Coast to Coast Run

Four years ago at Easter I ran 180 miles solo from Tynemouth to Whitehaven over the course of ten days to raise money for Children’s Adventure Farm Trust. It was an amazing journey which took me through parts of the UK that I had never seen before. The landscape was breath taking and at times the going was tough. Running with our dog through blizzards was not my favourite part but it did give me a chance to reflect and realise how fortunate I am.
Since then I have continued to run and have completed the Manchester 10km several times for
CAFT (please have a look at their website to see what great work they do). I have also enjoyed different styles of running with barefoot being my favourite but it takes practice and I do wear school pumps (yes those black ones with the elastic top). To be cliche it really does make me feel closer to nature.
I was lucky enough to have Steve as my backup. He tracked me, cycled alongside in parts and made me a welcome cup of tea at the end. I also had the support of Jamie Baker who cycled the Carlisle stage with me, making sure I didn’t get lost – it wasn’t always that easy to see where to go next as the signs weren’t always where they should be. I also had the loving support of my dad. He joined me on my penultimate day through Cockermouth. His banter kept me going but more than that he had helped get me there in the first place.
I started running 7 years ago after our youngest child had been born. It was hard work, I’d never run for more than a bus before but I needed to do something to keep up with the kids. My dad was a keen runner and his encouragement really kept me going. Although he didn’t live nearby we watched out for each other’s performance through Strava and ran together virtually all the time. The competitive edge showing when I would run 6 miles and he would make it 6.1. In the end I think we were equals. Last October we ran the Chesterfield half marathon together. It was a beautiful day but, due to injury, I was not as motivated as normal. However, together we ran (unusual for us in a race) and achieved a personal best of 2:08. I give all the credit to him for this as he kept me moving even when I couldn’t be bothered.
So why am I telling you all this? I hope it motivates you to do something you think you can’t do. Also because putting one foot in front of the other has been really hard for me personally recently as I lost my dad. So this is for him. We were planning a marathon together so that’s the next step for me although I will have to accept my virtual partner will be watching my performance and only my shadow will be running alongside me. Thank you for all your support.
Richard Thomas Running

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