A quick note to say my challenge for Luca has come to a temporary halt with a very annoying niggly foot injury that i cannot seem to shake.  The 14/14 challenge was made impossible by this but as they say, you cant keep a good man / woman down and will be back and carrying on as soon as I am able ………..for the lovely Luca xxx

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The new challenge begins………..

Well – it has actually begun and my timekeeping with regards blogs has not improved!!! 14 half marathons in 2014 – started in January and you can follow my progress here………..Not looking forward to this!!!

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End of the 10k tour of the UK for 2 legs for Luca ……

Dragons v blues blogFinal blog!

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Post Newport – week 69, run 69!!! – the final week of my challenge

Well – this is over a week late in the writing and I suspect it is in some ways because I can’t believe / don’t want to believe, it is all over.

My last run was in Newport and was really down to the organisation of Chris Davies and the Lliswerry runners. He organised for me to run a 5k before the official parkrun on Dec 21st so that I could total 10k. I was joined by a number of friends and family at 8am including Luca’s very lovely aunty and also Llewelyn – photographer and Santa extraordinaire. The atmosphere was distinctly festive and there were many costumes as well as Luca T shirts present. The run itself was entirely forgettable for me! I had been ill all week (again!) and had managed one proper meal before the run – I was absolutely running on empty and I had to keep on an on saying Luca’s name in my head in order to keep myself going. Fortunately, Luca (and Zack, Sian and Mo) had all come to cheer us on (well, this is what I kept telling myself whilst watching Luca totally engrossed in any computer game on offer!!!)

I was so so glad that there was a break at 5k and Chris announced my challenge to what must have been around 200 runners for the official parkrun. Everyone was lovely – thank you especially to Ruth Phillips who ran with me a lot of the first 5k as it was really only a trot for her. Thank you also so much to Janice Chappell – who is one of the loveliest people I have ever worked with and who despite knees that should never really be run on, put in the training and ran with me most the way (except when I couldn’t keep up!) all for Luca.

Thank you also for Kerry and Jorja Grace – not only for running with me but for allowing me to go over the line ahead of them when I know that both could have easily run very good times if they hadn’t been running for me and for Luca.

After the run, we all assembled in the coffee room and sang carols. It was an amazing day. My very very lovely work had turned out in their millions (well it felt like it) and run the last 5k of my challenge with me. They had also brought a cheque to donate a great deal of money to Luca’s funds and presented it to me at the carol singing (actually they had to try twice as the first time apparently they made a lovely speech and then when they asked me to come up, I was absent, having taken my niece to the toilet! great timing from Jorja and me!!) Anyway, I cannot thank them enough, not just because of their donation but also because of their interest along the way, their support and their team spirit – I count myself as very lucky to have found them! Additionally – the girls at work had donated to Luca instead of giving Christmas cards and their generosity, support and interest has also meant a great deal.

The generosity of the Lliswerry and parkrunners was humbling – both in spirit, in donation and in their welcome. At one point I remember just looking at the scene – Luca and Zack playing on the floor, everyone chatting, Nas collecting donations, mam looking for her “lost” camera (wouldn’t be a scene without it!), Dad doing well to cope in a noisy busy atmosphere that is a nightmare for anyone who is partially hearing and using hearing aids as those of you who suffer will appreciate. I also was accompanised by my best friend from school who has been an absolute star supporter of both me and of Luca(as she pointed out – we had not seen each other for 20 yrs and then we have seen each other 3 times in as many months – all down to Luca!) Her husband had trained especially for the 10k and ran with me for both – unbelievable commitment – again inspired by Luca. Gareth Andrews, my friend from climbing Kilimanjaro also made the effort to come from Bridgend to run the 8am and 9am runs – so appreciated.

We all left Tredegar House on a high – an amazing end to the challenge and an amazing start to Christmas. In the evening, my family had an awesome quiet gathering with Luca and his family – I shall never ever forget that night and the amazing gift and the lovely words spoken by Mo – it has has been a pleasure and an honour to join them in their journey towards securing Luca’s future.

