March Mini Challenge and some wild swimming

So there has been a bit of a break on the blog as I was away for a week in Kent and took the time to let my finger heal a bit, along with some of the other scrapes. 

But now I’m back and the training starts again with something new to report, I have made it into the water at last!  Just over 6 months to go and I found a local group of swimmers who meet to do open water wild swimming.  So a few messages back and forth and I found myself by Sparth reservoir for an early morning start yesterday at 7 am to meet one of the guys involved with it all. 

Luckily this time I was a bit better prepared and the water temperature was a little better than it was at the end of last year in Gaddings, still in single figures but the ones nearer 10 rather than zero this time.  So dressed in borrowed wetsuit boots, swimming shorts, a swimming top, wet suit gloves and goggles I headed in for a dip. 


Although the water was pretty cold it wasn’t that bad at all and with the boots my feet were fine which was a relief after last times total numbness.  We did a circuit around the edge with me doing breast stroke and getting used to the feeling of the cold water while my companion kindly stayed only a few strokes ahead of me and snapped a few pics with his go-pro camera.


By the time we were back round to where we started  was ready to get out but still feeling pretty good, I didn’t even suffer any shakes after drying off which is a reasonable indication that my core temperature didn’t drop too much.


So all good news on the swimming?  Well not quite!  The circumference of Sparth is about 350 meters or so, which means for the 1.2 miles I have to do it equates to about 5 and a half laps.  By the iron man rules there is a 1 hour 30 min cut off for the swim section.  My one, albeit fairly leisurely lap took me about 30 mins so that would put my time for the full distance at 2 hours 45 mins!  Well at least I have an idea of my starting point now and an aim to at least double my speed at a bare minimum! 


So knowing I have a long way to go in the water I am planning to try and get along for a swim as often as I can and because the rules stipulate you have to wear a full wet suit I have just bought one so that I can train in that, hopefully the extra buoyancy and much more training will help with things.


Besides all of that I have now bought myself some new bike brakes to replace the bent ones that were damaged in the crash and as soon as they are on the bike I’ll be up and about on that as well so looking forward to getting some hilly miles done when the clocks change and I can take it to work and back more often.


On the non physical side of things I have also now written to a number of local businesses in the area in the hopes that some of them may look kindly on the event and possibly help or sponsor me for it.  It would be great to raise local awareness of what the welcome centre does and to see if I can get some local ground swell and support for it all.


So what’s next?


Well this month’s mini challenge is now getting very close, walking 40 miles of the Calderdale way in a day.  That’s up hill and down dale for what I expect will be about 10-12 hours.  I’m going to be doing it with an experienced long distance walker (he is using it as a training run for a 100 mile walk he is doing later in the year!) and an equally daft friend who I did the 3 Yorkshire peaks with.  However even with a decent level of fitness, a good guide and plenty of food and drink along the way I am still fully expecting my legs to be shot by the end of it and possibly have to deal with blisters as well.  But I think the Iron Man event is as much about the will to just keep going as it is about the fitness required to do it so the walk will put both to the test to see how I fare.  


Added to the walk there is still the Zombie dash (or hobble as it may end up for me!) that I signed up for the day after.  I had originally thought of this as just a bit of fun but with 40 miles done the day before it may be a lot harder than I expected. 



So down to the nitty gritty of cold hard cash!


I said that I’d like to get to a £98 running total for my sponsorship by the end of this month which would be £1 for each mile of the mini challenges, that still stands and I’d really like to get there if folk would be happy donating.  However as an added incentive if folk can double that before the Zombie run then no matter the condition of my legs I’ll do the run in some form of armour (I need to check with the organisers that they are ok with this)  I realise that makes the running total £196 which is quite high but I am setting it there on purpose as I think doing the Zombie run in armour is going to be really really hard after the walk!  So if you want me to do it you’re going to have to really earn it!


So there it is my update for this month and my physical challenge set against your financial one J


As ever the details of everything can be found on these links.

Donation page

The Welcome Centre

Facebook page

Search “Jack’s iron challenge


Thanks for reading and hopefully donating!





First run after the day of the tumble

Me again! and I wanted to do another update on things as I am away next week so I’m not sure if I will get a chance to post.


I decided it was probably good advice that everyone was telling me to take a rest for a bit and give my injuries time to heal after I came off my bike last week.  So for the last week or so I have been changing dressings and wandering around with my finger splinted and getting bored with not being able to do circuits or any training.


