Tuesday, 31 March 2009

End of Month 7 ... what's been going on?

Welcome to Month 7’s update on the 365challenge, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a lot to tell!

My 365challenge has been rolling on … I’ve hit the 1100 KM mark on the Bike Ride, which puts me around Glasgow on my travels, with just 500 KM to go, in my last 5 months. My rowing down the Thames has been a little slower, admittedly, because of the on-going numbness in my hand, but I have just hit the halfway mark, 173 KM, which is great …

And the fund-raising pot has hit TWO significant milestones … my own sponsorship support has been wonderful, and this month I hit the £7000 mark, which is astonishing, and I am truly humbled by all of your backing, thank you so much. Not to be ungrateful, however, while this is all great, I still hope to raise even more, so if you’ve been meaning to get round to sponsoring me and add to this pot, you still can – just pop along to my Just Giving Page

The other milestone has been achieved with the support of the other 365ers out there who have started their own 365challenges and fund-raising … when I checked the other day, I was delighted to see that their earnings have cumulatively taken the 365challenge total to more than £10000 for Cancer Research UK … and seeing that they have only started out, there should be much more to come …!

I’ve also now set the dates for my actual, additional, 3 Peaks climbs … along with a small group of other 365ers and friends. If anyone else fancies joining us for one, two or all three of these adventures, we’d love to have you along, so get the dates in your diaries. Email me on colin@365challenge.co.uk to let me know you’re up for it, and I’ll send you more details.

So ... the dates are:

SNOWDON: May 9th


BEN NEVIS: July 4th

Thanks again for all of your support for the 365challenge. Keep in touch with my progress by following this blog or Follow Me on Twitter.com, as @365er

All the best for now


Sunday, 29 March 2009

halfway up the Thames ...

Regular readers will know that I've been having some problems with the rowing part of my challenge ... quick aside to bring you newbies up-to-speed ... you see, my tumour was on my left forearm and now when I row, after a few Km, my hand goes numb, which doesn't really make hanging on to the "oar" particularly easy, so I have to stop, meaning that my progress has been slower than I had hoped.

ANYWAY, I noticed that I was only 10KM off the halfway mark for this part of my challenge, and so, given that today (Sunday, March 29th) is also the day of the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race (big thing here in the UK), I decided to go for it ... in the end, I did have to stop four times to shake my hand out and get the circulation going again, but I stuck with it and completed my 10KM ... so, I have now hit the halfway point on the Thames, with five months left in my 365challenge year to get the rest of way!

That may sound like I'm off-target, but I have pretty much knocked off the other parts of the challenge (okay, I do have 500KM still to go on the bike, but that'll be fairly straightforward enough, honest!), so I'll have more time to focus on this rowing lark!

Oh hold on a minute, haven't I gone and decided to take on the 3 Peaks again, in person, so to speak ... well, I guess I'll be pretty fit and/or knackered at the end of this thing, but hey, we'll have raised a bucket load of dosh for Cancer Research (£10000+ so far when you add in the other 365ers efforts too), so ... bring it on!!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Rob's ready to raise a glass (and the rest) ...

Remember Rob, the Cider King from a few posts ago?

Well, he's only gone and got himself some press coverage down there in the Hereford Times ... read more of his story here.

He's got a great challenge starting on April 1st (no, it's for real, honest), so best of luck with all your efforts Rob, and readers, do please feel free to support him - you can leave comments here or visit his website.

He's looking good in the 365challenge t-shirt too, if I do say so myself ...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Another important 365 milestone ... breaking through £10000

You know I recommend using Just Giving as the best way to sponsor the 365challenge, right? Well, I send all those who decide to take on the 365challenge instructions as to how to set up their own Just Giving page too.

Several of them have let me know when they've done this (and I then include links to their pages on a page on my website: meet the 365'ers), though there are still a a couple who have been shy about promoting their efforts ... hopefully that'll change over time?

But, the thing is, there are these other folk out there undertaking wonderful challenges for their very own 365challenges for Cancer Research UK, and they are building up the pot of money that is being raised for this very important cause.

