21 marathons in a wheelchair later…

*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.

img_0072
Rosemarie with the Crohn’s and Colitis UK t-shirt

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.

 

img_1245

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’.

img_1074

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.

img_0890-1

img_0897img_0904img_0969img_0987img_1070img_1031img_1087img_1124img_1140img_1146img_1287img_1285img_1267img_1219img_1203

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.

So….

What’s next?

April 25th, I’ll be at Pure Gym Southampton (Bitterne) attempting to lift 100,000kg in a day to raise awareness of the impact sport/exercise has had on my mental health.

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…

www.justgiving.com/johns21marathonsin21days

Thank you again for all of your support, and here’s to helping more people and causes through my next few challenges.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s