But now I’m back at it!  my leg is doing better and there is new pink skin coming through (tight and sensitive as it is it seems a good thing) and my finger although broken and in need of 6-8 weeks to repair has at least returned to nearly normal proportions from the swelling so I thought I’d risk a run and except for a bit of tightness from the new skin I enjoyed it.


So now that I am just under 7 months from the big day what’s my plan?  Well through illness and injury I haven’t yet managed to get into the water since my abortive frozen dip before Christmas so that has got to feature pretty high on my list of training aims!  So I’m now going to get my arse in gear and get into the pool on my return from holiday and after the clocks change I am planning to give Gaddings dam another go, maybe on April the 4th if anyone wanted to come along and watch or even join in!?


Other than that I am now planning on starting to send out some letters to local businesses to see if any of them want to support me or help with things.  I wanted to wait a bit so that I wasn’t asking for money while the event was just a dot on the horizon but I have a bit of a plan to try and keep things interested along the way so with that in mind I thought I’d contact them sooner rather than later.


So what is my little plan then?  Well I thought on the back of my mini challenges I have already got in place I would try and do something each month on the run up to the event to hopefully keep folk interested and to keep a steady stream of sponsorship coming in (hopefully)


So as it stands right now this is “The Plan” of mini challenges:

28th February: Cycle to work and run home: done! Complete with broken bone, phone, bike and road rash

29th March: Walk 40 miles of the Calderdale way in a day and do a 5K zombie run on the 30th

27th April: Run the Huddersfield marathon

18th May: Meet Brian Blessed and hopefully get a copy of his autobiography signed to auction off

14th & 15th June: Walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall unaided, that’s 84 miles of rough country!

July: ????

August: ????

28th September: My Birthday and the main event!


As you can see I have July and August free of mini challenges right now so I’m looking for something to have a go at.  Ideally one would be swimming related and the other something on a bike but that’s not set in stone.


So what I thought was that some of you lovely people might have some ideas of what I could do?  Something that is achievable in a day and doesn’t cost the earth.  I’ll happily consider most ideas but of course there has to be a proviso and that is if I choose your idea you have to donate some cash!

I’d love to get a bit of chatter going around the event and the build up to it so please do post up on the blog or the facebook page and let me know your thoughts and ideas.  Want more pictures of the places I train or updates on the work the welcome centre is doing?  Like to know a bit about the area where the triathlon is happening or the times of past entrants?  Any thoughts would be great.

Thanks, Jack

As ever you can donate here

Or read all about the welcome centre here

A ride, a run and a bit of a tumble

Well I thought I should report in on how the end of February mini-challenge went.  I said that if I raised enough money before the end of January that it would not only enter in for the Huddersfield Marathon (which I have now done) but also cycle to work and run home on the last day of February.  Well what an interesting day yesterday was!  I got up nice and early for the 16 mile ride and left the house at about 7am.  After a winter of near constant rain it was a nice change to get out to find a frost on the ground and a chill in the air as I started up the hill from my house.  Passing up and down a few of the smaller hills on the way in, I was glad I remembered my gloves and chose a long-sleeve top to wear as the wind on the faster down hill stretches was biting and had my legs turning a nice pinky/red but I was making good time and enjoying the ride.  Getting to the top of Blackstone edge and passing the reservoir I was ready for the last 3 miles of the route, almost all of it a steep down hill and recently resurfaced to accommodate the tour-de-France that is going to be coming this way in the summer.  I had previously clocked an impressive speed down the hill (53.7mph) so i knew the road was fast but with no cars about I was looking forward to the rush of air as I raced down.  Coming round the last but one of the corners of the hill there was the road works and associated traffic lights that I expected as I normally drive past them each day, still on green I think I was going about 25mph as I passed them.  However this is where things come a little unstuck.  I can only guess that as I passed the lights they must have just changed and the stretch being long enough I guess the other end turned green before I was all the way through as just at the end of the lights I was faced with an oncoming coach.  So left with three choices of hitting the coach, hitting the wire mesh of the roadworks barrier and aiming for the footpath I chose the last and tried to break to take off as much speed as possible before the inevitable crunch of hitting the kerb.  Well hit I did and over the handle bars I went, a decent enough tumble that 7 years of break-falling at Jujitsu didn’t seem to mitigate.  On the deck and taking stock everything seemed on, my hand hurt, my arm and leg hurt but nothing that seemed too bad until I saw my poor poor phone 😦 strapped on my arm with a holder I had just bought the previous weekend the screen looked like a dememted spider’s web of cracks but on checking it, it did seem to at least still be working.  It was at this point that a chap came over and checked if I was OK.  He had been in his digger working on the road and had seen it all including my inelegant dismount onto the pavement.  He said he had tried to run over right away but all the safety features in his digger meant he couldn’t as he had to unclip, turn off and other stuff before he could leave it.

