Blog: Jeff Prestridge

"10in10 runner 2012"

25 May 2012

Thoughts from afar on the Brathay 10 in 10 marathon challenge 2012

'Yeah, it's over now, but I can breathe somehow
When it's all worn out, I'd rather go without

You know it's been on my mind
Could you stand right there
Look me straight in the eye and say
That it's over now.'

(Alice in Chains -= Over Now)

 

IT is nearly a week since I completed the Brathay 10 in 10 marathon challenge in the glorious sunshine of the Lake District and in the welcoming grounds of Brathay Trust, alongside the mesmeric shore line of Windermere.

And what a week it has been. A week full of emotion – tears, laughter, a little pain and a lot of joy.

First of all, I was saddened to learn that Adrian Shandley - my running mate, laughing mate  and roommate – has been told he has a stress fracture of the leg and must wear a pot for the next six weeks. To think this man ran the last three marathons with such a condition is mind boggling.

It demonstrates that a) the Brathay 10 in 10 is a challenge not to be scoffed at and b) Adrian ‘little one’ Shandley is as hard as Southport nails. A hero? A legend? He is the best thing to come out of Southport since Marc Almond and his tainted love.

Morecambe has a statute to Eric Morecambe. Maybe Sefton Council should sanction the construction of a Shandley statue on Southport’s shifting sands although of course it would have to have him wearing a pot on his leg!

Apart from a sore Achilles heel, I seem to have come out of the Brathay 10 in 10 challenge relatively physically unscathed although I have yet to resume running (it could be a while!).

But emotionally, I am like a Blackpool rollercoaster – up one moment, down another. I smile at some of the experiences of the marathon challenge week (for example, 10in10er Lee Boniface tracking me like a slowed down version of an exocet on the last day and then saying I had a really relaxed running style which helped him get around the course ) and then I cry when someone sends me an email of congratulations or a donation via www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge. The generosity of some has been extraordinary.

And I suppose that is the one overwhelming thing about post Brathay10in10. I have been simply blown away by the amount of money that has flowed to Brathay Trust via my justgiving page. Blown away. Overwhelmed. Shocked. Humbled. Happily surprised.

To each and every one of you (and I know some have contributed more than once) I say thank you. As I have said before, I will write to you all (writing is in my blood) to thank you. It is the least I can do.  With nearly £69,000 raised, I am getting ever closer to my ambitious target of £100,000. Maybe I won’t get there but I just might surprise myself and the wonderful people that make up Brathay and hit it. All it will take is one generous benefactor.

I will now continue with my confused life and try and become the  good person I strive to be. I know I am a good person at heart. I just need to let it all hang out.

Thanks for reading. Do comment on the Brathay page and give me your thoughts/reaction. Alternatively, email me at jeff.prestridge@hotmail.co.uk or tweet via twitter.com/jeffprestridge.

And if you want to be reminded of the emotion that is the Brathay10in10 I implore you to visit www.cumbrialive.tv/10in10 and watch the video of day 10. It will move you to tears.

This is my last Brathay10in10 blog – unless you ask me for more!

 I will not be doing the Brathay 10 in10 in 2013 (one is enough for anyone despite the heroics of four-timers Foxey and Steve Edwards). But I hope to do the Brathay Windermere marathon where I will cry as 2013 10in10ers complete one of the country’s toughest/best ultra-running challenges.

It’s been a joy writing. It’s been a joy running. Joy uber alles.

By Jeff Prestridge, 25 May 2012 – 7 comments

21 May 2012

Recollections the day after from a ginga 10 in 10er

IT is the day after – the day after I managed to hobble over the line and complete my 10th marathon in 10 days for the wonderful children’s-focused charity that is Brathay Trust.

I have mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I am thrilled to have joined an elite group of people who have taken on this 262 mile battle and conquered it. I surprised myself with my mental strength and my ability to keep on running even when the legs wanted to wander off into the Lakeland bushes and rest awhile among the wild garlic (Ransom).

