I’ve finished the race. (The race mentioned near the end of THIS post, in case you’re wondering what on earth I’m blithering about.)
Inspired by your generous donations to pancreatic cancer research, I did it. I ran 1084 miles of a wiggly route from Land’s End to John O’Groats. (For non-UK folk, that’s the bottom left hand toe of England up to the top right nobble of mainland Scotland.) Actually I ran the distance along the tracks/paths/roads of south Oxfordshire, but the people – or rather the computers – at the The Conqueror Events translate your miles into the progress that those miles would represent on the route to John O’Groats. It’s quite cool because you can view your position on the route using Streetview.
The very last run didn’t quite happen as intended. We’d snatched a week away from home for the first time in two years, staying in a cosy old cottage. All was well until the twinnage both developed hacking coughs. ‘Uh-oh’ would be a fair summary of our reaction. So we got the poor boys tested, and then we isolated at the cottage whilst we waited for the results, eking out our food supplies as best we could. Typical that this happened when we were away, rather than at home with the stonkload of food I’ve been growing for just such an occasion. Anyway, though foodless, the garden at our holiday cottage was large and pretty, which turned out to be rather useful…
How on earth was a knitter/runner to pass the time in isolation?! Oh yes, by knitting and running, of course. Since I wasn’t allowed out, the running – the final few miles of my race – had to be up and down the garden for 3.2 miles, dodging marauding twins as I went. Here’s the map of my run, just in case you wish to replicate the route…
And then suddenly, it was done. I’d finished. That felt odd.
- 1084 miles.
- Just under a year (356 days).
- 235 runs, averaging 4.6 miles in length.
- Well over 2 million steps.
- Every weather condition imaginable, but mostly drizzle.
At the end, the Stoic Spouse presented me with a pair of little signposts he’d made. (The 874 refers to the conventional mileage from one to t’other if you’re not going a crazy wiggly route.) I love them. Look! He confessed that he’d been thinking of making full-sized signs, but then he realized that I’d be finishing during our time away, and he wasn’t sure he could fit – let alone hide – two big signposts in the car.
Just to repeat some stuff I’ve mentioned in a previous post (so if you’ve read that, you may wish to pop out to make a cup of tea at this point whilst I tell the others), I signed up for the race a few days after my own cancer diagnosis, because I wanted something positive to focus on whilst I went through treatment, something that was all about what my body could do, not what it couldn’t. Also, my health rapidly plonks itself in the gutter if I don’t exercise hard, so I had to do something. And running this race did indeed keep me happy and relatively healthy through treatment.
But of course surgery, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy interfered with running. It slowed me down, made me miss runs, left me able only to walk at times. And when the nasty side-effect known as cording came to play, I ran slowly and briefly on back roads after dark, so that nobody would see my crooked arm clutched uselessly to my chest.
There were good runs, where I bounded across the countryside in the sunshine, feeling like I could fly along forever. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t.) And there were not-good runs where I felt like a sack of lead-garnished jelly flobbling along, and where every step was an exercise in pig-headed refusal to quit.
My cancer was in the breast, but I ran the race in aid of pancreatic cancer research, because that’s a condition that endlessly languishes at the bottom of survivability league tables. The stories you’ve shared here and on my JustGiving page attest to the brutality of this disease.
You generous, kind-hearted people have so far donated £2321 to the cause. There’s still time to donate, but there’s no pressure, because I realise that the last 18 months have hit people’s finances hard, and for many people, spare cash simply isn’t a thing.
But if you can spare a little, and especially if you’re a billionaire whose hobbies include recreational space travel (and knitting blogs), it’d be fabulous if you could donate
the odd million a little cash to this worthy cause.
Thank you. Seriously. It’s time that pancreatic cancer became a less terrifying diagnosis. The link to donate is here.
Just to clarify, this isn’t a promotion for The Conqueror Events. I paid full price for the race, and have no relationship with them other than receiving auto-generated messages such as “YOU’RE 14 MILES BEHIND, PHILIPPA: TIME TO UP YOUR GAME” for the past year. At least, I hope those messages were auto-generated, and not composed by some chap sitting in a distant office, paid to disapprove of my sluggish performance.