Friday, 30 September 2011

JOG to LE: Day Ten

"Firstly, for those of you following on the website and the ‘Follow Me Live’ link, I did complete my marathon today.  We are not sure why the tracker did not work today.  Apologies – we will try to get it sorted out.

After vowing yesterday and the day before not go off road again, I did today but safely in the company of my old friend Bill Matthews of the Oban Mountain Rescue Team and two of his colleagues.

We went on the first part of the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven, through Glen Coe and the last 5 miles of today’s route was across Rannoch Moor.

As well as the Oban Mountain Rescue guys, I was visited today by Sam Weir from Keltneyburn and her son, and they had made a banner for me, and also Dick and Elizabeth McIntosh from Guernsey paid a surprise visit.  It was great to see all of them.  Sam and Dick have both helped enormously with the preparations for and organisation of the run so all the team here were delighted that they could join us.

The anti-biotics seem to be working on my toes.  Doc is doing an amazing job of keeping me going.  It was an exhausting day today; a long day with a lot of walking, and mixed weather. 

It is fantastic to now be able to say that we are a quarter of the way down the route.

Bill has advised us not to attempt the east path down Loch Lomond, so tomorrow we will be on the A82 heading down towards Tarbet."

Thursday, 29 September 2011

JOG to LE: Days Eight & Nine

Here are the most recent updates from Dad...

Don't forget to check out his website for details of the charity; how to track him and how to donate. Every penny counts, however small the please, dig deep, give what you can to this worthy cause and show your support for my Dad's monumental run...x

"Day Eight (Tuesday):-

Today was a very disappointing day; only 16 miles were achieved.

The day started with a steep downhill section which caused havoc with my sore feet and also gave me a quad injury.  Doc has had to remove the nail from one of my little toes.

Our off road route was almost impossible to negotiate as it was so boggy. I had to walk and only managed a speed of about 2 miles an hour due to the conditions, with Alan accompanying me.  As it usually is when Alan is with me, the weather was very poor!

We went onto a forest path around Invergarry and asked for directions from a forester who gave us the wrong information and sent us in the wrong direction.  Fortunately we met some more foresters later in the day who told us we were walking towards a dead end and gave us a lift back to the main road where the team agreed we had no option but to conclude the day’s walk.  We had been out of touch with the back-up team whilst off road as there was no mobile signal in the area.

I am very disappointed that I have not managed a marathon today, but the team are all committed to reaching the goal of Land’s End on 29 October and I will be adding an extra mile to my distance for each of the next 10 days.

We have concluded that the off road route is not possible because of its condition and the difficulty of back-up so I will not be following the West Highland Way as I had planned but will be looking at a new route closer to the road.

I may have to walk tomorrow due to condition of my feet, but I am keeping going!

Day Nine (Wednesday):-

Having recovered from yesterday, which was disappointing on so many levels, we had a super day on Day 9.

We passed the 200 mile mark, the weather was glorious and we had fabulous views of Ben Nevis with not a cloud in sight.

It was a late start this morning as my first stop was sports shop in Fort William to buy a new pair of running shoes.  The three identical pairs of shoes I have so carefully worn in over the last 18 months of training in Guernsey without any problems seemed to be causing a lot of the problems with my toes.  Today, the new pair was much better and I have more on order to collect in Glasgow at the weekend.

The route along the banks of Loch Lochy was quite hilly initially.  At the south end of the loch, at 13 miles, Doc was waiting for me with gammon, cheese and salad sandwiches which were very welcome indeed.

My quads were playing me up again at that point, caused by running downhill on steep slopes.  After some stretching I had a great run on to Banavie. 

The route then went through Fort William and the finish line was about 2 miles south of the town having completed 27.2 miles including my extra mile to make up for the shortfall on Day 8.  The objective over the next days is to make up the remainder of the 10 mile shortfall from yesterday.

Unfortunately I have developed infections in both of my big toes.  Doc promptly put me on antibiotics and we hope we have caught the problem early.

