Thursday, 22 December 2011

Another run done. Time for some stats...

This is the last blog post of the year, and we have just run our final run of the year. Last night was 12 miles of fun (I use that word generously!). You will remember that we ran from Upminster to Barking last week. So this week we ran from Barking to Tower Hill and it was as tough as ever!

As you now know all now my knee is quite bad and so is one of the other runners in the team - Luke Butler. I would probably say yesterday's run was the one I have dreaded the most since we begun. Before setting off I was still struggling to walk up stairs given that my knee was still quite painful. I was in a pretty crappy mood, it was quite cold, I knew I'd be running through East Ham and my mates were all out for a pretty big night. All of this contributed to me having the 'ump!

But in the afternoon I received a picture from a person who shall remain nameless(!) and on the picture it just had the words 'Good luck Whyley' - this was great. I can't really explain it but it was cool that people, even now, were still getting behind us. Then at 5PM I received words of encouragement from colleagues at work, friends via text messages, my mum, my aunt and numerous people on Twitter and Facebook. Suddenly I felt ready to do this. 12 miles isn't all that far but when you're not up for it and you know that when you finish you won't be able to walk properly for 3 days it is a prospect that doesn't really excite you! All these messages though are like a drug, the more I get, the more I am up for it. I realise it may seem like just a simple message but in my mind these people are thinking of Harry, for even the briefest of seconds. And this is what it is all about - to raise awareness, to raise money. We raised another £40 yesterday. We've now raised £5410 - a pretty incredible total given we've been only doing it for 3 months. I am so proud of the people I run with and the people whom have given their hard earned money, especially in times as hard as these. It is a reminder that I am surrounded by great people.

As for the run - we got to Barking, in our PJ bottoms, and met the support crew - the truly legendary old man (my dad) who has been with us for every single run! We ran through (not literally!) the route once more and Martin, Luke and I were ready to go.

Around 1 mile and a half in I was questioning if I could continue given that I was already in loads of pain. I cranked Neil Diamond up, saw I had 7 texts, and just carried on. A few miles later and Luke's knee had gone - it was now my turn to help him, just like he had helped me a few miles back. Barking to Bromley by Bow was pretty horrendous but once we reached Bromley by Bow I was confident we could do it. Luke was in a bad way but he may be the bravest man I've met and there was no way he would stop. And I was to be proved right.

As we approached Bow I rang my mate, which proved difficult - running, calling a mate and focusing on where I was going(!) - and told him I was approaching Mile End which is where he lived and begged him for a Lucozade! As we got to Bow two people started running with us. It was my two mates (my mate had rung my other mate) and suddenly we became five. Three of us in PJ bottoms, 2 of us in work shoes - it summed up the ridiculousness of the challenge! They ran with us to Mile End, I got my Lucozade and we then ran to Tower Hill, not before helping tourists and pointing them on their way to Liverpool Street. I fear they are still walking the streets now looking for the station...

Luke, Martin and I had finished - 2 hours 20 minutes. Not rapid but when you have 6 pairs of knees and only 4 work it is pleasing to just get round. Luke stripped in the street to his boxers, wooed the ladies, and put his jeans on. I gave the old man a big hug as for the first time I was quite overwhelmed - for the first time I realised I could actually do this, I would do this.

As the end of the year is a time for stats, let me give you some.

The Tube Runners have run 125 miles over the last 10 weeks, averaging just under a half marathon a week.
The longest run has been 24 miles.
The shortest run has been 1.7miles.
We've had weeks where only 2 people could run.
We've had weeks where 38 people have run.
We've raised £5410.
The highest donation has been £370.
We've hosted one pub quiz
We’ve hosted one fun run.
I have written 42 facebook status updates about what we are getting up to.
I have written over 10 blog posts about Harry and our run which equate to over a dissertations worth of work (over 10,000 words).

My mum has put on two dinners and raised £170.
I have received 214 text messages wishing me luck.
I have received 354 text messages during runs asking me how I am doing.
I have got lost. A lot.
I have made 2 amazing new friends.
I have got closer to the other 6 original friends.
I have cried 3 times – once during a run. Once after. And once when Harry died.
I have had two different physio's treating 2 different injuries.
I have got 70 new Twitter followers who are spreading Harry's amazing story.
I have run the Bakerloo line, the Northern line, the Circle line, the Waterloo and City line and started the District line.

