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Team Seven Day Treadmill World Record Challenge
SNEYD STRIDERS RUNNING CLUB
AT LILYWHITES , LONDON.
Following the success of my Seven day treadmill world record challenge at Lilywhites store in London (2005), I was welcomed back again to repeat the challenge once again.
However, even though the thought of running for seven days and then tackling the London Marathon on the eighth day was so inviting, I thought that this year a new twist was needed to help boost publicity and fundraising for a gruelling event.
So after contacting Guinness World Records about a team 7 day treadmill world record attempt, I set about putting the team together.
The rules were, no more than twelve runners to be allowed in the team and only one runner at anytime can be running during the challenge -simple!
My team consisted of fellow Sneyd Striders running club members, whom were- Stan Harrison, Colin Highfield, Phil Gelder, Steve Budjoso, Sean Haydon, myself and my son Liam (of whom would be celebrating his 15th Birthday during the event), the other two members that made up the team were a fellow ultra (and Grand union canal) runner- Kathy Hearn ,and Ryan Dowd (a Triathlete and a member of Running Fitness Magazine production team), I know that this made a team of nine runners-but the rules were "no more than 12 runners".
Now to be honest there were no record set for this challenge, so we would be setting a record for others to beat, the charity we were raising funds for was again a charity close to my heart- The National Autistic society ( NAS), of whom were so wonderful in publicising the whole event-it was also agreed that the challenge was to be started on the Friday as to maximise publicity.
Now the team at NAS came up with a name for the team of runners and that was ' TEAM ENDEAVOUR ' ,of whom I was Captain- this was a great moment for myself as I running with a team instead of a solo attempt and to be in London with my mates certainly made the attempt a whole more exciting.
Weeks before the event I had painstakingly worked out a Rota of whom would be running and at what times of each day ( making sure that the early starts were shared out equally between the team), I had worked on the idea that we would run for 20 minutes each in the morning, then another 20 minutes in the afternoon as this would allow each runner to run a little more faster on their stints rather than pace themselves for a 40 minute run.
Liam was to be the excluded from this rule, whereas we agreed that he could run for 15 mins for only one session a day-but Liam was determined that he would the same as everyone else and be a proper part of the team ( where does he get his stubbornness from - his Dad ?).
I will admit to booking us a place to dwell for the week in London, but the company I booked with called me to say that they had to put us in another B & B, to which I agreed, this was (as they told me) just a nice as the original place that I had booked!
When we arrived there I was shocked, the place looked a bit rough, in fact we expected RIGSBY ( TV's Rising Damp) to open the door to us, instead a Canadian by the name of Ryan Dowd (team member and Running fitness writer), opened the door with a "Hi ,you must be Glyn"?
I just looked at the team and said "So sorry about the accommodation had originally booked better than this" , but the team just laughed and reassured me by saying that they had stayed in a lot worse places than this.
So after sorting sleeping arrangements and Kathy joking that she had loads of space in her room so if anyone were stuck they would be welcome to share with her if they wanted to ( knowing full well that she was the only woman in the team), in fact Kathy's sense of humour fitted in well with the lads and made the week one huge laugh.
So came Friday morning and the first day of the challenge, we made our way to Piccadilly and the window in Lilywhites store - all geared up for the challenge, Liam was nominated to start (and finish) the event and what a showman he was-for he got onto the treadmill and ran at a pace he set himself, then while running he greeted every passer-by with a cheeky smile- he even blew some women a few kisses!!
he day was great, having your mates with you all day, the support and camaraderie between us all was fantastic, we all stood outside Lilywhites to help collect money from those who wish to donate to the cause.
The event was started by Princess Tamara Czartoryski Borbon, which gave us more publicity than ever- in fact while we were having some publicity pictures taken at the start of the event, my Brother Audie called me on my mobile to say that he had instructed his secretary to send a cheque to NAS for the sum of £1,000 on behalf of his company ( Hereford safety environmental ltd), Audie's way of supporting his only Brother and wishing his nephew (Liam) and great Birthday.
The first day passed so well, everyone was happy with the events of the day and overwhelmed with the hospitality given to us by all the staff at Lilywhites.
