It all started in 2012. I had pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of during tough times before then, but never in terms of physical endurance. In fact, truth be told, I’d never really run much before. There were no marathons under my belt – just a flicker of an idea to see how hard I could push myself. And as it turned out, I found my limits and then pushed on further still. I ran 50 miles every day, for 50 days taking me right round England, Scotland and Wales. Every step I took was to prove to people – not least the kids I teach – and to myself that with focus and resolve, absolutely anything is possible. Not one person thought I could do it as I set off and there were plenty of times along the way where I wondered myself. But I did it.
I learnt a lot about myself on that run. About running away from self-doubt, and about running towards a goal. I learnt a lot about other people on the run too. How kindness can come in the most unexpected of ways and how support from other people can lift you out of truly dark places. The run caught people’s imagination and I had great support from the press and the public alike who dubbed me the Epic Runner and who willed me on with every kind word. My trainers and my body took a battering, but it was it was absolutely worth it. We raised more than £16,000 for Help for Heroes and beyond that, achieved something everyone had thought might just be impossible. That run, that epic run, lit something in me to push myself harder and continue to inspire people to run with their own dreams.