On the other, I am upset that it is over. Over the past 10 days I have met an extraordinary group of individuals from all walks of life who, like me, have conquered the Brathay10in10. They are all heroes in my eyes – and they will be until I can see, talk and breathe no more.

Could I run another marathon today? Yes! Do I want to? No. I have been told by those close to me that I should not run for 12 days! I will try to observe their running curfew but the Nike Free running shoes are already itching to hit the byways and highways of London.

Over the past 10 days, I have experienced all kinds of emotions.

I have cried both as a result of joy and physical pain (usually because of the marvellous recovery work done by BodyRehab).

I have laughed myself silly - usually as a result of yet another prank performed by the master prankster Adrian Shandley (10in10er) or because of yet another dour put-down by grumpy 10in10er Nick Woodward.

I have smiled as people have shouted support from their cars or from the roadside – or provided me with engine fuel in the form of hot steaming homemade cheese and onion pie (as Nick’s parents did and Nick’s wife ‘BigUn’ did).

I have cried when loved ones have not understood what the Brathay10in10 is all about (it is, unfortunately, an exclusive bubble which outsiders –including loved ones - find difficult to penetrate). I apologise for not understanding that and failing to deal with it.

I have also shed tears of familial pain at the failure of my mother and father to turn up to see me over the finishing line. It is a deep sadness I will take to my grave. Pride? It should be wiped away on occasion.

I have been overcome with the support of work colleagues - Helen (someone described her as my daughter!), Richard, David Budworth (of the Times) and Toby - who gave up a weekend of their crazy lives to wave a flag for me and supply me with champagne at 262 miles!

And to see my sister Joy turn up with her husband Simon (who completed the Brathay marathon on the Sunday) and their handsome son Oscar (a star in the making) will live long with me.

And I have cried at, cried with and cried for Joanna my partner who has struggled with the whole event – both from afar and when she joined me on Saturday night. One unfortunate consequence of the Brathay10in10 is that it tests the strength of the bonds that entwine to make that magic potion called love. Joanna, I love you. The potion is strong.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank all of you have who have tweeted me with messages of support.

And, of course, I thank everyone who has donated through www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge. In the coming weeks, I will thank every single one of you.

My justgiving page will remain open for the next three months and I will get to £100,000. If you have a rich uncle, aunt or you are next day neighbour to Chris Evans/Alan Sugar/Richard Branson/Stephen Hester/Bob Diamond/Crispin Odey/Tony Blair – do let them know about my journey and the magnificent charity that is Brathay Trust.

Auf wiedersehen.

By Jeff Prestridge, 21 May 2012 – 11 comments

20 May 2012

Thoughts ahead of the final day

LADIES and gentlemen. I will keep this short and sweet.

I am privileged to be here in the Lakes (sun shining) about to do the last marathon of 10. I feel honoured to be an ambassador for Brathay Trust.

From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone who has supported me. You have kept me going when my body should have just fallen apart.

To Joanna, Richard, David, Helen and Toby, a big thank you for tunring up to support me. Wow!

To Joanna, I love you.

I will cry today and shed tears of joy - for you, Brathay and my poor body which needs to go to rehab.

Love you all.

 

By Jeff Prestridge, 20 May 2012 – 4 comments

19 May 2012

My fellow Brathay10in10 running heroes

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the champions -
We are the champions
No time for losers

MY blog today is dedicated to the 17 men and women who are running the 2012 Brathay 10 in 10 challenge with me. They are all heroes, men and women of steel with big hearts of gold. I salute them all.

They/we are the proverbial champions of Windermere.

In no particular order:

ADRIAN SHANDLEY:  A fun guy who can play cards as well as he can advise people on the attractiveness of ETFs (low cost investment funds). Also, when he’s in the mood, he can’t half shift around the roads of Windermere. A lovely sense of humour, indeed some would say wicked.

