If you want to know a little bit about what I'm doing and why, read on.
My amazing friend, Rob Worboys, passed away on 30th January 2016. He was only 27, and he was fit, healthy, and happy. But he passed away in his sleep due to an undiagnosed heart condition. It was totally unexpected and a complete shock. And it was pretty hard to deal with.
I first met Rob in 2007 at Leeds University, and we immediately hit it off. More recently, despite gaps in geography, we'd grown particularly close. He lived in Edinburgh, but he would come down to London quite often, and I visited him in Edinburgh. The last time I saw him in person was for a fun weekend with all the Leeds gang in Germany. I'd also had a lovely and hilarious phone conversation with him only a few days before he passed away, and a text from him earlier that day. He was an amazing person, and he always made me giggle.
I knew that I wanted to do something for him, in his memory. In June 2016, with nearly 30 of his friends and family, we did a 10k walk in London with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which was really special.
We always used to joke about The Proclaimers' song '500 miles'. He would always point out that we were actually less than 500 miles apart (nearer to 400 miles)!
If you look at the route of his life (he grew up in Bedford, went to university in Leeds, did his masters in Sheffield, and lived and worked in Edinburgh), it is pretty much 500 miles exactly. Hence, I kept coming back to the idea of doing something related to 500 miles, and my '500 miles for Rob' has started.
My plan is do to three 500 mile challenges:
1) The big one - walking 500 miles from London to Edinburgh via route of Rob's life.
This is the big challenge! The route is from London to Bedford to Leeds to Sheffield to Edinburgh - walking, on average, 16 miles per day over the course of a month. I would really love to have family and friends of mine and Rob's to join me, so do get in touch if you would like to join for as much or as little as you can. And I'm looking for places to stay en route if you can help in any way.
2) The 'mental' one - Commuting 500 miles on my single speed bike.
Before I had decided to do the big walk, I decided to start with this one - It was more of a mental challenge - to know that 500 miles was an achievable distance. From his birthday, 11th September, I counted how long it would take me to commute 500 miles. I didn't have do anything out of the ordinary - it was a route I already did, and it was a bike I already had. Some weeks I would cycle every day, other weeks only 1 or 2 days. It took me 88 days, to complete!
3) The third one - a 500 mile triathlon.
The plan is to do the ratio of an Ironman, so it works out as 400 miles cycling, 91.55 miles running, and 8.45 miles swimming. In addition to the physical challenge, I have had a few other obstacles. Firstly, I can cycle, but I haven't had a proper bike with gears since I was about 14 years old. So the first step was to buy a new bike. Tick. Secondly, I can run, but I didn't run at all last year. I've bought some new trainers, so the second step is to get my ass into gear and start running again. Thirdly, I can swim, but I haven't swum in the UK since university days, so my third and final step is to find a swimming pool / lido / lake, and swimming buddies and start up swimming again. Even if it takes me a while (potentially over a 2-3 month period), I'm going to do it! So far, I'm 114 miles in, so nearly a quarter of the way.
In addition to completing the challenges, I would like to raise funds for Cardiac Risk in the Young. Currently, every week, 12 young people in the UK die of undiagnosed heart conditions. That's TWELVE people every WEEK, which is ridiculous! CRY prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through screening, research, and raising awareness. And they offer support to affected families, such as Rob's family. I would like to raise at least £500 for every 500 miles completed.
If you would like to support my 500 miles for Rob, you can join me for a run / cycle / swim, donate to CRY on this page, or spread the word about the amazing work that CRY do, and encourage anyone aged 14-35 to get their heart tested - http://www.testmyheart.org.uk/. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much.
Lots of love and light,