So back to the digs for a shower and a good nights sleep, on the journey back to our digs some of the team decided to re-arrange the rota as to give each other time to go sightseeing, which was fine by me as long as everyone was happy.
Saturday morning, again we set off on our Bus ride, then tube ride to our venue and again we had set a rota so we could take it in turns to have a lie in, but everyone was so fired up for the challenge that we all set off together each morning.
The second day was even better than the first, for each runner would be cheering on the runner who was on the treadmill either by standing inside the shop window to give words of encouragement, or by standing outside and encouraging their team mate as he ran.
Liam's turn was always met with great interest from the passing public, they would stare in amazement as a 14 year old Autistic boy was showing his dedication to the fundraising event-Liam just carried on with his run and met his audience with that cheeky smile of his.
I had started the event really well, but a troublesome knee was now getting worse and we were only two days into the event !
Colin Highflied offered to do some of my running for me ,but I gratefully refused this as I wanted to do my bit for the challenge for the whole week, I was in some pain now but I managed to see the day out by running at a slower pace.
Now the idea of running for 20 minutes stints twice a day being better than doing one 40 minute stint ,came with the fact that the shorter you run ,the faster you can travel and therefore each runner could be possible of gaining an extra half mile throughout the day.
However this was not be the case for me (due to my knee), so I decided to make the event a little more fun by wearing my London marathon costume on the world record challenge-the costume.... BATGIRL !!
To put the record straight, fellow NAS fundraiser Phil Bant was running the London Marathon dressed as BATMAN, his friend would be dressed as ROBIN and they needed a female runner to dress as BATGIRL and run with them on the Capitol's marathon, but no woman came forward to offer (I guess women have more common sense than us men), so Phil asked if I had the legs (and the bottle ) to put on a Batgirl costume and run as a trio on the marathon-I agreed as I never turn down a challenge ( and the chance to dress in women's clothes was a bit inviting too ).
Sunday, being Easter Sunday Lillywhites had to close the store for the whole day so we were to continue the event at a Virgin Gym near the NAS office.
This was a great day for us all ,Stan ran his legs off and Phil surprised us all by revealing that he had never ran on a treadmill before this event, but he showed no signs of being a novice at all.
Kathy showed us all her athletic prowess by trying to run faster than she did on her previous day, Liam ran well in between getting hugs from Polly and Kelly from NAS (a proper little charmer).
Virgin made us all welcome and made all facilities available to us, so after a day of sweating it out at the gym and a warm shower, we made our way to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a well earned meal.
Sleeping was okay at the digs, with only a few of us snoring on the odd occasion-Liam always told me when I snored, even at three in the morning (Bless him!!).
Monday was a little more stressful than the other days, as the public transport was a little busier so the ride to our venuewas a bit more cramped.
Again we all took our turn in running and supporting each runner on the treadmill, Liam stood outside with fundraisers from NAS and shook a bucket for passers-by to drop in money-the public loved Liam and Liam loved the attention he was getting.
The publicity was even greater due to the fact that Liam was taking part in the event despite his Autism, for Liam this was one great adventure of which he was going to enjoy to the maximum- we found a cafe around the corner from Lillywhites where myself and Liam enjoyed a toasted cheese and ham panini, we had this 'lunch' everyday of the challenge ,followed by a proper meal each evening (I never knew Liam could eat so much) our lunchtime panini gave myself and Liam a bit of time together on our own.
It was great to see Liam smiling as he chomped through his Panini, then he would ask if he was running well enough for the challenge-to which I would reply "you're running far better than your Daddy" as I rubbed my knee.
Back on the treadmill I got dressed into my BATGIRL costume and ran as best as I could on the treadmill, this attracted a huge crowd outside the shop window to which the rest of them explained why I was wearing a woman costume-their explanation wasn't just about wearing it for the London marathon, but they told the crowd that I was a closet transvestite and I had chosen the challenge to 'come out' !
Tuesday morning and we all woke up feeling tired, this was due to having a meal and a pint (followed by another pint, then another) the night before, in fact the only one with a clear head was Liam.
