Sophie Rocks 2019! An epic challenge to raise funds for Rebecca House

After a productive 2018 which saw me break all my distance PBs from 1-mile through to marathon, I sat with my wife over the Christmas period and we discussed a 2019 challenge that would really push me. 

One that wasn’t about me, wasn’t about time but about distance, and one (most importantly) that would raise money for the children’s hospice that watched over our goddaughter Sophie Moolman after she was suddenly taken from us by viral myocarditis that triggered a cardiac arrest.

Sophie was 7 years old and lived in Douglas, IoM with her awesome mum and dad Sam & Will, more latterly joined by the little sister she’d always wished for, Isla Jane (another wee nutcase like Soph).  I desperately wanted to give something back to Rebecca House (the children’s wing of the IoM Hospice), but we realised people may not ‘dig deep’ with donations for a keen runner doing a running challenge – unless it was something they realised was a real toughie.

Below is a lovely pic of Sam, Mrs P (Michelle) and Isla Jane after we (me, Chelle and others) ran the City of Manchester 10km and Sam cycled the Liverpool to Chester bike ride – all for Sophie Rocks!

We toyed with various distances and concepts, coming with up with the following…. A 365-day run-streak throughout 2019 (RED 2019) – with no ‘cheating’ like walking or running on treadmills. I had to be running outside and it had to be at least 5km per day.

The challenge

Ok I can do that. In that case, if you think ‘I can do that’, ramp it up a notch on the difficulty scale.

RED 2019 at least 5km per day AND a year-end total the equivalent of 100 marathons (2620 miles/4244km). Ouch, that’s about 7 miles per day on average then. Erm, not sure I can do that…

Mrs P then threw in ‘and don’t shave!’, now I don’t mind growing a bit of facial hair for a week maybe even a few weeks – but I love the feeling of being clean-shaven. My response to Mrs P? – ‘Really? No ta’.

I definitely cannot, and don’t want to, do those things… therefore that’ll be your 2019 challenge!

  • Run Every Day of 2019, at least 5km per day (all has to be ran and ran outside)
  • Run a total of 2620 miles/4244km in 2019 (the equivalent of 100 marathons, on average 7.2 miles per day)
  • Don’t shave for a year (one big scruffy, hobo beard)

Progress (or lack of)

It’s been a rollercoaster. I really struggled to run every day to begin with (which meant I fell behind the 7-mile average per day quickly) – but very gradually ramped up the distances and tried to cut out my ‘minimum 5km’ runs (which are SO tempting, but meant I fell further behind by 7km that day).

I’ve also learned to slow down my pace most days is around an 8-min mile.  Whilst I’ve thrown in quite a few events into the mix to keep things interesting, most of my daily runs are just me – out on the roads/trails plodding along. My Jan-May monthly stats illustrate how I fell behind.

Month Distance (km) Distance (mls) Average per day Required Ave Diff
Jan 318.95 197.75 6.38 7.18 -0.80
Feb 270.48 167.70 5.99 7.18 -1.19
Mar 301.29 186.80 6.03 7.18 -1.15
Apr 284.48 176.38 5.88 7.18 -1.30
May 302.47 187.53 6.05 7.18 -1.13

Why did you fall so far behind you plum?

Why did I fall so far behind in the first half of the year? (a) Getting used to running every day and running 10km+ took me a while to adjust to and (b) the main reason – I was really f*cking stupid…..I ran events and ran them quick – which destroyed me for several following days and meant I did the ‘5km minimum per day’ until I’d recovered. What a tw*t eh? Yup.

  • Example 1: I ran in the World Masters (M40 Cat.) in Torun, Poland in March and bashed out an 85-min HM PB, 8km Cross-country PB and a near 10-km PB within a week – then suffered the following week and did 5km’s all week – STUPID BOY!
  • Examples 2/3/4/5…: Ran a marathon PB in Paris (3.08) in mid-April – NUMPTY! Then smashed that time two weeks later in London (3.05) – TOSSER! After running a sub-90 min HM at Chester in mid-May, then did a sub-3.15 mazza in Liverpool the weekend after – YUP, A TW*T! I finally realised I was a complete tw*t, and stopped running quickly.

By the end of May I’d had enough

I was completely goosed by the end of May, also was many miles behind where I should’ve been nearly half-way through 2019.

I should’ve run 1,092 miles by the end of May…I’d ran…wait for it….916! 176 miles behind after 5 months – you utter w*nker!  ‘This is about distance, none of the ‘rules’ state you need to smash your PBs or listen to your app updates or look at your bleepy watch for pace data. STOP IT DICKHEAD!

The pic below is of me with Rob Pope (the real-life Forrest Gump) when we stopped for a photo during the Liverpool Rock n Roll mazza (near Anfield). A belting geeza

From June I stopped thinking about pace, starting by switching my phone to track distance only. I now run purely by feel, with no pace updates etc. And it’s bloody brilliant – freedom!  I’ve become something of a preacher of ‘run by feel’ to anyone that’ll listen. 

Starting to catch-up (and believe)

Want my June to September (Sept is for first 15 days) updates? Okie doke…

Month Distance (km) Distance (mls) Average per day Required Ave Diff
Jan 318.95 197.75 6.38 7.18 -0.80
Feb 270.48 167.70 5.99 7.18 -1.19
Mar 301.29 186.80 6.03 7.18 -1.15
Apr 284.48 176.38 5.88 7.18 -1.30
May 302.47 187.53 6.05 7.18 -1.13
Jun 360.32 223.40 7.45 7.18 0.27
Jul 334.96 207.68 6.70 7.18 -0.48
Aug 369.39 229.02 7.39 7.18 0.21
Sep 201.51 124.94 8.33 7.18 1.15


Bit of a difference eh? So basically, I stopped being a d*ckhead (well mostly…) and things are going ok.  My legs are still sore most of the time, but it’s manageable with loads of stretching. I’m sure I’d feel better if I didn’t drink beer, whisky and ate healthier food, but that’ll never happen.

I even got to run a local (in Lancaster) HM with my son Bailey before he left for the RAF (L) – which was a special experience. Top boy.

For more updates…

I’m using my justgiving page to provide regular mini-blog updates if you want to check it out (see here)? I’ll post another here soon, giving you a breakdown of the load of events I’ve ran and have coming up – also the immense support I’ve had from work colleagues and friends (doing things like cake bakes to raise more funds – people are brilliant when not talking about Brexit/Bremain ;)).

What’s next?

Maybe you’re doing some of the same events and we can have a natter on the way round? Or a beer before/during (see Great North Run…)/afterwards? Next event is Berlin mazza, then it’s Chester mazza.

Thanks for reading,