Monday, 30 January 2012

Running round Heathrow Airport in our PJs

As promised here is the next instalment of the blog! In the last post I told you how I did an assembly in my PJ bottoms to 500 kids despite having nothing prepared. I also told you how Dr Ng and I almost came to blows (grossly over exaggerated - he asked me, politely, to take it easy) over my diet, my general well being and the fact that I am doing too much running for my body to handle.

With almost a full course of antibiotics down me, porridge oats lining my stomach and a new found love for Satsuma's I was ready to run again. We had run the Waterloo & City line, the Bakerloo line, the Circle line, the District line and the Northern line. Next up was the Piccadilly. This was grim for so many reasons. It was 60 miles in length. I, for some reason, have an irrational hatred for the Piccadilly line and the grimmest fact of all was that we would have to go to Heathrow, in pyjama bottoms, and run round the whole perimeter of the airport.

I was feeling a little better and we'd agreed we'd do the run Wednesday. It would be me, Martin Chapman (who ran the whole of the District line with me) and Luke Butler. My dad, unbelievably would be coming to. A 3 hour journey to hand out Mars bars, Hula Hoops and waters. No words can express how grateful I am to the old man and his black bag full of treats. My dad also worked out the route for us. We were to meet at Hounslow West tube station. From there we'd run to Hatton Cross. Then run to Heathrow Terminal 4, then onto Heathrow Terminal 5, then Heathrow Terminals 1-3 and back to Hounslow West. 6 tube stations, more miles than I cared to think about and airport security staff to dodge. This was going to be a test. Our biggest test yet.

I had read that if you wanted to walk the perimeter road you had to let Heathrow BAA know. So I rung the press office. I said 3 guys in pyjama bottoms would be running around the airport for 2-3 hours. Was this cool?! The lady on the end of the phone choked on her tea, laughed at me a little and said 'no, of course it is not cool. You need a waiver'. I had a slight issue with this. I had rung them at 16.45 - the day of the run! I wasn't backing out now. She told me there was also no pavement and that it was just run or grass that made up the perimeter fence. The waiver took a few days to approve. I decided I would keep this little nugget of information secret from the old man, the two guys I was running with, my mum and my girlfriend - had I mentioned it the run wouldn't happen and I was going to run round that airport that night. I didn't care about rules and regulations. Rules and regulations are made to be broken!

After an hour and 10 minutes of travelling I finally got to Hounslow West and met all the guys. Everyone was in decent spirits, we were PJ'd up and we were ready to do this. We would meet my dad at Terminal 5, some 7 miles from where we were standing. So we started running. Butler, Martin and I chatted our way to Hatton Cross, we got a picture of us at the tube and then we had to get on the perimeter road. They weren't lying - there was no pavement! Planes were flying above our heads, planes were taking off 100 yards to the right of us, we heard airport staff shouting but we just put our heads down and carried on running! We feared we could bring the airport to a close by sparking a major terrorist incident - 3 men in pyjama bottoms meeting a man with a dark black bag at Terminal 5 - alas we got away with it.

The run was horrendous. I mean it was real, real bleak. But we got to Term 4, then Term 5 and met the old man. We all had 3 mars bars, went into the terminal and got a picture of us at the 'International Arrivals' and then we pressed on. None of us had wallets or money on us. My dad had got the tube back to Hounslow West and we ran probably about 1.5 miles away from Term 5 when Luke Butler screamed in agony and hit the floor. Actually collapsed onto the floor. Luke has had major problems with his knees before. Most of us have. Luke and I generally can't walk for two days after a run but this was different. He was on the floor and couldn't get up. We had no money. We were miles away from anywhere. My dad couldn't meet us. This was bad. Luke stayed on the floor for a minute and Martin and I said we'd carry him back to Hounslow West. Then Luke just got up and with tears in his eyes started running. We told him to stop. He ignored us. Luke Butler ran 5 miles back to Hounslow west. I still don't know how. None of us talked. Martin and I just slowly jogged behind Luke. Luke who was just trying to get one foot in front of another, just focused on somehow getting back to Hounslow West.

I've met some brave people in my life but that was one of the bravest things I'd experienced. My friends are literally putting their bodies on the line to raise as much money as they can for Harry's charity.

