Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I have had better Saturdays

Around 4 weeks ago I ran a marathon (26.2 miles) in 3 hours and 52 minutes. On Saturday I ran 16 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes. Those 4 hours and 15 minutes were the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought the marathon was tough, you need to invent a new word to describe Saturday.

There were 3 of us running that day. Nick Kindred - who set off by himself at around 9.30AM thinking Luke (the other runner) and I would catch him. We set off at around 11. We met my dad - fast becoming the most experienced tube passenger that ever existed - at Stratford at 10.15 and travelled up to Epping - the further point east on the whole of the London Underground. As we were on the tube we were presented with a landscape that resembled the Last of the Summer Wine - fields, trees and not a road in sight. I never liked Last of the Summer Wine and I wasn't going to like this run. The alarm bells began to surface when Nick Kindred sent me a text 'Hope you bought some pavement with you!' - never a good sign. Luke had been suffering from flu all week and had just slowly got over it. I was tired and just a bit of mess. My dad remarked that he hadn't seen us two less up for a run in all the time that we'd done this. Still, 16 miles, we'd be done in a couple of hours and could get straight down to a beer garden and enjoy the amazing weather. I could then go to two house parties that I was meant to be going to with a nice tan, I could look well and I could brag how I banged out 16 miles in 2 hours. I am a very stupid man.

Me and Butler set off from Epping to Theydon Bois and then on to Debden where we'd be meeting my dad. There are those that say Essex is a flat county - I challenge you to go to Epping and run to Theydon Bois and then on to Debden. I'm not a great hill runner. I am also, it turns out, not great at running in PJ bottoms in 20 degrees heat. Put those two things together and suddenly Butler and I were in trouble. It took us over an hour to get to Debden. We were running in the road as there was no pavement. We had to run through fields, jump over bushes and brooks. It would have been an amazing walk but it was a hideous run. Butler was out on his feet. I also had a stomach ache, running with stomach cramps in the heat up hills ain't great fun to be honest. We met my dad who seemed to have a look of genuine concern on his face. He hadn't anticipated the hills. He hadn't anticipated how bad we would be. Who knew where Kindred was? I hoped he was alive! He was out there on his own - I text him but got nothing back. Luke and I ran on and would meet my dad at Loughton. As we began running up another hill Butler lost it. Butler is a guy a who lives close to the edge of sanity anyway but he was that exhausted, that fatigued, he was in that much pain with his knee that he stopped speaking sense. I was genuinely concerned. I met my dad and we managed to, after some struggle, persuade Luke not to run for a bit - he would get on the tube with my dad and I would run the next 4 stops by myself. Luke was not at all up for this but he was on the point of collapse - he was in a shocking way so my dad wasn't going to allow him to run.

I set off by myself. Kindred had text me saying "dying". I took that to mean he was at least still alive! I am not good at running by myself. The temptation to give up. The temptation to stop and to walk. Especially when you are in such pain, when you are exhausted and hot - the temptation was massive. Fortunately I got texts off my girlfriend, my mum and Butler - all of whom told me to keep going. So I did. One hour later I met my dad and Butler. We had two stops to go - Leyton and then Stratford. Butler, ever the idiot, said he WOULD be running that last leg with me. Kindred sent me a text - he'd got to Stratford. An unbelievable effort from someone who doesn't run all that often.

Butler and I ran off. Butler's leg had completely gone - it was laughable. Two men in PJ bottoms running so slowly that they were almost running backwards. The Sheffield Wednesday fans down for the Orient game couldn't believe their eyes. We must have looked as if we were in pain cos cars were hooting, people in the street shouting at us to tell us to keep going. We saw Westfield in the distance and passed a very questionable estate on our left - we'd made it to Stratford. Neither of us could walk, my stomach cramps had got that bad that I dared not look at my pants! I cry at stupid things - s*** films and talent shows. I don't think I have ever cried from pain or exhaustion before - but tears filled my eyes. It was without doubt the most difficult thing I had ever done. Suddenly the house party dream was over - I couldn't stand let alone brag.

Tonight I am running. Tomorrow I am running. Sunday I am running a marathon. I want this to be over by the end of May. I need this to be over by the end of May. We've raised £9250 now. That day the 3 of us ran from Epping to Stratford will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons. The only thing I took from it was that if you are inspired by a cause or by a person, as I am with Harry, then no matter how bad things get you can achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. You just need to find something that inspires you so much that you can never give up. Harry didn't, and I wasn't about to. In fact I have never been more certain that I'll get this run done.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

How do I feel?

The running has continued. Since the horrific marathon and even more brutal stag do in Barcelona I have run from Canada Water to Swiss Cottage and I have run from Ealing Broadway to Marble Arch.

My mate the other day asked me how I am feeling - hopefully this blog post answers it mate.

This challenge is without a doubt the single hardest thing I have ever done. So much so that I feel myself cracking - both mentally and physically.

When I decided that I wanted to run the whole of the tube back in October I didn't really give it the thought I should have. I thought it wouldn't be too difficult. Don't get me wrong I knew it would be tough but I thought I'd get it done in a few months. I didn't account for my failing body. I also decided that I wanted to raise a substantial amount of money for Harry's charity - £10,000. And until every tube line has been run and until every penny has been raised I won't stop. It's taken over my life.