I've just (nosily) flicked through the Just Giving pages I'm aware of for 7 of us 365'ers, and am really excited to be able to announce that cumulatively, we have just broken through the £10000 raised barrier! The total (including my own £7000, I know, I know) is sitting at £10030 just now, and given that these guys have only fairly recently taken this on, and that there are at least another 10 365'ers out there, with more hopefully coming on board as this idea grows, this pot can only grow and grow!

Well done everyone, and for those 365'ers who have yet to set up their Just Giving page, do please have a look at mine, then give it a go yourself, and don't forget to tell EVERYONE what you're doing!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Just how LONG is the Thames ...?

Six months and three weeks into my 365challenge for Cancer Research UK ...

And I know I've achieved a lot of my targets already ...

But ...

Just how bloody long IS the Thames?

After all this time, I've only covered 147 Km, and only just broken the 200 Km to go mark (199 Km left now) ...

Has there been a particularly high and constant Spring tide, pushing me back up??

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

milestones ...

Firstly, it's Paddy's Day, so salutations to all my fellow Irishmen and women, home and abroad ... I'll be heading out for a glass or two of black Irish gold a little later on to mark the day.

I've got two milestones to note in today's blog, one 365challenge related, one not, but significant to me, nevertheless!

The first of these relates to my ever-growing total. Yesterday, I hit the wonderful figure of £7000 in my fund-raising pot for Cancer Research UK, thanks to a donation by a dear old friend, Elmer Wolff, in California, and then, following a blatant shout-out on Facebook and Twitter for the £35.43 that I needed to reach £7000, the delightful Debs, another 365'er, coughed up to help me reach that milestone. I'm overjoyed and overwhelmed by the support, but I'm not going to stop just yet, and I have new targets in my sights ... next up will be £7300, which will mark 200% of my original target of £3650, and I know that it's within reach, so ... don't be shy, kind reader, if you want to contribute via my Just Giving page ...!

The other milestone relates to Paddy's Day and an event 24 years ago today that changed the course of my life, and as such, is one I mark and will toast tonight.

You see, on Paddy's Day 1985, your intrepid hero (ha!) was stomping across the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin, as was his wont, while back at his flat in that wonderful city, a low-life was paying an unauthorised visit ... so that when I returned, I discovered that I had, almost literally, been cleaned out ... everything I valued was gone. Not good. But, I was insured, which was my saviour, and the nice insurance company called me about a month later to tell me that they were going to settle my claim with a healthy sum with which I could rebuild my world ...

And I could have, but ... at that point, I wasn't enjoying my work, in an advertising agency, and I suddenly saw a way out ... no possessions, single and a wad of cash in my pocket! Next day, I resigned my job ... and set about planning to travel. Which I did, spending 2 years travelling, first west across Canada, then south to San Francisco, from where via a combination of events, I ended up working on an almond farm in Central California, owned by a cousin of the previously-mentioned Elmer (it all links up eventually!), then back east to New York, where I spent a wonderful year, before realising that I wanted more, and that more turned out to be to study psychology in Wales, meeting my wife Donna, in the process, and taking the career direction that lead me to where I am today ...

So, while I'd love to ask that burglar what he did with some of my rare vinyl back then in 1985, I'd also like to shake his hand and thank him for being the catalyst for the life I now live and all that has happened in-between ...

Life turns on such events ... slainte!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

1000 KM down, "just" 600 Km (read Scotland) to go ...

It's been a fractured month in the gym, with the day job getting very busy and long days in the office leaving me with either too little time for my 365challenge or too tired to face the gym after slogging in front of a PC writing reports. I've been feeling it and all the more so, as I knew that there was an important milestone (kilometre-stone just doesn't have the right ring to it, does it?) looming ...

The good news is that this morning, I dragged myself off to Total Fitness at 8.00 am, despite a Saturday of copious beers, enjoying Liverpool thump Man U (sorry Peter, but it WAS a thumping!) and Ireland continue their drive towards the Grand Slam, and I finally knocked off the 25 Km on the bike that took me to the 1000 Km mark in the Lands End-John O'Groats part of my 365challenge. I'm more or less at Carlisle now, with just the entire length of Scotland to go (600 Km), with loads of time (5.5 months) left of the 365challenge year.