Literally dusting myself down and taking another look it seemed my right side had taken the brunt of it with a good bit of skin gone off my calf as well as my upper thigh and a big hole in my long sleeve top when my elbow had skidded on the ground, plus on second look I was fairly sure my left little finger was broken and it seemed the brakes on my front wheel were bent as well.  My good Samaritan on seeing all this offered to drive me that last mile or so into work in his van with my bike in the back, which I very gratefully took him up on.

So after a short trip to work, a very painful shower digging grit out of cuts and a decent application of masking tape and bandage pads it was into the office for the rest of the day at work.  

However it then occurred to me I was meant to be running home!

Sticking a good bit of this on facebook (as you do) I think the consensus was I should postpone and do it another day but I did feel guilty in that I said I was going to do it and although painful i didn’t think there was any serious damage just a few good scratches.  But being sensible and listening to the general opinion I thought the best route might be to go for a run at lunch time and clock up about 4.5 miles to see how I’d hold up that before doing the whole lot home.  So come 12 noon it was on with the running kit and off down the canal.  40 mins and 4.5 miles later and I was actually feeling pretty good, no muscle twinges and no light headedness so I seemed, in my eyes, good for the run home.  But again taking the advice of others I thought it would be ok to knock off the miles from the lunch time run and instead of 16 miles home just do 11.5.  So as 3 O’clock rolled round it was back in the running gear and thanks to a lift from someone at work part of the way I was off for the run home.  Starting a few miles in meant I missed the big Blackstone hill which was a nice start but there was still the very steep rises out of Ripponden and up Ellend which I happy to admit were chuffing hard!

Still 10.7 miles later (not the 11.5 unfortunately as stopping places were limited to drop me off) I was home and showered (another painful experience) and felt although I hadn’t done exactly as promised that i had at least fulfilled the spirit of the challenge.

So that was February!  Now its on to March and the next mini challenge.  I decided I would try and do a little something each month that pushes me and gets me ready for the big day and in doing so hopefully gives you all a chance to feel that your donations as well as mainly being for the big Triathlon are getting some “payback” along the way.

So March then, the challenge is to walk 40 miles of the Calderdale way.  Why 40 instead of the full 50?  Well the Hadrain’s wall route is 84 miles so the plan is to trial 40 and see how that is and more importantly how my legs are the following day!


So the mini funding goal for the end of the month is now £98, a pound for each mile of my mini challenges.

26 for the marathon, 16 for the cycling and 16 for the run and a final 40 for the walk.

So if people feel like donating and helping me raise money for the Welcome center while egging me on with my mini challenges please follow the link to my donation page and stick a few quid in.


Thanks, Jack

petition time


Just a quick update on the politics side of things as I haven’t done one in a while.  Today I received an email from  Talking about another petition to bring the issue of food banks and food poverty back to the governments limelight.  I’d encourage everyone to sign it as if it receives enough signatures then the issue has to be raised in parliament, and I think that keeping it active and reminding MP’s who have the nations purse strings what some people are going through is very important.

Please do have a read through it and add your name if you can, it only takes seconds and it all helps to bring about the change that’s needed.

Sorry for the lack of recent updates on here I’m afraid I have been a bit out of action recently due to bouts of various illness.  I really hate being ill and luckily enough for me it does seem to be a rare occurrence but the last two weeks I seem to have picked up everything going and made up for the last healthy 18 months.  But that aside I’m now back to health and back training. 

This week was a good one with two very heavy cardio circuit classes and three good runs at lunchtime, with one taking in a decent bit of hill running.

So with me back on the training wagon I thought it was time to look at filling in the time between now and the big day with a few more fun trials and tests.  I have already signed up for the zombie run at the end of March and have had some donations towards my £26 goal for the end of February which if I can crack my total will mean I’ll sign up for the Huddersfield Marathon. 

