Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The tube is almost conquered, a big thanks from me

So here it is - I am in to my final week. After 37 runs, 30 half marathons, 1 marathon, a fractured foot, torn cartilage in my knee, approaching 500 miles run, 12 lines completed, 264 tube stops visited, countless Mars bars and over £12,000 raised for Harry Moseley's charity I have just 3 runs left. Thank God!

The last few runs I have found particularly difficult - I went out to Watford on Saturday with 3 of my mates - Martin, Luke and Dave, we were hungover but still ran about 15k. Note to self - never run when hungover. It was on this run that I realised how much I hate hills! The run from Chorleywood to Ricksmansworth was disgustingly hilly and went under the M25. This run though was my favourite run so far, the reason is pretty simple - my dad was back! My dad who'd had a stroke around 2 months ago was back with Mars bars, back with gel's and back with his London A-Z - the thing that we started together, we would finish together. Harry was the reason I started this but without doubt my dad is the reason I have finished this.

Tonight I am running from Uxbridge to Rayners Lane by myself. Thursday I am running with Luke from Moor Park to Wembley park and then on Sunday, with the help of 40 or so friends I am running from Wembley Park to Aldgate - Aldgate is where it all began.

I'll write a proper blog post after all of these runs. But for now I just want to say a massive thank you. I wanted to raise a £1000 for a hugely inspiring boy - someone who showed me that to make a difference you have to be selfless, you have to be brave. More important than any of this he showed me that not enough is known about brain cancer, not enough is done to combat it, and that children up and down the country are dying because of a disease that we don't know much about. He wanted to help others, he wanted to make sure that none suffered his fate - whilst he can't do this himself anymore he has inspired countless people to get off their backsides and help. Help Harry Help Others.

I wanted to raise a £1000. I dreamt of raising £10,000 but had no idea how I'd do that. My friends and I have now raised over £12,000. I even won a community award from RBS (nominated by an incredibly kind guy called Gopalkrishna) this meant a further £250 to my total. All of this, this money raised, was made possible by how incredibly generous family, friends and strangers have been. You've totally blown me away.

I am not a runner. I did no training. I didn't change my diet. I never, ever really thought I could do this but you guys - the people who sponsored me, text me, encouraged me - got me round and for that I am truly grateful.

It's been the single toughest thing I have ever done but it has changed my life. If you take anything from the countless blog posts I have written - if you want something to change then you have to be the one to change it. Don't wait for something to happen, go make it happen. Harry did.

Thanks for all your support. 3 runs to go. Final run Sunday (you're welcome to join us).

Help Harry Help Others - www.justgiving.com/steven-whyley

Thank you

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Time to stop moaning

Last night, after work, I jumped on a tube from Aldgate and travelled 85 minutes on the Met line to it's furthest point - Chesham, all the way out in zone 9. My mate Martin joined me - we were armed with a bank card, a key, a phone and a travel card and some running shoes, questionable running shoes. We were due to run a half marathon in the intense heat after work.

It was fair to say, as with most of the runs, I was dreading this. We'd not get there until around 18.30, we'd run for 2 hours and not get home until 21:30. Martin would get home an hour later. It was baking hot and we'd just run a few days before - another half marathon - and as most of you know my body has long since given up on me so running is proving really difficult.

If this wasn't bad enough then the news that greeted us when we got to Chalfont was about to make our evening a whole lot worse. The Chesham line was suspended. The tube would be going to Amersham. If you go on to Google Maps you'll see why we wanted to start at Chesham - it goes Chesham, Amersham, Chalfont, Chorleywood etc - that's the order these places exist. We were faced with having to run from Amersham to Chesham (over 2 miles away) and then run all the way back again to then continue the rest of the tube stops we had planned to run.

Off we set and for 2.5 miles we ran downhill - it was literally all downhill. Sheeps grazed in fields, trees from the forest and park overhung the roads and the heat was really suffocating but at least it was downhill. The problem was though that we had to run back it up. We had to run around 2.5 miles up hill. Normally, for most people, this would be ok but such is the state of my ankles, knees and back this was going to be such a difficult task.

I rung my dad and he gave me a few words of encouragement. I turned my iPod on full volume and off Martin and I went. We decided to run at our own pace so Martin went around 20 yards ahead of me. We must have been running for 40 minutes, in the heat, up the most savage of hills. I don't know what kept me going to be honest. I was shouting at myself, out loud, to keep going. To put one foot in front of the other. I was making such noise that sheep were running away from me! We got to the top of the hill and got back to where we started - Amersham. We took on some water and decked a Mars bar.

We'd been running for an age but still had 3 stops, 8ish miles left to go. I was out on my feet. Nevertheless 1 hour 30 minutes later we made it to our destination. On the way we received 2 donations and passed through the county of Buckinghamshire. We got to the end and no shops were open so we couldn't get any water - it would be another hour until I got home and took on some water. At 10PM I had my first (and last!) ice bath to try to help me so that I can run tomorrow. I think the ice bath was worse than the hill!

We are running tomorrow in this poxy heat. We are running Saturday, then Wednesday and our final run is Sunday - when I can say I have run the entire London Underground. Last night I wish I'd never said I would attempt this. It was too big a challenge for me. I can do the odd run but I am now up to run 34 - most of those half marathons. There has also been a marathon. During this time my body has changed unrecognisably - every morning it hurts to get up. I am not after sympathy, nor am I looking to moan. I am just trying to describe how difficult I am finding this challenge. But as I write those words imagine how an 11 year old with a tumour the size of a tennis ball must feel. How does he begin to summon the courage to carry on? How does he continue to get out of bed and smile? How does he continue to raise money for others? All these things Harry did. It's time I stopped describing how difficult this thing is and realise how easy I have it. I am trying to run the underground - that is it. What he did, now that is brave. Help me help Harry to help others - sponsor me www.justgiving.com/steven-whyley - the pain I am feeling will go next Sunday. Harry and his family were never afforded that luxury. That's wrong.


