AFC Wimbledon supporter Kevin Webber is not letting Coronavirus stop him from completing his Marathon challenge – by swapping the Sahara Desert for his own back garden!
Despite having Prostate Cancer, Kevin has for many years completed gruelling challenges around the world. He had been scheduled to take part in a gruelling event in Africa called the Marathon Des Sables, but instead he’s doing a challenge a lot closer to home!
Kevin put together the following blog all about his unique test of endurance:
Hope that you are doing okay in what is the biggest global challenge in most of our lifetimes? I can only imagine how hard it must be for some families right now, either being touched by the virus or struggling with financial and family knock-on consequences. So writing here about me seems a little shallow against that backdrop, but I guess life has to go on too. We do ourselves no favours dwelling on sad things and need to find joy somewhere, somehow, every day - apologies if this finds you not in the mood though.
I feel a bit guilty saying I have had a good month, but I have. Regarding my Prostate Cancer, a recent blood test has improved slightly and I have also had a full body MRI scan. I await the results to see if the cancer is growing, or if it has spread, but I will deal with that outcome when/if I need to. One of my challenges this year was to run every day and I have now passed the 100 days of consecutive running mark. I have run over 1,000 kilometres so far, which is over 10k per day on average – I never thought I would get this far that's for sure.
With schools being closed, my son Ollie (age 15) has been unbelievably good at his school work. However, what they are not setting for him is any PE. I have managed to get him out running 3k with me four times a week. It’s a start, and to be fair he has shown great improvement in only two weeks, I’m a very proud Dad!
As for the organised races that I love doing, The Marathon Des Sables was due to start this Sunday, but it has been postponed until September. Personally, I can’t see that happening then either, but I hope I am wrong. I have other races in Bhutan in May and Spain in July, but Bhutan has just been cancelled and I have low expectations of the event in Spain taking place.
So what's a ‘fundraising challenge junkie’ like me to do within the current social distancing rules? Well, I have decided to run my own Marathon Des Sables. I don't know how far it would have been this year but I ran last year’s event and will therefore mirror that as follows:-
Sunday 5th April - 32.2k
Monday 6th April - 32.5k
Tuesday 7th April - 37.1k
Wednesday 8th April - 76.3k
Friday 10th April - 42.2k
Saturday 11th April - 9.3k (longer than the race was, but rounds up the week to a nice 230k or 143 miles).
It won’t be in the Sahara, it won’t be 50c, it won’t be on soft sand with massive dunes and jebels. Instead, it will be in my back garden! it may be cold and wet, and it will be a huge strain on my ankles and knees. It will be boring and lonely and it will be a massive challenge.
I have set up a one-off fundraising page for this event because I feel that any donations should be split between Prostate Cancer UK, who do so much for families affected by the disease, and The National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal, who are the focal point for distributing funds to the areas in the UK who need it most in the current circumstances. Please do give what you can afford, you are making a difference. Visit this website to make a contribution. Please also share this because it gives the chance for people who are able to help.
I will start each day at 8.00 am (7.00 am Wednesday) and in true Marathon Des Sables style it will be to the sound of ACDC’s Highway to Hell. I will also do a Facebook Live minute or two every hour (a minute before the start of each day) on the hour and at the finish to show how it’s going and what I have been thinking about for that hour. If you want the updates and you are not currently my "friend" please send me a friend request on Facebook . It’s quite hard to run at any pace zig-zagging around my garden, so at best I think I will manage on average about 6k per hour. Therefore it will be about 6 hours a day, 12 on the long day, and 40 hours for the whole event. I may well be slower though.
My employers at Nat West, have, as ever, been incredibly supportive in everything I've done. They too are supporting the National Emergencies Trust, amongst a host of other things, to make a difference right now. As ever with these events, there is always jeopardy. I will try my best, but I apologise in advance if my body fails in some way. My ankles and knees have suffered already, but who knows? I do hope that my challenge will inspire you to find a way to do your best too in what are difficult times. I always say, the miracle for me is not that I may finish, but it’s that I am here still to put my foot on the start line. I think we all have a part to play in creating our own positive miracles.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe,
Over 4,800 men in the London area are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Prostate Cancer UK’s dedicated team of specialist nurses remain on hand to speak to and reassure all men and their families currently affected by prostate cancer in the UK, and the implications of COVID-19. To speak to a specialist nurse or for more information call 0800 074 8383, or visit the Prostate Cancer UK website.