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89 %
raised of £4,000 target
by 70 supporters
Phil Vokins avatar
Phil Vokins

Phils 2007 Events

Fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

89 %
raised of £4,000 target
by 70 supporters

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

We fund life-saving research to help cancer patients everywhere.

Charity Registration No. 1095197


Thank you for visiting Phil's fundraising page.   


We're raising money throughout 2007 in memory of John Welsh, who was cared for by the Royal Marsden before succombing to a brain tumour in 2003. John was a much loved man by so many he came into contact with, including those at Millwall Football Club where he was a season ticket holder for many years - I met him at an away game at Cambridge in 1992/3 and he sat with our 'group' in the East Upper at The Den for his last years. 

I'm undertaking a series of events for the Royal Marsden Campaign and instead of asking for sponsorship every time I race/compete, I'm hoping to ask people for as much as they think can spare with one amount to cover all of these events. I also have personal goals for each so people might consider stretching me with performance related donations. The events (and goals) are:  

EVENT 1: June 2007 - London toBrighton ride (bike), 56 miles. I've done this before in times of 3h 55m and 3h 52m. This year I'm going for sub 3:45 to warm up for the next event…...

UPDATE: London-Brighton 17/06/07. Target: 3h45m, Actual 3h22m19s.

This was a good ride to start the year off. Helped by an early start, the crowd really thinned out after London and almost to a disadvantage as a wind from the south hit and there was no one to pull me along. I managed to tuck in behind someone after about 35miles for a short while, not sure he was totally delighted with that but when I finally decided I'd got enough breath back and went past him I did say a big 'thankyou'. Extra miles to the start and half way back made a total ride of 138km/85m and 2140 metres climbed. Still, mustn't get carried away, it is much the easiest event of the year and the real bike test comes in two weeks....

......EVENT 2: June 2007 - C2C Whitehaven-Newcastle/Tynemouth (bike) 140+ miles. This is a tough ride, with heavy climbs across the Lake District and then the top of thePennines with some off-road sections. The published record in the C2C book is 12hrs, my goal is to beat 13hrs.

 .....UPDATE: Whitehaven-Tynemouth 30/06/07 Target 13h, Actual 12h 44mins  

I am happy to report that, despite changeable weather, I was able to complete the 2nd of the 2007 events: The Coast to Coast bike ride from Whitehaven to Newcastle. I'm glad I did it, but probably won't be doing it again in a rush.

The 140 mile route, more like 145 by the time I'd got lost in Consett and again in Newcastle, took 12 hours 44 minutes cycling time. It was a day of ups and downs in almost every sense. The first 53 miles through the Lake District was pretty hilly, and I had to stop in Keswick to buy a hat for under my helmet as I worked up a sweat on the climbs, only to find myself freezing on the descents. The next 46 miles up to 99 were worse, with the four biggest climbs of the day across the Pennines providing spectacular views - but when you're out of breath, standing on the pedals in bottom gear and travelling about walking pace, the appeal of these views wears a little thinner. In another sense it was also up and down - in Cumbria, everyone to a man, woman and dog said hello/good morning, while in Consett I was shouted at, and by the east of Newcastle missiles were introduced to accompany the abuse of the local youth. (I decided against debating how I remembered turning them over 4-0 at The Den, or my last visit to Tyneside in 1990 when Malcolm Allen knocked 2 past them to give us an unlikely away victory, and carried on cycling, a little bit faster if truth be known).

The verdict - now I know why so many people do it over a few days, it really is a beautiful ride, although the hills and long off-road sections make it impossible to get any sort of rhythm or better time going. That said, all in all quite an adventure was enjoyed and the first beer in 9 weeks on Saturday night never did have a long life expectancy.

EVENT 3: London Duathlon, September 07. 9km run, 21km bike, 5km run.

Target, 2 hrs 15 mins

UPDATE: Actual 2hrs 7 mins 55

A good enough time but race inexperience cost more. I lost the place where I put my shoes in transition after the bike ride and spent 3 mins looking for them. Still, good fun and I'll do it again.

EVENT 4: October 2007 - Cricklade half marathon. Never run more than 10 miles yet, but let's go for 2hrs.  

UPDATE: Henley Half 14/10/07 - Actual 1hr 54 mins 38

A slight change of plan as a half marathon nearer to London came up. I pushed on a bit and found myself going well until 8 miles, when a nasty little 1.5 mile hill came my way which started to hurt. Nothing like course preparation but managed not to give in to walking and it was still a pleasing run for a vet first timer - and good experience for the big one.....

EVENT 5: November 2007 - the New York City Marathon, my personal everest. In truth there are 3 goals here. #1 is just to finish, but secretly I'd really want to do under 4hrs 30m and have a stretch of 4hrs 15.  

UPDATE: Actual 4hrs 48m 43s 

For the first time in 2007 I missed a performance target. Mixed views therefore of the 4:48 time posted, but delighted to complete in ok shape. In truth, I didn't deserve a faster time as injury and subsequent time constraints only usually allowed one run a week in the lead-up and a lot of people trained a lot harder than me but didn't finish, so instead of gnashing teeth over my own speed, or lack of it, I'll save my thoughts for them and the guy behind me who collapsed at the end.

A bit scared of the course, I gave it loads of respect and paced myself at an easy jog/run knowing I wasn't going to be able to run the 26.2 at threshold, so took it very steady stopping on 18m for a drink and chat to meet Vesna, Joe and Charlie, who turned up on the Upper East Side to meet me at the latter stages (it even took me a few minutes to find them in the crowd but was well worth it when I did). I also stopped several times for drinks and an unscheduled 5+ minutes on 9m in Brooklyn after realising that it's hard to run and text at the same time, dropping my phone which duly smashed into several pieces and I then spent time retrieving. (Big thanks to the anonymous guy in the crowd who lent me his phone so I could text Vesna. Even though my own phone was reduced to its constituent parts and the front landed in a puddle of Gatorade in the gutter, it works again - well done Nokia!)

Perhaps the most incredible part of the occasion was the crowd and massive support they gave the runners. The roar as we crossed the Queensboro bridge from Queens onto 1st Ave in Manhattan on 16m was unbelievable, but each of the 5 boroughs was unique with the ethnic diversity of Brooklyn and its bands en route, and the hip-hop/rap from the Bronx (when most needing a lift on 21m) were really special. The support was so good that only one problem presented itself - few US runners put names on their shirts but I did - meaning that it became very hard to acknowledge the continuous cries of support and 'Go, Phil', 'Looking Good, Phil' (yeah, even I find that one hard to believe) and so on. Of course, if someone bothers to scream support it's only right to acknowledge them but also quite distracting after a while, so for large parts of the race I found myself hiding in the middle of the wide roads just so I could get on with it. (Even then, there was still an "I see you, Phil" on the Willis Avenue Bridge on 20m!).

Finally, there was (honestly) a guy running in a Symantec T-shirt just in front of me from the start for about 8 miles who I then lost due to stops, but still took him on the final mile in Central Park. I made the occasion even happier by telling myself he was Palace too.

All in all, a fantastic experience and highly recommended. Will I do one again? You bet!

I hope you'll agree that doing these now as a 'vet' at over 40 is something really worth supporting - please give whatever you can for the five events.  Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to donate: Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign will receive your money electronically and, if you are a taxpayer, an extra 28% in Gift Aid will be added to your donation at no cost to you.

I can also take donation pledges by email (

or phone +44 (0) 7808 293999

Many thanks in advance for any support you can give.  

Kindest Regards

Phil Vokins


  • John Welsh (centre)