On Boxing day, I was allowed to do a lap of honour at Rodney Parade at half time in the Dragons vs Blues match. This was special for so many reasons. I am indebted to Mark Jones and Mike Sage who arranged this and let me and 4 “hands” (Meryl, Mo, Nas and Kerry) take over the pitch at half time. The reception was awesome, the programme write up was lovely (thank you Phil James) and the match was amazing. I cannot believe you let us do this for Luca and both he and Zack had an awesome time – you are all complete stars. It went in a blur – mostly because I was trying to keep up with Jorja Grace who seems to have developed into an athelete over this last year!

I got to share this occasion with Luca and Zack and their family and this made the ending of the challenge even more special.

Over the last 69 weeks I have met so many lovely people, re-met many long lost friends and felt the true support of having a close family nearby. I would like to especially thank the following and any omissions are genuinely unintentional. So here goes – many many thanks to the following:

Keiron O’Donovan – physio at Jump in Manchester, for helping me prepare for this challenge. The poor soul must have got fed up with my repeated contacts with new injuries whilst I was in training. I remember clearly the day he told me that some of my many aches and pains were actually a result of training and not the fact that I had truly injured something – his reassurance and help with rehab set me on the right path and I used his teaching throughout.

Mam and Dad, Kerry, Paul and JG – your love, support, transport, maps, guidance, word games, pronunciation, comments on trees, traffic cones, life and the universe, have totally kept me going. Especially thanks to Paul for driving me at weekends when he drives all week for a living and could probably have done without it.

I truly don’t believe I would have made it to the end of the challenge without all of you.

Sarah and Geoff Banks thank you for your support and hospitality and run accompanying – so glad I found you! Tracey James and all the partners and staff at work – amazing support on all levels.

Steve Prosser – my awesome masseur – definitely kept me together physically and mentally!

Wendy Guppy, Lisa Jayne Ryall, Nic Rodriguez, Jenny Finch and Kim Owen – your constant supportive comments and your words of encouragement from start to finish really helped me to keep going.

Kim Gregory, Helen Gadsden, Lisa Wiles, Matt Cawson and Aunty Vi for your help with accomodation, driving me to places and accompanying me on runs – you were and are spectacular!

Tracy Pinder for all her help with ideas and advice for advertising my challenge.

Johnny Leota – one of the loveliest guys I have ever had the pleasure to work with – thank you for growing your hair, shaving it like Mr T and going over the try line with your hand raised for Luca on TV – you are truly a good man

Special thanks to Lliswerry Runners and particularly Chris Davies for giving up so much time and effort to arrange my last 2 x5k 10k run! Without them we could not have done it and with them it was festive, awesome, filled with lovely people, welcoming and completely memorable.

Danny and Nia Lydiate for your unfailing support both before the challenge and during it (that goes for Jemma Gustafson and Natasha Louca Jones too!)

Rhod Gilbert for advertising my challenge on his radio show and also on his web page and Wynne Evans for buying my T shirts for me at the beginning of the challenge.

The South Wales Argus, Wales online and Wales on Sunday for helping with raising the profile of my challenge.

Healthspan for your bursary helping me to fund the challenge and also for all running with me in Bristol.

Leicester Tigers for allowing me to run round the pitch at half time and also Tigers Images for the amazing photo of me and JG – haven’t looked that young for 20 years!!!

Richard Parks for being my best friend ever and also for laughing at me on a regular basis after he made me run my first ever 10k nearly 2 years ago and was there to hear me say I would never ever do anything like that again!

Finally to Mo Syed, Sian Williams, Naseem Syed Luca and Zack – thank you for allowing me to be part of your life – it has been an honour and an privilege to have met you and to played a small part. Your gift is on my wall in pride of place. I hope you will allow me to continue to accompany you on your journey – love to you all.


PS – I SADLY DIDNT REACH MY CHALLENGE TOTAL OF £69,000 – I therefore have to keep going until I do – more details to follow! …………………………………………………………………………………………

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Post Wells – week 68, run 68 !!!

Wells 10k blog

From this foto I can really see how tired I am and also how against all the rules of regular exercise, I appear to have put on a stone since I started this challenge. If I had any energy left I would be particularly cross about that but to be honest I will just have to let it go and go and get my pack of revels…..ah, now that might be where I have gone wrong!!!

Well, the penultimate week is done! Oh my gosh – I cant believe this is nearly finished. I was 47 when I started this challenge and I am now 49 – at least it has been a worthwhile use of my last 69 weeks I must say!

