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BC: The Wainwright Runners 2010

FC: 7 marathons in 7 days

1: Imagine running a marathon. Imagine running it with a rucksack, up and down some of the most mountainous terrain in the United Kingdom. Now imagine doing that 7 days in a row, in rain, wind, fog and quite possibly snow. It's the stuff of nightmares. You'd have to be doing it for a jolly good reason! | Adults and children with heart problems now have access to a new state-of-the-art 29 million facility: the first stage of the cardiac expansion at the John Radcliffe Hospital is complete and the second stage – a major renovation of the existing facilities – is under way. To support this innovation a fundraising campaignhas been launched to provide equipment and facilities beyond the normal resources of the NHS, transforming the environment for patients. Your support will make a huge diference to the thousands of patients we treat here every year. | The coast to coast run is being undertaken to raise money to support the development of two key Heart Centre projects that are not funded by the NHS. One is the development of "Echo World". This is the area of the department where patients who are already in hospital as well as those who visit from home come to have ultrasound scans of their hearts. For the last decase there has been no dedicated facility and patients and their companions have had to wait in corridors before having their scans performed in cramped rooms. Echo World has been designed to provide space, dignity and comfort for those waiting to have their investigations.

2: The sponsorship and the planning,the organising and the buying ,and last but not least the training,were done. | Tim Betts and Iain Rock. wainwrightrunners

3: Dipping their toes in the water at St Bees they had their first experience of the weather to come

4: Wet within minute on the first night, there was a change in clothing choice.

6: May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

7: Iain's leg started hurting within hours of the start

8: day 1.They went North along the coast and then inland towards Ennerdale

9: Ennerdale

10: The end of the day showed them the challenges of Loft Beck | "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge,not a lack of strength but rather a lack of will" R.B

11: Loft Beck

12: Day 1. St Bees to Rosthwaite. 30.5 miles Terrain: Slippery, steep, muddy, wet, treacherous Time spent raining 95%. Time spent in sunshine 0% Good God, it’s wet in the Lake District! Set off from St Bees in the driving rain and it continued like that for hours A steep climb in the howling wind away from the beach then a run across to the first major hill, Dent, the gateway to the Lakes. When there weren’t slippy, loose stones underneath the ground was wet and boggy. My feet have been underwater for most of the trip! We picked our way along the shores of Ennerdale Lake, wading through streams, eventually passing Haystacks hidden somewhere in the mist and cloud. Apparently the Lake District is beautiful .... if you can see it through the fog. The last and greatest challenge was the incredible steep climb up Loft Beck. Going down the other side was no picnic either. The downhill is so steep it saps your energy just trying not to race out of control. Finally got in to Rosthwaite at 18:00, 9 hours after we left St Bees. That sounds like a long time to run 30 miles but the terrain is so challenging that in many places you just climb, slip, stagger, trip, squelch, wade and haul yourself up. Survived on Mars Bars, Bountys, nuts, Fruesli bars, Nik Naks, Twix, dried fruit, Baby bels and a pepperami. Slap up roast beef dinner this evening. 30 down, 160 to go!

14: day 2 | The lakes at their most ridiculous! | Day 2

15: Lining Crag

16: "There is no substitute for desire.It can make a mediocre athlete into a good one... | and a good one into a great one" R.B. | Helm crag

