The opportunity was born out of an enforced time advantage after I was made redundant.
The aim was to raise some money for Birmingham Children's Hospital.
The hope was to hit £2000.
The preparation was 20 days.
The vision was of tough days but that tough can always be pushed through.
The reality? Well the reality was an awesome week of peoples kindness of heart, generosity of spirit and iron will to help make a difference.
I was going to blog about each marathon. How day one went surprisingly well and how much I enjoyed popping Bear's stand alone marathon cherry on the harsh exposed concrete surrounds of the Humber Bridge, meeting new people and my very own HOTH.
The joy I felt on the morning of day two when my legs could support my weight when I got out of bed and even propel me in a forward motion. The slightly overwhelming feeling of running with proper actual runners, 1500+ runstreaker, top drawer Ironman lady folk and being supported by a mate who was determined to ride as much of it with me as he could and who's little girl, Moo, supported me in the rain at Outlaw helping us raise money while she battles a brain tumour herself!
There were the contrasting emotions of day three with an ace start with my Mich before she went to work and Bob who worked in the first 11 miles around his 'working from home' schedule to the loneliness and miserable self absorbed whingyness of running the next 11 miles of my home town marathon on my own as pains and niggles are magnified by a wondering mind to the positive ending with Bob returning after finally winning a 7 mile game of hide and seek to cycle alongside me for the last few miles.
The generosity of spirit from strangers running with me on The Wirral and the cleaner who let me have a pre run poo, the sheer stubborn strength of Adrian O'Brien to get me round, the background social media and radio campaign and the bloody big cuppa at the end. The will to battle the elements and the increasing lack of co-operation in the knee department. Celebrity stalkers too.
I was gonna blog about how it all nearly ended 7/8 miles in on day five in Bath. How my support kept me going when given the option of bailing or carrying on with what would be a very long day they gave me the look that said 'we're in it for the long haul' and, with 18 miles to go on a non working knee, we decided 'no one gets anywhere in life by being a [inaudible] ' - may have involved a swear - almost certainly involved the most obscene of profanities. I could tell you about the Pranic Healing that might have saved the day ( I don't believe it did but it could have ).
The awesomeness of day six around the canals of Birmingham is probably simply beyond words. The running, the company, the surprise, the jumps, the scares, the drunks, the weather, the banter and more surprises made for an exceptional day that 24 hrs earlier looked like would never happen.
Of course because day six did happen it meant that day seven was gonna happen no matter what. I could tell you about the emotion of taking it back to my school days in an attempt to capture a slither of days gone by that will always be beyond me, the failed plan to run with the masses, the Morph shuffle which saw me through the last 22 miles or so and the sheer love, patience and support of those that got me round, that got me through. No one believes me when I deflect praise or more accurately accept it on behalf of everyone else, but it cannot be overstated just how much of the challenge is done by the team around me. We can all run 7 marathons in 7 days, our bodies are capable of it, but the mind will be beaten into submission in the absence of the strength of those around us.
Instead of blogging it all, whittling on about the pains, the 20 days of training, the excruciating constant pains, the awesome support, Norseman, alcohol recovery the poor nutrition, inspiration, the text support, the tiredness, the claustrophobia, the bloody Morphsuits, the lenses, the eye, the ongoing pain, disrupted sleep, tiredness, pain, Batmans house, smelly WPC, burgers, bepanthan, chaffing, disappearing fluids, discomfort and pain, disruptive interviews, builders tea, prostate ops, Poppyfields, radio interviews, Whittington Barracks, the emotion, the ace phone calls, quiet Whittington, daughters daily texts and sons casual nightly enquiry 'how was today's marathon dad?', job panic, kindness, celebs, pride, massage recovery, fear, loss, mourning, joy and freedom, instead I will leave you with the pics and the clips which say it so much better than I can.
Finally, I would like to thank you all, a most sincere thank you for all of you that made this challenge possible and raised over £5,000 for Birmingham Children's Hospital and their research and treatment of child brain tumours.
Just in case you want to sponsor just pop to www.justgiving.com/marathonmorphtour or text 'MORF77 £10' to 70070.
Hull Crew: Bear, Neil, Andy, Ed & Rachel
Nearly done just gotta hit the post 2 more times.
Nottingham Crew: Kelli, Jane, Mike, Lee Ian, Alex, Wayne, Kelli's mate
Tamworth Crew: Mich & Bob
Wirral Crew: Tracey, Ultan, Adrian, Boardman, City Radio, Jayne, Dave, Sallie
Bath Crew: Hutch, Uncle Peter, Jono, Ewen, Tracey, Mark, Radio WM, Bob, Maria, Kelli
This clip is the closest I came to giving up!
Of course we didn't give up.
Brum Crew: Neil, Dave, Jayne, Steve, Stu, Chantel, David, Billy, Erin, Mich, Ken, Nick, Georgina, Ellie, George, Lisa, Poppy, Lily, Ella, Dom
Lichfield Crew: Mich, Neil, Alison, Clive, Georgina, Nick, Dutchy, Veronica, Jay, Karen, Richard, Lisa, Torrance, Gary, Kerry, Dean, Dave, Ellie, George, Lexi, Kirsten
The Finish and in my head I was running!
Sports Massage Therapists: Vanessa, Geraldine
Team Bear, PFI, Outlaw, Equinox
Next day stairs
Thank you Mich for the strength, love, patience and unwavering belief.