Friday, 21 August 2009

And while I'm playing catch-up ... Anouska's LEJOG success

As I am making some time to get my blogging up-to-date, I realise that I have been extremely remiss about telling you about the wonderful effort that one of the 365ers, Anouska, has been putting in for her 365challenge, CRUK, and most especially, the memory of her very good friend, Debbie, who lost her battle with cancer at just 27 years old.

From when she first heard of the 365challenge, Anouska was IN! She was looking for something that would do justice to Debbie's memory and support cancer research, so when she saw my poster in the gym, she was one of the first people to call me, asking to take part too. She launched within weeks of me starting my 365challenge, and she set herself some impressive challenges: run a marathon a month for a year, then add on the Edinburgh marathon for real too, swim the length of the River Dee (110 Km), and for good measure, cycle the Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) route FOR REAL ... all 1600 Km of it!

Well, she's blown the marathons out of the water ... having already completed the equivalent of 16 marathons (she got a little carried away, I think), including the Edinburgh race in May (read more here). Her focus for the final phase of her 365challenge is her swim, which she is about a third of the way through, but the point of this blog posting is to let you know that this wonderful lady has just spent her summer holidays on the road, completing the ride from Lands End to John O'Groats (along with 5 friends, and a valiant support team - GO ROB!), all 1600 Km/1000 miles, in just 13 days.

Rob, her fiancé, blogged about the trip as it was happening, so I'll happily refer you to the LEJOGGLER blog for all the gory details (the tale of Anouska's eye on Day 9, with accompanying gruesome photos on Flickr, is one that will haunt you .... ;-P), but I have to acknowledge Anouska's wonderful achievement within these pages too.

You see, before she decided to take on this 365challenge thingy, Anouska had never ridden a "proper" road bike before, and she'd certainly never undertaken any distance cycle rides. When she heard that one of her friends was planning the LEJOG ride this year, it just fitted in with her extreme challenges plan for her 365challenge, so she signed up for that from the off. And then had to get some kit and training in pretty quickly, which she obviously managed well, because when they all set out on July 25th for the real thing, she was as ready for it as any of them!

Together, they put in some serious mileage every day for the two weeks, through terrible rain in the early days, over energy-sapping hills throughout (but most notably in the South West, it seems, which was a bit of a surprise), and despite the aforementioned injury, she and the rest of the LEJOGGLERS completed the distance successfully and in good spirits (and indulged in even better spirits later on, I suspect, as it took Rob several days to add his final blog update!!!).

By the way, Anouska is the most successful of the 365eers to date on the fund-raising front, having brought in a staggering £9931 in sponsorship already (by August 21st 2009) ... and I am totally confident in her ability to break the £10K mark by the end of her 365challenge too. If you want to help her chip away at the final £69 needed to hit that target, you can sponsor her on her JustGiving page here ... go on, she is most definitely earning all of your support ... and in the process, doing something incredible in the memory of her friend, Debbie ... GO ANOUSKA!

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