We’ve been connected to Brathay since 2007 when I completed the inaugural Brathay 10 in 10 and Teresa provided the roadside drinks support to the runners going round the course each day. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time at Brathay and saw first hand not only the importance of the work that Brathay do with disadvantaged children and young people but also what an inspirational place it is. We were both inspired to return to not only raise more money for Brathay but also support an incredible event that we had become extremely passionate about.
We value the fact that Brathay are taking a lead role in transforming the lives of disadvantaged children, who in many cases, through no fault of their own, find themselves mixed up with the wrong kind of people, doing the wrong things and going nowhere in life. Brathay provides an opportunity for these youngsters to show that there is hope and that there is an alternate path such that they can turn their life around. This is very powerful and indeed life changing.
Although I had run many marathons including back to back doubles, triples and even a quadruple, I had never even contemplated the thought of running 10 back to back. However, although it seemed a daunting prospect, it was a new and much bigger challenge, something that would not only take a great deal of physical stamina but also great mental strength. It was as exciting as it was daunting and there was something about it that made me decide I had to do it. Seven athletes made history in 2007 when they completed that inaugural challenge and we both still feel very proud and indeed privileged that we were allowed to be a part of it and involved ever since to see it go from strength to strength.
What do we particularly enjoy about being involved with Brathay’s flagship fundraising event? For us it’s the whole thing, it’s the challenge of the event, knowing that its one of the toughest athletic events in the UK, the inspirational location, the friendliness and support of Brathay staff, the camaraderie and friendships that develop over those 10 days amongst the athletes, but most of all it’s the fact that we’re helping support and deliver Brathay’s mission by doing something that echoes the Brathay way, something that is not only challenging and inspirational but also life changing.
Although tough, its probably the course, which is one of the most scenic in the UK, that makes the event so enjoyable and memorable. Having now completed 40 laps around Windermere I never tire of the views and beautiful countryside. Of course the finish line which overlooks the head of Lake Windermere in the grounds of Brathay has to be one of the best (if not the best) finishes of any marathon in the world that I can think of.
We have many fond memories of our involvement with the Brathay 10 in 10, certainly too many to summarise. For us, it is and always will be a very special event where strangers come together the evening before day 1 and, in many cases, leave as lifetime friends the morning after day 10. We have hundreds if not thousands of photos from the many marathons we’ve attended over the last 30 years, however the only ones that adorn the walls at home are the ones from the Brathay 10 in 10 and Windermere Marathon, which says it all really.
When Teresa announced her intention to complete just one marathon, she knew which one it had to be, of course it was the Brathay Windermere Marathon. Having witnessed first hand what the 10 in 10 runners had put themselves through over the four years and having driven round the course on no less than 36 occasions, she was inspired to run this marathon as her first. In her words, she also wanted to see what her husband had put himself through over the years. When Teresa crossed the line she said, ‘I enjoyed every moment and am proud to finish my first marathon, but it’s also my last, never again!' I remember saying that 30 years ago but I somehow think Teresa means it!
We’ll both be 50 in 2012 and it would be great to come back and celebrate. I’m not sure whether I have another 10 in 10 left in me, but it would certainly be great to complete the 50 laps, we’ll have to see. In the mean time we’d like to sincerely thank Brathay for all the fond memories we have and for giving us the opportunity to play our part in Brathay’s mission, it’s certainly been a fantastic journey which we’ll never forget.