Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start....Stop.
That’s what Leading Light life has been like since I finished the Land’s End-John O’Groats ride. A vacuum after such a big effort, niggling injuries, mental fatigue after a sizeable few months, and the pressure of work meant that every time I tried to get back to some training, build towards something or add some momentum to the campaign, I had to stop. In an effort to force it, I aggravated an old back injury and had to take an extended break from any training.
Then my bike – my gorgeous bike that got me from one end of the country to another, with its shiny LLR wheels – was nicked. It’s been a frustrating few months.
It seems a while since we all sang Auld Lang Syne, but end of a year and the start of a new one is always time to think about what’s happened and plan what happens next. Last year was incredible from an LLR point of view – with the Marathon, the Olympic Torch, launching the Leading Light campaign, cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats. But I’ve always said that none of that really matters unless we come together to make this year bigger, and the next one bigger still, adding more and more meat onto the bones of our shared, raw ambition to beat blood cancer.
Enforced rest is not very restful, and I’ve been beating myself up about not having done anything for a while. But if I can’t train I can’t run, if I’ve got no bike I can’t cycle, and if I’m not out on the road then I struggle to write.
The only way you can break this cycle is by letting your body heal, and making plans in the meantime. 2013 is bigger than 2012. It has to be - there's no point sitting around looking back, so we look forward.
I’d love for you to be involved in the campaign, and for the movement to really get going. I’ve picked out a few races and challenges I’m keen to take part in and want to try and get as many of you as possbile to sign up and join me. There are already Leading Light teams for some of the events listed below, and but there is always room for more. And if you're keen to get involved then you can contribute in whichever way you like - remember it doesn't have to be one of the events listed below, so have a think and pick your project! All around the country we want people to hear what we're trying to do and inspire them to join us.
Either way, I'd love to know what you think, please feel free to comment.
3 March – Duchy Marathon OR Northumberland Ultramarathon
21 April – London Marathon (Leading Light Team x 3)
28 April – Manchester Marathon
26 May – Manchester 10k (Leading Light Team)
6-10 June – London to Paris LLR Challenge (Leading Light Team)
27/28 July – London Triathlon
24/25/26 August – Hadrian's Wall Coast-to-Coast Run (All Leading Light, East to West)
8 September – Run To The Beat 10k (Leading Light Team)
September/October – Major national cycling challenge. Exciting details to be announced soon.
6 October – Royal Parks Half Marathon (Leading Light Team)
3 November – Lancaster Half Marathon (Leading Light Team)
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be blogging about turning these ideas into something concrete. I’ll be blogging about ways you can get involved in a way that plays to your strengths as an individual or group of friends/colleagues, not a way that tells you what you should be doing. I’ll also blog about what training for a programme of events like this entails when you have a job on the side.
Finally, a lot of people have asked me to write about LEJOG – the journey, how it felt, best and worst moments, miscellaneous stuff, the lot. To those who have been waiting for it, I’m sorry. I’ve tried to write it about 50 times and I’m stuck – I tend to go on a bit anyway and there is enough material out of that 7 days of riding for a book. So instead of writing a specific account that bores you all to tears, I’ll try and tell a few tales along the way.
£1million is a lot of money, but we need it. We need it because it will fund the research and the clinical trials that will save lives. In order to reach £1million before July 2016, this campaign needs your help. If you want to get involved in anything I’ve outlined above, or do anything else however small or ridiculous you might think it, let me know.
Time to start again.