Launch Event Success
So September 30th has been and gone. Writing this post today… I have only 88 days until I leave the country for 18 months January 6th 2018 I embark on my voyage of a lifetime.
To all of you who attended and supported the launch event this post is to say a huge thank you to all of you.
For those of you that don’t know… Next year I am running a marathon in every country in the world. This event was to launch the expedition and send me on my way with the backing and support from so many friends and family. If we were lucky we would raise some cash for Prostate Cancer UK in the process. And we did.
Let’s recap the evening.
I came away from the launch event on one hand incredibly excited in anticipation for January 6th, and incredibly grateful for all of your support so far. On the other hand, it was sort of the end of a chapter. The last 18 months of planning and preparation for this trip have been a mixed bag of celebratory conversations with sponsors and friends, contrasted with endless journeys around the country and most of the time receiving the inevitable “no, I can’t help you, sorry” from the majority. It’s been frustrating at times, and incredibly joyful and enlightening in others, but I’m sad to be nearing the end of this first chapter of the trip. I call this chapter, chapter zero.
Before setting out on this journey to run a marathon in every country in the world I knew it would be difficult to get right. And who knows I’ve not left yet, so we may have got it completely wrong, who knows. I can tell you one thing though; it feels like we’ve got most of it right. Regardless of the setbacks that will no doubt rear their heads throughout the journey, I feel like I’ve done all I know how to make this expedition as likely to succeed as possible. I had no idea that it would be such an adventure in itself just to get to this point. I have made so many new contacts; contacts that I’ll speak to for years to come; that I can rely on and can now call my friends.
You will soon be able to see a brand new page on my Website covering all the people I’ve met on my travels so far. This will include photos, a short anecdote and their name.
If you meet me on my 550-day trip next year, don’t forget to take a photo. You’ll be featured here.
Thank you Ali
Before I go any further, a big thank you to my PA Ali; all the support and constant reminders of things I need to do day to day have kept me on track. I couldn’t do this without you. I’m incredibly pleased and lucky to have you involved. Thank you Ali. Right now you’re probably texting me to remind me to do something. (this is not an invitation to ask for a higher wage… you can try) 🙂
To recap the launch event
Thank you to all of you who have written to me with messages of praise and celebration for the evening.
What a great night it was. This post will hopefully capture all of the sponsors, individuals and help I’ve had throughout the last year and a half of planning, and those that made the launch possible.
Some special mentions
Chloe Smith – I met Chloe through her dad Jeff. You can read about Jeff a little further down. Both legends in their own right. About 19 months ago I met Chloe, she wasn’t really a runner, or a runner at all actually. Skip forward to now, and she run every day this year, totalling over 270 days of running, including a really tough 42-mile ultra race recently. Top job Chlo. The launch event was the day before another race of hers, a half marathon in Cardiff. She still turned up with her sister and friends to support the launch and of course her dad. Thanks guys. A real inspiration to so many! It meant a lot you all being there.
Wen Scott – Thank you Wen. I’ve coached wen off an on for a few months now. She’s been struggling with injuries but was also taking part in her first half marathon race in Cardiff the day after the launch. Although you were nervous to run, you still managed to beat your target time, and you were dressed in a wonder women outfit. Amazing. Keep up the good work. See you for another training session soon.
Darren Wiles – Darren is not like Chloe or Wen at all. He’s probably run about 300 metres in his life, however, he is a great friend and my old boss. The day of the launch I hadn’t seen Darren for about 5 years. He and I used to play squash together on a Thursday evening, back when I lived in Bournemouth. It was great to catch up, and meet Amanda.
Gary Hunt – The most annoying person to run with… He’s just too bloody fast for me… even when he walks I can’t keep up. (ref the disastrous OMM race in 2016) Gary is a mate and training partner. A few years ago when I was getting into longer races Gary I would train together in the rain on the Portway in Bristol on early winter mornings. If you’re a non-Bristolian, the Portway is where you go running with cars, for miles, inhale the exhaust fumes, and be splashed by emptying puddles. Thanks Gary for the extra little motivation to get up early week after week to train. Even if I was late almost every day. Top bloke.
Kate Lush – Kate was the first person on the planet to see me. Literally. Kate was my mums midwife when I was born. As it happens Kate was and still is a pretty good skier, that may have had something to do with why I got into sport in the first place. Either way, thank you for coming along to support.
Martin Lake – Martin and his wife Lynne weren’t supposed to be going along to the launch at all. They were due to be in Spain. It was a nice little surprise to have you guys show up. Martin owns ‘do’ my main clothing sponsor from the trip. Actually, Martin is just a top bloke, and really one of those people who you just can’t not be friends with. We are very likeminded in our outlook, and it’s a real pleasure to fly the flag for do and what the do brand stands for. Be Set Free. Cheers Martin. Great to meet you, Lynne.
The whole reason why all of us were together at the launch, and why the trip is happening at all. Kev is why I’ve tipped my life upside down, quit my job, and will be running a marathon in every country in the world. Those of you that weren’t at the launch, Kevin’s time on stage moved most of us to tears. If you’re a first time reader of this blog then you won’t know that Kevin has terminal Prostate Cancer and is the reason that this expedition is happening. Thank you Kev for your precious time and courage to share your story with us. You are a truly amazing man.