The route tomorrow goes through Glencoe following the A82, the main link road from Glasgow to Fort William.  We have decided not to run off road due to the appalling conditions underfoot following a very wet Scottish summer."

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

JOG to LE: Day Seven

"We were sorry to say goodbye to George from the team this morning as he headed home.

We started the run at about 9.30 and Heather and I ran along the east side of Loch Ness as the team worked out that they could not support the runners from a health & safety point of view on the proposed route along the Great Glen Way.

It was a fantastic day for running.  Heather ran the whole way – her first marathon.  We crossed the finish line after about 6 ¼ hours.

The run went from just about sea level to about 1400ft.  The scenery was stunning once again and we had wonderful views from the route.    We collected donations from astounded tourist along the way.

The run fininshed just before Fort Augustus.  Tonight we are staying at the Loch Ness Lodge Hotel in Drumnadrochit on the west shores of Loch Ness where, once again, the staff have been super, and we have had a great evening meal with a bottle of champagne to celebrate Heather’s success and the completion of the first week of marathons.

We will be back on the Great Glen Way again tomorrow, heading towards Fort William.

I’m still struggling with blisters, but as Doc told me ‘You are not ill Stuart, you just have sore feet’!"

Monday, 26 September 2011

John O'Groats to Lands End: Day Six

Dad has now replaced Sally in the daily update. Here is his first entry...

"6 completed, I'm happy to report.  Feet still working tho' we'll need more of Doc time on them tomorrow am.
Sally has been fantastic this past week ... she's always fantastic but on this trip especially so.  Her skills included driving, map reading, shrink, therapist, dogs boddy, IT exec, cameraman, publicist, fund raiser, liaison officer ... often also mistaken for police woman in dark trousers, high viz vest and car with a striped back.
We are staying in a Premier Inn.  Good and clean with spacious rooms, adequate meals at regular times ... just what we need.
Set off this am listenening to Scotland come 2nd to the Argies in Wellington.  But the weather was good again and I had to dig out the sun block for a second day. Heather has done another great job today running an initial 13ml before we had a break ... me to have feet checked and to be given a little rub down, Heather because she had to wait for me.  The she did 3 miles more taking us down and into Inverness. Disappointingly we took a couple of wrong turns trying to find the Great Glen Way ... our view on the subject "if the Glen is so Great why not get the bloney thing adequately sign posted?"
But we completed the miles and got back to the hotel around 5pm.
David and Gillian Ross came out to see us and, thanks to their persistance we managed to meet and had an excellent evening around the bar ... David and I were apprentice surveyors in Glasgow in the 60s so it was great to catch up and get their support. We've tucked their bottle of bubbly away in the camper firdge for later in the challange.
This evening we had a look at tomorrow's route and we've decided that the Great Glen Way is going to be too difficult to service.  As a consequence we'll be running down the East side of Loch Ness rather than the West.  We'll pick up the GGW at Fort Augustus.
The whole exercise is proving to be so much more than any of us anticipated from an organisational and admin perspective.  As a consequence it looks as tho' we might be minus 1 team member tomorrow.
But more about that then...
I've just noticed the time and I have to get to bed.
Apologies for speedy exit ... more tomorrow.
As aye

