Day 39 – Friday 28 October 2011
"A glorious autumn day in the Kingdom of Cornwall where, and we should have mentioned this yesterday, the signposting of places and roads is far better than in Devon, making the job of the navigator so much easier. Although we work out the route the evening before, it is always a theoretical thing and much revised during the day’s travels. As a consequence, we are finding the navigation much more straightforward in Cornwall.
It is still not easy and requires considerable concentration. Dependence on satnav never a good idea, and it resulted in having the caravan up a country lane that it should not have gone up. Extrication was complicated in the extreme.
Peter Macgill ran with me from the start, though most of the morning seemed to be a walking tour of Cornwall because everything appeared to be running uphill … which obviously it was not but it just felt that way. We headed from London Apprentice, southwest of St Austell, and headed across the Roseland Peninsula towards the River Fal and the King Harry ferry crossing. We had a 10 minute wait for and crossing on the ferry, and in that time we distributed leaflets to the waiting cars and I had a few rice cakes and pate for my second lunch, having had one of Doc’s special rolls earlier in the day.
We were met on the other side of the ferry crossing by Channel TV and Andy Will and Tamara Timothy followed us for the rest of the day until they lost us!
We made really good time on the second half of the run and Peter did exceptionally well keeping with the pace. Even with the break at the ferry we finished in something around 6 hours 30 minutes. Peter completed his first marathon.
Back at the hotel, we met up again with the Channel TV team and they interviewed members of the team and recorded Doc removing the dressings from my feet, and Nicky working on the soft tissue massage. They also filmed me in the cold bath!
Sally, Alan and Doc went on a recce of the route for tomorrow’s run. I really do not want to be doing much more than 26 miles so they needed to work out precisely from where we should start.
I had a phone call from Peter Scott, one of the founders of Wooden Spoon, this evening, wishing me the best for tomorrow and I have had many other cards, emails and texts which is great and much appreciated.
The whole team, including Andy and Tamara, broke free of the Premier Inn at Alan’s insistence, and we had a fabulous meal at Blue Haze in Porthleven.
Day 40 - Saturday 29 October 2011
"Land's End finish at 3.34pm today.
Be in touch soon. Busy this evening!
Thank you so much for all your messages of support today and for the past 40 days.
Update 30 October
I am writing this 24 hours after completion. We have had a glass of red wine in the Beefeater adjacent to another Premier Inn inPortsmouth and are due out shortly for a Chinese meal.
Yesterday we had the usual start with Nicky working on soft tissue for 20 minutes and the Doc taping the feet for half an hour. During all of this Sally prepares a bowl of porridge with additional honey and chopped apple and I write up my daily diary… the last run on the mainland! This morning the Channel TV cameraman, Andy and reporter Tamara were filming the day’s events including the morning preparations.
We gathered and packed the vehicles and headed for the start at Godolphin House, an important local National Trust property. I confess not to having appreciated just how emotional the start of the run would be however, I have a few verses of Isaiah to read (chapter 40, v28-31 – do look it up) and I find that humbling, inspiring, wonderful.
After doing the warm up stretches and exercises, I headed off down the Cornish lanes wearing an additional showerproof jacket and waterproof trousers ... these are more to be worn whilst warming up than because of the rain, and after a few miles, they are discarded and collected by the team in the Volvo. Taking them off and storing them is a performance and with an efficiency as good as any Formula 1 pit-stop.
The run took us down to the coast - Marazion, St Michael’s Mount, Penzance and up the hill through Newlyn where Tamara joined me. It was very windy along the coast and from here to the end, there being no high hedges for protection.
As you will gather the weather was grey and overcast rather than wet, and windy. There were kitesurfers in Mounts Bay and at thePenzance heliport the windsock was horizontal. Peter reckoned force 6, gusting force 7. Certainly up near the finish it was pretty wild.
