Chris’ Final Thoughts…

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The memories of this trip are still fresh in my mind, and my body. This has to be one of the hardest and most gruelling things I have ever done.

The Pennine Way is a stunning route through some incredible countryside in the UK. I certainly felt like I had seen some places that many people in the UK didn’t even realise we had, simply breathtaking, from the purple heather topped hills to the endless seas of bog. It is still so fresh in my mind that the feelings and emotions I had during the run haven’t been tainted by the effects of nostalgia. I want to express my true feelings about the pains I was going through and have tried not to glamorise the trip in anyway. Although, before I do, I just want to say that overall I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

It was horrendously tough and after day three my knee was in so much pain I was running on painkillers for the remaining 7, not how I had hoped to complete the challenge, but necessary as the injury felt so debilitating with each strike of my right foot. After running through many days of pain I was really pushed mentally. Each day I gently avoided the nagging questions in my mind, not dwelling on the internal dialogue that was asking – why are you doing this? In these moment I reminded myself of why me and Dave had decided to do the run – one, as a personal challenge, and two, to raise money for charity. The ‘personal challenge’ bit was not as important during those moments of intense pain and many times I felt like giving up, over and over. But as said, I didn’t dwell on these malicious thoughts and often I focused on the charities we were running for. With each shooting pain I would remind myself of all those who have been affected by cancer, making myself realise that my pain was nothing compared to their’s or the millions of other sufferers. I did this to reinstate why I was doing this run, to make me realise that my troubles were small, and that by pushing through it I would be helping to raise money for charity.

Running with Dave was great, and we worked together well, we didn’t have one argument. I wouldn’t have wanted to run it with anyone else. We just got to it, woke up each day, got our heads down, and ran. We were stronger in different areas, particularly, Dave being better in the mornings and on downhills and me in the afternoons and on uphills. Leading each other when we needed it, chatting nonsense or simply following the heels of each other in silence, enjoying the solitude and the scenery.

This trip was one hell of a journey which beasted me to the point of breaking over and over, and with each waking day I would question my sanity, and purpose for doing such a trip. It sounds silly, but each day I would ask my body to take me just one day longer, taking it one day at a time, one step in front of the other. Then the following morning I would ask the same questions and repeat the process. It was incomprehensible to think of running 10 days in a row.

A huge thanks to Lizzie, Dave’s wife, and Orryn, their 18month year old, who acted as our little support crew. Lizzie’s roadside sandwiches and words of encouragement helped to spur us on on a daily basis, she helped us out so much. And to Oryyn, who kept me entertained night after night with his antics. A massive thanks to our sponsors, all the hellos, the conversations and donations throughout the trip. We smashed our 2k target for Katharine House Hospice Banbury and Cancer Research UK and have currently raised £3350, which is fantastic news. To donate please head to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/running10in10

Till the next adventure….

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Dave’s final thoughts….

IMAG0059 (2)They say pain fades but the feeling of completing a challenge always remains. Over a week on and the body is almost recovered; the pain has certainly not faded totally just yet, but the fact of our success is certainly strong in my mind!

Memories of the 10 days of the challenge keep coming back and the 8 months prior planning now seems a distant memory.

This was probably the toughest endurance challenge I’d ever undertaken and as it drew closer I kept wondering why, as a non-runner, I had even considered it. But….sponsors were on board, charitable donations were flooding in and everyone was behind us…..we had to do it.

Day 1 from Edale was supposedly the toughest…it was not. Every day was hard in its own way, whether it be ascent, descent, conditions under foot, injuries etc. But whilst every day had it’s own challenges, each had its rewards. It could be seeing a specific animal, a waterfall, an amazing sky, climbing above the clouds, sharing a joke or just conquering over 30 miles through rain, thunder storm and bog! This was quite simply an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing it with me Chris.

I was truly overwhelmed by the support we were given, whether it be from our equipment sponsors, landlords of our accommodation, passers-by or our many charity donors. People’s generosity was amazing and as it stands, the charity total for Cancer Research UK and Katherine House Hospice is over £3k – awesome!! If you still want to give then please go to our Virgin Money Giving site.

I also need to thank my beloved wife Lizzie for not only supporting me during training and en-route and keeping us fed and watered, but also for the morale boosts and of course looking after our 18 month old son who became ill with Scarlett fever midway through the trip! Thank you one an all.

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48 hours on…..

48 hours on…..

2 days on and Chris is now homeward bound and back to work tomorrow. Yesterday was a day of rest and recuperation but the chance of numerous hours of sleep with an 18 month old on the support crew is somewhat unlikely! Fortunately, the little chap afforded us with couple of hours sleep this afternoon.

Our bodies are still very much in recovery and whilst we’re not hobbling around like old men, we’re still in much discomfort. Chris still has a sore knee and swollen foot; Dave has sore ankles and Achilles. Stretching and massage seems far from the priority list right now but is of course exactly what we need.

On top of aches and pains is the continual demand for food and this morning’s full English assisted on that front! Scones ahoy this afternoon and more calories to follow layer, potentially in the form of beer!