Sunday, 25 September 2011

One Man's Journey: Day Five

"First of all I have to correct something I said yesterday.  Stuart says that people cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats are not mad, it's just the ones who do not wear high visibility clothing that are mad.
The day got off to a good start today with a excellent breakfast at the Invershin Hotel where we stayed last night.  It was a great stopover and we highly recommend it.
Heather and Stuart did their warm up exercises in the restaurant and then ran the first 12 miles together, which included the daunting Struie Hill.  The backup team collected some donations from passers by again and the hilltop lookout points have proved fertile ground for this! 
At 15 miles, Stuart had a very painful blister, so he stopped and had a 40 minute consultation with Doc who drew off the fluid and dressed the blister, but it was then very painful in his shoe, so he completed the marathon without a sock on that foot, and walked most of the remaining 11 miles. 
I realise I have been sending you too many photos of smiley faces, and have avoided the gruesome reality, so attached is a picture of Stuart's toes this evening.  Don't look if you are squeamish. 
George Blair joined us this afternoon as next week's car driver, and i collected him from Inverness and we managed to make it back to the route in time to see Stuart cross the finish just north of Dingwall. 
We had out first serious map-reading crisis and first lost driver today, but the route diversion was only a matter of a couple of hundred yards that had to be backtracked, and Alan was safely recovered at 6.30pm.
The temperature today ranged from 12C to 23C today and we had some rain this morning, but Heather got wet today instead of Alan.  Alan had misfortune of cycling with Stuart when his foot started hurting so he ended up walking with Stuart and pushing the bike."

Saturday, 24 September 2011

One Man's Journey: Day Four

"Stuart had another good day today.

Doc was a bit worried about his achilles and cut a slit in the back of his left trainer to relieve any pressure from the shoe, and dressed his blisters before he set off.  His hamstrings were also a bit tight today.

It was a bit drizzly this morning but quite still and Stuart started off walking with Andy as he as the last few days and then walked alone to mile 5 where Alan braved the rain again on the bike.  Alan kept him company to Lairg which was the 15 mile point where we were greeted by Heather, Doc's wife, who is joining the team here for 4 days. 

Heather was keen to run with Stuart straight away and only intended to run 5 miles, but at the 20 mile mark she was enjoying herself so much that she continued to the finish line.  You can see video of them crossing the finish line on Youtube.  There are a couple of other videos there too taken by Andy.
Stuart really enjoyed running with Heather and it was great for his to have a new person to chat to en route.  We had a little celebration when he reached the 100 mile mark overall.

He has a few more blisters this evening, but otherwise is in pretty good shape.

If you look on the Follow me Live link on the website, you will see that a lot of today's run was downhill so that made it a little bit easier.  There were a few difficult moments for the map readers today where we were ticked off for not being ahead of the runners, and when we went to decide where the finish line should be, we found that our planned route along the sysle path was only accessible by a foot bridge across a river and there was no way to get the car the other side of the river before Stuart and Heather got there.  A quick re-adjustment took us down the A road from Lairg to Bonar Bridge instead. 

Stuart only had to stand in the ice bath today as Doc did not want his hamstrings to tighten up any more.  I think he will probably be saying everyday from now on that his hamstrings are tight if it means he can avoid sitting in the icy water.

We were a bit worried this evening that Dick had not kept up his high standard of accommodation bookings, because our hotel looked as though it had been closed down for some time. However, we need not have worried as he has come up trumps again and it is lovely inside and they could not be more helpful, we had a delicious evening meal and they have even given us the number of the local newspaper to try to get some additional publicity.

We have been given more money for the cause by people in the hotel and out on the road.  We must have seen about 20 cyclists at various times today going in the opposite direction with only 2 days to go before reaching John O Groats.  Stuart said he thought they were mad.  What???

Well that's 1/10th of the run completed which is a great milestone.

Thanks so much for all of your support, especially to Frances who has contacted John Beattie (ex British Lion) at BBC Scotland to see if he can help promote the run on his radio show or newspaper column in the Glasgow Herald
More tomorrow ....
Sally x"