All the tube runners have run at least two lines.
I have passed through 116 tube stations, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice.
My dad has spent in excess of £100 travelling round London with me handing out water to myself and the other runners.
At least 300 children under 12 will be diagnosed with brain tumours next year.
Harry Moseley was just 11 when he died.
Harry Moseley raised £500,000 for Brain Cancer Research.

From all of us, a massive thank you. From the text messages, to the pictures, to the dinners, to the kind words, to the money raised - we could not have done this without you. £10,000 and 406 miles of the London Underground seemed like an impossible task 3 months ago, you don't realise just how easy you are all making it.

Only one stat matters next year - the number of children who are diagnosed with brain cancer. This stat has to be lower than 300. It just has to be. Help Harry Help Others and continue your good work...


Monday, 19 December 2011

A new years resolution

Every year I try and set a new years resolution. Every year I fail to keep to it. Some years the resolutions are big, brave and ambitious. Sometimes they are beyond stupid.

Six years ago my new years resolution was to pass my first year at uni without going to a single lecture. I came so very close - I did not attend a lecture but it turns out there is a correlation between attending lectures and passing years. Needless to say I failed uni.

Five years ago I said I would try a new meal every week - I am a horribly fussy eater - five years later I am still living on a diet of milk and cookies (seriously).

4 years ago, my new years resolution was to find a blonde girlfriend. Yep, seriously, that was my new years resolution! I had never had a blonde girlfriend and so for the months of January, February and March I pursued anything blonde with a kind of gusto that would of made my dad proud. Alas, blondes it seems don't like me - so four years later I remain single and without a blonde girl in my life.

3 years ago the resolution was to write a TV script. Easy enough. Except it wasn't easy. I had just broken up with girlfriend, I was pretty down and I found writing hard. I just wanted to go out and get lashed. But for the first time in my life I saw a resolution through, I had written a TV script. Once finished I sent it off places but nothing really materialised. I wasn't to know at the time but seeing that resolution through would have a tremendous impact on my life 2 years later.

2 years ago I read a book (I had read before!) - the book was 'Yes Man' by Danny Wallace. The book is simple in concept - say yes more. Danny took it to a new level, whereby he said yes to everything. If someone asked if he wanted to go out he would say 'yes' no matter how he felt. If someone asked him to go on holiday he would say 'yes' despite having no money. By constantly saying 'Yes' Danny turned his life around and ended up meeting his future wife, the future mother of his child. Before I read that book my default answer to opportunities was 'no'. I read the book in December. My new years resolution was decided. I was to say 'Yes' more. This was the second resolution I had stuck to. It changed my life. That is a big statement but I firmly believe it did. I now have more friends, better friends, I live in London, I've travelled across the United States in an RV, I have travelled the west coast, I have travelled New Zealand, Europe and Australia, I have got promotions at work. I am incredibly happy and the reason for that, I think, is because I now say 'yes'. Try it. It is surprisingly addictive.

1 year ago my new years resolution was to film my own sitcom. I'd written the script, now I wanted to see it on screen. By saying 'Yes' to opportunities I found myself, 13 months ago, at a football reunion with people I hadn't seen for 10 years. I promise to all those reading this blog post that before my new years resolution 2 years ago I would not have attended this reunion. But by making 'yes' my default I found myself at this reunion speaking to a guy called Luke Butler. Luke Butler had quit his job and had created a film production company with his friend Martin Chapman, also at the reunion. I got talking to him and told him I had written a TV script. Over the next year my sitcom - Rules of Life - was made by Luke's production company. It finished filming last month. Through that process Luke and Martin have become life long friends. I have also met some other incredible people during the filming process. All of this wouldn't have been possible without my previous two new years resolutions.

So, I have been thinking, for the last few months, what would my new years resolution be for 2012? Find an attractive blonde? Eat more food? Nope. My new years resolution for 2012 is by far the most important resolution I have ever set myself and unlike years gone by I cannot fail, nor will I.

My new years resolution for 2012 is to raise £100,000 for Help Harry Help Others.