17: Grisedale Tarn | Helm Crag | The decent to Grasmere was hard

18: Day 2. Rosthwaite to Patterdale. 16 miles Terrain: Steep, really steep, ridiculously steep. Not a flat bit of ground to be found Time spent raining 40%. Time spent in sunshine 0.05% This was meant to be the easiest day. On paper a mere 16 miles - if only we’d been walking on ground as flat as paper. Whoever called this the Lake District wasn’t being fair. Yes, there are a few lakes, but really it should be called the stupidly hilly district. In fact, hills sound far too pleasant, which is presumable why all the peaks are called “crag” or “pike”, a far more appropriate term which conjures up accurate images of treacherously wet and slip rock-strewn paths snaking up and down from the summit. It’s impossible to tell streams and paths apart. There’s only one thing harder than climbing a steep incline – it’s descending it, fighting to try and keep control and not slip or reach a speed when it becomes impossible to stop. Today we climbed out of Rosthwaite through the mist and rain, ascending continuously for 3 miles up to the top of Lining Crag. We then descended through the bogs before foolishly deciding to take the higher, scenic detour over Calf Crag and Helm Crag, adding only an extra mile or two but at least an extra 90 minutes to the day. We were buzzed by low flying RAF jets as we struggled down to Grasmere, only to turn 90 degrees and start climbing again all the way up to Grisedale Tarn. At last there was a chance to have a couple of miles of reasonably safe running through the valley, gently following thewinding path down to Patterdale. As we arrived we finally caught a few minutes of sunshine. Had a very therapeutic sports massage (thanks Dave of the Muscle Clinic) and a huge starchy meal at the White Lion. Will need to start really early tomorrow as we will be climbing to the highest point of the whole coast to coast route, Kidsty Pike.

20: Kidsty Pike | Angle Tarn | Day 3

21: Descending to Hawswater

22: Shap Abbey

23: Oddendale Moor after crossing the M6

24: Day 3. Patterdale to Orton. 25 miles Terrain: Varied – A huge, cloud covered peak, a lakeside path, meadows and moorland Time spent raining 5%. Time spent in sunshine 20% - looking up! Woke at 06:45 and couldn’t see anything due to the low cloud and mist. Left at 08:15 and climbed for what seemed like forever up into the heavens – Angle Tarn, Satura Crag and The Knott, before summiting Kidsty Pike. 5 miles of constant uphill which took 2 hours of pain. Only got there thanks to the iPhone’s GPS as visibility was down to 20 metres. The wind was howling at the top then bizarrely the cloud broke, the sun shone and the wind died as soon as we went over the ridge and descended to Haweswater. Injury check!!!Hours of steep downhill descending have taken their toll and something has happened to my left knee. Excruciating pain on walking down steep hills but miraculously no pain when running on the flat or uphill. Getting down from Kidsty Pike was a nightmare but as that’s the last mountain for a while I’m free to run. Iain’sknee is beyond recovery and he’s now powerwalking (or powerhopping) the whole way. We had hoped the long route around the shore of Haweswater would be a pleasant jog but it soon became clear that it was just as rocky and undulating as a Cornish coastal path. We then left the Lakes behind and discovered green fields and proper, earthy mud – none of the wet boggy stuff they have in the Lakes. Also discoverred a new phenomenon - signposts! Here the C2C is actually marked, which is a god thing as the GPS battery conked out from overuse. Passed a few landmarks including the ruined abbey and the hideous cement factory at Shap and crossed the M6 onto Oddendale Moor before arriving at Scar Side Farm in Orton. Tea and cakes follwed by the largest chilli ever seen - plus rice, plus chips. Best energy snack of the day ... Spare rib flavoured Nik Naks! Trainers now so smelly they have to be left outside in a separate building. Surprisingly we have not run out of conversation yet. iPod usage = 0 hours, 0 minutes.