That run will go down as one of the worst but we made it. Luke made it. We got to the end and felt like we had achieved something major. We run again this Wednesday - another half marathon. In a months time we take on a marathon. We've run 180 miles. We've 250 miles to go. It is painful stuff, it is hard, it is depressing at times but I am running with great people, great friends and I've never been more certain that we'll complete it.

As ever you can donate at or feel free to buy Luke some free physio sessions!

Friday, 27 January 2012

A crazy 10 days

So it has been a busy 10 days but probably the most important 10 days since we began this challenge.

It started last Monday when I went to my old primary school to do a school assembly about Harry and our challenge and it finished last night with another pub quiz. In that time I have run around Heathrow and begun the Piccadilly line. I got shouted at by my doctor, my mum and by my girlfriend. I have been on antibiotics. My mate collapsed during a run. We received a £1000 donation from Amathus drinks. We hosted a quiz to 70 people and received £400 in sponsorship whilst doing it and I made a promise never to run round an airport in pyjama bottoms again.

So let's rewind. 10 days ago I attended Heycroft school. I was to do an assembly to all 500 pupils. The day before I had nothing planned. I hastily put a video together and I put together a presentation about Harry and our runs. Incredibly Harry's mum sent me the presentation Harry used to give to school children. I read that presentation and remembered the reason I was doing all of this. It was absolutely incredible. He was so talented, so dynamic, so brave. It is easy to see why people admired him and why they were so devastated when he died. His presentation was great but I had been told that the school was putting on a special assembly for me and that I didn't have much time. I sent Harry's presentation to the headmaster and he wondered if he or I could give the presentation when he had more time and could do it on a class by class basis. I wanted to respect Harry's mums wishes and knew how important it was that the kids saw the presentation he had written so I have agreed to come back and present on a class by class basis. Harry's hope is that school children up and down the country will make bracelets to sell for Cancer Research - I hope to try and make that happen, at least for Heycroft Primary school. I had written my own brief presentation for the assembly and put together a video ( and decided that I would turn up to the school in my PJ bottoms! It was important to make a good first impression!

The morning came and I felt ok but the presentation felt too formal. It felt boring and disconnected. So on my way to school I threw the CD with it on in to the bin. Now I felt alive! I had absolutely nothing prepared. It was like the scene from the West Wing where the President's wife cuts his tie 30 seconds before he addresses the nation just to try and get some spark into him. Now I am not comparing myself to the great Jed Bartlett! Nor am I saying Heycroft primary school resemble the 50 states of America! But I was trying to get them to believe in something. I needed to make sure I did Harry justice. I needed to make sure they would help continue his great work. I rocked up to reception and felt a huge sense of panic amongst the receptionists. Fear gripped their faces. I then remembered...I was wearing pyjama bottoms. I assured them I wasn't some sort of crazed man and that I was here to do a talk. Once the paralysis from the fear had worn off they offered me a tea and a digestive biscuit and showed me in to the staff room. I had always wanted to go in to a school staff room - I imagined what it could be like. It was bitterly disappointing! It was just a rank average room with out of date posters and a dishevelled man asleep in the corner!

I went to the assembly hall and The kids started pouring in. It took me back to when I was at school. I used to wish I never had to leave Heycroft primary school. As I stood in that assembly hall everything seemed so fun and easy - the kids were without a care in the world, what an amazing feeling that must be. I think we grow up too fast. There is something to be said for trying to remain a child as long as possible. I think that is why I was wearing the PJ bottoms! The assembly started and I did my thing. I showed them the video and then I tried to get them all involved. I asked who had done something for charity before. They all stuck their hands up! We started just having a big chat! I asked them who had run round the field once - hands shot up. I asked who'd run round the field twice. Hands shot up. I said 10 times. Hands were slowly going down. 100 times. No hands went up. I then told them that we were trying to help Harry and we were running the tube which was like running round the field 4000 times! They gave a classic kid response. I'd got them hooked! They suddenly got it. Before you knew it they all wanted to help Harry. I finished the assembly with every kid promising to fundraise for Harry - the ideal result! They were shouting out to me stuff they wanted to do. Cake sales, jumble sales and the big one - they were all going to run round the school field in their PJ's as well and get sponsored to do it. So that couldn't have gone better! I left the school feeling a mixture of relief, happiness and sadness. Harry was 11 - he was in year 6. I looked at those kids who had their whole lives in front of them and they were free to run in the playground, have fights, kiss girls, kiss boys and eat a packed lunch from their action man lunch box. Harry was never afforded these opportunities as he was catapulted into an adult world with big worries and he took on a big responsibility in that he wanted to create a campaign to help people. Whilst kids were fighting, kissing and being stupid, Harry was making bracelets, doing presentations, meeting important people, having operations, having chemo. I felt relief that it had gone ok. I felt happy that they wanted to help. But I felt sad because Harry had his childhood robbed from him. Ever child deserves the right of a childhood. Every child has the right to grow up. Harry wasn't given this right but through his work he will ensure each child's right is exactly that - a right and something that happens.

