AFC Wimbledon season ticket holder Kevin Webber is gearing up for an event labelled as 'The Toughest Foot Race in the World'.
Kevin, who was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in November 2014, was earlier this year recognised with a #PointsOfLight award from 10 Downing Street for his fantastic charity work.
His next big challenge is the 6633 Arctic Ultra, and Kevin put together a very interesting blog about his preparations for the event, before departing for Canada.
This is published in full below and it includes links on how you can support Kevin's challenge and follow his progress.
Hope that you have been enjoying the snow in the UK, it made me realise just how cold it is going to be for me over the next few weeks. I am starting to wonder why I ever signed up for the race!
It has been a full-on month with an appearance on BBC Radio 2 last Sunday, being interviewed for the first ever Runners World podcast, and featuring in the April printed issue of Runners World. My regular weekly column in the Sunday Mirror seems to be going down well somehow (they have not axed me yet!). I've also done some more presentations to a few groups about Prostate Cancer and living for the day to Nat West colleagues too. I sort of like presenting kind as I think I can make a difference to many people. Finally, I have been doing my bit for Prostate Cancer UK and will (I believe) be part of a campaign to encourage families to sign up for one of their many "Marches" over the next few months. Perhaps you will be able to join one? More information can be found via the Prostate Cancer UK website.
My medical situation seems okay, my blood test result recently was stable still and the various side effects of cancer and the treatment are behaving most of the time. The sad news this month is about my Dad, who has been battling many cancers for many years and now he has not been given that long. It makes me realise, if I didn't know already, how important it is to be close to your family, enjoy every day doing something for others if you can, and try to push yourself to make a difference. His short future has given me even more reasons to redouble my efforts to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer so that others will not have to worry about this disease in years to come. My family feel that despite Dads situation I should still go to the Arctic and make my Dad proud.
I had a conversation with someone earlier this week about what the 6633 race was all about and I broke it down: 380 miles in 9 days, quite hard. Temperatures between -20c and -50c (maybe even lower), quite hard. Dragging a sledge with about 30kg for 380 miles, quite hard. Melting snow for water on occasions in sub-zero temperatures, quite hard. Being on the go for maybe 18 hours a day for 9 days, quite hard. Sleeping maybe 4 hours a night in a tiny tent in the snow for 9 nights, quite hard. Eating lukewarm dehydrated food and nuts for 9 days, quite hard. Potentially being on my own for 9 days, quite hard. Missing my family for 3 weeks, quite hard.
So in summary, add it all together and it's quite hard!
I have been training until last week, my peak was 13-hour days, followed by 10-hour days pulling my tyre. I am as fit as I will ever be now for this race. I know I could (should) have done more, but I am where I am and I can't change the past, just get to the start line injury free, put my foot on it and go for it.
While there are no live trackers for you to follow me you can either go to www.6633ultra.com where they will post a summary of the race each day (when they can get a signal) or follow the race on facebook 6633 Arctic Ultra or twitter @6633arcticultra .Hopefully you will be rewarded for your efforts by reading about my progress and a few photos, but who knows how far I will get?
The race starts (Canadian time) Thursday morning and ends 9 days later on Saturday morning. I have entered what they call the 120+ race. This means that after 120 miles I can finish the shorter (but hilly and windy) race or take one step more, which takes me out of the shorter race totally and puts me only in the 380-mile race. I have every intention of going for the full 380 but I guess if I have an injury that stops me realistically getting over 200 miles I may make the decision to stop at 120 (and that's assuming I get that far as most years many do not).
I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me to date, it will be one of the factors that stops me giving up easily when it gets hard (and it will be hard most of the time) as your generosity has had over £13,000 going direct to Prostate Cancer UK). The thought of coming back and saying I did not justify your commitment is another factor that will drive me on.
If you have not yet but want to and feel able to support my favourite charity, while giving me more reasons not to quit then please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kevin-webber6 .
Of course, when I get back from the Arctic, I then have only two weeks before I go off to the Sahara to compete in the Marathon Des Sables 250k ultra-marathon, but right now I am trying not to think about that!
Thanks again for reading this, I hope that you all do something good for someone else (do tell me all about it if you do) as small steps can make a massive difference. If you want to know more of my story and how I feel about life then my website is www.makethemostof.it .
I will leave you with some lyrics by Coldplay as that band have an appropriate name for my next few weeks and the words will inspire me:-
"If you never try, you will never know what you are worth".
Have a great month, be amazing.
Good Luck Kev, from all at AFC Wimbledon!