Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Tim`s Bit (Farm Africa)

This is a guest blog entry by Tim, in the form of a thank you letter to supporters.
It might be called "Tim`s Bit," but in actual fact it is an amazingly  huge record of achievements throughout 2017, in support of 
Farm Africa.
(HR stands for Hastings Runners)

My marathon year 2017

2017 for me was such a special year and I can scarce believe it is over so quickly. I have to say that celebrating my 30 years with Farm Africa could not have been better done as it involved all the facets that have made those years special. Over every gruelling mile (usually the final 6 of each run!) I was able to reflect on how difficult the lives are for so many people living in those parts of Africa, in which Farm Africa works, but at the same time, how, with just a few thoughtful changes, often only involving the introduction of better techniques, so much transformation can come about. So my main reason for sending you my heartfelt thanks within this letter is to say how you are one of many that have made this happen by your generosity. One of the reasons it has not been too difficult fundraising for Farm Africa is because its philosophy and objectives are so easy to explain and gain support for. Nontheless I still must thank you so much for your donation and try to explain how it has helped me through those many final ‘6 mile bits’! Don’t get me wrong the other miles were difficult at times but so often I found myself at the top of a hill savouring a spectacular view and celebrating all that is good about our great countryside or desperately wondering what I was doing, going round the same circuit 6 times (just to do the distance) when another runner would just give a thumbs up or smile and put everything on track again. I am starting to waffle a tad so will start to give a rundown on all those marathons and add again my sincere thanks for your support which has resulted in nearly £8000 being raised and with about £2000 of that doubled should send it to the giddy heights of £10,000!!!

1.   02/01  Winchelsea Chase 26.2m
          5 laps around the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, surprisingly pleasant run to set me off!
2.   08/01  East Hanningfield marathon Essex 25m
          Not as picturesque as East Sussex and very sticky under foot making some of the field crossings very hard work but pleasant enough overall. Missed seeing any farm animals
3.   21/01  Saxon shore at Ranscombe nature reserve 5x 5.4 mile laps 26.2
          Another 5 lap run but very pleasant after a very cold start. The Mausoleum at the turnaround point was quite a sight and some nice woodland paths
4.   29/01  Stonehenge stomp 25m
          An epic one this, around such an iconic landmark. I was left feeling it would be even better to run it in the summer.
 Loved seeing all the outdoor pig units on the Wiltshire                  downs
5.   04/02  Pickham Farm 27.9
          The first home made marathon and I hope the start of another adventure called the ‘Run for Africa’ but lets see (more on that later). Three loops from home so pit stops were easy. Many thanks to Louise, Sylvia, Cassie and Paul for the company
6.   15/02  Breakfast run Walton on Thames 26.2
          Held on a Wednesday which was useful and novel and another 6 laps this time!
7.   26/02  Mikes Vale road 28.1m
          Thanks to Mike for putting this one together, lovely run out to Hooe and back via Crowhurst
8.   05/03  Steyning Stinger  26.2
          My 5th Stinger and the only one with really foul weather but the South Downs never disappoints!
9.   11/03  Thames meander  26.2m
         Really nice run down river to Kew Bridge and back. I really rate this one. 
10.  23/04  London Marathon 26.2
          My last London Marathon and was as good as the others. Fantastic support as usual from HR’s and the Farm Africa staff. 
So glad I opted out of wearing the goat costume!
11.  29/04  Thames/Oxon 40   40m
           My fifth Oxon 40 miler and as good as ever, very hilly but such great views of the Chilterns, bluebell woods and Red Kites. Thanks to Cassie for the great company and getting me round again. You will have to find another companion next year!
12.  14/05  Southdowns Marathon 28m
           Another epic run and my 5th SDM. I just love downland running. Thanks for the company Mickey and all the HR’s that ran as well 
13.  27/05  Vale Road mk two 27.4m 
Just as good as the first time but better weather.
14.  03/06  Stockholm Marathon 26.2
          My best run and time 4hrs 38m a great marathon, son Ash was only 2hrs ahead of me! The run in at the end, with grandson Jack giving me a union jack, was epic!
15.  18/06  Hampshire Hoppit   26.2
           I did enjoy this one up on the Hampshire Downs even in the 30c heat. Lovely pint of ale for all finishers at the end.
16.  23/06  Pickham Farm  27.9m 
 A warm one again but a chance to enjoy the local scenery
17.  19/08  Twilight Chase  26.2
           An interesting one this, back at the Rye Harbour nature reserve but started at 4pm and just finished before it got too dark. Again a good turn out from HR’s
18. 10/09  Chiltern Marathon  26.2
         Back up to the Chilterns for another scenic run, hellish climb at the start though.
19. and 20.  23/09  Surrey Tops  50m
          Really enjoyed this one even though it took 15hrs and over night but great company with Nina, Cassie, Mark and Peers. Thanks for staying with me while I walked mostly.
21.  08/10  Windsor Marathon 26.2
        Out and back from Windsor Castle and not as interesting as I’d hoped but hey another done.
22, 23, 24    28/10 to 2/11 Himalayan Marathon 100mile Challenge.
          5 days of very tough walking/running but stunning backdrop of these incredible mountains inhabited by such warm, friendly and wonderful people, very basic accommodation made it such a rewarding experience. 
25.  12/11  1066 way ultra  33m 
I had always wanted to complete this trail in one go and thanks to Paul Cooper who ran the whole way with me, the run into Rye with Becks, Maria, Mickey and Cassie was so uplifting as I was so tired and feeling all the previous 24 runs
26.  19/11  Shillington Shuffle 26m
          Nice little run from Barton in the Clay another steep climb to start but not too bad after, again it was so good to see such different scenery.
27. 26/11   Gatliff Marathon  30m
          An old favourite with the usual poor route description only a few wrong turnings though, stunning views from the North Downs made up for much of the steep ascents.
28.  02/12  Mouth to Mouth Marathon 26.2m
           Set off from Shoreham up the Adur valley across the downs as far as Amberley and returned along the Arun valley, very hard end 6 miles, as the river meanders to Littlehampton.
29.  08/12  Danderyd Marathon 26m
          My usual pre Christmas trip to see the family in Sweden had to include another DIY marathon around Endsvagen, a lovely lake near Danderyd, north of Stockholm
30.  24/12  Nigel`s twice round Hastings Half route 26.2m
           What can I say .... this was just the best way to finish, at home with my running buddies from the club (all 40 of them) and family there at the finish, as well. I`m so grateful to Nigel Thornley for ‘hosting’ this one and providing race end goodies. Great coverage from the BBC, helped give a final push to the fundraising and also thanks to Libby from Farm Africa who also came down to support me. Best day!!

Thank You Thank You Thank You!!    

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