NICK WOODWARD: A man who seems to have been hewn from the slate mines of Coniston (but was actually born in Poulton-le-Fylde). Nick is a  brick-house of a man who you would not want to mess with on a Friday night outside the Ambleside kebab house. A man who you would want alongside you in the trenches. He also possesses a special wife – ‘Bigun’ who makes special banana and chocolate chip muffins.

DAVEY GREEN: The heartbeat of the 18 Brathay10in10 runners. However many hours he spends on the road, he is always happy, singing and cracking jokes. And he possesses one of the best backsides in running history. A man with great humour who women adore.

DAVID (FOXY) BAYLEY: A running legend who is about to complete four Brathay10in10s, an outstanding achievement. He’s loud but he has a big heart. Don’t do any more 10in10s!

DIANE SHAW: The woman who keeps Leeds railway station running smoothly. She is also an excellent runner who wears her heart on her sleeve. Many a time have I heard her crying while she has been running. Tough and lovely at the same time.

HOWARD BAILEY: Two hundred marathons down and at least another 300 in him! He’s a running machine who just grinds out the miles. He’s the Mr Reliable of the Brathay10in10 – and would make a wonderful pace setter for the London marathon.

JIM META: My ice bath companion. A top bloke who is doing his second 10in10. He has a fantastic attitude to life – enjoy it while it lasts. He has a super line in thongs, shirts and shorts. One of the stars of the Brathayt10in10 show. A guy who never has a bad word to say about anyone.

KAZ HURRELL: A super runner who sets her stall out from the start and rarely veers off it. Like Howard, she grinds out the miles and her face never flinches. Her reward for grinding out the miles is to have a gin and tonic in the ice bath!

KEITH LUXON: A quiet man who is simply an outstanding runner. Quality, quality.

LEE BONIFACE: A hairdresser who cuts a dashing figure on the race course. Like Keith, a quality runner who has a wry sense of humour. Self-deprecating about his profession.

MATT DUNN: A running legend who possesses three of the most beautiful children that God has ever looked down on. It’s either Matt or Sally to win this challenge. Matt will look 21 when he is 51!

PAUL DEWAR: A quiet innkeeper from Ulverston who takes his running deadly seriously. A stunning pair of legs and a super backside. A fantastic, lean and mean runner who has supplied ale from his inn  to keep us going.

PAUL  FOSTER: How Paul is cranking out such fantastic times is beyond me. His ankles are smashed to smithereens but  he’s getting better every day. If fully fit, he would be challenging both Sally and Matt.

ROBERT DALLISON: A man who has faced the precipice and come back to fight another day. A man with true grit in his soul. He will finish the Brathay10in10 come what way.

STUART PYPER: A man who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s had an emotional Brathay10in10, veering from the utopia of day one to the misery of day three. But he’s still going strong and will finish. He has the back-up of a wonderful girlfriend (marry her!)

TOKS OGUNDARI: Toks set her stall out from the start – get round the course in one piece, even if it means walking most of the way and stopping off for fish and chips. Another star of the Brathay10in10 show.

SALLY FORD: A running hero. A super runner with a wicked dry sense of humour. Words fail me when it comes to Sally’s prowess as a runner. I think she will win the Brathay10in10 although Matt will run her a close second (I could be wrong).

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! Support us!

By Jeff Prestridge, 19 May 2012 – 4 comments

18 May 2012

Day Eight draws to a close - love is in the air!

‘Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound

And I don't know if I'm being foolish
Don't know if I'm being wise
But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air
In the whisper of the trees
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the sea.’

 

DAY eight of the Brathay 10 marathons in 10 days is drawing to a close. The rain is hammering down outside and the wind is picking up in anger. The forecast, however, is for a good sunny weekend in the southern Lakes – I hope so if only so that the Brathay Windermere marathon on Sunday can be the resounding success it deserves to be.

I must admit I am emotional tonight – although love, I am sure, is in the air.

Little Adrian, my roommate, is tired, battered and injured and gone to bed early to sort himself out. I offered to tuck him in but he refused (an indication that he is not well).  I miss him – he’s a good man with a bubbly, infectious character. Knowing him, Adrian will be sparky tomorrow and run the marathon of a lifetime. I hope so. A happy Adrian is good for everyone. This sour world of ours needs happy Adrians. I have developed a soft spot for him.