After the assembly I had to go to the docs as I thought I may have a chest infection. I was also feeling exhausted. My foot was hurting, my knee was hurting and I felt crap. I'd had blood tests to see if I was all ok. I had a run a lot of miles and done them in a lot of pain and I felt my body slowly giving up on me. The blood tests came back and Dr Ng (that's his name - try and pronounce it!) told me I was stressed! Pretty amusing! He then listened to my chest and sure enough I had a chest infection. He sat me down (I was standing for some reason - I am strange!) and tried to find out why I was stressed. So I told him that I was doing some runs. He asked me to explain further. So I said that I was running a half marathon a week and finding it really tough. He then shouted at me! Dr Ng lost it! He explained that if I had a chest infection I shouldn't be running. He told me the hormone that came up in the blood test that showed I was stressed was because physically I was asking my body to do to much. He then asked me about my diet. What did I eat before and after runs? Maryland Cookies was my response - this seemed to tip him over the edge. He stuck me on antibiotics, he banned me from running from at least a week and he told me I had to look after myself. I rung my mum and told her - she proceeded to talk to me about my diet for around an hour. I rung my girlfriend - she proceeded to talk to me about my diet for around two hours. If I am to complete this challenge I need to start listening to these people because I had been really struggling and now I realise (remember I am an idiot) that I have to look after myself. So, in the last week I have tried really hard. I've eaten fruit, I've taken vitamins, I've taken liquid iron, I've had a meal every night and slowly I am feeling a lot better. So much so that I ran two days ago...

Tune in tomorrow to find out how that run went. What happened when my mate collapsed to the floor at Terminal 5. How and who donated to us a £1000 and why coming 4th in a quiz meant a prize of 3 antibiotics.

As ever - thanks for your continued support. We couldn't do this without you. We have now raised over £7000. As you can probably tell, for someone who isn't particularly fit nor a runner, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. But without doubt it is the most important and the most rewarding. It's just a shame Harry had to die for me to get off my arse to begin to do something I'd always wanted to do. If you want to do something, whatever it may be, just go and do it.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Want to run with us? Now you can!

Hi guys,

As you know my friends and I are trying to raise £10,000 for Harry Moseley's charity - Help Harry Help Others. We are trying to run all 430 miles of the London Underground in our pyjama bottoms to raise money and awareness. We've had donations from all over the UK and the World and I've received countless messages from people saying if they were in London then they would run with us. Well now you can.

On Saturday March 10th - we are putting on an event. The event is the International Tube Run for Harry Moseley! Do you live somewhere with a tube, subway, tram? If so can you walk or run 2 miles? Wherever you are in the world we want you to get on your Pyjama bottoms, get down to your local tube/subway/tram stop and walk/run 2 miles. We would love for you to get photos and videos of the event and we would love for you to invite friends and family to join you. So far we have runners in London, Delhi, Auckland, New York, Madrid, Sydney, Honk Kong - who else fancies it? If you want to do it we would love for you to get sponsorship - - a lot of you have been amazing and given us your money, now we are asking you for some of your time. Let's create an international awareness of Harry's campaign to rid the world of brain tumours.

Join the cause. Help Harry Help Others.


twitter: sw1205
Facebook: Steve Whyley

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

This whole thing just got a little crazier!

On Saturday, four of us (Chloe Garrard, Becky Pickering, myself and Martin Chapman) ran another 10 miles or so. We met at Tower Hill and we were running to Kensington Olympia. The night before I decided to have a house was that naive!

I turned up at midday and felt HORRENDOUS. I was badly, badly hungover. The girls were there raring to go and Martin arrived shortly after. The girls set off first as I was dying and was also waiting for Martin to arrive. Around 30 minutes after the girls set off Martin and I unleashed the PJ bottoms and started to run. Immediately I began to get alcohol sweats! This was not helped by my 'athletes breakfast' - 11 Maryland Cookies and a brew. At Mansion House, I am ashamed to say, was the first time in 11 runs that I was sick! The Maryland's were out of my system, I had the Greese Megamix being played on my iPod, this was where the ran began properly!