However on top of those I have been thinking about having a go at Hadrian’s wall over the summer, two days to walk the full length of the wall.  The plan is to do it with a friend of mine, Martin, and stop half way at a b&b so we can go light and go fast.  But of course 84 miles in two days is not something to just do on a whim so to see if we are both in the right sort of shape to give it a go we’re planning on a trial route along the Calderdale way taking in most or all of the 50 miles that circular route has to offer.  Time however always seems to be tight for both of us so picking a date to do the tester walk was difficult and it ended up falling on the 29th of March, which for those observant few will see is the day before the zombie run.  So I think the 5k bit of fun may end up being somewhat more difficult than I imagined with a 50 mile hangover!

One last thing I was thinking about is getting back on my bike now the days are getting longer and so to mark what will be the 7 month countdown to the big day I’m planning on cycling into work next Friday, that’s 16 miles along some of the same route they are using for the Yorkshire leg of the tour de’ France and hers my challenge to all of you.  If I can get my running charity total to £40 by next Friday I’ll run the return trip instead of cycling home.


So to lay it out for you all if I can get a running total of £26 by next Friday it’s my name on the list for the Huddersfield Marathon, but if it gets to £40 then it’s the Marathon and a 16 mile run on top.  So please pop a few quid in if you can, and help me help the welcome centre!

you can donate through my “mydonate” page or contact me to sort out another way if thats easier 

Cheers for now,



Post run

After a quick lunchtime run round some of the footpaths and canals close to work it’s back for a shower then the rest of the afternoon at the desk

Slow week but good news for the event


Well I’m afraid I don’t have a lot to report on this week as far as physical activity goes, I’ve been struck down with a winter cold so have pretty much missed all my morning exercises, circuits and running due to feeling grim.  A real shame as the circuits class I go to has just got a load of new equipment thanks to the fab guy that runs it and I wanted to try to keep using the heart rate monitor for my running as well to see if there was any improvement.  Oh well not a lot I can do about it and at least it’s early enough in my training that it shouldn’t impact too much on things.

However though I have been ill I haven’t been totally idle.  A few weeks ago my sister-in-law told me about an event in Lincoln at the old Ritz cinema that she thought I might be interested in…… 

When I was a kid in Lincoln the Ritz was about the only place to see films and even then the place hailed back to the old style of things with upper and lower stalls, intermissions and ice cream sellers, but years ago it lost out to out-of-town multiplexes and shut before being converted into a pub.  However it seems that the upper floors were left as they were, just blocked off so they sat (in my mind at least) like every dust covered dim cinema that’s ever been featured in a film.  But recently some enterprising folk with a love of the old building have been renovating it and putting on small scale showings of old films and running themed evenings to help fund the place which I think is really great. 

It was one of these themed evenings “Gordons Alive!” that Becky told me about, an evening with Bian Blessed (him of the beard and booming voice!), followed by a showing of 80’s classic Flash Gordon.  Well I have always loved the film from being a kid and I think Brian Blessed is a fantastic guy, a quintessentially British eccentric who came from humble beginnings to try to scale Everest three times and is a reserve cosmonought in Russia, that’s got to be worth a few quid to go and listen to some of his exploits, so ticket bought I was a happy chap.  But then I wondered if it was worth trying to shoe-horn this into what I was doing for the Welcome centre in some way, well I am doing something that is going to push me physically further than I have gone before and though I’m not equating it with climbing Everest there is a parallel there however tenuous.  So with that idea in my head and not much more I tried to find some sort of contact address for Brian.  Well my naivety showed here I think as you know it’s not exactly easy to just get an email for a celebrity as there was no address on Google so instead I took to trying to contact him directly through his face book page, to be honest with little hope of getting anything back.

But thankfully and to my surprise the next day I get a message back from Brian on facebook saying he had read my message and so now as well as listening to some of his stories I’ll be meeting him in person to snap a couple of pics with him and hopefully have him sign a copy of his autobiography which I plan to auction off as part of my fund raising efforts.  So I know it’s not till May but if you like the idea of having a signed copy of Brian Blessed’s autobiography then watch this space!

Well that’s all for now but hopefully next week I’ll be feeling a bit better and more able, things are already in the works and I have a few ideas to keep me going till the event, alongside the zombie run and the marathon I have been wondering about trying to walk Hadrian’s wall over a weekend and also having a slight revival of canal bike ride by doing an 80 mile round trip to Manchester but all of this to come when I have more details.

In the mean time please do consider sticking some cash in to my cause and as I mentioned before if I get the total up to £26 before the end of Feb. I’ll run a marathon for you all!

All donations can be made here and are very much appreciated!