It’s been a while since I last posted a blog, so thought I’d best catch up with you all!
The last 18 months has been quite a challenge, with all things pandemic. My photography business has suffered as a result of lockdowns and clients cancelling at the last minute due to illness, self-isolation etc., and so I recently took the decision to close my studio. I will instead be focussing on the great outdoors, landscapes and all things adventure, so I don’t consider it to be ‘quitting’ in anyway, just ‘pivoting’ and changing direction slightly. It’s a decision I’m actually quite excited about.
With finances being tight this year, I applied for a few jobs. Mostly they were physical roles; I applied for roles with Children’s Outdoor Education, the Police service, Fire and Rescue and even the British Army as a Reserve Officer. I sat back disillusioned as the doors to each opportunity closed in my face due to hearing loss. Then I went through the motions of ‘why me?’ and ‘why didn’t I do this years ago?’ Well, I’m sure you get the idea. Emotional doesn’t quite cover it. I was upset, angry, frustrated…
I hate when I feel like that. The best advice I ever received for dealing with times like these was to find a distraction. Find something I can do to focus on. Well, I can run…
So, I sent a random text to Jon, my coach. It read, “So, how does one go from running 100k to 874 miles?”
He didn’t reply for a couple of days, during which time I talked myself out of the idea several times and came up with easier alternatives. But it was niggling away at me. Once I get an idea in my head, it takes an awful to change my mind, so I was somewhat relieved when he replied “Do it!”
And so the last few months have been a whirlwind of training, races, hustling for sponsors (a process that sucks the life out of me) and trying to raise awareness of what I’m doing amongst the very communities I am doing it for.
I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from total strangers, individuals who maybe heard me speaking at an event who want to get involved. I have received a few offers of places to stop overnight, donations to help get this project off the ground and individuals who want to come along to run or walk with me a little.
I have applied to Guinness World Records to see if I can set a record for being the first sensory impaired individual to travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats on foot, but as I write this, I’m still waiting for their decision.
There are moments when the enormity of trying to organise this gets the better of me, but I have heard from several in the athlete community that organising these things is always a logistical nightmare. The stress of it all increases my fatigue levels which doesn’t help when there is so much still to do. I really can’t wait until Monday 5th September 2022, when I can just lace up and start putting one foot in front of the other. It has the potential to be something quite special and a way of bringing the brain tumour community together.
I am currently in the process of finding the backing I need to help towards this event. I started alone with this crazy idea yet slowly but sure a fabulous team is starting to form. My friend Sharon will driving our support vehicle for three weeks. Jon, my coach, will be around for support and to get rid of my doubts. Cerries is organising the route and looking into accommodation along the way. Simon, a sports nutritionist, is helping me with the nutrition side of things, making sure I fuelling correctly (a bit complicated when you are typically a low carb athlete!). Sarah is a sports physio, who has offered her services to patch me up and keep me going. Gwyn, an expedition medic I met on my Toubkal trip, has offered to be my on-call medical advisor! We are also hoping to make a mini documentary about this, sharing the ups and downs of training in general, as well as with the issues I still face as a result of my surgery. This will be an amazing opportunity to raise awareness of brain tumours and hidden disabilities and I can’t wait.
There is still a way to go, though. To find out how you can support this project, click here.