26: Day 4

27: Iain's feet have become horribly blistered

28: Day 4. Orton to Low Row. An exhausting 35 miles Terrain: smaller hills, bogs, moorland and the riverside tracks and meadows of Swaledale Time spent raining 5%. Time spent in sunshine 70% Tried a different approach today. Iain’s knee prevents him running so he was up at 06:30 and out the door powerlimping at 07:30. I faffed about and eventually left at 09:00, ready for a day’s running. Completely different terrain – bleak moorland, hills and dales. Quiet solitude (or lonely desolation depending on your frame of mind). With no landmarks plenty of opportunity to get lost. I caught a fantastic view of a viaduct before Kirkby Stephen, assumed Wainwright would have gone that way and ran 2 miles before I realised I was way off course. Then tripped and fell 10 feet down the steep bank leading into the gorge .... not something to do when you’re on your own. Plotted a new route and eventually caught up with Iain at Kirkby Stephen. We crossed the official half way point at 13:00 then walked over the Pennines. I left Iain for a couple of hours to run up to the Nine Standards Rigg and back. These 9 mysterious cairns are perched on a windswept ridge with fantastic views for miles around. From this eerie place I was interviewed over the phone on BBC Radio Oxford! I caught back up with Iain as we crossed from Cumbria to North Yorkshire. Here the ground became ridiculously boggy with no sign of a path. Rescued by the iPhone GPS again, although no mobile phone signal for hours. Injury update: Iain now has the two largest blisters on each heel I’ve ever seen, courtesy of miles of limping along with wet feet.It became apparent that it was going to be a very long day so I left Iain about 10 miles out to selflessly run to the B&B in Low Row to make sure the physio who was booked for 6pm stayed late enough for our sports massage and we could make last food orders in the pub. After a heroic effort I arrived at 18:30 and with great reluctance consented to having my legs rubbed whilst Iain trudged on slowly through the dark, getting in at 20:15. Teamwork .... that’s what it’s all about! Number of mini Mars eaten today = 8 (plus 2 mini Bountys, 4 mini Twixes and 2 mini Snickers and an assortment of savoury snacks Shoes beyond help – banished to the coal shed Muscles – feeling the strain

30: Day 5

31: Coming in late last night Iain was bitten by a snake.The leg swelled and became very painful. | Day 5 | "No matter how much you suffer,there are thousands of others who suffer as much, if not more" R.B.

32: They stopped in Richmond for food,plasters and fucibet.

33: Day 5. Low Row to Danby Wiske. A shattering 30 miles Terrain: The Yorkshire Dales – tarmac, paths along the River Swale, mud Time spent raining 10%. Time spent in sunshine 60% Woke up feeling drained and with stiff muscles for the first time. The strain is beginning to show so this will be a short entry. Although it was raining at 7 am the sun was out by 8 am when we set off, making Swaledale look radiant and beautiful. The thing is, you can only look at a thing of beauty for so long before it becomes slightly monotonous and that was today’s problem (although I dare say painful muscles and hypoglycaemia don’t help). We started in high spirits though and limped on to Richmond. Saw a real live wild feret on the way and had to rapidly climb a stone wall to avoid an escaped herd of cows led by a mean looking bull. In Richmond there are two vital resources for the coast to coast endurance athlete – a Boots for blister plasters and next door a Greggs for a pasty. Heaven! Injury update: To add to world record breaking blisters Iain has been bitten by something – his shin is red, swollen and painful. We think it may have been an adder when crossing the Pennines. After Richmond the scenery deteriorated – sewage works, major A roads and muddy fields. Then it started raining. I can no longer run properly but have developed a strange waddling gait. No massage tonight which is nearly enough to make one weep. Food highlight: A sausage, cheese and bean pasty followed by a Belgian bun. A good fish pie tonight. Thought for the evening – just got to get through another 60miles ......

34: Day 6 | "Success is not final,failure is not fatal:it is the courage to continue that counts" R.B.