I am also slightly tearful because I am reaching the end of my physical reserves. My body is stiffening up day by day – and today I had a pretty gruesome throbbing pain in my right knee which started as soon as I began running. Thankfully, a high dose of nurofen sorted me out. The brilliant physios at Body Rehab tell me that all will be well – but it’s put a little doubt into my mind. I would be devastated if the Prestridge diesel train was derailed on day nine.

A few thank you’s for those who helped me through day eight of the Brathay Challenge – 209.6 miles gone, 52.4 miles to go – and have kept me going throughout the event.

First thank you goes to Rita Samson for returning to the course to hand out jelly babies at mile 10. This welsh legend should have a statute erected in the car park at mile 10 in recognition of her services to Brathay 10in10 runners – ‘the jelly baby queen’. I look forward to her welsh jelly babies tomorrow.

Secondly, a mighty thank you to ‘Big Un’ – wife of the ‘miserable’ Nick Woodward. Nick and I are the two grumpy old men of the 18 10in10ers and we spend most of the time running together and putting the world to rights.

‘Big Un’, a mean runner in her own right, is never far away (apart from when she is going for a pee in the woods) ready to hand out offerings – bananas, chocolate muffins and Jaffa cakes. ‘Big Un’ is one of life’s good people. The fact that she puts up with Nick speaks volumes for her. You would struggle to find two nicer people than Nick and ‘Big Un’ – salt of the earth people who call a spade a spade and can suss people out straightaway. Certainly, when I am in the Lakes running up Loughrigg, I wil hunt them down and take them out for a slap up lunch.

Thirdly, I have to thank Body Rehab for their marvellous healing hands. What a team. What wonderful people. Professional to the core. I am sure that without them I would now be in a crumpled heap somewhere out on the course, undetected to man or lamb.

Fourthly, Aly Knowles and Mac, the Brathay team that make the Brathay10in10 event run like clockwork, have been brilliant. Nothing is too much trouble for them. And God, have they helped me out, finding my phone, searching for my bee pollen (it keep me buzzing throughout the run) and handing me out coffee when I’ve asked for it.

Fifthly, I thank family and friends for keeping me going with their texts – everyone from my Mum (Mum: you better come on Sunday), my sisters (Joy and Pauline), my brother and brother in law (Dave and Simon – the latter is running the Windermere marathon on the Sunday), my boys (Matt, Mark and James), work colleagues (Jo, Stephen, Toby, Richard and Helen) and of course my gorgeous partner Joanna. Indeed I am thrilled that Joanna, Richard, Toby and the wonderful Helen are all trundling up to Windermere to support me on my final day. True friends, true friends for life.

Finally, from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who have donated via www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge.  Every penny is gratefully received. And I thank all of you who have read my blogs at www.jeffprestridge.blogspot.com  or tweeted via www.twitter.com/jeffprestridge.

Remember: love is in the air! Always will be. Always should be.

By Jeff Prestridge, 18 May 2012 – 1 comments

18 May 2012

A joyous Friday

‘There's a reason for the sun shiny sky
And there's a reason why I'm feelin' so high
Must be the season
When that love light shines all around us
So let that feelin' grab you deep inside
And send you reelin' where your love can't hide
And then go stealin'
Through the summer nights with your lover

Just let your love flow like a mountain stream
And let your love grow with the smallest of dreams
And let your love show
And you'll know what I mean, it's the season
Let your love fly like a bird on the wing
And let your love bind you to all living things
And let your love shine
And you'll know what I mean, that's the reason’

(Bellamy Brothers)

 

DAY Eight of the Brathay 10in10 challenge has arrived and I am beginning to see the finishing line a little over the horizon. 183.4 miles completed and just another 78.6 painful miles to trundle out. Unless some motorist takes me out or a pot hole consumes me I am going to finish this challenge to end all challenges.

