This will be the final note of my current year of events which runs to 5th November and I certainly have ended it on a high.
So what did I do this year? As you would expect, 1,000s of miles racing and charity treks in The Arctic, Sahara, Spain, Albania and UK.
I have met so many inspiring people and maybe inspired a few along the way too. I have presented to 1,000s of people through the year, been on National TV, local and National radio, had a column in the Sunday Mirror every week, been the subject of magazine articles, been a mentor for others with challenges, been presented and nominated for awards for achievement and most importantly raised much awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK.
Hope you have all had a great Indian Summer? I write this as the rain is pouring at home, it does not seem that long ago when everyone thought it may never rain again. Guess we all need to remember that after the sun there will always be rain but the sun will shine again and hey, just be like a duck and earn to enjoy the rain anyway!
Since last time I have been back to hospital and various doctors a bit but the great news is that my bloods have stabilised from last month and my fab Doc still signs me off to run so life is good.
Its been another month of experiences and challenges and I am happy to report that I have come through unscathed in every department.
I left off last time about to give the AFC Wimbledon youth team one of my presentations. Apart from speaking to school kids on the shores of the Arctic I had never presented to a younger audience and I was worried that my message would not resonate with people who feel that they have so much of life ahead of them.
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.
It's been 7 weeks since I last wrote (Is that all I hear you groan!), and its been a busy time as you may have come to expect from me. Its been a blend of presentations, humbling opportunities, holidays, hospitals and planning for whats to come.
So since I last wrote my life carried on with my Dad's funeral, it was as good a day as these things can be and I learnt so much more about what he had done for me and others in his life, a wonderful send off, I know many miss him like I do.
Well I did it although I had serious doubts after day 2 when I was feeling pretty rough. I actually finished my third consecutive Marathon Des Sables, I don't believe that anyone has done that before with any T4 metastatic cancer including my prostate cancer . I wont go through everything again as my daily updates probably bored the pants off you already save that there were many heroic stories out there and a fair few sand storms.
More importantly, thanks to your incredible generosity I have exceeded my expectations by raising over £23,000 for Prostate Cancer UK including gift aid. Words can not describe how worthwhile you make my life feel by inspiring you to support my favorite charity.
What a week its been, never far away from some sort of doctor but they seem happy enough to let me go. I sometimes think its because I have survived this far no one will get in trouble if it goes wrong now anyway!
A short note for a change (hooray I hear you all say!). So I fly out to the Sahara very early this Friday morning for the Marathon Des Sables, 250k self sufficient forth week. My bag is backed, it weighs 11.5kg just like the last two years . The fast racers only carry 6.5kg, I have never really worked out what the extra 5kg is on my back as I would love to carry less, I guess they don’t take cameras, ipods, coffee etc like me!
I composed this on the plane back from Canada, so much has happened since I last wrote, sorry its so long but even this is abridged of the many stories that happened along the way. Three weeks ago I was panicking about my kit choices, food, general prep for the Arctic and was seeing my Dad every day in hospital as he had been there for a few weeks. I knew inside myself that all was not well with my father and unusually felt compelled on my last day in the UK to actually tell him that I love him and even take a joint photo, both of which I never did enough of. Sadly, after being in Canada for 4 days, just before the race, I found out that my Dad had died...
Hi Everyone, I hope that you have been enjoying the snow in the UK, it made me realise just how cold it is going to be for me over the next few weeks, I am starting to wonder why I ever signed up for the race, maybe I wont sleep until I am there! It has been a full on month with an appearance on BBC Radio 2 last Sunday, being interviewed for the first ever Runners World podcast and being in the April printed issue of Runners World out today. My regular weekly column in the Sunday Mirror seems to be going down well somehow (ok they have not axed me yet!). Some more presentations to a few groups about prostate cancer and living for the day to Nat West colleagues too, I sort of like presenting kind as I think I can make a difference to many people. Finally, I have been doing my bit for Prostate Cancer UK and will (I believe) be part of a campaign to encourage families to sign up for one of their many “Marches” over the next few months, perhaps you will be able to join one?
Hope January was a great month for you? For me every year starts as a new beginning, what has gone before has gone so its all about hope and expectation for this year to bring better than before, something that I found hard to believe at the start of 2015, 2016 and 2017 but this year is different. Why the difference? I guess that my reality has sunk in now and the joy of what I can try to do rather than what I may not be able to fills my head.