The journey has been an epic one and as the adrenaline subsides the realisation of our achievement is settling in. We will be posting later this week about the  kit we used and also give some comments on the fortnight just gone.

Hopefully you can stick with us for a few days while we collect ourselves!

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Day 10 – Byrness to Kirk Yetholm

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Distance: 24.66 miles
Total Distance: 264.98 miles
Altitude Gained: 1486 metres

This day was always going to be a challenge, especially after the 9 previous days.

I (Chris) started the morning in a lot of pain, with a similar mood to match. I was distant and sick of taking painkillers for my knee – I just wanted to get it done at this stage. No glamorising here. Dave was in good spirits and ready to tackle the final stages of this beast.

Dave was often stronger in the morning and myself in the afternoon, which worked well for us. We would help each other power on. In the morning I got my head down to tackle my own daemons and followed the heels of Dave for the first few hours. I knew they would pass, I just needed to get back into the flow. After all, this was the final day and we wanted to enjoy it and take it all in.

After a few hours our rhythm settled and we got into it, climbing up steeply and seeing the English and Scottish hills bounce off all around us into the distance.

For much of the day we were walking along the highly fortified Scottish – English border, a 4 foot high barbed wire fence. The lands were barren and it was bog and marsh as far as the eyes could see. The winds were quite strong and we sheltered behind a ditch and by the side of a mountain rescue hut on our breaks. We spoke only in Scottish accents, and marvelled at how it was possible that bog could be on such steep hills. It felt very wild and there were barely any signs of human settlements all day. Other than the odd farmer’s building or the ancient dry stone walls. The day was stunning and the backdrop of sunshine, clouds and hills was a fitting to end to the journey. Again, we were lucky with the weather, we had only one day of rain in the whole trip.

We ran and we ran, adrenaline fuelled for much of it with eyes on the finish line and dreams of that pint of beer waiting for us – we felt (almost) unstoppable. The final half mile down into Kirk Yetholm was sore and stiff, our bodies already knew the end was in sight. We trotted up to the Border Hotel and were greeted by Lizzie and a handful of local pub dwellers. We had made it! We collected our free half pint and supped away, frazzled and relieved we had made it.

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Day 9 – Once Brewed to Byrness

Distance: 30.59 miles
Total Distance: 240.32 miles
Altitude Gained: 1184 metres

We knew this would be a long day and that the weather would be poor. In every way it was tough.

We started running well at 6:35am in the drizzle. It soon turned to rain but at least the wind was tail!

Stopping mid morning for a bite of early lunch, we’d bagged half the days mileage and we’re feeling good, if a little damp!

After lunch things got much harder with navigation proving difficult in the bogs. One small mistake but soon back on track as a thunderstorm hit us. That made us move quickly to get safe and off the hill.

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David’s hamstring was causing issues so to preserve the  chance of running tomorrow the last few miles ended up being a walk.

Bring on tomorrow and our free pint at the Border Hotel!

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Day 08 – Slaggyford to Crag Lough Reservoir nr. Once Brewed

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Distance: 20.48 miles
Total Distance: 209.73 miles
Altitude Gained: 1041 metres
Altitude Lost: 1007 metres

A wee nipper at just over 20 miles. Ha! There’s no wee nippers round here. Still a pretty brutal day. Although a shorter distance than the other days we knew it would be tough, so we got up at the same time and treated it just like the others. We finished the day as tired as any other, but an hour earlier at 3.01, 1 minute past our expected arrival. Which means we can rest up a bit more. An early night for all!

In the morning there were many marshes and bogs that we meandered through. The tracks are less trodden up here, many not really existing, meaning more map reading and navigation. That said, we did get slightly lost twice in a row, not even in a hard-to-navigate place. Throughout the trip we’ve been following these small white acorns that are stuck on styles and gates to indicate the way. I feel like that poor animal from ice age… Anyway , we managed to jog right past one whilst following a sheep track, which was blatantly in view. Then quickly realising our mistake we turned back. Whilst walking we said we must be more vigilant and not make silly mistakes, and whilst saying this we trotted right past another one! Although our bodies are sore and breaking, it’s obviously also taking its toll on our minds!

We did a fair bit of running alongside the remains of Hadrian’s wall this afternoon, with views north into Scotland. Lots of short ups then downs then ups then downs along the wall, tough going. 

Also, we have now made it over the 200 mile mark, get in! 2 more days to go!

We reckon that’s worth a couple of quid in donations. Please help support our charities, Cancer Research UK and Katharine House Hospice by following this link to our donation page. Thank you 🙂

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/running10in10

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Day 7 – Dufton to Slaggyford

Distance : 27.13 miles.
Total Distance: 189.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 1369 metres

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The day started with a major climb taking us all the way up to the radar station and onwards to Cross Fell, notorious for its high winds. It didn’t disappoint and steady winds exceeding 40mph battered us as we climbed! It was pretty much all climbing for the first 10 miles and running was just not possible due to the severity of the gradient. It was great to get up to see Greg’s Hut, the bothy used by many a stranded hiker.

By lunch (17 miles) the majority of the climbing was done and the sun shone on our backs as we dragged ourselves  to the finish.

A really tough day today, but at least it’s behind us now! We’re getting there!

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