Thursday, 05 July 2018 21:59

Off to the Spanish Mountains in Andalusia (blog #32)

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Hi All - only me!

I hope you have all enjoyed the heat of the last few weeks. Personally I am just glad it did not start two weeks earlier as that's when 130 of my amazing RBS colleagues all walked one of 7 marathons in the North of England to challenge themselves and raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK.
It was so inspirational to see so many of them travel further on their feet in a day than ever before in their lives and I can still picture how many of them dug deep and fought plenty of pain each day to do the distance or as far as they could.

Spanish heat, huge climbs to come!


I hope that they all will have a lifelong sense of achieving something amazing as they collectively raised well over £50,000 for the charity as well as coming back with a story to tell others in years to come. I was lucky enough to walk all 7 marathons and saw so much more of this beautiful country that I have ever seen before, just a fabulous 7 days with fabulous people. On these marathons two others, Georgie and Michael, joined me for all 7 for very different reasons. Sadly, Georgie's Dad has prostate cancer so it meant a lot to her to push herself to support him and Michael, who is CEO of the Vanarama National League wanted to do all 7 to show his personal support to the charity. He also brought along many others from the "football family" who clearly care about this important cause, a special thank you from me to Georgie and Michael.

Of course, as another month goes by I have another blood test and this time another good result. Great news I hear you say and of course you are right but the enormity of my situation can get me down still. I will try to explain what it's like to be me. A couple of days after the good news I was unexpectedly and suddenly in a state of shock. The closest I can try to explain is when you have a close shave, as if you are walking down the road and a car nearly knocks you down and you remain shaken for some time afterwards, I guess that's what my life feels like only I know I will have that near miss every month and that one day, maybe next month maybe in a year it wont be a near miss.......For now sometimes I just say "smile and wave Kev, smile and wave" and usually the bad stuff evaporates. One of the things that really came out during the 7 marathons was how many other people have challenges and continue to keep them to themselves whilst doing their best.

Because of the above I wanted to take the time in this email to give some thanks. You see primarily, it's only due to the latitude the Bank gives me that I am able to have the tools mentally to avoid those near miss feelings for most of the time. They give me the opportunity to do the things that help shield me from that reality by allowing me to spend most of my life getting out and doing so much to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Caner UK, thank you RBS.

My next opportunity to be out there starts this weekend when I am off to Spain to compete in a race called Al Andalus (www.alandalus-ut.com) This race has aggressive cut off times so a fast walk wont do. Those who have been getting my emails for a while may recall that this race beat me last year with 18k to go out of the 230k when I missed the cut off by a minute. That makes this time "unfinished business". I will give it my best shot but I am under no illusion how hard it will be again as its in the mountains with over 7,000 meters of ascent, the temperatures are over 40c for most of the race with a fair degree of self sufficiency and I am not as strong as I was last year. For those of you who follow me on Facebook "kevin webber : make the most of it" or just "kevin webber"you will be no doubt elated to know that I will be posting live each day of the race (Noooooo I hear you say!). If you are not yet following me and want to, just send a friend request in pronto and if you can't bear the thought unfriend me now!

Whilst I of course do lots of training for events like this both physically and mentally I know I am still an amateur when it comes to knowledge about how to perform the best I can in these races. I can't do it on my own so I have been getting help and advice for years now and I wanted to thank these two great sources as after the bank they too have been invaluable.

My original running coach and now friend Rory Coleman keeps me focused and motivated. He is a living running legend having run over 1,000 marathons, completed more desert multi day races than anyone else I know and in the last two years has had his own life threatening and now life changing disease, but that has not stopped him, I learn from him when I see him, hear what he has been up to and through things he posts on the internet.

The other invaluable help has been from an independent outdoor running shop called Likeys. They have been my "wing man" on so many events and through so much training. You may think it's "just a shop" but that just does not do it justice. Everyone who works there knows their stuff and is passionate about people achieving their outdoor running dreams, that in itself makes them unique in my experience. If you find yourself in need of some advice and then maybe some running gear then do contact them (www.likeys.com). They have given me a discount code too that I have been allowed to share with you so feel free to abuse it KEVIN10AMB . If enough of you use it then I may have the opportunity to do something very special for others but I will save that for if it happens!

So those shout outs to the Bank, my coach and kit/race advisers are not just about me thanking them but also to make you think.

When you next want to do something a bit different or lack confidence to have a go, never be afraid to seek out help, its not a sign of weakness. Similarly, if you feel that you are in a situation where you can offer help to others, even at personal cost, then don't be shy in coming forward. I promise you, there are people out there right now who you know who want your advice or maybe an ear to bend or shoulder to cry on but are afraid to ask so please please make yourself available and known to them. I know from personal experience that there are many who have done that (some will be reading this so thank you too) for me and its them that keep me sane and enjoying life despite everything.

A big part of what I do now is being a reluctant public speaker. I must have spoken to many thousands of people now about living for the day, prostate cancer, chasing your dreams and never giving up. My latest one today is to the development squad for AFC Wimbledon FC. It will be a very different presentation as none of them will be old enough (thankfully) to get prostate cancer but professional footballers have their own health and fitness concerns so i hope that in some small way I help them focus on what they have now but realise that sometimes even unwanted change in your life can bring out good things.

Whats after Spain? Health allowing, I have a 50k one day race in the UK in August and then am off to Albania in September for a race similar to the one I am about to do in Spain, Being in some remote Albanian mountains means I am now on a course of rabies and other nasty disease injections, just what my immune system needs right now! After that,well just watch this space. There are about 15 ducks that I need to get in a row and doing so is a bit like herding cats (cats and ducks?) but if it comes off, from October to December you may be able to be a small part of and join me on my biggest ever distance challenge.

Have to go now as I have a tabby a Siamese and British short hair on the loose!

Remember, you get richer not poorer by giving to others, if you take or use without asking then you will be poorer.

Take care, enjoy the summer, offer that shoulder and thanks for reading
Kev


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