This is where all of your amazing sponsorship brought me..In all honesty until I actually arrived in Beijing and met Mark Pattenden in person it was all just a dream. Besides all the crazy traveling hours this is where we all ended up and it was incredibly tough out of a possible 60 who entered the full marathon only 17 finished . Water points were far and few between which didn’t help especially with 30 degree heat and the steepest of inclines, I think any of us had ever experienced.
This is a graph I took from Strava to show just how steep the ascent and descent was.
In any case I only managed 14kms of the wall which was basically out and back. I stayed with the awesome Kathy who was optimistic about completing her first full Marathon until she and I realised just how daunting a task it was. Running seemed impossible and it was better to walk run lol more walking then running . I was to wait for Mark at the turning point (7km) but when Kathy and I finally reached it I realised that there was no unearthly way that Mark would be able for the steepest of descents ever!!
This is the descent down to the turning point and if you are any way scared of heights , I wouldn’t advise attempting this…I was using language that even non English speaking folk would understand:(😜😝.
The days before the Greatwallmarathon were interesting and I met some really lovely people a little crazy..but lovely all the same👍👍
Amy our tour guide was such a gem and I want to thank you for being such an amazing host , Haley Ginn you are an inspiring coach and I was really chuffed to have met you.. Mark Pattenden mate keep doing what you doing buddy you are an inspiration to many and I have enormous amount of respect for your grit and determination and also a huge congratulations on getting that world record who would have thought the bionic man would get his world record?🙌🙌 and then there was the engineer from India who is an awesome person and tougher then he looks and will go far with ultras and running because he has an awesome mindset Vijay Mantri my friend it was a total honour to meet you …. Last but definitely not least Kathy Calio and Giselle Rapanut ..Kathy you are definitely the quiet one and Giselle if I need someone to talk me a lullaby you’re my gal🙋🙋
There are so many people who I have to thank and you know who you are…my utmost appreciation for your support and believing in what I was and now have done..
Its been a rollercoaster ride the past few months ups ,downs ,worries ,stress ,elation and now finally , excitement because if it was not for kind and generous donations from a lot of people of whom I have not met in person but because they are of like minded interests like myself, they understand how very important this is to me and they also know how passionate I am . My deepest thanks for all their amazing patience and support the last few months..Yes and yes again ,I am indeed repeating myself because this is an opportunity of a life time and although I have my flights, accomodation ,insurance and visa covered I still have to leave a few euro s for me family and no I dont think I am being greedy at all because my target 1500 euro included leaving a few euros for my family so if you could throw in a few euro hopefully youll click on this and Gofundme or alternatively I have a PayPal account which I will provide on request It seems that everyone is ignoring my tweets ,facebook,linkdin lol and the rest …I am 175euro short of my final target ..and I just cant give up after coming this far right???
So my apologies if it seems like I am spamming my social media pages I am just excited and really ,yes maybe over zealous but in honesty.. if I had not done what I have done I would not be going to China in 2 weeks time woo hoo! saying it loud makes it even sooner..thank you so much for all of your amazing support especially Mark Pattenden ,Simon, Warren ,Frikkie, Kimberely, Brad ,Amy ,Chris, Nicola ,Mel and the list goes on..and…on
Exciting times ahead..just under 24 days until I fly out to China and realise a dream,experience a different way of life and a different culture no matter how brief it will definitely interesting and learning experience. No matter what comes or goes this is going to happen and this is down to a lot of very generous, honest people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude and I am sure if I was in a position to help I would definitely do the same for anyone as well..
The past few months have been busy and even though I am still seeking work it feels like I’m employed full time..If you read this blog about my journey you already know that I have a funding campaign “The Link”😂 I am excited now that I’m at the final hurdle which is applying for my visa and importantly trying to reach my target which is still €300-400 short *wink wink* lets get me to my incredible destination thanks to all your wonderful support I’m 3/4 of the way to 🇨🇳 and this is the final push to get to A place of ancient history and wonder.
Also please don’t forget..to check out Mark Pattendens justgiving page on @disco_man on Twitter or on Facebook Mark Pattenden first amputee to attempt Thegreatwall in China.
I am still in shock as to how many people have in some how impacted on my up and coming trip to China… I am really excited ..I might say that again..I am really excited:) Now to obtain relevant documentation for my visa and then I can breathe a little easier. I guess I’m not used to how things are processed in China it can be really frustrating and slow. I am an ex soldier and time keeping is something that I’m a stickler for..so being anxious is an under statement.Hopefully things will be sorted by Monday at the latest..
On another note all of you great people that have helped me get this far and hopefully further thank you so much this is truly happening and I am still in shock at the generosity of every one especially friends that I haven’t seen in a while and I mean easily close on 20 years or more??!! I am truly overwhelmed with emotion this could be something to start me on a new career path.. If I could travel and promote marathons for a living I would gladly do it, this is where passion lies and how bad would it be if I could make a living promoting marathons all over the world?? Wow getting paid to do something that I really understand and respect..
When I was a young lad all I ever wanted to do when I grew up was be an aircraft designer. It seems like such a long time ago..now..? At this moment in time all I want to do is get to China never have I had such drive then right now at this precise moment…all I can say when I put up my my gofundme.com link you see.. no effort when its an opportunity that only comes around once in a lifetime.
I was heading home after putting my x on the voting sheet , reflecting and thinking back to what mom and dad used to tell me. To be honest, had a lump in my throat because mom would always stand by me and say “if you believe you can do something, then you will, don’t let anyone tell you different” Dad would’ve been more cautious and always think safety first and be the responsible one..Dad would go with his head first and heart last .. I on the other hand am like my mother and wear my heart on my sleeve. So that’s why I am so passionate about going to China and touching an amazing part of Asian History .
Growing up without a lot of things taught me the meaning of appreciation and this is one of those times… If being unemployed has taught me anything its that even though things are grim , it doesn’t matter when there is hope. I am very fortunate to be in a fairly positive place in my life at this moment in time..and really thankful to a lot of people friends and family that believe in me and what I am capable of doing and becoming. Also think that me Mom and Dad would really be proud of me.. Quite an odd feeling knowing that even they aren’t amongst the living they still have a hold on me..
I guess just want to thank everyone who has been supportive with donating to my fund to those that have given me the motivation and given me positive feedback and most of all Mom and Dad if you are reading this up in heaven thank you for being amazing role models despite the other stuff you were brilliant parents..