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.