As you guys know I am attempting, with other friends, to run the entire London Underground for Harry Moseley's charity. Harry is incredibly special to me. Someone asked me 'what's the deal with me doing this running thing given I've never met Harry?'. It's a fair question. My answer is pretty simple. I am a heart on your sleeve type of person - I cry at rubbish films, I like awful cheesy music and I get moved by things. But it is incredibly rare for me to get genuinely upset about real things, about real life. There have been four times in my life where my tears were real and where I could not stop myself. My granddad dying, my Nan dying, my friend dying - made up 3 of these moments. The 4th was when I saw a picture of Harry Moseley just after an operation he had had to remove part of a tumour that had grown in his brain. I vividly remember where I was. I was sitting on a bench, at a park, when I logged in to Twitter and saw Harry's mum had uploaded a picture. Harry's hair was missing, he looked in pain, he looked tired - he looked like he had cancer. He was only 11..

I had been following Harry's story for a year and was utterly overwhelmed by how someone so young, who was so ill, could be so utterly selfless. In quite a cynical world it is rare for someone to be selfless. Someone who doesn't do something for their own good but instead someone who just wants to help others. This was amazing to me but what made it more amazing was that Harry was suffering from terminal brain cancer at the time. Someone so ill was still so kind. I knew Harry had had his operation that night and it is rare for me to pray but that night I did. I prayed he wouldn't be in pain. And then I saw the picture.

I couldn't understand, and I still don't and I never will, why what happened happened to Harry. All I can do is try and learn from him. He started an incredible campaign that has raised £500,000 for Brain Cancer Research. To me it is simple - the more awareness, the more money that is raised, the fewer children have to suffer like Harry did. There should never be a picture uploaded like that picture I saw that day - I want to help, albeit in a small way, to help ensure that type of picture is never seen again. Sydney Smith once remarked 'It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can'.

£100,000 isn't just a finger in the air target. I have researched how I can get the money, I have researched what the money can be used for. I came to the conclusion that £100,000 could make a real difference. I have some big ideas as to how I can get there. New years resolutions are great as they help focus the mind. I have had an interesting history with them but recently they have helped me make my life better. I hope this one can help contribute make someone else's life a little better.

My friends and I have 290 miles of the London Underground left to run. If I haven't hit £100,000 by the end of those runs I will find another tube line to run, another city, another country. If you saw the picture, you would understand why we have to kill cancer. Do your bit. Sponsor at

Have a great new year...I will be running the tube and trying to find a blonde girlfriend :)


Thursday, 15 December 2011

A grim couple of hours!

Last night was one of the shortest runs I have done so far but it was also one of the most difficult.

I was running 11 miles - from Upminster to Barking. Upminster is located in Zone 6, it was the first time I had been out to run as far as Zone 6. Harrow, High Barnet and Edgware are all Zone 5. It was also the first proper run I have done in 3 weeks since being told I had to rest my knee.

I was feeling pretty decent but stepped out of the office to be faced with falling rain and temperatures that were, shall we say, on the low side! I ran to Fenchurch street (like I wasn't running far enough already) and got on the C2C train to Upminster. I was to meet the support crew (my old man) at Upminster. I had in my hand the route - Upminster, Upminster Bridge, Hornchurch, Elm Park, Dagenham East, Dagenham Heathway, Becontree, Upney and finally Barking. The route we had mapped out was to take us through some real beauty spots :) it was fair to say this run wasn't going to be a particularly attractive one.

After 20 minutes I arrived at Upminster. I had to get changed into my pyjama bottoms (the support crew had bought them up) so at the Entrance to Upminster station I dropped my trousers to show off my incredible legs and my questionable boxer shorts. This was embarrassing enough but for some reason I had put my boxer shorts on the wrong way round yesterday - so my behind had a row of buttons! The support crew finally stopped laughing and handed me the PJ bottoms - much to the delight of the guards at the station. My friend Martin then arrived and we would set off. We'd meet the old man at Elm Park.