I am part of a team of 7 - all of which are really great people. But as it was my idea, as I was closest to Harry, I, for some reason, feel the £10,000 burden a lot more I think. I plan all the routes, I navigate us as we run, I do every single run. All 6 of the guys have offered to help with every aspect of that - they're great - but this has become a challenge that I feel I have to complete. It has become quite overwhelming - all the time I am thinking how can we raise money? Quiz nights, dinners, videos, blogs, random fundraising efforts, Facebook statuses, Twitter statuses - it's become a huge a part of my life. I also have complete strangers looking to me for help - thinking that because I have helped Harry's campaign I will help theirs. I feel horrendously guilty when I can't. When I don't. I am told by people suffering from cancer that we're doing a great thing - but those very people who are telling me suddenly die days later. This only adds to my desire to raise £10,000 but it also adds to the stress - I can't seem to escape it.

Then there are the runs themselves. I am not an athlete. I have never really been an athlete. I play the odd game of football, badly, but that's it. I haven't trained, I hadn't changed my diet, my lifestyle. Yet I thought I could do a half marathon every single week - no matter what the weather. I thought I could do a marathon every month - no matter how I felt. I didn't account for tearing my cartilage, straining my ankle ligaments. I didn't account for 'stress'. I have had blood tests due to poor health and a stress hormone I have is way too high - apparently because of the pressure I am putting on my body. I've not slept properly in months. I didn't account for a bad back - so bad that every day if I sit in my chair for longer than 30 minutes I seize up. When I go out with mates down the pub or off to a club I feel too tired to stay out - this isn't me, this isn't how I normally feel. I thought all I'd be doing was a few runs and it'd be ok - but running with a body that is failing just causes it to fail more and for the first time I admit I am struggling, really struggling.

Recently I have never wanted to run less. But I have to. People have been incredibly kind and have donated hard earned money. People expect me/us to finish.

I get in after each day at work and I feel tired - this never used to be the case. I get up in the morning's and I ache - this never used to be the case. I can't sleep properly because I'm always thinking of how far I have to go and I am scared that I won't be able to do it.

In 8 weeks this challenge will be complete. Running the entire London Underground doesn't sound much. By the time we've finished I would have run close to 450 miles which spread over 5-6 months doesn't seem like a huge deal. Raising £10,000 doesn't sound like an impossible target. But both of these things have become my Everest.

As hard as I am finding it I only have to look at the kid I am running for. My body hurts but he had a tumour the size of a tennis ball growing in his brain. He was 11 and had Radium treatment, he had been pumped with poison when he had chemo. Did he complain? Did he give up? Nope. Instead he raised an incredible sum of money and inspired a 25 year old to try and do something. I won't lie - I am struggling but I can't give up, nor will I. Through the support of my 6 friends I am running with, the support of my family and my girlfriend I know I will finish this. It just seems a long way off I guess. Still, the runs continue - Saturday, Stratford to Epping, Tuesday - West Ruislip to Hangar Lane, Thursday - Cockfosters to Kings Cross and Sunday another marathon. We're at £9080 raised and over 300 miles run - soon it will be over and I'll look back and feel proud about what my friends and I achieved. At the moment I just see a mountain in front of me...but they've been overcome before and they will be again.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

A favour

Hi Guys,

My friends and I are trying to raise £10,000 for Harry Moseley's charity - Help Harry Help Others. Harry died, when only 11 years old, from an inoperable brain tumour. His charity, an arm of Cancer Research, is trying to find a cure for brain tumours.

We are trying to run all 450 miles of the London Underground in pyjama bottoms to raise money and awareness. 25 half marathons every week and 4 marathons over the course of 6 months. We've had donations from all over the UK and the World and I've received countless messages from people saying if they were in London then they would run with us. Well now they can.

But I need your help.

On Saturday March 10th - We are putting on an event. The event is the International Run for Harry Moseley! If someone lives somewhere with a tube, subway, train or tram and they can walk or run a mile then I want them to get involved. Wherever they are in the world I want them to get on their Pyjama bottoms, get down to their local tube/subway/tram/train stop and walk/run a mile. I would love for them to get photos and videos of the event (and send them to me at and I would love for them to invite friends and family to join them. So far we have runners in London, Delhi, Auckland, New York, Madrid, Sydney, Honk Kong, Chennai and Bangalore.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

If you have any friends that live abroad or are travelling abroad can you ask them to get involved. I will be running part of the C2C line down in Essex on Saturday - so if you live near a train line and fancy it go for a mile's run.

I write a blog after each run that can be found at
Our Justgiving page is
We have made a video showing you what it is we are doing with pictures of us, in PJ's, outside various tube stops desperately trying to get our breath! The link is -

Any questions give me a shout at @sw1205 or and hopefully you'll be able to help me...

We've had amazing support already from friends, family, Ben Shephard and complete strangers. Hoping the goodwill can carry on. Let's make Harry proud.