Day 166 has seen a significant milestone achieved. I have today managed to complete my 2,000th mile walked, run, rowed, paddled or cycled in 166 days of challenge activity. That equates to 12.07 miles walked, run, rowed, paddled or cycled per day of challenge activity. Considering that I started this challenge in my 10th month of Chemotherapy and immediately after brain surgery and the full period of radiotherapy before then continuing throughout the winter which included a fall on the Ochil hills and the enforced recovery period to allow the damaged liver capsule to heal I am absolutely thrilled. The alternative would have been to just roll over and let the discomfort and duzziness of the 18 months of treatment provide me with the perfect excuse for giving in to what was supposed to be my fate, and just waiting for the cognitive and motor function to slowly degrade, before eventually switching off the lights. I have to be honest, and those that have followed this journey from the start will be aware, that there were days, in fact even periods of some days in which just giving up and waiting for the lights to go out was sorely tempting. Anything just to stop the discomfort of treatment, to mean that I didn’t have to wake with a forced smile on my face to pretend that everything was going to be all right, to mean that I didn’t have to deal with the immense pain, confusion, sadness and emptiness felt as I was cast aside from my marriage. No longer viable for the family’s future, no longer of any use to anyone, past my best before date and looking at finishing my days in the comfort but significantly degrading care of an old people’s care home or hospice having my every need catered for as I found myself increasingly incapable of looking after myself at just 43 years of age. But I have two wonderful young children and the chance to try and make a difference. To make every day that God gives me matter. I had the children to inspire and encourage and I had a reason for getting up every morning no matter how sad I felt. I had the challenge and thank God every day for the day in which he guided me in this very direction. For rather than counting 2,000 breaths towards my eventual demise I have walked, run, rowed, paddled or cycled over 2,000 miles towards beating the beast while providing hope, inspiration and encouragement to many people battling their own beasts and raised almost £9,000 for 5 wonderful charities thus helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people. There is still so much more that I could do and want to do and will do but the great news is that by taking on the challenge I no longer want to give in to the beast. Instead I want to give into God’s will in accordance with his direction and do the very best that I can do to take this challenge further and raise more money for the charities. Much more money. There is a very long way to go before I will be satisfied that I have done all that I can do with every day I am blessed enough to be given.

I had spotted that this milestone of £2,000 miles was coming up and had the opportunity to do something with the children to mark it. The children were coming to spend the day with me. I called them and asked them to be at the flat for 11am for a run. It was a later time than normal but it was the holidays so thought that they would appreciate a lie-in. We were going to run 6 miles and climb 501 feet in the process.

They arrived in perfect time and once I was ready with the food shop packed away and the map marked and folded we were off. It was such a wonderful run and an achievement on passing the 2,000 mile mark with the children that over a late lunch we wrote a song jointly together.

Set to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas but you will need to bear with a little poetic licence in its interpretation to the music. However I like it and think it works well:

On the 166th day of the challenge my children said to me,
okay Dad we’ll come on a run.
And on that run which was really really fun,
This is what we saw:

12 Nettle Stings (AND THE REST!!)
11 Thistle scratches,
10 Sheep herds baaing,
9 Fields crossed,
8 Million flies,
7 Bramble scratches,
6 miles run with now itchy legs,
5 Big fat cows,
4 Fences crossed,
3 streams negotiated,
2 shredded fingers and hills climbed,
1 twisted ankle and scratched chin,
And a Buzzard in an oak tree.

It was a true adventure run of an unofficial route that in summer meant some serious nettle and thistle patches needed negotiating along with the thick brambly undergrowth of the deciduous forests that we ran through. I somehow managed to shred two of my fingers on a barbed wire fence while closing a gate much to the fascination of James and the distaste of Heather as the blood ran off of my fingers. It looked far worse than it really was. Heather twisted her ankle and James managed to trip into an impressive dive as we ran across a grassy field leading to a slightly scuffed chin but both were incredibly brave and resolute and even rather enjoyed the run in its own slightly crazy way. I couldn’t think of two people that I wouldn’t rather have completed the 2,000th mile with.

And as my heart swelled with pride at these two wonderful children helping me to write the song after a shower and over a late lunch my love of these two was strengthened further by their actions this afternoon. Bob and Margaret Peden are my downstairs neighbours in the flat and have, despite their 85 years of age, been hugely supportive of me. Margaret only likes it when she can hear me moving around in the flat otherwise she starts to worry that I am okay. Bob collects my mail for me while I am away as the box in the flat quickly overflows and he even brings back in my rubbish bins. Today, he gave me some chicken and ham soup for lunch. The children loved it so I asked Heather to take the soup bowl back to Bob after I had washed it up. Both the children were asked to be back in the flat for 6:30pm for tea but otherwise the time was their own. Heather took the bowl downstairs. James decided to go out and play. I saw neither until about 5:30pm. They burst back into the flat full of life and so flushed with the excellent feeling the endorphins give you after doing good. They had both just spent two hours talking to Bob and Margaret in their flat and loved it. Better still they came back with a huge bar of chocolate each from them. Bob and Margaret had undoubtedly thoroughly enjoyed the company of Heather and James but Heather and James had clearly thoroughly enjoyed their company too. I was thrilled and again so thankful that we had picked Doune for the children those few years ago. It was time to cook tea and wanted to reward the children so Jamie Oliver’s sausage Gnocchi was on the cards. With spicy sausages, fennel seeds, fresh rosemary, tenderstem broccoli, passata, gnocchi, bacon, olive oil, hazelnuts, honey, green beans, kale, swiss chard, cavolo nero, spinach, rocket, watercress and sherry vinegar this dish was packed full of goodness but also jolly tasty. The verdict. 9/10 from James and 8/10 from Heather. High praise indeed!

A cracking day and I close looking forward to the next 2,000 miles.

But before they do I had better give you the challenge in numbers:

Days completed: 166
Total Miles Cycled: 867.38
Total Miles Walked: 915.3
Total Miles Run: 158.43
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 53.53
Total Distance Swum: 4,580 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam: 2,004.14
Total Height Gained under own steam: 80,856.68 feet
Mountains Climbed: 7
Hills Climbed: 32
Days of Voluntary Activity: 8.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Bats Found:0!
Curling Matches played in: 8
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 3
Weight Training Sessions: 14
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 558metres or 11,160kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 9
Press Ups: 739
Pull Ups: 22
Sit Ups: 1204
People Met and Hands Shaken: 526
Pots of tea shared: 31
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 3
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 2
Pills popped: 1008
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 713
And most importantly – Money Raised as at Week 44 – £8,771

Considering I started this challenge 11 months ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. That is £54.48 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you

Yours aye

Thank you for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye