This challenge was originally due to finish in January 2019 but due to ill health and a number of factors the finish date has been extended to March 24th 2019 – the day of Hastings Half Marathon!
The TREAD2India Team has changed dramatically during the course of the challenge. For various reasons we have lost members of the team but we have always found willing volunteers to run for us. To date the volunteers who have run are: Alex Grant, Andy Swindles, Stephen Chester, Scott Brunton, Tom Blything, George Nicola and Nick Williams. After a long 10 months we are finally within 10 weeks of the end but we can have no complacency as the challenge is still tough. We have currently completed 3434.57 miles but still have 1423.43 miles to go which will be a mammoth task in the cold, dark and almost certainly wet evenings that we will face.
Over the year we have competed in a number of competitions, some of which are quite prestigious. We started the year with the Eastbourne Half Marathon, followed by almost all the team completing our local event, The Hastings Half Marathon. Stephen moved on to run the Paris Marathon followed by Alex completing the hottest ever London Marathon. Since then we have had participants in the Hastings Runners 5 mile memorial, the Bristol Great Run half marathon and finally the Amsterdam Marathon.
The Halfway Point:
26 weeks, 1383.72 miles completed and I can honestly say that this challenge is a struggle. Starting so simply, “just 19 miles a week” Andy said, was probably naïve. Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would be as hard as it has turned out. Of the 26 weeks, miles have been run by all 5 of us only 7 times. Injuries have been the single biggest cause, from IT Bands to calf tears, they have sabotaged the entire challenge. Although there are still some minor niggles we should be back to full fitness very soon.
Once you put the doom and gloom behind you there have been some amazing achievements. We have now had a number 0f 30+ mile weeks and two runners have completed more than 100 miles in a month. In addition to this we have run some incredible races this year so far:
Eastbourne Half Marathon
Hastings Half Marathon
Hastings Runners 5 Mile
We are looking to the future and the aim for the team is to complete at least 30 miles per person, every week. This will see us comfortably finish the task with miles to spare. I am sure that we will also be adding to the medal haul.
If you are enjoying following our progress, or feel any sympathy, please consider donating on our page https://mydonate.bt.com/events/tread2india
Chester is one of the intrepid team who recently took part in the Paris marathon. Here is a blog from him
“Saturday 7th April – Travel disruptions were going to be a factor this weekend after receiving a text from Eurostar the day before Sandra and I were travelling, telling us that our train home on Monday had been cancelled due to the rail strike in Paris! Fortunately managed to reschedule for the Tuesday morning and got a relatively good priced room for the extra night.
A nice early 3.45am wake up ready to catch the 5.20am train from Hastings to Ashford International ready for the 6.55 to Paris Gare du Nord… It’s quite a strange experience to be stepping on a train in England to step off around central Paris! We had already checked which Metro line we required to get us to our hotel, line 4, which was not running from Gare du Nord as there was maintenance work being carried out on the line at that station. Another minor setback which resulted in a 10 minute walk to Gare de l’Est which fortunately took us straight to our destination. After checking in it was straight to the marathon expo to hand in my medical certificate (a requirement for this marathon) and to pick up my number and running bag. I, of course, couldn’t resist buying the special Paris edition Asics whilst at the expo… Hoping they’ll last me a fair while! After the expo we decided to make a reconnaissance trip to the finish to arrange where to meet Sandra after finishing, more travel confusion ensued but did mean we got to travel on a double decker train to right beside the Eiffel Tower. We managed a good few sights that day with the added wrong turn here and there including some little gems we weren’t expecting. After dinner and a little walk around the outside of Jardin du Luxembourg we were ready for an early night, Sandra’s phone claiming that she had walked over 33,000 steps! It’s as good a warm up as any the day prior to a marathon I suppose!!
Sunday 8TH April MARATHON DAY!!!
Another early morning rise at 5.45am to start getting prepared for a 26.2 mile run. After suitable fuelling and triple checking I had all that was required we headed off to join the other runners on the Metro. It was quite strange getting off at Place de la Concorde and walking up the middle of the road on the Champs Elysees with absolutely no traffic, quite an experience in itself. After a quick espresso at a café and the usual smothering of tiger balm on my legs (forgetting to wash my hands before the going to the toilet!!!!) I was ready to head to the start. The temperature was 15°C for the 9am start so knew it was going to be a warm one, with no chance to acclimatise running in the UK as the temperature hadn’t been that high since the beginning of November. With an action plan of running at a pace of 8.40 minutes per mile, was completely ruined by the fact that my Garmin decided to tell me that I was running at 1.40 minute/mile pace! So for the first few miles I was having to rely on the average overall pace which of course doesn’t give a great representation after 4 or 5 miles of your current pace. Inevitably I could no longer rely on that so continued to run at what I felt was a comfortable pace to see me through to the end. The heat did start to take its toll on me and after 3 hours of running and just over 20 miles I felt my energy levels were really low, even though my legs felt good and had the distance in them I took a walk break for 10 minutes. When I continued running I did feel the benefit of taking a break and felt like I was flying as I was passing by many other runners, when in fact I wasn’t really going that fast it was just they were running quite slowly! I took another walk break with just over 5k to run which I was slightly disappointed about, but that soon dispersed when I was seeing casualties strewn around the side of the course. When I found the momentum again I finished off the last 2.5 miles running, even though soon into that I felt the energy levels drop again. The fact I couldn’t push for a fast finish showed that I’d basically given all I could and came in at the time of 4:01:52 and really enjoyed running this beautiful and well supported route. The time was outside of what I was hoping to get, which seemed to be common across other British runners that I’d spoken to, but am happy overall considering the most miles in any one run I’d completed since the beginning of October was 11 miles… After getting back to the hotel and showering we headed to Montparnasse tower for a lovely view of the Paris skyline and the chance to survey the marathon route from above. This had all the benefits of the Eiffel Tower except it was less expensive, there was no queue and the view of Paris included the Eiffel Tower! We then had the opportunity to visit Jardin de Luxembourg from the inside, all the while trying to put back in all the calories I had lost.