It’s a good morning in the Lake District. The blackbirds are singing. Or as Cat Stevens would say:
Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Today, the person I can’t stop thinking about is my younger sister Joy. For a start, she loves the Bellamy Brothers and as spotty teenagers we would listen to them ad infinitum in the downstairs study at home while pretending to do our homework. We would also listen to Cat Stevens, Wings, Wizard and Rod Stewart (Joy’s teenage fantasy).

What I love about Joy is that she lives up to her name. Rarely do you see Joy without a smile on her face and a laugh in her throat. She is one of life’s ebullient people. Put her in a room of strangers and she will have them all smiling within the hour. She’ll talk to anyone and laugh at anything (if she could see the state I am in now, she would laugh out loud).

Joy is happily married to Simon (a top entrepreneur who builds cranes for a living) and she has two wonderful children, Os (a mad Manc) and Sonia (a clever student at Cambridge).

 

Os and Sonia both take after Joy while possessing a slice of Simon’s intellect (the Bamfords carry more intellect than the Prestridges have combined).

Joy has supported me in the past few difficult months as I have tried to rebuild a life fractured by separation. For that I will love her forever more.

We need more Joy in our lives, people who believe life’s glass is half full as opposed to half empty.

Let’s all have a joyous Friday. I will run the eighth leg of the Brathay 10in10 challenge with Joy creasing my face.

I will tweet all day with Joy – www.twitter.com/jeffprestridge.

And hopefully, this blog will bring a little Joy into your lives – sufficient for you to sponsor the marvellous Brathay Trust via www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge.

As the Bellamy Brothers would say: just let your love flow! Just let your joy flow!

Have a joyous day.

By Jeff Prestridge, 18 May 2012 – 4 comments

17 May 2012

Rita Samson - a provider of love on the journey that is the Brathay10in10

‘Into the streets, we're coming down
We never sleep, Never get tired
Through urban fields, and suburban life

Turn the crowd up now, We'll never back down
Shoot down a skyline, watch it in primetime
Turn up the love now, listen up now, turn up the love

Who's gonna save the world tonight?
Who's gonna bring you back to life?
We're gonna make it, you and I
We're gonna Save The World tonight’
(Swedish House Mafia – Save the World tonight – dedicated to Shavaun Glen)

 

DAY seven of the Brathay10in10 challenge has gone better than I ever expected. Despite waking up to the bleak sight of Adrian Shandley smiling at me like a demonic cat in search of cream, and feeling as if I had been run over  by a number 9 bus, I ran pretty well.

Although I will never be more than a third-rate Matt Dunn or a fourth- rate Sally Ford (both are ace 10in10ers) I trundled along in a half decent time of 4.35. Amazingly (maybe the clocks had gone back) it was my quickest time so far. It’s incredible what the body can do when taped up expertly by the team at BodyRehab and gently massaged into a state of utopia.

Today’s run was not quite like the other seven – and it was the worse for it. Each day, until today, mile 8 has been one of the highlights of the whole 26.2 mile journey around Windermere. Why? Because there to greet you is Rita Samson, mother of Aly Knowles who has so marvellously organised this event with her loving (and down to earth husband) Mac.

Rita hands out the best jelly babies in the land – they are the best because they are from Wales. And her mere presence provides us all with a lift, especially after the ardour of climbing the hill that dominates mile 7. If you are really polite, she even lets you kiss her although you don’t take liberties with a woman from Treherbert in the Rhondda Valley.

Today, Rita was not there because she had much more important matters on her mind – she wanted to take time out and think of her late husband Bernard who died late last year. You see, it would have been their 54th wedding anniversary and they were very much in love until Bernard suffered a fatal heart attack. Sometimes life is so bloody cruel.

Bernard, I am sure, would be proud of Rita standing out in the rain, hail and sun handing out jelly babies to 18 deranged runners. I also am sure he would be mighty proud of daughter Aly who is one of life’s givers. Nothing is too much trouble for this spicy woman – whether it’s providing pass codes to get into our sleeping quarters at 11.50 at night (sorry Aly) or hunting down lost mobiles.

