…and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun. Great lyrics from John Lennon and I thought it would be a great start for my 12 Days of Christmas summary.
I completed my challenge on Saturday. I needed to give myself a few days to write this as I was all up a height and pretty emotional. It’s developed into a big part of my life and I never expected the level of support from everyone. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support from people, which probably leads perfectly into me sending out a few thank-you’s.
Thanks to everyone who donated, some I know and some I don’t. Thanks to all the supporting runners: John, Peter, Stephen, Ross, Val, Mick, Paul, Martin, Lee, Brian, Emma, Gerard, Gareth, Juliet, Davey, Debbie, Gillian, Kate, June and Chris. I’ve just counted them, 2o in total. Simply unbelievable. I hope you enjoyed being part of my challenge and enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. That’s one way of looking at it anyway!
Thanks also to Stephen for picking me up from various locations. Thanks to everyone who beeped, waved, nodded and said “morning” along the way. Thanks to my family and friends for the support throughout. Thanks to Ed and the team at Percy Hedley for believing in my challenge and for the constant support. Thanks to Phil for kindly printing and laminating my 12 numbers. Thanks to Smooth, TFM and Metro Radio for allowing me to do an interview and airing it. Thanks to The Northern Echo, the Durham Times, the Evening Chronicle and the Durham Advertiser for featuring my challenge several times over Christmas. Thanks to Ross for buying me my pint on the 7th day and to Paul for my Full English on day 9. I also received a lovely etched pint glass from Ross with a bottle of vintage Bulmers. A lovely thought and the words on it congratulate me for completing the challenge. Thank-you to my friends at Nike for sending me a pair of running tights. I wasn’t sure if they would fit but they did! I’d also like to thank Lanchester Dairies. They were the only company mentioned in the challenge to sponsor me and it was a very generous donation too. Finally, I owe a massive thank-you to my Wife, Amy, for the support. Not just for this challenge but for every time I might have a crazy idea. I feel like without her, I’d be nothing. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone off this list but you know I thank-you!
I won’t lie, the challenge took up loads of time. From thinking of the idea, to planning routes, to finally running them and then to blog about it each day. It did affect our Christmas a little bit but it certainly didn’t spoil it. It was quite nice having Adam saying on a morning “Daddy going out for a run.” I’d say “Yeah, I am.” Adam would then say “Why?” to which I’d reply “Good question!” It’s a shame in a way my kids are too young to appreciate my challenge but I’ve now got photos that explain the journey. I’m trying to set an example to my kids so I hope they appreciate it one day.
I’ve had tremendous fun doing the challenge. Yes it was hard but it was so rewarding. I’ve been asked what my hardest runs were? Well one of them was a real surprise! The 2.5 mile run (mostly downhill) to Durham on the 7th day I found hard. Strange as it was the shortest run and it was rewarded at the end with a pint! Other hard runs were 2 Turtle Doves, 5 Gold Rings, 8 Maids-a-Milking (fine until that bank!) and 10 Lords Leaping. I’m so grateful to everyone who ran but especially those who where the only other runner. Not surprisingly most of the hard days I’ve just mentioned featured just one other runner. So special thanks to Peter and John for the Christmas Eve run, Stephen for day 2, Lee for day 5 and Martin for day 10. What I take from this is that the more people you have running with you, the more motivated you are.
The challenge was created to raise money for Percy Hedley. I actually think it has done more than that. It’s also created awareness for them through the coverage in the papers and I think it brought people together, as it helped motivate them to exercise over Christmas. I’ve received several messages and tweets saying how my challenge has inspired them and motivated them to exercise or start running again. Hearing things like this just puts a huge smile on my face.
Everyone who ran with me were provided with Percy Hedley running vests and wristbands. I hope they’re like me and that every time they see them it reminds them of the challenge and the wonderful memories it helped created. I’m so pleased I created the challenge. It made new friendships, it made me run the furthest I’ve ever ran, it helped raise money and awareness for Percy Hedley but most of all it created a part in my life that I’ll never forget.
When people talk to me about the Christmas of 2012 I’ll be thinking of one thing and that’s the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge for Percy Hedley.
Thanks for everything,