John O' Groats to Lands End

20th September – 29th October 2011


What was the challenge?

The plan was 40 marathons in 40 days - to raise significant funds for local charities but principally for Wooden Spoon, the children's charity of rugby.

Six weeks prior to the start … hernia diagnosed and operated on.  That played havoc with the training schedule!!

Day 1.    Too hard, too fast.

Day 2.    Suffered on the hills to Bettyhill.

Day 3.    Glorious run down through Strathnaver to Altnahara.

As feet disintegrated the next few days took us South through Lairg and Bonar Bridge, Dingwall and Inverness ... where we got lost because of the poor signing on the Great Glen Way!!  With that experience behind us we altered the proposed route and headed South on the B roads East of Loch Ness to the spectacular Suide Viewpoint at 1200 feet. Over the next week we alternated between great days and dreadful days.  To accommodate swollen and blistered feet original trainers were cut up, then discarded in favour of new, bigger shoes … the off road experiences were such hard work and risky we opted for running on the busy A82.  Unscheduled overnight stop at the Tarbert Hotel (not recommend) and Glasgow where big toes nails were surgically removed!  More new trainers bought and, though The Clyde Walk Way to New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde wasn't easy, things seemed to get easier.  Back to the roads, through the Scottish/English border to Carlisle in good company with dreadful weather.

Day 17.  We crossed in to England and ran past Carlisle Castle.

Day 18.  Good run to Ulswater.

Day 19.  Stopped of at the pub at Kirkstone Pass and had a dram at the doc's insistence ... medicinal.

Posh Doc, Robin Graham, joined us for a day.  Then Kendal where a chum joined the team and ran with me for the next 7 days. We were meant to be on the canal tow paths but they were hard work, overgrown and dangerous.  Lancaster then Preston, the Liverpool Canal and Birkenhead, Shropshire, Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester … passed in a blur.

Day 33.  A squad from Guernsey + Heather + nephew Andrew came in for the day.  Good company and good fun.

1 week to go        and just when we thought we were home and dry ... we weren't!  Dartmoor at it's wettest and worst.  A dreadful day!  Despite all the wet weather gear we still got very wet and very cold.

Then 2 days of running in the autumn sunshine followed by another wet and wild day.

Day 39.  Autumnal and lovely again.

and so to Land's End on the 29th October... 39 in 40 achieved.  The Welcome Home Party was a relaxed and happy affair ... but still 1 more marathon to do.

5th November, No 40.         A run relay organised by St Jacques RFC in Guernsey.  Best time of something over 5 hours and I am happy with that.  At last I can relax!

... to write the book!