I'll get back to more regular gym-ing shortly, so I do expect to complete this part of the challenge within a few months, leaving "just" the slog on the rowing machine to get me another 207 KM along the Thames, and now, of course, there is also the small matter of 3 wonderful peaks in Wales, England and Scotland to drag myself and a select group of 365challenge supporters up between May and July.

Who's idea was all this again?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

recognition for 365challenge ...

The drive towards world-wide recognition of the 365challenge continues apace ...

Well, okay then, maybe that's a bit optimistic, but I guess at least my efforts to get the 365challenge recognised formally by Cancer Research UK are moving forward well!

CRUK have supported me on the front line from early on in the 365challenge, with the Area Volunteer Managers (AVMs) getting behind promoting 365challenge to their fund-raising supporters, with some progress now as new 365'ers come on board from this, which is great.

Regular readers will may recall also that I mentioned that I was hopeful of presenting the 365challenge to the board of CRUK earlier in the year ... well, I still hope that will come off, but in the meantime, CRUK have actually, publicly, recognised the 365challenge by adding it to their "Support Us" section of the website, where people looking to take on some activity to support CRUK will often go looking for inspiration ... so, hopefully, some of them will find their way to the 365challenge through this ... here's the link - 365@CRUK -hopefully, they'll add the logo shortly too!

Slow steps forward as the 365challenge grows and grows ... stay tuned for more soon.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Meet Rob ... 365's cider king!

A couple of months ago, I got a call from Rob, a Cancer Research UK supporter down in Hereford. He'd heard of the 365challenge, and he wanted a piece of the action! Having lost several family members and friends to cancer, he wanted to do something to help CRUK, so when he learned about the 365challenge from his Area Volunteer Manager (AVM), Linda, he knew he'd found just the thing!

Rob McLellan is our oldest (so far) 365'er at 61 years young. He has taken time to sort out his 365challenges (this is not a decision anyone should take on a whim, it takes real commitment) , but now he has set some really great challenges, starting April 1st 2009.

Being based in Hereford, he's going to
Row the Length of the River Wye (251 Km), cover the round trip distance from Hereford-Cardiff-London-Edinburgh-Hereford (1540 Km) on the cross trainer and treadmill, and most wonderful of all, in honour of Herefordshire's cider traditions, he's going to:

Raise the Equivalent of 36,500 Gallons of Cider (166 tonnes), by doing 13271 Single Arm Curls, using a 12.5 Kg weight!!!


Follow Rob's progress on his
365challenge website, and if you can, sponsor his efforts on his Just Giving page.

This is the kind of creativity and energy that makes the 365challenge such a blast ... anyone can take part, designing challenges that fit with their interests and abilities, and at the same time, raise awareness about Cancer Research UK and much-needed funds to support their very important work.

... so come on then, what's your 365challenge going to be?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Off to the hills with the 365challenge ...

I've mentioned somewhere earlier that, having "knocked off" the 3 peaks at the start of my 365challenge (I completed the climb of their combined heights on the Stairmaster on the 1st day), I had got to thinking that I might like to take them on in the flesh, so to speak ... not all at once, as the full 3 Peaks challenge is normally, but at a more leisurely one a month, from May to July.

Well, it's getting serious now. I've polled everyone who had expressed an interest in joining me for these, and as best I could, I've set dates for the three mountains that will allow most of this elite group of eejits make at least two if not all three of the ascents ... it should mean that there will be a minimum of four of us (and hopefully more) on each ascent. I hope that as other people take time to consider their availability, there may be a few more stragglers joining in too ....
So ... the dates are:

SNOWDON: May 9th
BEN NEVIS: July 4th

Get those in your diary now!

Most of us are relatively local to Snowdon, so that can be a day trip ... though I'll put Dave up on the Fri/Sat night for that one (he was my best man, so I should really look after him, as he has to travel) - but if others need accommodation, I'll see what I can find out about B&Bs/hotels in the Llanberis area if you let me know you are interested in joining us.

Scafell will need one overnight on the Friday, so I'll be looking for a B&B/hotel somewhere like Nether Wasdale, which looks close-ish to the start area at Wasdale Head.

