Running Through The Storm



I believe adventure is a heightened reflection of everyday life.


Day to day, we all experience adversity, and a need for resilience to deal with the tough times.

Moments of hardship, and how we choose to respond, are often the most defining moments of our lives.

Born from these moments of uncertainty is growth and progress.


All the of above, from my experience, is no different when embarking on an adventure.


Adventure and unpredictability are in many ways synonymous.


By taking on an extreme challenges, from running to mountaineering, one is simply putting themself in these places of precariousness, and the risks and rewards that follow.


In February this year, I embarked on my toughest challenge to date: running 17 marathons in 17 consecutive days, for the 17 years my Grandfather lived with Dementia.


I spent three months before the start planning everything behind the scenes.


Preparation, in my opinion, is not about planning for things not to happen, because certain things will always remain out of my control.


Instead the goal with preparation is to have plans in place for how to react to the uncontrollable obstacles.



However, when only two days into my 700-plus kilometres run, and the UK’s worst storm in over 30 years hit the news headlines, I realised that this challenge was about to be taken to the next level.


Storm Eunice was disastrous. Trees collapsed, buildings crumbled, businesses were destroyed.


The storm devastated homes, ruined people’s livelihoods, left many injured, and sadly even took several peoples’ lives across Europe.


My itinerary for the challenge involved running across several locations around the UK, including different athletics tracks in cities home to Dementia research labs.

However, because of the storm many locations, and essentially the whole project, was up in the air.


On day 3 I planned to run on the athletics track at the University of Loughborough however safety precautions, which were out everyone’s control, resulted in the location being cancelled.


I had my first obstacle of the project, and a defining choice had to be made.


On paper, there was three options: cancel the project, delay until the storm passed, or adapt.


However, the truth is there was never three options. There was only ever one: adapt.


In life when we are dealt with hardship, there is no choice to quit, or delay, and this challenge was no different.


So over the next several marathons as the storm continued, I ran.


26.2 miles through high winds can offer unique challenges. My best comparison would be to running on a treadmill, where my legs were moving but I wasn't moving forward.


It was a battle.


But storms pass, and this case was no different.

The originally planned locations resumed after a couple of days.

The miles counted up, and so did the generous donations to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Later into the challenge, more storms followed, including shin splints, fever and chest infection.


But these storms also passed, and on the 4th March, in Battersea Park, joined by family and friends, I completed my 17 consecutive marathons in honour of my Grandfather.



Four months on from the challenge, I have numerous incredible memories from the 17-day-long journey.


However, the moments I’m most proud of aren’t the smooth times when things went perfectly to plan, instead it’s the adversity that was conquered and the tenacity my support crew and I had to exhibit when things got tough.


Running safely through the worst storm in over 30 years.


Learning to wrap ice packs around my shins whilst running.


Waking up with shivers in the morning from a fever, but still getting out of bed and showing up.


Perseverance.


Dedication.


Commitment.


Simply put, never giving up.


That’s what defines adventure to me.



Thank you to the kind sponsors who helped make the '17 marathons in 17 days' project possible:


Sweeping Statement Timepieces - www.sstimepieces.co.uk


Thomas Franks - www.thomasfranks.com


The Body Lab - www.thebodylablondon.com


HOP - Fuel Your Future - www.hopbar.co.uk


The Altus Life - www.thealtuslife.co.uk


FRACTEL - www.fractel.co.uk


Hyperice - www.hyperice.com


Obsidian - www.obsidiansm.com


It wouldn't have been possible without you all.