I wanted to do something spectacular to remember my sister, Tracey, who sadly died from a brain tumour in 2003.
That’s when the Castle to Castle challenge was born.
I’m aiming to run between the castles of the UK and Ireland’s capital cities – from The Tower of London to Edinburgh Castle, Belfast Castle, Dublin Castle and Cardiff Castle, aiming to return to The Tower of London in a gruelling 22 days.
When she passed away, Tracey was only 34 years of age. Over the last few months, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about the fact that this year I, too, am now 34.
Having done smaller fundraising events, I felt it was time for me to really make a difference, and hopefully prevent someone else from experiencing what my family did 14 years ago.
I sat down and decided that whatever I was to do, it had to be bigger, harder and more ridiculous than anything I have ever done before. I had 1000 miles in mind and set out to find a route that would take me this distance and visit some amazing places along the way.
I have been calling it a challenge as I feel that for this to be worth doing, and worth people sponsoring me, there has to be an element of doubt around whether or not it can be achieved.
For me to run 50 miles doesn’t feel like a challenge, 50 miles in under seven hours, now that’s a challenge. So, I genuinely have doubts that I can make it through such a massive distance in such a short time, but this doubt is what drives me to make sure I have trained and prepared as best I can.
Training for the unknown
How do you train for the unknown? I guess sitting here and writing this I still don’t know if the way I have been training for the last six months is the right way. I have massive belief in my current physical shape and my mental state seems to be in a good place too. So right now, yes I am ready.
One of the massive parts of this challenge has been the logistics. From finding the route, accommodation and support crew to getting support from health experts, it has been non-stop emailing and meetings.
It was always going to prove tough to plan a never-been-done-before challenge, but I feel having to sort out so much logistical support has taken my mind off the actual training and by being so meticulous with the planning I will hopefully be fully prepared for the three weeks that lie ahead.
State of mind
The question I get asked a lot about, is what I’m least looking forward to. To honestly answer this: nothing.
If I start putting negative thoughts in my head, or dreading certain parts, I will encourage disbelief and failure. This is something I have always done in any challenge whether it be physical or not.
The desire to make it happen and not allowing negative thoughts to enter my head has helped me get to where I am now.
Please support me by sending messages, joining me for a mile or two if you’re close by or donating to JustGiving.