And of course, Rita will be back tomorrow with a smile on her face and Welsh jelly babies aplenty. Bless you Rita. You make the Brathay 10in10 the special event it is.

Love to all. If you fancy donating some of your hard earned pay to Brathay feel free to do so via www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge.

 

If you want to catch up on events, visit www.cumbrialive.tv/brathay10in10.

And if you want to send me a tweet, I will always take them – night or day (I will be awake come what may). www.twitter.com/jeffprestridge

God bless.

 

 

 

By Jeff Prestridge, 17 May 2012 – 3 comments

17 May 2012

A thank you to everyone - especially Joanna

‘Joanna, I love you
You're the one
The one for me’

(Kool & the Gang)

‘Gimme hope, Jo'anna
Hope, Jo'anna
Gimme hope, Jo'anna
'Fore the morning come
Gimme hope, Jo'anna
Hope, Jo'anna
Hope before the morning come’

(Eddy Grant)

‘She will always be my sunkissed trampoline,
She goes up and down in my heart,
Turned into jelly beans
And I'm starting to believe that danger's never near,
When Joanna is here.’

(Mcfly)

TODAY is day seven of the incredible Brathay10in10 journey that I have embarked upon. I am feeling low, I am feeling bruised and I am tired.  All I want to do is lie down under a crisp, freshly washed duvet and sleep until dusk.

How I am going to fare today is anyone’s guess. Mile Seven will determine my fate. If I can get up the hill there (short but not sweet) then I have a more than 50:50 chance of finishing the race. The fact that it’s wet and cold may help me. In the heat of yesterday, I suffered. I cooked like a suckling pig at a barbecue.

Hopefully, today, the weather will be more ginga-friendly although Mike Holden has just kindly told me via twitter – www.twitter.com/jeffprestridge - that hill fog, sleet and snow are all expected! Where are my thermals?

A big thanks to all who have backed me so far, especially my family (Mum, Dad, Dave, Joy, Simon, Os, Pauline, John, Sue, Matt, Mark and James) and friends, foes and work colleagues (Alan, Richard, Jo, the wonderful Helen, Toby and Stephen). And of course, a big thank you to all who have tweeted me messages of support and who have backed me via www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge.

But a special thank you must go to Joanna, my partner.  Joanna is a special woman who has brought light into my life in recent months. She has given a new meaning to my life (and I say that without any disrespect to my family whom I love) and made me realise that I have talents I never admitted to. She stimulates my intellect and for that alone I love her. She also runs a smashing events business from her Worcester Inn – www.theinnatstonehall.

Maybe one day, my mum and dad will accept Joanna. I hope so because she is a special person. It would be lovely if my Mum and Dad would join Joanna on Sunday when I cross the finishing line and burst into tears.

I dedicate my race today to Joanna.

I will leave you with a limerick kindly put together for me by Marjorie Calder of the Big Partnership in Glasgow.

‘There was a keen runner with bunions

Despite this, he sure knew his onions

Up hill and down dale, in wind, sun and hail

He passed all the willowy young uns.’

Marjorie, a big thank you. If only I could over-take the old uns!!!!

 

 

 

 

By Jeff Prestridge, 17 May 2012 – 2 comments

16 May 2012

Day Six: Birds fly over the rainbow - Penny Perkins, a legend

‘Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That's where you'll find me.’

(Eva Cassidy, over the rainbow – one of Penny Perkins’ all-time favourite songs)

 

ONE of the first half marathons I ever did was back in the late 1980s – the Paddock Wood in Kent. I remember it vividly for a number of reasons.

I had spent the previous day down in Cardiff watching a Five Nations (as then) rugby international between Wales and England. I remember little of the day, match or return home train journey but I vaguely recollect that Wales won, I didn’t know who I was by the end of the day and that I was assaulted most of the way home (verbally and physically) by my school mate Alan Perkins (six foot seven and a tiger when filled with gallons of Brains bitter).