Friday, 23 September 2011

John O'Groats to Lands End: One Man's Journey: Day Three

"Day 3 was a good day.  A beautiful route alongside the river Naver.  An undulating single track road but a steady climb overall with a relentless hill at the end as you can see via the 'Follow me Live' section of the website
Stuart was really pleased with his time today.  Just over 6 hours which was quicker than yesterday but he did an extra mile by accident yesterday!  I think we were just about spot on with the distance today.  We might get it right by the end!  He still has a bit of a problem with his left achilles and soreness at the back of his right knee. Still on the painkillers (but less than yesterday) and the Voltarol gel.  Doc thought it would be a good idea not to have an ice bath today, which Stuart was delighted about.  Yesterday he had a 3 minute cold bath at the hotel which he did not enjoy. Stuart got one small blister today which Doc is going to pad before tomorrow's run.
We had all sorts of weather today - a lot of heavy rain but some beautiful sunshine too.  The temperature ranged from 7 to 23 degrees but was mostly around 10 - 12.  Stuart decided to start by walking the first couple of miles again today and thinks it might be a good idea to do that everyday.  Alan accompanied Stuart by bike from the 5th mile to the 15th during which he got soaked again, but didn't get as cold as he did yesterday.  Andy took over and cycled from mile 15 to 21 where we reached Altnaharra, then abandoned the bike and ran to the finish line with Stuart - well, walked mostly as the hill was so hard going.
I am delighted to say that Sue Dale will be driving for us between 2 and 9 October at the same time as Frances.  Sue is a keen runner and trained psychiatric nurse, so has a perfect CV for the job!  
For anyone coming to join the team later in the schedule, I suggest you bring waterproofs, hat, gloves, walking boots and running shoes if you want to run with Stuart for part of the way.  We have all been wearing the same gear in the evenings as we have been wearing all day (apart from Stuart you will be pleased to hear).  The less luggage you can bring the better as the car is pretty full with maps, water, food rations, computer, Stuart's shoes etc.
Tomorrow we head for Lairg and then towards Inverness.  I must go and look up the route!  We are on to our 4th OS map already.  It's really good to be able to pack some of the maps away and know that we don't need them again.

Stuart sends hugs - he is just trying to keep warm!
Sally x"

Thursday, 22 September 2011

John O'Groats to Lands End: One Man's Journey (The Beginning)

For those of you who don't already know this, my Dad is currently day three into the most challenging run of his life, taking him the length of the country, starting at John O'Groats and ending 40 days later, at Lands End. 40 marathons in 40 days at 65 years old. Pretty impressive and some would say, bordering on madness. But there you are, that's my Dad...he does nothing by halves!

The journey has already this blog entry is released into the world he will have completed his third marathon, clocking up approximately 78 miles out of around 1,040. 

The point of this marathon of marathons is to raise money, £1 million no less, for Rugby's children's charity, The Wooden Spoon. That's where you, dear reader, come in. We need your help in raising funds and awareness, by donating and generously as you can and spreading the word across the world! (By the way, if anyone knows anyone who can help us get Dad into the Press, please contact us. Thanks!).

To add to the interest and for Dad to read when this challenge is done and dusted, I thought I'd write a blog of the update emails that Sally, his wife, sends out to the "team". I will, as much as possible, add an entry on a daily basis, covering the previous day's run and the challenges that it has brought Dad and his crew. Bearing in mind that he has already started the run, this entry will include days one and two, with three being posted tomorrow, and so on...

You can track Dad live each day during his can can "like" his Facebook page, you can follow him on Twitter and you can get all this and more, by clicking on his website below...

So, sit back, relax and enjoy as you marvel at how this crazy running enthusiast is getting on...

"Team Update: Day 1

Today went very well.  Stuart did his marathon in the 6 hours he had scheduled for it.  He had to have some padding put on his foot by Doc and had some cramp stretched out during the run by Andy. 
It was lovely and sunny for most of the run.  9C when he started and 13C when he finished but quite a cold wind at some times.  Scenery was stunning but i'm not sure how much of it Stuart saw!
Andy spotted a river near the finish and took Stuart to sit in there instead of an ice bath.  His mobile phone was in his pocket and did not survive the experience!  Hopefully we can transfer the SIM card within the next day or so.  Fortunately it was not the Blackberry donated by Wave Telecom.
Andy has put a video on Facebook that he took on his phone,  We will try to transfer some video to Crowd tomorrow.  We have been videoing, but it has been amazingly busy but we hope to improve our routine tomorrow, but we were just working it out today.  Tomorrow we have the added challenge of changing hotels at the same time, which should be interesting!
I don't  think the on-line tracking is working yet.  If anyone could fix that or let us know it has been fixed, we would be grateful,  he did not take his Blackberry with him today as he accidentally turned it off in the John O Groats car park and didn't have the pin code number for it.  It's all Ok now though and he says there has been quite an increase in mentions on tweets which is great.
That's all for now.  More tomorrow ..."

