Paul Dewar, Man & Machine, 21 Days of Pain, 1600 miles of Hurt, Inspiring Young Lives.
Wow, there is a lot to live up to in that title!!
A bit about me. I am male, 5'10" ish, grey hair and just turned 50, married to Trudi, who manages to smile and support me through some of these nutty challenges that I do. We run a traditional Inn situated just south of The Lake District.
Born in Harrogate in the wonderful county of Yorkshire and lived there for a number of years until the family re-located to South Wales and then to North Devon some years later. Having avoided all forms of excersise at school for as long as possible I found myself press ganged into a rugby team at school in Devon and found that I actually enjoyed it, other than the cold in the winter!! After all, it was on the edge of Exmoor. From here I developed into other sports, athletics and cross country running amongst them. I found that I wasn't too bad at this running lark and soon found myself representing the school in the North Devon league and various races further afield.
Once I left school though, running took a nose dive, I found beer, smoking and girls much more alluring!! I did however have a few moments of running but these moments were very scarce and never for any period of time.
As I hit the ripe old age of 30 I decided that I needed to get fit and so once again took up running. Being a bit older I found that I actually stuck to it and was soon enetering a local 10k. I think my time was just over 50 minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hooked again and a few years later ran my first marathon in Sheffield.
I can still remember how tough it was, I had trained hard for the event but nothing could prepare me for the pain that my legs went through during the last few miles, and indeed the next few days. It didn't put me off though, and although I didn't run a marathon for another year, I did still keep up the running. I was mainly running 10k's, 10 milers and half marathons, clocking up some respectful times, but I always felt that I never had enough time to do the training to go longer.
In 2007 we became self employed and set up our company a year or so later. Although we worked all the hours to get things going I still managed to do some training although didn't race again for a number of years. As the business grew, we found that we could employ others and therefore free up time for us. For me I was back out regularly on the roads and found myself entering the Brathay Windermere Marathon. I trained hard for this event and was pleased with my performance on this tough course.
This was to prove a turning point for me as this is when I heard about the 10 in 10 and witnessed it first hand. Here was a handful of normal guys running 10 marathons in 10 days for the Brathay charity. I was amazed at what they were doing and after some thought entered the event for the following year, 2012. Surprisingly, I was accepted and transformed my mind and body from a one marathon a year guy into a multi day event guy. It took some time and the journey was not particularily pleasant if I'm honest, especially during the winter months, but I persevered and was rewarded with an unforgettable 10 days in May 2012.
From then on I was running marathons about once a month, and then a customer lent me a book by Andy Holgate about his Ironman journey. I read it and instantly dismissed the idea as madness, too much training, swimming, which I only did on holiday to cool down, and cycling, nuts. Little was I to know that the seed had been planted!!
A few months later I was chatting to Paul McKenny (waiting for his daughter to finish work), he has a lot to answer for, and he was telling me how he had done a couple of Ironman events and that it really wasn't that bad. Unfortunately, I listened to him and ended up entering Ironman UK 2013. I went and bought a bike, practically learnt how to swim again from scratch and generally got myself in some sort of shape to complete the event. It was hard, one of the toughest things that I have put my body through, but I did it.
So, what do you do when you reach 50?? Well, I dreamt up some ludicrous event that will really push me to the absolute limits. For me it is going to be the challenge of a lifetime. Yes, I run marathons for fun, yes, I participate in long distance triathlons for fun, but I also raise money for charity whilst doing them and so this seems the perfect way to combine the two things.
The road to get to the start line is not going to be an easy one, it is going to be a long, hard slog but I will get there. I hope that in doing so and, in taking on this challenge that I can inspire others, especially the younger generation to take on their own challenges and maybe change their lives for the better. After all, that's what Brathay is all about.