Within six hours of going to bed (which resembled a night on a ferry in the middle of a raging Bay of Biscay)   I was up bright and breezy to compete in the Paddock Half. Alan, who had invited me to run, had conveniently been called into work – he was a transport policeman – which left me to start the race with his delightful wife Penny.

The less said about the run, the better. But I do remember thinking at mile six that I would never ever do another half marathon. At mile seven Penny waltzed past me full of the joys of spring. I think she finished the race at least 45 minutes ahead of me.

I say all this because my dear ‘brained’ friend Alan kindly donated £100 today on my website www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge. Sadly and tragically, the wonderfully kind Penny is now only with us in spirit. She died earlier this year after a fight and a half (a battle royale) with cancer.

Penny was one of the kindest individuals I have ever had the privilege to meet. She could not say a bad word about anyone (even me!)  She saw good in everyone she came into contact with and she was as sharp as they come. You underestimated Penny at your peril – she had an intellect that even Einstein would have been proud of.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Penny in the last hours of her life at a hospice in Hertfordshire. She was heroic to the end – and she is a hero of mine and will be for the rest of my life.

As for her children Jack (training to be an actuary) and the stunning Beccy (a budding marine biologist), they keep the Perkins flag flying proudly. If Jack makes it and becomes an actuary, he will be the first one to qualify with a sense of humour and a joie de vivre. As for Alan, he’s a man who is loyal to his friends (he’s suffered my moods for years and still comes back for more) and who is bereft at the loss of his princess.

As I ran today, struggling against all kinds of mind games and physical niggles (aching back, brick like quads, tight hamstrings) I know that Penny was watching. And as I stumbled/sprinted/hobbled over the finishing line in the disreputable time of 4.47, I smiled like a bright night star. Why? Because I know Penny would have wanted me to smile (she would have smiled herself).

More importantly, I know Penny Perkins would have been mighty proud of me for taking on such a crazy challenge and getting to the end of day six with most body parts working.

Penny, my darling, your spirit lives on. And if I get to finish the Brathay 10 in 10 on Sunday, I will do one thing. As I collapse over the finishing line, I will look upwards to the heavens and smile like crazy. FOR YOU.

 

By Jeff Prestridge, 16 May 2012 – 5 comments

16 May 2012

Day Six: a beautiful day in the Lake District

Day Six

I am blogging before my body is strapped up and mummified for the purposes of the Brathay10in10.

It is a beautiful day here in the Lakes. The sun is shining, there is not a cloud in the sky and the views towards the Langdales and Loughrigg are stunning and stupendous.

I feel privileged to be in God’s own country/county – Cumbria where the lambs roam free (until they are three months old) and the farmers drive their tractors as if they are latter day Nigel Mansells. And where the wild garlic teases you into grabbing the nearest frying pan and cooking a few cloves before conjuring up a scrambled egg feast.  I might well do that today if a) a farmer’s wife allows me to use her kitchen and b) I feel the urge. I will let you know.

Life is so precious. We have one chance on this God’s earth of ours. Seize it, use every moment of it and walk tall.

Thanks for supporting a tired old ginga (five foot eight and shrinking) along his journey to Sunday’s climax of the 262 mile Brathay 10in10 challenge. Everyone who has supported me along the way (donors, those who have sent messages of support), I say to you: THANK YOU.

If you fancy throwing a few pounds my way for Brathay I would be delighted: www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge.

If you fancy watching me explain my feelings about the Brathay 10in10, then visit www.cumbrialive.tv.brathay10in10. Hunt down the day five video.

If you fancy following me on tweeter (and sending me the odd tweet), please do.

To everyone, I love you. And if you have a spare weekend coming up, get your butt up to Windermere.

I dedicate this blog to Helen and Stanley Prestridge, my parents, and Joan Clarke, the only aunt I ever had (and who has stuck with me through thick and thin) To Helen, Stanley and Joan, I am running day six for you.

By Jeff Prestridge, 16 May 2012 – 1 comments

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