Inspirational John O’Groats to Land’s End stories

In the lead up to my own JOGLE challenge I’ve been looking at how just a few other incredible people have achieved the same end to end challenge, albeit in very different ways. My challenge pales in to insignificance against some of the efforts noted below – but this comes to a point that I do try and often remind myself of – you challenge yourself, no one else, because they are your own limits, your own comfort zone you are trying to break out of.

So, here are some of those noteworthy achievements;

The record for cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a conventional bicycle is held by Gethin Bulter who, in 2001, completed the trip in 44hrs 04mins 20secs. This is an incredible achievement considering the average LEJOG / JOGLE takes 10 – 14 days when not aiming for a ‘fastest’ time.

Between the 1 and 4 March 2010 David Walliams, Jimmy Carr, Fearne Cotton, Miranda Hart, Patrick Kielty, Davina McCall and Russell Howard cycled JOGLE as a relay team to raise money for Sport Relief.

sportrelief_celebritycyclists_0

In 2013 Richard Whitehead, Paralympian sprinter and London 2012 hero, ran for 42 days from John O’Groats to Land’s End. That’s 38 marathons in 42 days. This is a man who was born with nothing from the knee down and ran on carbon fibre blades – a superhuman achievement irrespective of ability.

Sean Conway is the first and only person to have swam from Land’s End to John O’Groats, completing this unique achievement between 30 June and 11 November 2013. What makes this more incredible is that he only managed three miles in a local pool before setting off from Land’s End.

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Kate Driskell ran from Land’s End to John O’Groats, self-supported, earlier this year – that’s a combined 318 hours of running over 1,000 miles, by her self, carrying all her stuff. Just phenomenal.

Why do people do it?

I find what drives people is often as interesting as the challenge itself. So what drives someone to come up with these ideas and then get out there and give them a go?

This quote taken from Kate’s blog is interesting “Having run a couple of UK National Trails in the past, self-supported, I still “need” to do Land’s End to John O’Groats.  I’ve wanted to traverse the length of Britain on foot for quite some time…There really aren’t very many people who have done it like this, much less women.”

Sean Conway, in an article in the Guardian on 6 February 2017, shared how “There was a scenario that played in my head all the time – I had given up and gone home, and after two days I was warm and feeling good. So, I open my emails. There are messages saying: ‘Sorry, mate, but I didn’t think it was possible anyway.’ Just thinking about that gave me panic attacks.

Richard Whitehead has said he was said he was inspired by the memory of amputee and sarcoma cancer sufferer Terry Fox, who tried to run the length of Canada before he died at the age of 22.

Everyone’s motivations are as different as the person themselves – but as these inspirational people say themselves – there is some kind of ‘need’ to be fulfilled, to be first, to be one of the few, or simply just to do something different to achieve a better life for themselves or for those in need.

Why am I doing it?

By why do it? First and foremost this is about raising money for an amazing cause – supporting Make-A-Wish and ensuring they can continue to grant magical wishes to children and young people facing life threatening conditions. I want to raise £5,000, the equivalent of around £5 per challenge mile walked, run and cycled this year. I want to do it because no child should have to have a life that is defined by illness, disability or hospital appointments and that is why what Make-A-Wish does is so important. The wishes they grant provide hope, joy and a respite for the families who do really deserve it.

Much like Kate Driskell, this was a challenge I felt I needed to have on my list. It is about proving a point – to myself and others – that you can achieve anything if you have the imagination and determination to succeed.

Why November? This was one of the first I considered when planning my year of challenges – the original plan being to cycle and end on New Year’s day at Land’s End, a symbolic end to the year. However the personal sacrifice required, most importantly in respect to my children, didn’t sit comfortably with me – so JOGLE moved to November a month when I was still without a challenge.

Cycling solo is going to be tough, maintaining the motivation to keep going day after day is going to require me to dig deep. But I will take inspiration with me;

  • My girls – the constant reason to be the best version of me I can be, so that I can support them to grow up be to decent, honest and empowered women,
  • The children, like Milla Frobisher, for whom this is all for – to provide a smile, a break and most importantly some magic,
  • My gran – who passed away earlier this year, but who reminds me to just keep going
  • My family and friends who have supported me so far – thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

 

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