I’m an 82 years old with the semi-disability of Osteoarthritis which means the use of sticks or elbow crutches. If I’m doing difficult terrain, I need a companion with me as if I fall over, I can't get up. A bit like a sheep when gets on its back...buggered!
Well enough of the sob story…
I came out of out of the forces in the early 80s, smoking 60+ a day but very fit, but that fitness started to drop. I was persuaded to go running after being out a few months and after a couple of miles, I was violently ill. I went back to digs, gave all my cigs away and never smoked again. No fancy gimmicks, just will power.
I had the ambition to run a half marathon in under two hours within six months, and four months later, I ran the 80 mile South Downs trail race in under 17 hours and became hooked on Ultra Distance Mountain running...basically swapped one drug for another.
Since then I have run/walked thousands of miles for numerous charities, many connected to the forces, but if all goes well, this my third for Tŷ Hafan.
Over the years, I’ve topped the £15,000mark…not bad for a nobody.
I am the Founder and Race Director of the first Dragon’s Back Race in 1992 which has become legendary in Mountain races (you can find details of this online).
The second picture is of me with Colour/Sgt who was in charge of the Parachute regiment who did all logistics on Dragon’s Back. Conoco (Jet) also came up with £30,000.
My other main achievement was to take part in The Marathon de Sable, a race across the Sahara. If you know someone you really dislike, you should recommend them to do it, I can't go to the seaside and look at the dunes without having nightmares.
The third photo is of me and the support team on Three Peaks in March for Tŷ Hafan. The same guys are going to be up for it in May when we attempt the Big Blacks Mountain Challenge for Tŷ Hafan.
The event is organised by the Longtown Mountain Rescue who have given me their full support as apparently, I have become something of a minor celebrity with them!
…If slightly mad
As the Distance is in excess of 30 miles with over 7,000 ft of pretty unforgiving terrain, coupled with my disability, it will mean me being on my feet for over 24 hours. So as the event starts at 8:00am on the Saturday, I will start at noon on the Friday and, as with Three Peaks, I walk through the night. Actually, it is quite an experience.
…or complete bloody madness, a sense of humour is a priority.
It only leaves the question of why Tŷ Hafan? Well, I have reached the age of 82 with the ups and downs of life and to see those children, most who will never reach their teens, makes me want to do something to make things easier for what life they have and it’s a driving force when I’m thinking of quitting. For they fight to the end and so do I.