1 from me, 1 from Aunty Joyce and 1 from the Hospice. The Sunderland Echo were on hand for photographs.

Anne Oliver and a couple of Hospice volunteer staff had organised a buffet and cups of tea for everyone. Just what you need after running the width of the country! I also received St Benedict's equivalent of a Blue Peter Badge which will sit proudly in my trophy cabinet.

After I had freshened up most of us went to a local pub for a pint or 6. I think I lasted until about 7.30 and as usual Dan and Amanda outlasted everyone else. Thanks must go to Dave Cook for a double Jack Daniels which ensured I had a bit of a sore head the following morning.

I got a couple of nice surprises in the pub. My sister in law and her husband upped their sponsor money to £1 per mile. Yes £140. Dave and El Cook wrote the Hospice a nice big cheque for £50 as did Alan and Elaine Coleman. And an old work mate, Joe Docherty, popped in and dropped some cash off. I hadn't seen Joe for some time and he obviously knew where I planned to be by reading my website. All in all an extra £200 was added to the fund. The fund stood at £1632.80 as I downed my 7th(ish) pint of the afternoon. I'll drink to that!

Friday 1 November 2002

Allenheads to Consett

I knew I had to make up for the shorter miles during the last 2 days and really went for a big run today.

At last a bit of dignity though, as I was able to use public toilets in Allenheads and not a field or a derelict house. Bliss!

I took an off road alternative following a footpath which should have been signed as a "Public Footswamp". Not only that but I got a bit lost and ended up having to climb over a barb wire fence. I nearly did myself an injustice but managed to continue on the official route.

By the time I ran through Rookhope the weather was turning nasty. Freezing fog and rain made for a very depressing run indeed.

It was an easy first 6 miles downhill into Rookhope. Then a climb up and over the moors at Stanhope Common into Stanhope made things a little more difficult.

Now for the most depressing part of the whole run; Waskerley. Now do I not like Waskerley. Waskerley Park, Way, Reservoir or anything else Waskerley.

At the 100 mile point in Waskerley I could only see about 10 meters in front or behind. Now what should spring to mind. A scene from an "American Werewolf in London". I had strayed from the main road onto Waskerley Way and kept looking around as far as I could in the fog for anything lurking in the bushes. Not the high point of my life I must admit.

The next 10 miles into Consett seemed to take ages. I was cold and tired but at least I had got out of a trip to Safeway as I had told Katy to go ahead and do the shopping and I would meet her at the 110 mile point.

Thursday 31 October 2002

Hartside Cafe to Allenheads

The weather was glorious today and a quick decent into Garigill was easily achieved.

I'd got 1 mile into the run and had to use, not a farmers field but a deserted house, that looked like the local shop from the League of Gentlemen TV show. Very scary, particularly on Halloween.

Once again I paused at the top of the hill past Garigill and took in how far I'd run. I could actually still see the cafe at Hartside almost 10 miles away and was pretty sad to leave this particular view behind.

There were 2 major climbs today. 1 out of Garigill and 1 out of Nanthead up to the highest point on the C2C route.

The final decent into Allenheads was a lonely one with only very nervous sheep to keep me company. I should have gone on a further couple of miles today but quite frankly I couldn't be bothered. 5 days and 86 miles had taken there toll on my very tired legs.

Wednesday 30 October 2002

Langwathby to Hartside Cafe

Due to an appointment with the midwife in the afternoon I had only a short time to reach the summit at Hartside.

The conditions at the start in Langwathby were cold and foggy and the only inspiration came from Katy who was doing a good job keeping my spirits up.

Right from the start, I could see the cafe at Hartside, high up in the hills through the fog.

Thanks must go again to another farmer for the use of his field. I think I'll only have 2 Weetabix tomorrow!

This was the hardest part of the run so far and finished with an off road climb of 5 miles. Which was nice.

There was a particular scary moment as I crossed a ravine with a 30 foot drop either side and just a thin path to cross it on. I made it across safely though.

There was just time for a nice cuppa and a scone in the cafe that I'd had my sights set on for the last 3 hours.

Tuesday 29 October 2002

Askew Rigg Farm to Langwathby

It was just a short drive from our digs in Penrith to the start point. Yet again I made use of a farmer's field. There's nothing quite like the great outdoors! The rain had started and continued for the first 10 miles.

An old man in Greystoke stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift. I politely declined but was tempted to ask him if he was going anywhere near Penrith.

It was a great feeling crossing the M6 motorway into Penrith and I felt as if a major milestone had been achieved. I couldn't help but look back several times to see how far I had run. In the distance I could still see Blencathra, and Clough Head near Keswick. But they seemed like many miles away.

Monday 28 October 2002

Low Lawton to Askew Rigg Farm

The sun actually got out this morning and it was a pleasure to run through the Lake District in a decent temperature.

The first challenge of the day was to take an impromptu toilet visit in a field at the foot of Whinlatter Pass. Apologies to the respective farmer and his rather shocked cows.

Whinlatter Pass was one of the highlights of the whole run, despite being very steep. But as I always say, for every up hill there's always a down hill to follow.

I made it into Keswick for lunch and being the fitness freak that I am, opted for Fish and Chips. There was just time for an hour's shopping with Katy and then it was onto the A66 via Blencathra to the 40 mile point.

Sunday 27 October 2002

Whitehaven to Low Lawton

I awoke this morning to the news of a severe weather warning. Luckily for me the South of England seemed to be the worst affected and the winds weren't that bad for the first 13 miles to Lamplugh. After that, they seemed to die down all together or it could have been the fact that I was sheltered by the surrounding mountains.

Fortunately I had Katy on hand to supply me with food and drink every other mile. She seemed to enjoy herself in the countryside despite being 8 months pregnant.

The last 7 miles went very quickly as there was plenty of scenery to look at. I finished off in Low Lawton in what turned out to be quite a sunny afternoon.

Friday 8 February 2002

Cheque Presentation

It was my pleasure to hand over £1454.80 to Denise Robertson, the Patron of St Benedict's Hospice. Today was the switching on ceremony of the lights of remembrance and what better a time to present this year's cheque.

The final total will hopefully be nearer £1700 as some of you have yet to send me your sponsor money. But don't worry, you've still got time.

Anne Oliver, the fund raising co-ordinator was on hand to accept the cheques and also some boxes of chocolates that were donated. I think these are to be used as part of the Christmas raffle.

And so another year of events almost comes to a close with just £300 left to hand over. I must admit I'm really puzzled as to what event I can do next year. Running the width of Ireland is a possibility. Perhaps doing a long endurance run when we go on holiday next year to Australia and New Zealand is also a possibility. 50 miles in the outback sounds appealing.

I'll recharge my batteries over Christmas and mull it over. Suggestions welcome.