*Note some pictures in this blog post have been used in previous blog posts.
I thought I could. I tried. I succeeded.
It’s weird not being on the track. All I can think about is how I felt each day, knowing I’d see the same thing 105 times. 2205 times over the 21 marathons.
It was a lot. It was a lot to take in and understand. Why was I doing something so bonkers? Why was a non-disabled adult taking on a wheelchair fundraiser?
It was to tell a story. My sister Rosemarie’s story. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 19. She then had a stroke at 21. It changed her life. It changed my family’s life.
I didn’t quite understand everything she went through until recent, and I knew I had to do something about it. I can’t change her Crohn’s Disease. The impact it’s had on us all could be changed though. I decided I wanted to use her experience to raise awareness.
My 21 marathons in 21 days in a wheelchair fundraiser was my way of spreading the word. This is coming from a guy who isn’t a wheelchair user, nor someone who has ever taken on a marathon.
Things weren’t smooth. Every day, there were issues. Issues that I had no control over. I worked out we had about 80% rain during the challenge, and when it was dry and sunny, it wasn’t ideal conditions. My body adapted to the wet conditions. Sitting in the wheelchair for at least 5 hours; I was damp. For my mental health, this wasn’t great. For a story, it was amazing.
I knew I had to get from point a to b every day, and whatever happened in between had to be brushed to one side. Harder to do when you’re on your own 95% of the time, and the need for food and energy was always calling.
I’m not a small guy. I’m 6’1, 14 1/2 stone. The wheelchair was not built for someone my size. It struggled to move at times. It was under a lot of strain. So was the guy in the wheelchair.
I couldn’t settle with 1 marathon. I had to do this challenge in such a unique way, that it’d only be a form of storytelling for my sister and I. I want to look back remembering what I achieved. I want to look back at every picture remembering how I felt and what happened next.
What happened next was another lap would be completed. Another marathon would be waiting. It was a challenge where I couldn’t predict what would happen. Especially when it comes in the form of snow, and is named ‘the beast from the east’.
How do you cope with things you have no control over? How do you mentally switch from feeling comfortable to then on edge?
This was always going to be a problem. The unknown would always add a twist in the tale and truly test how much I wanted to complete this challenge.
If you’re new around here, you won’t know, but my first challenge this year didn’t go to plan. I was attempting to walk from Southampton to Aberdeen in 30 days (650 miles in total), and on during day 2, I got injured. I was forced to stop on day 5. My body and mind couldn’t take no more.
I had to switch my mindset for this challenge. I had to go into it not only wanting to finish for my sister, but also for myself. I needed to complete this challenge to prove to myself I could complete something.
I may have been coming back from injury, but deep down, I always knew this challenge was possible. Things are never ideal in life, and we need to adapt and show who we are as a person. We need to embrace what happens and use it to our advantage.
When it rained, I would finish quick. If it was cold, I’d take a 5 minute break, warm up, and head back onto the track. I listened to my body. I reacted to how I felt mentally. It worked. IT BLOODY WORKED!!
I’m now 3 days post 21 marathons and I’m feeling extremely proud at what I achieved. OK, I haven’t gotten anywhere near my fundraising target, but I still completed the challenge. I have a memory I can now tell others. I have stories I can use to inspire more people to take on the unknown and to believe in their ideas.
I couldn’t do this challenge without all of your support. The messages I’ve had online have kept me going. Whether it’s been from a friend, my girlfriend, sister or from a celebrity…they’ve all helped. The support has reminded me time and time again that I was never alone. I may have been on the track, but people were there when I needed them to be.
This challenge really wasn’t built for someone of my size, but I still made it work. I learned a lot from the challenge, and it’s something I can now use going forward.
YoungMinds is the charity I’m supporting.
This challenge again is something out of my comfort zone. I may have a Personal Training background, but I’ve never lifted anywhere near this total before.
Considering I finished my marathons, I know this challenge is also possible.
Starting at 6am and scheduled to finish at 9pm, I’m set for a 15 hour challenge, pushing my body in ways it’s never been pushed before.
The fundraiser is also being supported by British Weighlifting.
Whilst I am starting to prepare for this challenge, the awareness surrounding my 21 marathons in a wheelchair fundraiser isn’t over yet.
I am pushing for more donations from now until Thursday, and I would love your help! You can donate by clicking here, or you can copy and paste the link to help raise awareness…
Thank you again for all of your support, and here’s to helping more people and causes through my next few challenges.