The girls had made great progress and we met them at Victoria before Martin and I pressed on, met the support crew (my dad) at Sloane Square and finally got to Kensington Olympia after around 90 minutes of running. The girls arrived 30 minutes behind us. They've now done 4 runs, over 40 miles and have raised incredible sums of money. All of the guys have. I'm lucky to be able to run with great people who believe in the cause as much as I.

Tonight I finish the District Line. A half marathon beckons and it is fair to say I am not buzzing about it! Again, stupidly, I have not made things easy for myself. I played football last night, banged my leg quite badly and am now spraying some sort of freeze spray and decking Nurofens in the hope I can hobble round 13 miles tonight.

After tonight I would have done almost 3 half marathons in 7 days. One was brutal, one was nice (after the sick incident!) and tonight...well who knows! Martin (who has joined me for every district line run) and I have run the entire District Line in 5 runs. That is 62 miles (we have to run and hit each tube stop remember). By tonight we'd have run from Upminster to Ealing Broadway via Richmond, Edgware Rd and Wimbledon. We have run through all 58 stops on the District Line and can say we've run through Dagenham and survived! We've run in wind, hail and rain and done it all in PJ bottoms! The district line is the 2nd longest tube line and after tonight we'd have run 5 tube lines, 160 miles and passed way over 120 tube stops. This challenge suddenly seems achievable.

But we want to add to the crazy, make more people aware of the amazing Harry Moseley and get more people to donate to his incredible charity.

So I have done something a little stupid...

I have decided I want to complete the challenge by the end of May. This means that in the next 20 weeks I (and hopefully some of the other guys) will be running 4 marathons and 16 half marathons. A marathon a month for the next 4 months. Our final run will be 26.2 miles of the Metropolitan line. I will run 26.2 miles of the Central, Piccadilly and Jubilee line as well. I've never run a marathon. Let alone one a month. But Harry taught me that anything is possible if you want it enough.

He also showed me how important it is to raise money and awareness to kill this disease once and for all. I set the target of 10k - I am desperate to hit that. If I hit that I hope to raise £100k by doing more challenges. To raise money, a lot of it, I believe you have to do things that seem unachievable. That make people sit up and take notice. That inspire. That is why Harry raised £500,000 for Cancer Research UK. That is why he continues to raise money every single day. Because as a child, with terminal brain cancer, he did the impossible and made it happen. Now 4 marathons and 16 half marathons are no where near in his league, but if it makes just one person sit up and take notice. If it makes one person who hasn't donated yet donate then it is all worth it.

I'm a firm believer in pushing yourself and I may have bitten off more than I can chew with the marathons but I promise I will complete them and I (and the guys) will raise £10,000. If an 11 year old with terminal brain cancer can raise £500,000, what excuse do I have?

If you are between Richmond and Ealing Broadway tonight feel free to buy me a Mars bar and say hello! In 5 months time the challenge will have finished, in fact, the way I see it, the challenge will have just began...


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Got to love the rain...

Happy new year to you all! Hope you had a good one! Me, I spent it on a beach drinking a flask of tea (long story). I'd love to say I've piled on the pounds during Christmas but it seems my body is unique in that no matter how much rubbish I eat I am unable to bulk up. I was struck down with a horrible case of man flu (a slightly sore throat and runny nose!) over the Christmas period. I decided to have Christmas off from running, so the first run would be the 4th January.

The 4th January arrives and my man flu has taken a turn for the worse (I am now coughing!). I've also been struck down with a severe case of the new year blues. Nothing against my work but I am desperate to be at home, in bed, instead of the packed rush hour tube with my rucksack containing PJ bottoms, my Harry Tshirt and my highly unfashionable running trainers.

Now, I don't know if you've paid much attention to the weather yesterday, but it's fair to say it is not shorts weather! There have been a few spots of rain in the air and a light breeze of late! In fact, when I left work yesterday, in my PJ bottoms, the wind and rain really hit me. It was cold, it was miserable and I was man flued up!