Anyway, this week was Wells. It was a “there and back” in one day with Mam and Dad. I left it till near the end as I am really tired now and it is close. Well actually it was supposed to be close. I was trying to make less noise in the car to stop irritating dads hearing aid (just the one hearing aid – he should be wearing two but that is a whole other story – dad if you are reading this – MAKE THE APPOINTMENT!!! – you can’t escape me just because I am not at your house!)

Anyway, I turned the lady’s voice off on my sat nav and began the usual chat with mam and before long had sailed (well driven) straight past my turn off – doh! That added some time to our journey but the weather was fab and we were in good moods (mam and dad probably because the poor souls have sat in the car with me regularly for between 2 and 5 hours over the last year and they were probably secretly pleased this was only just over the hour – or was supposed to have been)

We got to Wells and found a car park where the meters were not working – result! Mam verbalised how little it worried her that we had not paid and no one else appeared to have paid or left notes in their windows – in fact she verbalised it so many times that I realised how worried she was…………

I left her and dad to shop and I ran – first half I misjudged and included some inclines (Kerry where are you when I need you) but the second half was properly flat. I ran to Kerry’s music to try it out – I can see why she shoots out from the starting blocks!! (well apart from talent!) it was much faster than my music – Kerry says it makes her go faster – it just makes me feel mutinous and stick to the slowest possible pace that would not be classed as walking.

I was in less pain as I had “Andrew ACE feet in motion orthotics” in – loving your work Andrew – – no numb painful toes for me this week – and the heel pain was less – yay! I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the run but it was definitely an improvement on St Asaph in terms of pain

I finished and we went to a Greek Taverna for lunch, did a bit of shopping in the cheap shop mam and I love so much and then bundled into the car home having avoided any penalty charges as predicted we would. Could almost hear mam’s sigh of relief.

Well the journey home was interesting. After half an hour we were still 50 miles from home courtesy of my sat nav that had taken us the scenic and cross country and longest route home imagineable. Fortunately I had the good company of mam and dad and a lovely day to drive in.

I was sad again this week as this is the last trip with my mam and dad and this year has really been a treasure of journeys with my family making the challenge so much easier to complete

So many people have been so lovely to me – very supportive and encouraging and I am hoping that next week, my end run in Newport will have a lot of people that I can say thank you to and will include the young man himself – Master Luca Williams – roll on run 69 of 69 in 69 weeks – shame about the £69,000 target not being reached but will def be working on that over the year to come……………

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Post St Asaph – week 67, run 67!!!

St Asaph actual blog

In case you haven’t noticed – I have missed a week. Last weekend Mam, Dad and I went to visit my Aunty who has Parkinson’s. My Uncle died whilst I was doing this challenge and we try to visit my Aunty in Liverpool as often as we can. This is why I had “banked” a run in the Cambridge week so that we could visit Aunty Vi as I had no annual leave left.

Anyway, this was a tough run but I was in lovely company so it didn’t matter. I had a week of doing nothing in particular except working but I did manage to stay off the revels, ice lollies and any other rubbish for 5 whole days – result (the weekend didn’t carry on in that fashion though!)

My lovely brother in law drove us all to St Asaph on Saturday morning and was in a very good mood considering the main topics of conversation were my Kitten’s impending loss of his “man bits” and my sister and I comparing and contrasting and commiserating about various menopausal symptoms. Poor Paul must have wondered what had hit him – he didn’t bother trying to stop us (especially after hearing about the variety of symptoms we both were sharing including extreme intolerance!!!!!)

We got to St Asaph and it was basically shut! It was a lovely and very, very, very tiny City which Paul and Jorja explored (twice) whilst we ran. Kerry and I popped into a local pub to use the toilet and the manager kindly let us. We gave him a card outlining my challenge for Luca and he said the pub donate to a charity each week and that this week it would be to Luca – how lovely and amazing was that?