Monday 9th April
Our final full day in Paris started with us finding a café who served the best espresso we’d had on the trip before heading to the Batobus tour, a hop on hop off boat trip along the Seine. The first stop was what we were really interested in Ile de la Cite, the island where Notre Dame cathedral is situated. We had the unexpected surprise of a very short and fast moving queue so were inside this stunning cathedral within 2 minutes to take the tour of the inside at our own pace and appreciate just how beautiful it is. After leaving we took a wander around the cathedral to take a close look at the outside, to then have an even greater surprise to see a very short queue for the Notre Dame towers. The day after running a marathon, there I was walking up and down around 400 steps, as good a warm down as any I suppose! It was certainly worth it though to get up close to the famous Gargoyle’s. After a lovely lunch we continued walking around Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis before heading back to the Batobus and continuing the rest of the tour of the Seine. The day was rounded off with dinner then drinks in the hotel room, whilst viewing the hundreds of photo’s we’d taken.
Tuesday 10th April
After check out our trip home started with rush hour Metro, which is pretty much the same as it is in London, every man for himself before the feeling of being a tinned sardine! Due to the French rail strike the previous day the Eurostar at Gare du Nord was having technical difficulties which resulted in us standing in a queue for an hour with the train being delayed half hour before leaving. Due to technical difficulties in this country, the train was not stopping at Ashford so we had to travel to Ebbsfleet and take the train from there to Ashford. After a 40 minute wait we were finally on our way to the last leg of our journey, but that was another 40 minute at Ashford before finally being homeward bound on the Hastings train, arriving home around 2 hours later than anticipated… That did not put a dampener on our trip which we thoroughly enjoyed and would love to visit again and no doubt run the marathon again as it was my favourite so far of the 6 I’ve ran, so many great building to look at made it so much easier to run.”
The Hastings Half Marathon is our home event and one that all of the team have run before. Easy, surely? Well maybe not that simple!! With Scott having run less than 10 miles in the 4 weeks before and my knee issues caused by a seriously inflamed tendon we were slightly less than in peak shape. Was disaster about to strike? Well, apart from me forgetting to bring the new TREAD running tops (huge thanks to my wife for rushing them over) we had an incredibly successful race. With a cold NE wind driving temperatures down to freezing all 4 members who were running broke the 2 hour mark (chip time):
Andy – 1:39.43
Tom – 1:48.58
Scott – 1:55.08
Alex – 1:58.13
An impressive personal best from Andy and following last year’s disappointment it was a brilliant effort from Scott to break the 2 hour mark. Personally, I found the support from the Hastings crowd immense, allowing me to push past the pain and sneak under 2 hours.
Following the 2 half marathons of Eastbourne and then Hastings in March it is time for the team to start increasing the miles. April will see the start of the full marathons, beginning with Chester making his way around the streets of Paris. Later that month it is my turn to run a marathon for the first time, in London. Here is praying that these niggles disappear in time for us to get our mileage up.
If you are enjoying following our progress please consider donating on our page https://mydonate.bt.com/events/tread2india
So on Sunday March 4th, two of the intrepid runners took part in the Eastbourne Half Marathon.
Alex tells us “There is a tough climb very early in the race which saps your strength but we both finished with respectable times.
Andy – 1hr 45 minutes 46
Alex – 1hr 52 minutes 56
Due to it being a busy day for Andy, we didn’t actually meet up but I took a picture of myself with the medal.
Hastings Half tomorrow and we have 4 of us running with our new tops!”
Well done boys and good luck with the next run!
So after a successful launch on Sunday 7th January the TREAD2India team began to rack the miles up. Well, most of the team, anyway. Tom, after running 12 miles on the first day then left to ski for the next 10 days with the message, “can I clock my skiing distance?” “NO!!!” came the reply from the rest of us.
The first week went brilliantly with almost 100 miles covered by the team and Scott getting the record weekly mileage of 26.4 miles. Week 2, niggles were starting to creep up on us, but we were powering through them, covering over 70 miles. Week 3 arrived and disaster struck. First Andy and then I had some serious pain from our knees. Scott had issues with his shins but was able to continue, racking up 19 miles. Finally, Hightower (Tom) was still skiing and well on his way to buying the first breakfast. Only Chester was able to keep fit, running an amazing 22 miles that week. Week 4 and the team ground to a halt with only Chester reaching double figures.
Over the first month we have covered a total of 261.8 miles. A good start and we always intended to gradually increase our mileage as the year progressed. Unfortunately, at the moment we have 3 people injured and covering very few miles per week. Please pray for us and I am sure that very soon we will be on the mend and running the high mileage needed to get us back on track.
February is the month of preparation for our big races. Come March we will be taking part in the Eastbourne half marathon and our home race, the Hastings half marathon. This will shortly be followed by the marathon month where we have a runner in the Paris marathon and another runner in the London.
Please keep following our progress as we battle our rapidly ageing bodies. Don’t forget to sponsor us in support of Friend of TREAD