Andy, the cameraman, worked hard for his money in and out of their hire car, filming from the tripod as we came up hill and past him, filming out of the back of the car and filming as he ran beside and around me. By the end of the day he was pretty tired. Because of the wind, all the recording that Tamara attempted was lost.
The previous evening the team had tried to establish a marathon-length of run to conclude at Land’s End. It will not surprise you to know from our past record that we made a wrong turning close to the end. As a consequence we doubled back on the route we had been running to ensure that we finished running the required mileage. This was an executive decision I made on the hoof and am told that I went all silent and determined. The error in the route took me past a sign that said ‘Lands End 1 ¾’ but I knew I had 2 miles more than that to do. Sally and Nicky tried to direct me back down the original route, but I told them just to take me back along the route for 1 mile and turn around, as I was going back to the sign and along the main road to the finish no matter what. And having returned there, I was met by a professional photographer we had engaged to snap the conclusion.
Having got back to the Land’s End road sign I upped the pace. With about ¾ of a mile to go, we passed a lovely little church and once again the emotion and the enormity of it all struck home. In the distance were the Land’s End buildings and although it was a steady uphill climb with the end in sight I fairly ‘sprinted’ to the line, where there were lots of photographs, hugs and kisses. Of course the current members of the team were all there with broad smiles and high fives. Kevin Oliver, wife Julia and daughter Rosie were representing the Cornwall Region of Wooden Spoon and there to meet us all. Great to see them, and thank you for waiting for us in pretty terrible weather.
At Land’s End there is a line with ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ written on it, some distance from the well known signpost. We took the line as our concluding mark. After than we piled back into the vehicles to escape the wind and headed back to our next accommodation – the Longboat in Penzance.
With the adrenaline still pumping the usual routine went out the window and interviews with the Guernsey Press and with Kevin Oliver for Wooden Spoon were completed prior to Doc attending to my feet and my hot bath – the cold baths are history!
Then it was back downstairs when the party really began. Gary Lewis, who had earlier completed 6 ½ marathons in 7 days when we ran together in the Midlands, provided the celebratory champagne. We had an excellent meal together in the hotel with the Olivers and the Channel Television crew.
Happy and satisfied we had completed a job well done, some of us retired to bed around 10, the hard core continued.
Today, Sunday, it was great to have an extra hour with the clocks going back and the opportunity for a lie in as well. We all had a cooked breakfast and it made a real change for me not to be worrying about both the quantity and the substance of what I was eating.
We have received many phone calls, texts and emails of good wishes and congratulations although amongst these was the news that John Inverdale is unwell with pneumonia and will not be attending the Welcome Home Party on Wednesday. Since we have been able to deal with adversity from as early as my being diagnosed with a hernia 6 weeks prior to departure, to the realisation that the shoes I trained with were inappropriate 2 days into the run, and having to re-jig the route on an almost daily basis, we are used to having to adapt. Alex Bridle at The Guernsey Event Company is in control of the situation which I discussed with her this morning.
BBC Radio Guernsey interviewed me at about 9.15 and then we all had interviews with Channel TV before saying our goodbyes as Sally and I took Nicky to Bristol Airport and Doc and Alan took Peter to Southampton and the TV crew headed to Exeter. It was interesting driving back to Bristol passing locations that we had so recently run though. The weather was beautifully sunny and the autumn colours really quite splendid.
Doc, Alan, Sally and I met up at our last Premier Inn in Portsmouth before catching the boat back to Guernsey tomorrow. Over the course of the coming week, we have got interviews with Radio Guernsey and others when we arrive back in Guernsey, we have the Welcome Home Party on Wednesday, another function to attend on Thursday and on Saturday we have the run relay to complete. Details of this last event can be got from Chris Griffiths at Two Degrees North. Details of the Welcome Home Party can be got from Alex Bridle at The Guernsey Event Company.
I do not propose doing another Update until next Sunday evening when I will review these last events and try and give some thoughts on the whole challenge.