After a 5 week break due to a fractured foot I am one week away from returning to running. I will be running from Uxbridge to Acton Town - around a half marathon. I have 9 runs left and we have raised over £11,000 for Help Harry Help Others. When I begin my next run there will be one man missing - my dad.
My dad has joined me for all 24 runs that I have done so far. Whatever the weather, no matter how cold or how wet, he has been there. He lives in Southend and every single week, sometimes twice a week, he pays over £15 to get a train ticket to come and meet me and the guys. He brings with him a bag of treats - Mars bars, waters, glucose gels, spare clothes, a towel - you name it he brings it. He also works out all the routes for us and meets us at the station that we run from. We then dump on to him all of our bags - sometimes my dad has 4-5 bags that he has to lug around London with him. My dad then would meet us every 3 stops to give us a water, a gel or a much needed pep talk to keep us going. This was so, so important when I have been injured - he gave me the strength to carry on. My dad would wait until we finished - sometimes as late as 10 or 11 at night. That means he wouldn't get back to his bed until midnight or later. My friends and I have run 350 miles so far but this would not have been possible without my dad - this is a fact.
Unfortunately my dad suffered a small stroke on Saturday but the great news is that he seems fine and in good health. However his pack horse days are over. We can't ask him to carry 4-5 bags anymore and wait at grotty tube stops handing out waters. He will be there for the last run though, to run over the line with us.
I originally started running to raise money for Harry's charity - I was inspired by Harry to keep going, to run through pain at times and he was my inspiration. Now I have two people who inspire me. I make a promise to you old man - we'll finish the tube together, you may not be able to be there in person but you'll still be the one who is helping me get one foot in front of the other. Get well soon.