For those who know me, you know that I love running. For those who know me well, you know I am extremely determined, can't resist a challenge and I am a little bit bonkers.
Sadly, the running and craziness run in my genes but rather than fight it, I have learnt to embrace it.
My dad, Gary Wade, is my running inspiration, mentor and often my running coach. He was one of the original members of the 100 Marathon Club and has now run over 340 marathons.
I turned 40 at the beginning of the year and as often happens when hitting milestone birthdays, a bucket list was created! It is no surprise that mine was mainly running related -
- To run my first double marathon (done)
- To run my first ultra (booked for October)
- To have run 50 marathons by the end of 2017 (getting there)
It is only recently, with 41 marathons now under my belt, that I will call myself a marathon runner. 41 may seem like a lot of marathons to other people but compared to the likes of my dad and my other running friends, I am still a newbie in the marathon world.
My favourite ever marathon is Windermere Marathon. The course is tough but it is stunning and it is a cracking day out for the whole family (with a zip wire, high ropes course, canoeing and archery being just a sample of activities to entertain my two girls and a beer tent for my husband).
My dad is the only runner to have completed every single Windermere Marathon. I have run the race 3 times but before I ran it, I used to go along and support my dad (basically sitting in the sun, with a drink in hand, ready to clap and cheer as he and the other runners finished). As well as the single marathon, there is also a 10 in 10 event, which basically involves a group of runners running the same course, 10 days in a row with the 10th race, being the official Windermere Marathon. Every year, my dad and I chat about doing the 10 in 10 and every year we laugh off the idea and say, we're not that daft/stupid/crazy (you wouldn't think it to look at us though)!
Well this year, something was different - it could possibly have been my reaching 40, my dad battling with diabetes issues (which lead him to not being able to run for 6 months) or it could be that we have learnt more about the Brathay Trust who puts on the challenge. The Brathay Trust is based in the Lake District but they now have a few centres across Yorkshire. They provide incredible opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged youngsters and give them a chance to turn their lives around. They also provide support for these youngsters and their families through the challenges they face.
Rather than dismissing the idea of running 262 marathons in 10 days, for once we actually considered it. After a bit of gentle persuasion from our running family (and a bit of nagging my dad), we took the plunge and entered. It's not like just entering a race, where you pay a fee and get an automatic place, the application involves preparing detailed fundraising and training plans to demonstrate how you are going to smash the challenge and then there is the agonising wait to find out if you have been accepted - like the London Marathon ballet with more suspense and drama!
Well last Friday, we received the call we had been awaiting and I am so excited to say that we were both accepted - woo hoo. Not only this, but we will be the first dad and daughter team to take on the challenge.
Despite having a week to let the news sink in, I am still in the giddy/excited stage. The reality of the enormity of the challenge has not yet sunk in but I am sure that reality will strike soon and panic will set in! I work full time, I have my own running business (which involves me providing guided running tours of York over the weekend and on evenings, I am also hosting my first running races this year and launching a running group for new mums), I also currently have a paper round (well, it is my daughter's but I go out with her each morning!). With all this going on, when am I going to fit in my training?
I am not what you would call a conventional runner. I am on the curvy side and have a tendency to reward running achievements with cake! Sadly, cake is not the typical fuel of a highly trained, lean, mean running machine! Also, my training leaves a lot to be desired - my routine includes a weekly trampolining fitness class! I don't think I ever read about such training methods in Paula Radcliffe's autobiography!
There's added pressure on my dad too as being the only person to run all Windermere Marathons, he needs to make sure he completes all 10 days to continue his streak!
I am under no illusion - the challenge will be tough and I will be pushed to my physical and mental limits over these next 10 months. The one thing that will keep me motivated is knowing that we are doing this crazy thing to raise money for the Brathay Trust and hoping that what we are doing will in some way help change the life of a youngster who either has a disadvantaged start in life or who has simply taken the wrong path.
We have lots planned in order to smash our £6k joint target but to kick start things off, we have set up a Just Giving page. We are extremely grateful for anyone able to donate for this incredible cause. If you are unable to donate, kindly share, share, share our story on social media and help us spread the word. You will soon be able to follow the journeys of all runners selected for next year's 10 in 10 challenge on the Brathay Trust Challenge webpage.
Thank you for all your support and if anyone fancies coming out for a training run on a lunchtime or after work, give me a shout - I need all the help I can get!