Saturday was probably the most fun we've had doing a run. We ran with 'Sheps' as I am now calling him! To everyone else he is better known as Ben Shephard.
Around 3 months ago I felt we needed a celebrity to help us spread awareness of our challenge and therefore help spread awareness of Harry, his story and his charity. I didn't want just anyone. I wanted someone who cared about Harry and felt as inspired by him as what we did.
One year ago I noticed a tweet from Ben Shephard - he tweeted that he had spent some time with the 'incredible' Harry Moseley. He encouraged us to 'follow' Harry Moseley. That tweet I saw from Ben made me aware of Harry's story and that tweet is therefore the reason I am running today. So, the celebrity I wanted to contact was Ben. The tweet read "@Benshepard my mates and I are running the tube for @harry_moseley, fancy it?". I remember tweeting him as I was coming home from work. I got to the other end of my tube journey and I got a tweet back off him! "Hi Steve, sounds good! Got any more info'. I was buzzing! We went back and forth and settled on Dec 9th for him to do a run with us - the Waterloo & City line.
Unfortunately that week he found out it was his sons nativity so he couldn't make it. But, he sent me a direct message (twitter talk!) to apologise and then he tweeted us good luck - all 350,000 of his followers could see the tweet. I stayed in touch with him and sent him a video we'd done - he loved it and tweeted it to all of his followers and said he'd like to rearrange the run with us. We'd settled on Feb 18th. Stratford to Marble Arch. 13 miles. I'd yet to mention anything about PJ bottoms!
Saturday morning arrived and me, my mum, dad, Luke, Martin and Shaun arrived at Stratford station. In our PJ bottoms. I've never seen my mum take so long to get ready! Luke had his knee supports on. I had my knee supports on. Shaun had his ankle support on. My dad his back support on. Martin, the machine, was support free. I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognise and then we saw them - Sheps and his mate Chester. They were wearing proper running gear, gadgeted up to the max. They looked like actual runners. We looked a shambles. We were a shambles. Except my mum, she looked lovely!
I walked over, in my pj's and introduced myself, introduced the others and immediately we felt at ease. There was nothing celebrity about the guy (sorry Ben!) - he was just a normal guy. His mate Chester, also a top man, said had he known we were wearing PJ's he would have worn some too - well Chester was in luck! I bought two spare pairs with me! They immediately put them on - Ben also got a pic with some other guys from the station and they donated £20 to our total. We then started running...we quickly got lost - not at all embarrassing!
Ben spent the first 20 minutes with me and he asked me why did I do this challenge, how was I finding it, what future plans did we have. He was so interested. It was brilliant. We chatted about Harry and Harry's mum. He was blown away by Harry and he'd met Georgie (Harry's mum) only last week. When he was talking about her it was obvious why Harry was the way he was - he was blessed with an incredibly loving family and they were blessed with a son who had courage, who was selfless and who was just thoroughly decent. A lovely family who's lives were to be changed forever by the growth of a cancerous tumour. As I ran with Ben, Chester and 4 of my best mates I realised just how important Harry's legacy is and how we must ensure we all do whatever we can to help others and to make Harry's dream happen.
Ben tweeted various pics on route to his Twitter followers - we got best wishes from everywhere. Cars were beeping, people were shouting good luck at us. We'd done many a grim run and we'll do many more a grim run but this run I enjoyed. I forgot the pain. I was running with mates and for those two hours Harry Moseley was being talked about in all corners of the country, in the streets that we were running. We stopped at various points to meet my mum and dad - they were handing out the Mars bars (we weren't upgrading for Ben!). We got to Bethnal Green and Sheps uploaded a pic of all of us in our PJ's to his followers. He also rang Chris Kamara to tell him that I'd heard Neil Warnock had been given the Leeds job - a truly epic moment! Ben slowly worked his way round all my mates and spent 20 minutes with all of us. He was a class act.
We powered our way through the Central line. Ben told me that he'd run from the West to the East of the country for a friends daughter - it was really inspiring stuff. I was told how nice Roberto Martinez is and how Scott Parker is Sheps' hero! At each stop we got a pic. We finished in 1 hour and 40 minutes and he signed some Harry tshirts that we could give out as prizes for our quiz night. And, brilliantly, he has said he is going to do our final run with us. Hopefully Chester will too. My mum got a kiss on the cheek and Ben said his goodbyes. The whole morning was surreal but it epitomised Harry - random people being bought together to do good.
Another 13 miles. Another reminder that there are some really great people about. We are running our first ever marathon Sunday, in fact it is further than a marathon, we are running the whole of the Hammersmith and City line. We're also meeting Harry's mum before the run. If I was nervous about meeting Ben then you'd have to come up with a whole new word for how I will feel when I meet Georgie. We are thrilled she wants to meet us. I just hope we can help, in a little way, achieve her son's ambition. With more people like Ben Shephard, Chester, my mates and my parents then brain cancer doesn't have a chance. Roll on Sunday and thanks again for all the kind words and donations. We're up to £7350 and over 200 miles run. As Harry would say - we're making it happen :)