35: The woods after Engleby Cross and the Cleveland Way

37: The Cleveland Way

38: Day 6. Danby Wiske to the Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge. 29 miles. Words can’t describe it Terrain: mud, forest, the paved Cleveland Way and the cindertracks along the North Yorkshire Moors Time spent raining 30%. Time spent in sunshine 10%. Gale force winds! No surprise – it’s getting harder to get up every morning. The blister bandaging takes longer and our appetites for breakfast are fading. The first part was flat farmland, in the rain, slipping and skidding through mud as we zig-zagged along field borders (if only the path went the straightest route! It rained all the 9 miles to Ingleby Cross. Here we began the last series of major climbs to join the Cleveland Way and the heights of the North York moors. Iain (a fountain of knowledge, which really helps by day 6 as the conversation is fading – I’m already repeating myself) tells me the Romans built the Cleveland Way high up to march their troops quickly along roads that were too high to attack. The Cleveland Way runs along spectacular ridges that snake across the countryside. Up there we were exposed to some of the strongest winds I’ve ever encountered, funnelled up the steep slopes and knocking us sideways. Thank goodness it was blowing us away from the edge rather than towards! The windchill factor was major, especially as it was a cold north wind, requiring 4 layers and waterproof trousers over the leggings and I was still cold. Should have brought gloves! A huge thanks everyone for the 100s of supportive texts that intermittently came flooding through as we went in and out of mobile reception. They were real morale boosters, just when we needed it. Sorry I couldn’t reply – fatigue, numb hands and low batteries were all to blame. Despite my sore, stiff muscles and joints at least I haven’t had to cope with the pain that Iain has been subjected to mile after mile. His courage, determination and sheer bloodymindedness have taken him to places where mere mortals could not go. There is no way I can put into words the feat he has accomplished this week – he even manages to turn his grimace into a smile for the photos. Miles and miles of Cleveland Way followed, over a section called the Rollercoaster, with steep ascents, ridge traverses and plunging descents. The whole route is paved or cobbled and would make a fantastic days walk if you didn’t aready have 130 miles under your belt. All the Lake District pains and injuries have resurfaced. We finally joining the grouse moors and cinder tracks that led along Blakey Ridge and the lone, windswept but very welcoming Lion Inn. Last 30 miles tomorrow. We know we can make it now, even if we have to crawl. It’ll be painful but can’t wait to put our toes in the sea at Robin Hoods Bay.

40: The food was getting very boring

42: They could see it!Iain could see the sea,Tim could see the sea. They checked the signpost... Yes,they were nearly there! Time for some medicine from Mel and Richard to help them through the last push.

43: And finally they were there in Robin Hood's Bay

44: "Some people want it to happen,some wish it would happen,others make it happen" R.B.

46: Day 7. Blakey ridge to Robin Hoods Bay. 24 miles Terrain – hilly up until the last moment, v windy20% rain, 1% sun The last day. Apologies for posting this 24 hours late but euphoria at finishing and seeing my family (and a bottle of champagne) dramatically altered my Saturday evening priorities Blakey Ridge is the bleakest, most barren area ever seen. There was a strong, chill Northerly wind blowing when we left. Iain set of an hour earlier, but after realising he was going in the wrong direction after half a mile, turning round and getting back to the pub, his lead was down to 30 minutes. There’s a man who always goes the extra mile! The ground was good – flat tarmac right up on the top but after running 4 miles in a long horseshoe curve around the ridge the Lion Inn was still clearly visible, a morale sapping sight. The relentless bitter wind penetrated 4 layers of clothing, making me regret the lack of gloves. Although there is a strange lonesome, melancholy beauty to the moors it’s not a place to go to feel happy. No wonder it's the setting for unrequited love and tragedy. We finally descended to Glaisdale to find a village shop with sausage rolls and a pork pie (the food of champions). We then trudged through muddy woods following the river and the railway line, passing the steam engines at Grosmont. We were then forced to ride another rollercoaster up and down the hills heading directly east. The cold wind and rain kept buffeting us sideways and whenever we felt we were nearly back to civilization the route threw up another short stretch of boggy moor or 33% gradient. Conversation became pretty desperate .... you know you’re in trouble when you have a 10 minute debate on what flavour crisp you would have if only one was allowed for the rest of your life! The excitement grew and suddenly we could see the sea. Nearly there? No – that was Whitby – Robin Hoods Bay was still another 8 miles to go. It was only a matter of time until we crested a hill and there was a clear view down to the finish line, 2 miles away. Suddenly the legs were fresh, the joints loose and the pain a distant memory. We crossed a couple of fields and before we knew it we were at the slipway in Robin Hoods Bay with a huge crowd waiting. Not all for us – being a Saturday there were groups of walker turning up every 10 minutes, but none who had done the whole route in 7 days! The most welcoming site of all was seeing Mags and the children, champagne in hand. We raised a glass with our feet soaked by the huge North Sea waves rolling up the slipway. The euphoria and relief were overwhelming. I can’t believe it’s all over and suddenly the whole week seemed like an amazing, lifetime achievement rather than a gruelling ordeal! All our goals have been achieved, for worthwhile causes close to our hearts. We couldn’t have done it without the massive support from our wives, families, our kind hosts at the B&Bs and our multitude of sponsors!!!!!

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