Sunday, 20 September 2020

Stage X

I wrote the following on my blog last month - "While my foot has been taken off the 'around the world run' pedal for now, rest assured that it will continue when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, I'm going to just do some exercise and I'm going to do it with a huge smile on my face.". I'm so pleased to report that continues to be the case. Every time I have put on a my kit and shoes I feel so motivated to give maximum effort in whatever I do. Confidence is high and the feeling I've had this summer after any session has been one of euphoria. I really find it difficult to explain why exercise is having such a positive effect this year. Perhaps I shouldn't bother and just enjoy it for as long as it lasts. (It's worth reading the 2 previous posts for a build up to this post if you haven't done so already.).

It feels prudent to use this new found motivation and enthusiasm to continue to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice. It's also a perfect opportunity to plug the gap left by the paused Run Around The World. Of course, stage 6 should have been done next year. Sadly, given the state of the world currently and the pandemic we find ourselves living with, it's just not possible to carry out the 2100 mile run from Kiev, Ukraine through Russia to Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan. That will happen one day when it's safe to do so. The picture below is where I finished stage five back in 2018 and where the virtual around the world progress flag is currently planted.

So where does that leave me in terms of a replacement event next year? Well, I've decided to do what I'm calling a "special stage of the run around the world". It will be held during the summer of 2021. It will be massively difficult. I don't believe it has been done before. I have a route planned. I'm certain that it won't fall foul of any pandemic related restrictions. Ultimately, like all of my events, it will be very worthy of public and commercial sponsorship. 

For now and until I announce full details of the event in November, I'm calling this section of the run around the world, "Stage X". It's a working title to be used while I work out the finer details and while the event remains under wraps.

For the first time since the run across the USA, Stage X will be a stage that is self-funded. That means that ALL proceeds from commercial sponsorship will go to St Benedict's Hospice. For the avoidance of any doubt, it's worth restating that EVERY penny of public money will also go to the Hospice. This has always been the case and always will be.

Stage X will not require the services of Chappie who is safely stored away and ready to return to assist me onwards from Kiev in the future. Chappie spends most days in the sun keeping his battery charged. It's a hard life!

Stage X will require a support team and I've already got a pretty good idea of who might be first on the team sheet when asked. There's a clue in the image below.

As with all previous stages around the world, I rate the chances of success as slim at best. I see that as being realistic more than pessimistic. It's safe to say that Stage X has me concerned! It has an element of fear about it that I intend to use as motivation and for focus over the 10 months that I have to train for it. You might think, "why bother if you don't feel it's possible?". It is that kind of philosophy that I've always followed. This, for me, doesn't feel too different to the build up to stage 2, the run across the USA. 

Stage X promises to be quite an extreme spectacle of running endurance. I've no doubt in my mind that it will be horrible to run. At the time of writing, I have no idea how I will prepare for it. I'll be spending the remaining days of September putting a plan into place. I'll then need to start and execute that plan in October and build it to an unprecedented level (by my standards) throughout the winter, spring and early summer.  

I am setting a fundraising target of £17,108.87 for St Benedict's Hospice. The significance of this seemingly random number will be clearer when details are announced in November. 

So far, only 2 people have been made aware of what Stage X is all about. Their jaws dropped. Their heads shook. Hands covered foreheads in disbelief. When I saw the reactions I knew I was doing the right thing. I'm pleased to report that, despite a rolling of eyes, Donna is fully on board with my plans. "Here we go again" I said!

Next steps are to formulate a training plan, carry out some initial canvassing of commercial sponsors and support team members, finalise the route and to continue having fun exercising.

That's all for now on Stage X of The Run Around The World. Fancy words, ambitious schemes and impossible dreams must become a set of actions that give me the best chance possible of succeeding in 2021. Watch this space and my social media channels over the coming weeks and months for news on Stage X progress.