Fighting for the finish line

Since Day 12, it’s been a whirlwind of a time on and off the track, with the key focus being my health.

The 21 marathons in 21 days in a wheelchair challenge was always going to take a lot out of me. I knew I’d be tired. I knew I’d ache. I’ve been falling asleep before 10pm most nights. I’ve gotten home, eaten, watched one TV or Netflix episode and fallen asleep.

I might turn up to the track full of energy, but once I start, it’s downhill from there. I can feel as each lap is completed, that I’m fighting more and more, and my energy levels are dropping. Marathon 13 hurt a lot. I could feel a twinge in my shoulder, so yes, I did pace myself for a bit, but I carried on like I’ve done through every marathon and focused on the finish line.

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The start line on marathon 14 was something quite special. Runners from Winchester Parkrun and the Winchester Junior Parkrun came to offer their support, and start the marathon with me.

If you know me, I do love talking, so when the opportunity arose to share with everyone the inspiration behind the challenge, I jumped at the chance.

How do you describe Crohn’s Disease to children though without their parents looked dismayed? In true John Sennett style you mention the words ‘poo’ and ‘a lot’ in the same sentence. In simple terms, Crohn’s Disease effects your bowels.

Once my funny five minute introduction was done, it was time to crack on with the day. Not before we had a group picture though.

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Of course the competitive side came out when we started, and I was racing all the children round the track. They did just complete a 2K run, so I was a tad mean, but it was all for a good cause.

Once the children came off the track, the cheering started. For me, I’m not used to this. I don’t do big events like the London Marathon, so I’ve never been used to people cheering me on. It felt amazing to have the parents motivating me during the first few laps, and Su, my new favourite supporter, turned up shortly after with her pom-poms.

img_1201Su is one cracking cheerleader! I couldn’t ask for better support on the day. I have to thank Caz as well. Caz is a member of staff at the track, and has been absolutely amazing in terms of support on and off the track, the pictures I’ve wanted to share with you all, and for just being an amazing friend.

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This is the thing with this challenge. It’s allowed me to connect with new people and make some genuine friends, like the numpty above.

Ryan has been the main guy when it’s come to fixing the wheelchair, and is always there for a natter, and wind up. For me, that kind of support in a relaxed way is what works for me. Definitely a bromance!

img_1204You’d think the sun would help with the challenge, but as most of the challenge has been in the rain, the wheelchair kept getting stuck to the track. It caused a lot of problems with being able to move the chair, and in effect impacting my mental health.

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I’m always smiling in my end of day pictures, because mentally, I’m glad it’s over. I still don’t know how I’ve managed to get to this point, but I have, so once I finish, I feel amazing!

Also, what do you do when you don’t have enough lanes or another fingers to show what marathon you’re on? Genuine question.

Questions were asked the other day, when Community First Winchester and I teamed up, and hosted a LIVE Q & A. Delivering talks is something I love and am planning several right now for once the challenge is over, so when they suggested an opportunity for you guys to ask me questions, I couldn’t say no.

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I love sharing my story and being honest about every part of my life. It’s the moments in life where I’ve felt low, worthless and out of place, that have now become my influences. They help me to help you.

If you’d like to book me for a talk, please use the contact form.

As the day gets closer and the finish line is creeping closer, my legs are starting to take a hit. Never completing anything in a wheelchair before, the cramped position I’m in has caused jelly legs most days, and has made me think how will I cope going into my next challenge.

This challenge has solely been about my upper body, yet in under 4 weeks now, I’m taking to the gym to lift 100,000kg in a day. As I’m away from the track over the Easter weekend as the track is closed, it’s time to hit the gym and prepare for my YoungMinds fundraiser.

I planned this year knowing time would not be my friend. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to recover between challenges, but that’s part of the challenge behind my plans. I want to be pushed. I want to push the limits and push them with people by my side.

James, Founder of Team Cycle4IBD, joined me for marathon 18. James and I connected after he heard me on the local radio, and since then, a friendship has blossomed.

I said it earlier in this blog post. These challenges are not just about raising money. They’re about bringing people together for a cause and raising awareness together.

As one man, yes, I can make an impact, but together, a movement is started.

I hope my challenge so far has inspired you all, and I’m sure I’ll head back onto the track on Tuesday, ready to finish on Thursday is style!

The weather really hasn’t been on my side with this challenge; the heavy rain, beast from the east, strong winds, but you guys have kept me going.

I want to finish this blog post saying thank you to everyone single person who have either ran/walked next to me, sent me a message of support or has shared my story on social media. It’s because of all of you that I wake up with a hunger to succeed.

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Here’s to the final 3 marathons, and raising money and awareness together.

If you’d like to donate, you can by clicking here.

 

 

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