I jumped on the tube from Aldgate East and made my way to Wimbledon. I still love the looks I get as I board the tube in my monster munch pyjama bottoms! I eventually got to Wimbledon 55 minutes later and met my dad and Martin - who was running with me. My dad was there, as ever, to lend his support, water and Mars bars. He was also there with his new best friend. The London A-Z. My dad's ultimate passion is the weather. Nothing seems to excite him quite like the weather. There has to be silence when the forecast comes on, he loves 'Countryfile' only for the weekly weather forecast and he gets great pleasure in getting my mum to text me (my dad doesn't know how to text) on the day of the run to let me know what the weather is doing later. I am sitting there, on the morning of the run, when the world appears to be closing in and freak storms are battering London and the text reads 'Dad reckons there could be rain tonight bring appropriate clothes mum' notice the distinct lack of punctuation, my mum hasn't got to grips with that part of texting yet on her Nokia 32-10. However, a new great love rivals that of the weather for my dad and that is the London A-Z.

My dad is a legend. That word is over used but he really is. He works out all the routes before I begin each run, he then emails me the route. He does all of this via his London A-Z. Google Maps...pffft no need! So I have the route on my phone (which he has emailed me...he can email!) and we then run through the first few stops together. He takes me through his A to Z like a proud man showing off his favourite toy. I feel like I am cheating if I use Google maps so wherever possible I will only follow the big man's direction and I too place a great trust in his A to Z. Yesterday, as ever, it did not let us down...

"Just make sure you turn left out of the station". "Yes dad" I respond. I start jogging out of the station, pretend to go right, look back and wink at the old man, who has 4 bags on his shoulders - he is a modern day pack horse.

Martin and I begin our run and the weather is truly abysmal. It's cold, it is wet and I am desperate to watch United on the box! Instead I am running from Wimbledon to Edgware Rd. A mile later we are at Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon is actually quite nice. Compared to Dagenham East it is beautiful. For the first time on the District Line run I felt I would not be stabbed, which is always a positive thing. Southfields, East Putney and then Putney Bridge. I almost got swept out into the Thames running across the bridge. The weather was truly horrendous and the wind that strong that I though my slight frame wouldn't take it! But made it I did! My knee felt the best it's felt in a long while. Parsons Green, Fulham Broadway and West Brompton all safely negotiated. The rain was getting stronger, I was getting colder. At Earls Court I begin to die, the motivation was waning and I had stepped through about 17 puddles, I was cold, I was pi***d off and I wanted my bed. I then got a text at just the right time. It told me to 'keep going, keep going, keep going' and that text helped me, big time. So to the person who sent it (!) thank you! I kept going :)

The most annoying thing about this tube run challenge is that, as I want to do it properly, I am forever having to re run places I've already gone through. So, even though I have done the Circle Line, I made the decision that I would still run High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate, Bayswater, Paddington and Edgware Road. Yes I'd done this exact route 12 weeks ago. But I'd done that route whilst running the Circle Line, this wasn't the circle line, this was the district line. So the route had to be done again. That will also mean I will have to do the exact same run from Barking to Aldgate East in a couple of months. Because even though I have done that run, I did it when I was running the District Line and not the Hammersmith and City line. That means I have to go back to Barking, a thought that keeps me up at night!

We got to Notting Hill Gate and began munching on a Mars bar when a man in a hat comes out of the tube, he approaches Martin, my dad and I and asks us to join us his cult. He explains the benefits of the cult, he tells me he is ex SAS (presumably to keep my attention) and is not happy, in the slightest, when I interrupt him to tell him we have to get running. He calls us selfish, questions our motives and says that why waste our time with a dead kid, a kid who is probably 'no good'. If this man reads this blog post, I wish you all the best for your cult. I do. But if you ever speak of Harry like that again, crazed tube runners in pyjama bottoms will hunt you down! SAS or not!

Two horrendously grim hours later we arrived at Edgware Road. I was SOAKED and seriously COLD. I got pneumonia when I was younger so my dad and mum worry a bit therefore my dad made me get changed into warm clothes. This meant that in the middle of Edgware Tube station, in full view of staff and travellers, I stripped to just my boxer shorts. No t-shirt, no trousers, no towel to cover myself - the ladies loved it! I then put on some warm clothes and got the tube home...a journey that I will be running sometime soon!

Anyway, that is now 138 miles run. We've at least 260 to go. But the District line is being tamed by the men and women in pyjama bottoms. As long as my dad has the A to Z - we can complete our journey...