Monday, 23 July 2012

5 to go

We completed the Victoria line the other night. Martin and I got the tube out to Walthamstow which is the dogs - a really grim place. We got there, after work, and in the rain knowing that we had a two hour run ahead of us. We'd pick up my mate Luke on the Way - at Finsbury Park. My dad had worked out the route for us and I'd ring him every two stops to keep him updated on progress, as since his stroke he can no longer come up and lug bags around. Logistically it is now quite hard for us - I take my bank card, Oyster card, a key and my RBS pass - that is it. I can't run with a bag so I have to make sure I am not holding too much. I also have my phone which helps me navigate the streets of London.

I started this 8 months ago and I ate shockingly and had aches and pains back then and I'd never run more than 10k. Fast forward 8 months and I still eat shockingly, much to the annoyance of my girlfriend and mum, and who knows what damage I have done but I am pot committed now - I need to finish, for so many reasons. We ran 13 miles of the Victoria line the other night and 13 miles doesn't sound a lot but my body failed a long time ago. A stress fracture to the foot, torn cartilage in both knees and a bad back injury means that 13 miles is now the equivalent to me of a marathon.

Walthamstow to Blackhorse road followed by the riot town of Tottenham Hale. Rain was falling and I was seriously fed up. We then ran up the Seven Sisters hill, bought a Mars bar, took some abuse from some people in a car and met Luke at Finsbury Park. Luke was wearing skinny green jeans and had to end up running with a bag! An hour and 10 minutes later, after already running for an hour and 10 minutes, we made it. I couldn't really walk, Martin was blowing out of his ar5e and Luke was ready for bed. But we'd done it, another line. I rang my dad who was chuffed and my girlfriend ordered me a dominos and ran me a bath. The dream - a dominos in the bath! The next morning I could not move!

We only have five runs left - just over 60 miles and I have 13 days to complete them in. Only problem is, is that it is the Metropolitan line - the line that goes out to Zone 9 - all other tube lines go to zone 6.

Tonight my friend and I have to get an 85 minute tube journey to Chesham, we then need to run for 2 hours maybe 3 hours to cover 5 stops and then we have to get a 70 minute tube home. The earliest I'll be home is 11 tonight but it has to be done because you guys have been amazing and sponsored us (www.justgiving.com/steven-whyley) and money needs to be raised to make sure more children don't suffer like Harry did.

We are running tonight, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday and then the final run - Harrow to Aldgate on the 5th August. Feel free to join us for that one. I got some amazing news - my dad is coming up for the final run. He's been there every step of the way and crossing the finishing line with him will mean more to me than anything. For now, if you live in the Chesham area and see some fed up guys in PJ bottoms - buy them a Mars bar cos they'll need it!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Six to go

I have been a bit quiet of late with regard to the running of the tube. The good news is that the runs have continued and we only have 6 runs to go.

We have now run every single line apart from the Metropolitan line. We have run and completed the Waterloo and City, Northern, District, Circle, Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly, Hammersmith and City and the Bakerloo. We have run half of the Victoria line which we will finish on Wednesday and then just have the beast that is the Metropolitan line. We hope to complete it in the next 3 weeks with our final run being a marathon.

It has been quite a journey. Originally when we set this up we were just going to run the Circle line and we hoped to raise £1500 for Harry Moseley's charity. 9 months on and we have almost run the entire London Underground and you have helped us raise in excess of £11,000. I have now run over 30 times in 9 months - a commitment that has really tested me. I have torn the cartilage in my knee, I fractured my foot and continued to run on it for four weeks which was naive! My dad appeared for every single run but then sadly had a stroke and has therefore not attended the last few runs. Running without him has been the most difficult thing about the run - he helped me carry on when I was in so much pain that I wanted to stop. Harry was the inspiration for me to begin these runs but my dad is the reason I am still putting PJ bottoms on and running every Wednesday night/Saturday day. He still maps out every route for me. Whilst he is not physically there, I ring him every two stops and he has the route in front of him, tells me where to go, asks me how I am feeling, and keeps me going. I owe it to him to get this done.

The runs have taken over my life. You'd think running 10-20 miles a week would be pretty easy but I am not an athlete and since week 3 or 4 I have been running in pain. I find it very hard to motivate myself to run from Dagenham to Tower Hill, in the rain, after work but I know I had to do it because I made a promise to do it. But also raising the money - quiz nights, bracelets, emails, facebook messages, twitter messages, events - they all take planning and time but they all help to raise much needed money.

On this journey I have had amazing support and we've raised an amazing sum of money. Truth be told - I can't wait for it to finish. I never realised the enormity of the task or what it would do to me both mentally and physically. But sometimes you just have to dig deep and realise that the pain you're feeling is nothing compared to what Harry, his family and countless other children like him experience on a daily basis. Children who get diagnosed with terminal brain cancer is a sentence that is just not right. We have to find a cure and the only way to do that is to raise awareness and to raise money. All you can do is your bit and you have all done your bit.

As for what happens at the end of the runs? A much needed break. I have applied for the London Marathon next year and if I get a place I will take on 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 countries. I will raise money for Harry and also for a Stroke charity that helps people less fortunate than my dad who have been devastating side effects. I'll leave it to fate if I end up running it - yes it'll be tough if I do but sometimes you have to get off your arse and be the change you want to see.