Hello, my name is Simon Whitehouse and I have a dream.
MY DREAM IS TO RAISE $1M FOR MIND, THE UK'S LARGEST MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY.
To bring this dream to life I am running ultra marathons around the world to raise cash.
THIS IS SIMON'S ROCKY ROAD:
Twitter live feed: simonsrockyroad
Facebook live video updates: simon whitehouse (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Instagram: #simonsrockyroad, @simonsrockyroad
Donations: www.justgiving.com/simonsrockyroad - SHARE THIS LINK TO YOUR FRIENDS/FAMILIES/COLLEAGUES
WHY DO THIS: It all began in January 2013... when I started writing a blog called “Simon’s Rocky Road”. It described a journey which began with the idea of running 100 miles non-stop from New York to The Rocky Steps in Philadelphia for my brother's 40th birthday. It described the training and the diet, and it travelled thru the ups & the downs of what it would take for one over-weight amateur runner,who had never even ran a half-marathon before, to achieve his ambition in 3 months.
The blog also gave an insight into living with mental health issues.
BROTHER'S CHILDHOOD DREAM: I did it to fulfil a childhood ambition. As little boys watching Rocky with my brother, Stephen, we always dreamt of being Rocky Balboa running up the legendary Rocky Steps in Philadelphia. On 28th April 2013, after hypothermia, hallucinations, sun-stroke, sleep deprivation and 29 hours constant forward motion I finally reached those goddamn Steps. It was my brother’s 40th birthday.
NYC to Rocky Steps, April 28th 2013:
100 miles, 29 hours:
You can see the video here:
WHY DID I DO THIS? Exactly 20 years prior to this my bro had had a mental breakdown. He was just 20 years old when it happened and he’s never really recovered since. That evil bastard mental illness has crushed half his life; and cast a huge shadow over mine. That goddamn 100 miles of pure pain was my birthday present to him, a chance to raise awareness for mental health, and time to realise our dream. It was a metaphor of our life as brothers. One half of the run in happy daylight sunshine and onehalf in the cold agonising darkness as we both have grappled with mentalillness – my bro after his breakdown (and subsequent schizophrenia) and myself living with that ‘Black Dog’called depression since our father cruelly and suddenly died in 2006.
THIS IS WHY I RUN FOR MIND, because they are there for my brother when I am not, and cannot be.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.....
London to Stoke-on-Trent for Xmas, 2013:
175 miles, 41 hours:
All the training and the Rocky Steps run in April'13 took it’s toll on my body. A few months after that goddamn 100 mile run I was going for an attempt to run from London 175 miles non-stop to my family home in Stoke-on-Trent for Christmas (yep, that’s like 7 marathons non-stop) but I ruptured a ligament in my ankle during training. My running partner, Marathon Mike, went ahead with the175 mile run while I walked & biked next to him with a torn ligament in my foot. Our friend Anne also ran her first 50 mile ultra. It was the shortest day of the year with 16 hours of darkness as well as the worst storms in the UK for over 25 years. Again, we went thru hallucinations, hypothermia, emotional breakdowns and sleep deprivation - but we finished it all the goddamn same. It took 41 hours non-stop.
You can see the video here:
SURGERY: In March'14 I had major surgery to reconstruct my ankle and since then I’ve done so much physiotherapy. During 2015 I’ve been quietly recovering and, more recently, I’ve just sucked it up and began training harder (#shutupandtrain) - all with one goal in mind:
To go back to New York and run those 100 miles non-stop to the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia --- but this time for MY 40th birthday and to raise A HELLUVA LOT OF MONEY FOR CHARITY!!
NYC to Rocky Steps, April 4th 2016:
100 miles, 36 hours:
YEP, I went back and I ran it. You can read it and see the videos here:
DEPRESSION: Y’see, 3 years ago I reached those goddamn Rocky Steps but I did not run all the way. At mile 78, after about 24 hours non-stop running I suffered a complete emotional, physical, mental shutdown. I couldn’t move anymore - I just lay there crying on the lawn of a crumby gas station just outside a goddamn dump called Trenton. I couldn’t move anymore. The pain was too much I swear to God. This is the poignant part for me: the metaphor of depression, of life, of human will... when you are lower than your lowest ebb, on your hands & knees, DO YOU QUIT OR FIND THE WILL TO STAND UP AND KEEP GOING?
MILE 78: Eventually, and with the help of an amazing group of friends in the support crew, from somewhere I found the will to stand up. And once I could stand up I could move forward again. It was slow and painful but I KEPT MOVING FORWARD. I walked maybe 3 hours maybe 7 miles, my thigh splitting open in agony. After 85 miles and 26 hours the pain in my leg and the pressures in my mind became too much and we made a team decision to bike the final 20 miles. There were people already waiting hours for us at the Rocky steps; plus Mike n Janie needed to rush back to NYC for work the next day. It was stressful - the mind really messes you up after running non-stop for a day!!! - it became more about the overall team accomplishment and being able to celebrate together at The Steps in daylight - so I took Janie's bike (way too small for me!) and cycled the final 15-20 miles .The whole escapade eventually took 29 hours from start to finish.
WE WENT THE DISTANCE: So, it’s true, I went the distance - moreover WE went the distance. All that way from New York to Philadelphia. We did that 100 or so miles in 29 hours non-stop, no sleep. We wished my bro a Happy Birthday and we raised a lot of money for MIND. We kinda did it.
I DIDN'T RUN 100 MILES: It’s true, I went the distance but because of this'n'that I didn't run all the way. Y’see, I didn’t beat it. I didn’t win. I didn't run THE WHOLE WAY. This is what plagued me. We raised some money, but we didn't raise A HELLUVA LOT OF MONEY, and believe me we want to raise a stinking whole lotta ££ $$ €€ dough, ch-ching, bucks, de niro's, whatever you wanna call it - YOU'VE GOT IT and WE WANT IT from you!! :-)
THIS IS WHY I WENT BACK: I needed to run it all the way no matter how hard, no matter how many hours it took. I NEEDED TO GO THE DISTANCE and WE NEED TO RAISE THE $1m!!!
Why? Because this is human nature. We must always advance. No matter what shit we go thru, whatever we must endure, we must never give in.
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”
- ROCKY BALBOA
This is why I run for MIND - because I know that they will never give in until the stigma of mental illness is broken.
MIND WILL NEVER GIVE UP until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both the support and respect they deserve.
In a nutshell, that’s it. MIND is there to help & support my brother when I am not and cannot, and that touches me.
That makes me cry.
This is why I run for MIND.
SO KEEP MOVING FORWARD – never never never give in, and please, PLEASE sponsor me.
Next up is:
152 miles non-stop run from Sparta to Acropolis Athens, Greece, 28th October 2016.
PLEASE GIVE LOTS OF ££, €€ and $$ TO SPONSOR ME!!
Unashamedly begging for your help and sponsorship to raise $1m. Seriously, WE WANT TO RAISE $1m so please GIVE GENEROUSLY and please send this to every person you know - especially the rich & uber wealthy ones!!!! If we are to achieve this big dream then this message needs to go far & wide.......
P.S. - when you have sponsored me then please SHARE THIS LINK (www.justgiving.com/simonsrockyroad) WITH YOUR FRIENDS/FAMILY AND ASK THEM TO SPONSOR ME TOO WITH LOTS OF £££££ (shamelessly begging to raise ££ for charity!!)
P.P.S. why do something little when dreams were always meant to be big and wonderful ?