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 (http://t.co/gyrgeHdl) 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.