Liam looked forward to his journey to Lilywhites, the bus ride to the tube station, then the tube ride to Piccadilly, how he loved the underground ride.
The day was as good as the other days, though we were behind on the expected mileage (due to opening times of the store and the time to travel from our digs), we were still optimistic of a great overall mileage.
Phil ,who had previously admitted to never running on a treadmill before, showed his 'inexperience' on the machine- for he lost his footing and fell on his knees, but instead of stopping the treadmill he tried to get back to his feet.
By the time someone managed to stop the treadmill, Phil had scraped away the skin off his knees-so the joke for the rest of the week was "How was he going to explain the carpet burns on his knees to his wife when he gets home" !!
My run in the costume was again met by a huge crowd and lots of camera's, however it did boost fundraising and more importantly ,the passing public were talking to the team from NAS who used the time to explain Autism.
Making the public more aware of Autism is just as important as the fundraising aspect of this challenge.
Again, as every other day the last runner finished at 10pm at the evening then made their way with the rest of the team back to our B&B.
Wednesday and today was a special day for a certain young runner- for it was Liam's 15th Birthday, Liam was so excited when he opened his Birthday cards and a present bought by the rest of the team (a runners watch).
We had decide that Liam was to have an easy day today, so he ran for 15 minutes in the morning then had the rest of the day off.
As I finished my 20 minutes stint, Polly and Kelly from NAS presented Liam with a chocolate Birthday cake-a Hedgehog cake with chocolate fingers as it's spines, Liam loves chocolate fingers, he loves chocolate cake - in fact he loves 'ANYTHING' chocolate.
I got changed and took Liam out and about in London (for I would be doing my second 20 minute run at the end of the day), Liam wolfed down Pizza at Pizza hut, then his favourite drink 'Orange Fanta', we did a bit of shopping for ourselves (clothes and gifts).
It was a great day for us, just Liam and his Dad enjoying a Lads day out we really had a wonderful time together and again to see Liam smile was so rewarding.
Thursday and the last day of the challenge, the staff of Lilywhites treated us all like celebrities and we were very grateful for their hospitality-but for me one person was missing from the previous year's challenge and that was a wonderful young lady by the name of Michelle.
Michelle treated me like a superstar on the previous year's challenge and hoped that I would be back again, unfortunately Michelle was on holiday this week (so I was told ) and that she had sent her best wishes for the event.
But unknowing to me, Michelle was actually back from her holidays today and I found this out when I suddenly heard a scream of "GLYN, GLYN ,HOW THE HELL ARE YOU", yes it was Michelle.
After a huge hug for myself and one for Liam (who would never miss out on a clinch with a woman), I told Michelle that as Liam started the challenge, he was going to finish it too -a kind of run to the finish line and the honour should go to Liam for his wonderful spirit throughout the week.
After a day of taking it in turns to run it finally came to the last 15 minutes of the challenge, Liam stepped up to the treadmill and as he was setting his pace, Michelle gathered some of the staff to stand outside the store window to cheer Liam over the 'finish line'.
But as the minutes ticked by, the crowd had doubled as passers-by joined the team from Lilywhites to cheer this great young runner close the challenge.
Liam gave his cheeky smile to the crowd as usual but this was added with a wink, to which the crowd gave a huge 'AAHH Bless him'- as the final minutes ticked away the crowd started to chant "LIAM, LIAM, LIAM", I stood outside with my camera taking shots ,I was getting a little emotional as I watched with pride as my son started to play up to the attention he was getting.
As the crowd started to count down from 10, Liam gave a huge wave to his audience, at that point tears welled in my eyes-I think almost everyone there became emotional at this point, it was a proud moment for me, even more so when Liam stopped the treadmill and stood to face a crowd of cheering onlookers.
I thought that he may have become a little distressed by the noise and commotion he had caused, but no -he soaked up all the accolade and applause so much that we had to tell him that he could stop waving and blowing kisses to his fans if he wanted.
Eventually we got to the tube station and prepared for his journey home, all the way up the motorway he was asking of how he did and could he do it again next year- great signs that he could be following in his fathers footsteps and a running career, Who knows - just watch this space.
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