“It’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever done” is not what you want to hear just 3 days before we take on the THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE, but that’s exactly what we’ve been hearing from previous contenders. And when some of them are seasoned runners too, it’s at this point that we really sit up, take notice and the FEAR kicks in!
Have we done enough training?
Do we all have the equipment that we need?
Are we fully prepared to take on the 26 horiztonal miles, the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales, and complete it all in the 24 hour time limit, with minimal sleep?
The answer to all of the above is invariably NO! But that’s not to say that we haven’t been gruelling away in the gym trudging up that inclined treadmill and pounding the pavement/hills of London in an attempt to complete the daunting task at hand.
There are of course a number of reasons that we have decided to take on the challenge, but none greater than the three charities that we are attempting to raise money for – Bloodwise, Mind and Neuroblastoma.
I’ll be specifically looking into Neuroblastoma Society, a charity which was brought further into the spotlight this past 12 months, due to the plight of young Bradley Lowery. The football world has rallied together as reports emerged of Sunderland-mad Bradley, who sadly contracted the debilitating disease.
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that affects children, mostly under the age of 5 years old. Around 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the UK, although very rarely it can also occur in older children, teenagers and adults.
Neuroblastoma develops from particular types of nerve cells called neuroblasts.
- ‘neuro’ means nerve
- ‘blast’ means cells in early development
- ‘oma’ means a group of cells, or a tumour
Neuroblastoma often starts in the abdomen, commonly in the adrenal glands or the nerve tissue at the back of the abdomen. Like the majority of cancers it can spread to other parts of the body, with the most common places being the bones, liver and skin. It spreads through the blood and lymphatic system. This happens in about half of children with neuroblastoma.
On average, every week, two families in the UK will learn that their child has neuroblastoma. It’s the charity’s mission to find a cure for neuroblastoma through funding leading research projects to deliver new, effective and kinder treatments for these children.
For us as a team though, it’s of major significance as one our group, Jimbo Davies, was himself affected by Neuroblastoma as a child. He was one of the few fortunate ones to make a full recovery, but it’s our aim to ensure that this is commonplace and more and more parents will be receiving good news about their child’s condition. His family have even taken on prominent roles within the charity itself, and have kindly supplied the yellow t-shirts (modelled below).
So on Thursday morning we set off to scale these three mountains as a team of 12 (haphazardly due to a series of unfortunate incidents, the first time we’ll walk together as a full squad), but it’ll be all the greater knowing that we are moving closer to our financial target and helping out these three great charities.