We began running and my knee felt sore but ok. We got to Elm Park fairly quickly, had a glucose gel and some water and we would meet my dad at the next station - 3.2 miles away. The run from Elm Park to Dagenham East will haunt me! First of all the buttons on the boxers were causing an issue! Second, we were running through gangland Britain! Literally! Down every road we were turning there were gangs of teenagers. Now this is fine, I am sure they are all pleasant enough! But when you are wearing PJ bottoms the teenagers are prone to shouting out the odd comment! We ran past Dagenham East YMCA - this really did feel like the end of the world. Why anyone would stay here is beyond me. It looked like a bad nightmare. A big concrete slab of a building. It looked like a lego set built in the air. Amazingly though it was busy - the village people tribute act had clearly drawn in the punters. We continued, we ran past the cemetery, the lake, the sewage depot. You could sum up Dagenham by saying it has a cemetery, a lake and a sewage depot - there is very little else to it! The surroundings were getting bleaker and bleaker and my knee was getting more and more painful. I must have been the first person in the history of civilisation to actually utter the words 'I cannot wait to get to Barking'.

We got to Dagenham East. My knee was seizing up and I was really struggling but fortunately my dad and Martin kept me going. I also received some timely text messages to give me a second wind. We got out of Dagenham as quickly as possible, not before passing more gangs. Becontree and Upney safely negotiated, we finally made it to Barking. Due to the pain in my knee it had taken us 2hours 20 minutes to run just under 11 miles - it was a slow pace. It was a truly grim run. But it is 11 miles closer to the target, a target that is now less than 300 miles away.

When we finished I again couldn't walk up stairs - fast becoming a normal feature of our runs! I rang my mum looking for lots of sympathy which was duly given and finally got home about 10 o'clock.

The next run is Wednesday. These runs are tough, my body is failing me but I am seeing London - all sides of it! And we are raising money, so the runs continue. A big thanks to Martin and my dad for helping me through a grim 2 and a half hours!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Thank you

I just wanted to write a blog post to say a sincere thank you.

10 weeks ago I took on the challenge of running the London Underground for Harry Moseley's charity HelpHarryHelpOthers. I wanted to run 406 miles, travel through all 272 tube stops and complete every single tube line. Most importantly though I wanted to raise £10,000 for Harry's charity.

When Harry died, 2 months ago, I was left feeling devastated. Which in itself is amazing given I had never met Harry. I had followed Harry's story on Twitter and one day, a day I will never ever forget, his mum - Georgie, posted a picture of Harry. The picture showed Harry, 11, with staples in his head, with half his hair missing and a face that was so young and innocent but at the same time looked so weary and so very tired.

Harry had his childhood taken from him - for 4 years he was battling a disease that we don't know an awful amount about, which in itself is wrong. He had a tumour growing inside him that was the size of a tennis ball. This caused severe headaches and resulted in two lots of chemotherapy and one lot of Radium treatment. This disease affects thousands of children each year. The disease that cost Harry his childhood also tragically cost him his life. Two months ago Harry lost his brave fight; tragically Harry was only 11 years old. Ask yourself what have you done since you were 11? Just pause and think of the things you've seen, the people you've met since you were 11. Harry never had that opportunity. That to me is just so wrong. Harry is not alone in suffering this disease and losing his life at a young age. It is so important we raise money and raise awareness - Cancer Research UK are entirely self funded but since they have existed they have given cancer patients the chance to beat cancer. Cancer is an awful disease, it has killed two members of my family, and it has killed a friend of mine. The single greatest thing humanity can do, in my opinion, is to find a cure. To do that we need money. Harry, at the age of 7, realised this...

Harry, despite having cancer, decided he would make a difference. He decided that he would help others and start a campaign to find a cure for brain tumours. I have never come across someone so inspiring and from that moment I knew that I wanted to do something, to help his campaign - no matter how small - I wanted to do my bit to try and help ensure that no one suffers like Harry suffered. Helen Keller once remarked "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do." And to me that is what charity is all about - I can't cure brain cancer but I can help. Even if that help amounts to very very little in the grand scheme of things - something is better than nothing. If everyone did something, anything can be achieved.

