Hi everyone and thanks again for visiting my blog.
Following my last post, I am now ready to share with you what happened on the 2nd day of the National Running Show in Birmingham.
The show started at 9:30am and the first speech was by Sean Conway who is currently the only person in history who has completed the Great British Triathlon which consists of running, swimming and cycling the length of Britain. The swim was considered impossible and had never been attempted. Unfortunately I had missed this speech as I was having breakfast at the same time.
I joined the show and the first thing I realised was that it didn’t seem as busy as the day before however that is to be expected. The next speech was by Jamie Ramsey and I joined half way through. Jamie ran the entire length of the Americas starting at Vancouver in Canada and ending in Buenos Aires in Argentina. I was completely blown away and inspired by what Jamie had achieved and I was just totally mesmerised. After listening to Jamie speech, I was so eager and excited to listen to rest of the speeches during the day, anticipating more sources of inspiration. The picture below shows the scale of Jamie’s achievements.
Next up was Anna Mcnuff and Anna’s positive personality shone throughout her speech. Anna ran the entire length of New Zealand whilst was around 2,000 miles. Anna spoke of her positive and negative experiences but her spirit and courage was amazing.
Elise Downing was next on stage and I was really looking forward to hearing her speech. I have followed her on Twitter since last year but I didn’t know that she was speaking so it was a nice surprise. Elise ran a lap of the British Coast starting on the 1st November 2016 which was around 5,000 miles and was the youngest person and the only female to complete the challenge. I was amazed by how someone so young achieved such a historic accomplishment.
Next there was a question and answer session consisting of Russell Smith and Susie Chan (both chairs), Sean, Ira Rainey, Anna, Elise and Jenny Tough. A lot of interesting questions were asked including how did they save the money to do these expeditions. I found this question in particular quite interesting as you realise these people were ordinary people who had ordinary jobs but decided they wanted to live their life a certain way and they saved up the money needed to undertake their treks.
After lunch there was a speech by Lisa Jackson who has ran 105 marathons and finished last in 25 of them. Lisa talked about how it is ok to finish last and I totally agree with her. The reality is the person who finishes last isn’t really last as they are still in front of everyone who hadn’t even attempted to run. There is a lot of pressure on runners to run well and get a certain time so it was refreshing to hear Lisa’s speech.
The next speeches were by Ira Rainey and Anita Bean but I was now having a browse of the stalls again looking for things to buy. There was some amazing things there including foam rolling which I ended up trying. Found it really painful and don’t think foam rolling is for me.
Next up was Danny Bent who was voted in the top 100 of the happiest people in the UK and one of the 50 most inspirational people in London. I could tell this was the case just by listening to him as he had a happy persona about him.
Next up was Jenny Tough and I believe that Jenny is Tough by name and tough by nature. Jenny has an ambition to run across a mountain range on every continent. She has ran across a mountain range in Kyrgyzstan which took 23 days. Jenny’s self-belief was evident as she was constantly told at the start of her trip that it wasn’t possible but she proved them wrong and I think that was the biggest thing I learnt from her talk.
The next speech was by Barefoot Aleks Kashefi.I missed this speech but his achievements include running Land’s End to John O’Groats barefoot in 2015 and becoming the first person to have run the entire length of the European continent in 2017, having decided to start his 6 months long run from deep in the Arctic Circle, at the end of summer, self-supported and in his trusty Luna sandals.
The penultimate speech was from Dan Keeley titled from Rome to Home. I was gutted to miss this speech as it combined two of my passions (mental health and running). In 2012, after 6 months of not looking after himself, Dan experienced a full-scale manic episode in Italy which resulted with him preaching from the central lane of a major motorway at rush hour. He believed he was ‘the chosen one’. What followed was time spent in psychiatric wards, a diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder and 6 months of crippling depression which had him wanting to take his own life. Dan decided to take on this challenge to share his story and he raised around £17,000 for charity.
The final speech of the weekend was by Ben Smith. Ben completed 401 marathons in 401 days raising around £330,000 for two anti-bullying charities. Ben spoke very candidly about his experiences which included being bullied and two suicide attempts. At the age of 29 Ben suffered an incomplete stroke but this helped him to make a change in his life and he discovered a passion for running. Ben spoke about how he progressed from 10ks to half marathons to full marathons to running 2 marathons in 2 days. Ben then decided that he wanted to attempt a Guinness world record of running the highest amount of marathons in consecutive days. The record at that point was 365 so in effect a marathon every day for a year. Ben then decided he wanted to do 401. The story gained media coverage and Ben’s journey galvanised and inspired both runners and non-runners. Many people came out to support Ben and Ben supported others by giving them encouragement and inspiration. The speech ended in a well-deserved standing ovation and it was a fantastic end to a brilliant weekend. To put Ben’s achievement into context, some of the stats are below:
10,506.2 miles run or the equivalent distance between London and Sydney
2,600 litres of water drank
2.9 million calories burnt
9,873 people ran with Ben in the challenge
1,354 people ran further than they have ever done before
575 first time Marathon / Ultra Marathon runners created
101 schools visited throughout the UK
3 countries visited including England, Scotland and Wales
25,000 miles driven all-round the UK in a motorhome
23 pairs of trainers worn
Over 12,000 images taken
2 Chest Infections
1 Fractured Back along with other injuries
All this and countless more people inspired and motivated to make a real positive change in their lives and others’ forever.
Ben and The 401 Challenge team have received awards for this inspiring project, including:
Braveheart Hero at the North Somerset Hero Awards 2015
Public Choice Award at the North Somerset Hero Awards 2015
The Regional and National Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year Award 2016
The Power of Light Award 2016 from the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister Theresa May
Gold Star Charity Champion at the Bristol Post Gold Star Awards 2016
First’s Gold Star Hero at the Bristol Post Gold Star Awards 2016
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award 2016
To briefly summarise, this was a fantastic event and an amazing weekend. I do however feel the speeches today in particular were incredible. One thing that all the speakers had in common is that they all came across multiple barriers but their love for running and the outdoors outshone everything. It goes to show that the impossible is possible if you put your mind to it.
Sorry this is a really long post and thank you so much if you have got to this point.
Thanks for reading