"Team Update: Day 2

Hello All
Well, it has been an amazing day today.  Really windy but dry to start with, but Stuart had some problems with his left achilles and the back of his right knee from yesterday.  Andy (physio) had treated these yesterday evening twice, but didn't want to do anything to inflame them.  Doc had given Stuart some painkillers last night and Voltarol gel for the back of his knee.  It was a very anxious time so early in the run and Stuart was obviously suffering mentally as well as physically first thing this morning.
It looked as if Stuart was going to have to walk the whole way today, and Andy walked with him for the first 3 miles or so, then he had some more treatment and some co-codamol and walked some more and tried some running but did not feel comfortable with it.  He wanted to be on his own for a bit so we went ahead and then next time we saw him he was running and didn't stop - apart from the hills. (Dick - funnily enough this must have been at exactly the time you emailed me to say he was been watched from above!  Graeme Beebee definitely has a hotline!).  Alan cycled with him for about 10 miles which was a terrific effort as it was raining by then and very cold in the wind.  He was freezing when he stopped.  It was also very hilly and over some pretty desolate moorland in parts, where even the sheep weren't interested in going.  Alan really kept Stuart's spirits up.
The next good news was that Andy called the next physio, David Hislop, who will be with Stuart down the West Highland Way, and discussed whether he would be happy to accompany Stuart in parts as Andy has done, and he is so that's great.
Around Armadale, a lady who had seen the advertising on the campervan and had looked up the website came out to run with Stuart. He was delighted and it gave him a real boost.  Caroline ran with him for 5 miles and then we drove her back home.  She had helped so much as there were some huge hills that they walked up together on the way to Bettyhill.  Photograph attached.
Stuart made a really strong finish and felt (and looked) better at the end than he did yesterday.  His running style looked much more comfortable today than yesterday.
I hope you have been following the real-time tracking on the website.  Thank you whoever fixed it - it is fantastic.  The observant amongst you may have noticed the spike in speed.  That was caused when Stuart took off his jacket with the Blackberry in the pocket and it travelled in the car for a short period!
Stuart's time was always going to be slower today because of the wind and the hills, but considering he walked quite a few miles at the beginning, 6 hours 10 minutes was amazing.
We had a toast this evening to Dick because our accommodation today is beyond fantastic.  Borgie Lodge Hotel - in the middle of nowhere (except fishing country) and run by a young couple who have just been here 3 months and the husband is an amazing chef - you must all find a reason to come here!  We have just had the most wonderful dinner and can't wait for breakfast!  We don't expect this in the Premier Inn so think we should make the best of it.
Lovely countryside expected tomorrow along the river Naver.  Don't know what the weather is doing tonight, but Alan and Doc are in the campervan tonight so no doubt we will find out tomorrow.  It sounds a bit stormy.
Thank you all for your good wishes for Stuart which he is finding really uplifting.
Sally x"

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wise Words (or 7%)

A good friend emailed this to me recently, with "7%" in the subject box. The idea being that an estimated 93% wouldn't forward it on and that if the recipient is in the 7% who would, then "7%" should be the title as it's sent on. So here I am passing on these wise words, making me part of the 7%...and I urge you to do the same...x

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, Cleveland, Ohio .

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My oldometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

When in doubt, just take the next small step.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

Pay off your credit cards every month.

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

It's OK to let your children see you cry.

Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. 

Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion.

Over prepare, then go with the flow.

Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

The most important sex organ is the brain.

No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'.

Always choose life.

Forgive everyone everything.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Believe in miracles.

Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

Your children get only one childhood.

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

The best is yet to come.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.


Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."