I knew it had to be a little insane to ensure I raised money and awareness. I was on the tube one day and it broke down at Moorgate. I had to get to Kings Cross quickly and so I jumped off the tube and started running - not being a great runner I was blowing out of my (insert rude word!) by the time I got to Kings Cross. I got to Kings Cross, boarded my train and decided that I had stumbled across the challenge - I was going to run every single tube line, I was going to run every single stop, I was going to run all 406 miles. I rang my dad and told him of my plans; he said it was a great idea and that I should start training next year and aim to complete it over the next 2 years. I told my dad I wouldn't be doing that. I told him that I would be starting next week and I'd do the lot by the summer (9 months). He called me (insert rude word!) and as I was about to ask him if he could help me and hand out some water's to me on my first run (all 19 miles of the Circle line) he said 'Well I best get my oyster card ready, cos you aren’t doing this on your own'. I have run 100 miles and my dad has been there handing out water, bandaging parts of my body, giving me pep talks for every single run - no matter what the time, no matter what the weather, the old man is there, waiting to help. You will see that this is completely indicative of this challenge - people amazing me constantly. My mum as well - she has hosted two dinners raising just under £200 and has attended two runs to cheer me and the guys on - without my folks this challenge wouldn't be possible.

I set up a Justgiving page. Within an hour I had raised £100. I was buzzing! I then put what I was up to on Facebook. 9 people contacted me, 3 of which I didn't know all that well, 6 of which are good friends of mine. They are even better friends now. They all said the same thing - when can we join? All 9 wanted to join me, all 9 were inspired by Harry and all 9 (2 girls, 7 boys) would join me for the Circle Line run. I have run 100 miles of the London Underground, Luke Butler has run approaching 60 miles, Jon Myers has run 60-70, Martin Chapman 60, Shaun Purvis, Chloe Garrard and Becky Eighteen have all run 35 miles and Nick Kindred and Craig Gallacher have run somewhere close to 20. All of them have given up their own time, have run in all different kinds of weather, have all run in pyjama bottoms. And without them I 100% would not have been able to run 100 miles. One run I did was all 24 miles of the Bakerloo line and I can honestly say that Jon Myers dragged me round - I remember being in a place called Willesden Junction, questioning if I could carry on, Jon just told me to 'just run' - so I did. My foot was in pieces, so Jon just talked to me, and kept talking, until 26 stops later we had arrived at Elephant and Castle. This is in no way an isolated incident - all the guys at different points have dragged me round. Luke Butler, on one run, was in such pain that he was in tears - still he continued to run - that moment showed to me just how brave people can people. They say it is not the miles you do but who you do them with that counts and the 8 people who have joined me have become life long friends.

And now to the really important guys.

So far we have completed 25% of the challenge; we've run 100 miles, completed 4 lines and begin the District Line tonight. But we have reached 45% of our target - we have raised £4500. My family, my friends, colleagues and complete strangers have donated once, twice and sometimes thrice. The generosity of people to donate their hard earned money to our cause has completely blown me away. As you guys know I have struggled with the runs - I strained ankle ligaments and tore cartilage in my knee for which I am receiving physio for (free of charge!) - But you guys have made me continue. £4500! I still can't believe how kind people are and the difference you have all made is incredible. It is not just monetary donations either - every run we have done I have received numerous texts wishing me luck. One girl has text me before, during, and after every single run wishing me luck and keeping me going (Miss Barnes - thank you!). To all those that wish us luck and find out our progress it keeps us all going. It may not seem a lot, to just send a text, but when you run pass a Crime Scene Investigation in Wembley and it is pissing down with rain, a text message can help you get one foot in front of the other. We also had 40 runners for our Waterloo and City line run (see pic) - again, this was absolutely incredible and helped raise £800

If you've had a (insert rude word!) day and question the people you work with, or your friends you hang out with or the family you live with I can whole heartedly say that they will surprise and amaze you if you let them. The press is full of negative stories, the press ignores the good and at times I think we do as well. It is not until I did this challenge that I realised just how good people can be.

This challenge began because I wanted to help Harry help others. The truth of the matter is this challenge is helping me - it has made me fit, it has shown me London, it has given me new friends, it has made existing friends better ones, it has given me a confidence to think I can do anything if I want it bad enough and most importantly it has reminded me that people are fundamentally good.

From myself and all the runners - a sincere thank you. Have an amazing Christmas, and a great new year.