Ben Nevis will need two nights, I reckon, travelling up on the Friday, climbing on the Sat 4th, followed by a celebratory meal and "toasts", and travelling home on the Sunday. Again, I'll start looking for accommodation at Fort William shortly.

If anyone has any recommendations for places to stay, or tips on routes up these hills, do please pass them on.

Okay then ... the 365challenge is taking to the hills, its official - of the group who have said they are coming, only Debs, Fred and I are actually doing the full year challenge, but if any of the rest of you fancy raising sponsorship for the 3 peaks for Cancer Research UK, that would be wonderful ... you can find out about registering with them, etc., here:
http://supportus.cancerresearchuk.org/fundraisingpacklibrary and my website has lots of tips on fund-raising, etc -in fact, I'm delighted to see that Karen has already started her Just Giving page! And if you're happy to link any funds raised to the 365challenge, the appeal code with CRUK is

365challenge ... the only way is UP!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

bloggers unite ...

Still on the theme of promoting the 365challenge, I've just signed up with the site Bloggers Unite - I'm 365er, if you're looking for me - this is a site that promotes causes and charity events through the blogs that are associated with them ... when you visit the site, type 365challenge into the event search box, and see what it's all about ... for the moment, I've entered an "event date" of April 1st, as the site doesn't seem to be able to manage a multi-start event, but that's okay, I'll just keep changing it ...

(April 1st actually marks Rob's start date, but you'll have to wait a couple more days to read about just what Rob is doing for his challenge ... it's a good 'un, I promise!)

But back to Bloggers Unite ... if you're taking the 365challenge and have started a blog, or you just mention the 365challenge within your blog ('cos it's just such a great idea and you want to promote it too), then please think about registering with Bloggers Unite and post links there to your blogs mentioning 365challenge so we can gain even more exposure for the 365challenge.

Cheers for now!

Friday, 6 March 2009

twittering on ...

In case you haven't noticed, I'm keen on promoting this 365challenge thing, so using the old t'internet / interweb gubbins to best effect is a part of that ... hence this blog, the 365challenge website, the facebook group (365challenge for cancer research uk - go along and sign up as a supporter anytime you fancy it) and now ... twitter.com

Good old twitter is that highly addictive "what are you doing now in 140 characters" site ... you can find and follow me there as 365er, and keep tabs not only on what I'm up to day to day for the 365challenge but see how the web can promote this and other wonderful charity efforts ... as well as reading what Stephen Frys been doing on a boat in the Sea of Cortez ... no, sorry, you have to join to know, it's more than my life's worth to spill those beans!!!

C'mon, get twit it and follow me there ... I'll look out for your tweets ...!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

6 months down, 6 to go ...

March 1st 2009 ... that means I've completed half of my 365challenge year!

I've swum the channel, I've climbed the 3 peaks (once - I'll be doing it again, on the mountains for real in a couple of months time!), I've cycled almost 1000 Km, rowed over a third of the length of the Thames, and raised a potful of dosh for CRUK so far ...

But the next 6 months, well, let's just see what we can achieve over this next phase ... I certainly intend to try to raise even more money for this great cause myself, but the real goal for me is bringing as many others along with me to take their own 365challenges, become 365'ers and raise their own pots of dosh for CRUK ... want to take up the challenge? Drop me a line if you do!

100 x 1%ers ...

How did I NOT blog about this when it happened ... my 1%ers Club hit the 100 members mark as a result of my visit to Ireland the other week ... how fantastic is that!

Over 100 people have now donated at least £36.50 to my 365challenge fund for Cancer Research UK in the last 6 months since I started this, so even if that was all that had happened over the past 6 months on the sponsorship-front, I'd have hit my target of £3650, which would be wonderful ... but the great thing is that all my wonderful supporters have been uber-generous, and and my fund-raising pot has grown to £6700, just a little short of double my original target. I hope that it will be possible to crack that figure - £7300 - over the course of the rest of my 365challenge year, in the 6 months I have left.

All your support is so very welcome and important to me, so keep following and commenting and watch how this 365challenge idea continues to grow and grow ...