I had unfortunately left work on Thursday in a hurry and left to go to St Asaph on Saturday also in a hurry. This meant that unfortunately I had to run without 1) my knees taped 2) my proper trainers and 3) my orthotics 4) my normally positive frame of mind (ha ha!) . If I was ever in doubt as to the effectiveness of any the above (excepting point 4 which has never really arisen!) , this run proved that they have, in combination saved my challenge (personally I think the orthotics have been my best ever buy!! – also worth visiting Andrew at ACE just for his entirely unique and very funny take on life and the Universe!)I was in total pain every step of the way – my painful numb toes returned, my plantar fasciitis raged, both Achilles cried out to stop and my calves, unused to no orthotics both tightened up to a point of pain – did I complain???? Of course I did! every step of the way!! So sorry Luca – I really don’t do much in the uncomplaining manner you do!

Kerry totally kept me going – she looked lovely and relaxed (she wasn’t but is better at ignoring her pain than I am and complains less!) and stayed with me all the way (apparently because her luminous t shirt would protect me from oncoming cars in the failing light – nice of her to try and put it like that!)

We ran a relatively ok route for the first half but it had too many hills and for the second half wemanaged to find a flat route which we completed a “there and back” on (with a detour up a lovely flat path that turned out to be someone’s sweeping drive (twice)!)

After the run we got into the car and our chauffeur (Paul) took us to Colwyn Bay to the same guesthouse as we stayed for the Bangor 10k all those months ago. It was lush. I spent an hour in the bath and then we walked down to the “Toad” to eat – oh my gosh it was absolutely fab – we were starving and ate the most awesome food (too much) and drink.

The starter was the most amazing Portobello mushroom dish and as Kerry descended into a world of gourmet pleasure, she sighed so forcefully through her nostrils that she blew the candle out – we didn’t laugh at all (no really – we didn’t Kerry – don’t worry!)

We had a lovely walk along the front back to the guesthouse and I roomed with Jorja Grace. She was very gracious in telling her parents we had had a good night together when in fact she had let me have the window open (which she didn’t want) and she then had to put up with me when I fell asleep mid conversation (again!) We did have quite a bit of fun trying out various gym moves (forward rolls etc, backward headstands etc ) before I finally fell asleep so at least I was mildly good company for a (very) little time!

This morning we got up and had a lush, lush breakfast and were driven home by the chauffeur again – we managed to stay awake for most of the trip but didn’t exactly entertain with our level of chat.

This was our last mini adventure as a family and it was really quite sad. It was also a fab weekend so thank you to Kerry Paul and Jorja Grace – luv you all xxx


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Post Exeter week 65, run 66!!!

Exeter blog

Well here we are again! A busy week and then the luxury of being driven by my brother in law to Exeter and the company of my sister running with me as well as the super support of Jorja Grace and her witty repartee! In addition to this it was a “there and back” journey which meant that I had a free day at the weekend – I have been ridiculously excited when this has happened over this last 66 weeks as I have had so few and they have become particularly precious (especially now I have a (very lovely) new job that is full time and really quite tiring).

The journey down was fine and we found a parking place and got changed. During my attempt to remove my hoody I unfortunately got stuck in it. I had forgotten to undo it and it got to that difficult point where it would not move on or off. I waited and waited with my arms in the air for Kerry or Paul or Jorja to rescue me and put me out my misery. After some time struggling in the middle of a public car park I eventually rescued myself. I had been wondering what had happened to my lovely family and when the hoody came off I realised that instead of helping me they had filmed and taken pictures of the entire embarrassing event whilst crying laughing. These photos I am sure will be added to the “photos of Aunty Dee looking like a complete banana” album. Thanks guys – glad you all had a proper belly laugh on me!!!

Once everyone had recovered, Kerry and I set off – I was very very grateful to her for coming with me on this run as she was carrying an injury and really shouldn’t have run – neither of us felt like it but we kind of pushed each other on and eventually finished (stopped to take a pic of the lovely waterfall on the way round and also changing our route every time the gradient looked in danger of moving anywhere away from “dead flat”!)

This led to Mam’s text afterwards saying “interesting route” – I felt pretty proud that we had managed to run avoiding almost every incline – one up for the lazy runners!!!

We had a lovely meal (funded by the bank of mam and dad) in a Harvester and then wended our weary way back (Kerry stiffened up very nicely on the journey home which I was suitably empathetic about – i.e I laughed at her attempts to walk) I feel this was an appropriate reaction after being filmed stuck helplessly in my hoody!

This weekend is a rest weekend and next week starts the 1st of my last 3 runs for Luca -watch this space! ……


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