I feel like I owe a lot to Jeff. A great chat on a bus for 6 hours into the Sahara Desert just before I got to know Kev was what sparked my initial desire to make a change of some sort. Jeff Smith is a man who climbs the highest peaks in the world, gives back to the world through his non-profit ‘Big Moose’, has a lovely family and a great heart… and I was lucky enough to sit next to him and chat about life, work, family and adventure. My goals list before meeting Jeff hasn’t really changed, but he gave me the complete confidence that I could and will achieve everything I desire. Jeff, thanks for being at the launch, and for saying some very kind and considered words. Thank you. Oh, and I am still trying to comprehend what summiting Everest is really like. One day I’ll know.
Rory Coleman… where do I start? Mr Rory Coleman, a marmite man, and he knows it. I love marmite. Rory is my coach and friend. He is where the story of jeff, Kev and ultimately this race was kicked off. Rory put me with another 6 people in his tent when we were racing the Marathon des Sables. It was here I met Kev, Jeff and the others that made those 7 days in the Desert such a memorable week. Rory who struggled with his weight and an alcohol addiction in his 30s, turned his life around and now inspires thousands of people every year.
I was lucky enough to see Rory as he completed his 1000 marathon in Nottingham this year. Truly remarkable, considering starting at the age of 35, and having raced in huge ultra-endurance events all over the world, and just last year dealing with and indeed overcoming an illness that often kills.
Rory, your words moved me and others to tears, Thank you for your time and your energy on the night.
Mike was our special guest speaker from Prostate Cancer UK. Mike is a research scientist who works tirelessly to find a cure for Prostate Cancer… Thanks Mike for taking the time to speak at the launch. I’ve had a number of people say how great you were. It certainly opened my eyes to just how tough this cancer is to kill. Thank you.
CEO of Prostate Cancer UK, Angela couldn’t be there on the night, but kindly recorded a message or support. I hope we can work together not just on this expedition, but for future. Theres a great deal we can do to make sure we reach the maximum cash for the charity.
Another big thanks to Tessy from DS48. DS48 is the security company that I’m working closely with over the next 2 years. Well, it’s more of a one-way relationship. I’ll be relying on their intelligence services to keep me safe in the countries which are not exactly friendly. Tessy recorded a short video explaining what support they will be providing, including details of the watchkeeper function. Thank you.
Oliver and Will
Anyone who attended the launch, thanks for indulging the gin bar. Oliver works for Elephant Gin, and so many of you have commented how great the gin was on the evening. Oliver and his friends put a substantial amount of effort in to ensure the Gin was perfect on the night, including cooking up all mixers and flavours. Elephant Gin is also a special company. They also go the extra mile… not running, but supporting elephants in Africa. I met Oliver on a return trip from Cardiff after visiting Jeff for a pre trip catch up. So once again Jeff, thanks for having an impact in a way you probably didn’t know you had. Oliver and friends, thanks for the Gin, and an extra special thanks to Elephant Gin for donating 6 bottles for the auction, These fetched 100 each.
So here’s a general overview of the Goodybag items, which is basically another big thank you to those who supported. Click the links below to take you to their website.
Lloyd Banking Group Helping Britain Prosper https://www.lloydsbank.com
Do Running http://www.dosportlive.com
Prostate Cancer UK https://prostatecanceruk.org
Pro Direct http://www.prodirectrunning.com/mens.aspx
An extra thank you to Pulsin for being my official nutritional partner Pulsin
Pulsin has supported me with all the necessary nutrition for the expedition. Check them out here. The products are mostly Vegan friendly, nutritious and tasty.
Here’s a list of the Auction Items on the night.
I am pleased to announce that with the Auction, Raffle, Ticket Sales, Wine, Gin and some donations we took over £5000. We still have some costs to take, but overall we made some cash for the charity, celebrated the evening, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Here are a few lovely messages from the day.
If you would like to send me a message of support, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be added to the website.
The Grand Mercure Hotel
Let’s look at the venue, This post is turning into a big thank you message, and it should be. The Mercure is no exception. Thanks to Zoe and Bryan for helping organise all the various bits and pieces on the night, and indeed in the lead up. We had some great comments about the food.
Lastly thank you to Mike Banks, and Ellie Ulrich for the ongoing support from Prostate Cancer UK. It was great you were able to be there on the night Mike. You got to see how important this expedition is for me and everyone involved.
My last note from little me
Anyone that is reading this… remember that tomorrow is not a guarantee, stop mulling through tomorrow. Sit up, and think about what you want to achieve, if it’s the same as the day or week before, then fine, but remember you might think differently if you’re in Kev’s position. If, what you thought would be another 30 years of work, family, retirement and old age changed to just a couple of years, are you using today the way you would if you were told you were dying? My legacy that I want to leave to my family, and everyone for that matter, is that life is a huge privilege, and it’s there for us to grab if we have the courage. Especially for those of us that are in the western world, where we have shelter, water, and food, we are so profoundly ignorant to the suffering, let’s celebrate what we have, help others, and consider tomorrow in a little more detail. Anything could happen, it’s up to you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to quit your jobs and turn your life upside down, that’s just what i did… but you can make a change for the better. It could be seeing your family more, working late less, or hopefully something bigger.
I hope you enjoy reading my posts and listening to my podcasts while I’m away.
The countdown is well and truly on.
Oh and did i mention that i broke my foot a few weeks ago, so yep I was walking around with this boot on. Not the great way to launch a running expedition.
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