Fundraiser of the Month: James running the Cotswold Way

We couldn’t be doing what we’re doing, investing in research and supporting families, without our amazing fundraisers, large and small.

For June 2021, we’re awarding Fundraiser of the Month to James, who ran for 25 hours straight and completed the Cotswold Way all on his own.

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102 miles in 25 hours

37 year old James is taking on a full year of physical challenges alongside his partner Krista, to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK. As part of that, James decided to take on the Cotswold Way in one go. The route is 102 miles long from Chipping Camden to Bath Abbey, and has over 4,000 metres of elevation.

This would be a challenging route for anyone, but James decided to take on the entire route completely unsupported. Starting at 7am in the morning, he ran until 8am the next day, completing the challenge in 25 hours. In fact, he is the first person to complete this route unsupported and in one go.

As part of James and Krista’s year of challenges, they have so far raised over £7,000 for Children with Cancer UK, and they’re on track to hit their £10,000 fundraising target.

We are so privileged to have such amazing supporters as James, taking on the most amazing challenges to raise money for Children with Cancer UK. It’s thanks to fundraisers like James that we can continue to invest in life-saving childhood cancer research.

James decided to write down what the experience was like, and kindly provided us with an extract:

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Winchcombe (at 30km) was the first opportunity to stock up on liquids and a climb out of the town then turned into rolling fields. The scenery changed in the blink of an eye, from hills, to woodland carpeted in bluebells, to tracks lined with thistles, to farmland, with sheep and cows watching me inquisitively as I ambled past. As marathon distance approached, a climb up Cleeve Hill was tough but worth it for sensational views over Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and even Wales’ Brecon Beacons in the distance.

… Through woodland with a view over Gloucester (at around 73km), I made the mistake of tempting fate by thinking to myself, ‘I’m really enjoying this,’ only to badly stub my toe on a tree root … twice … leaving me hobbling for a couple of 100m sections. I cursed the tiredness setting in which meant I wasn’t picking my feet up.

… At 120km, a mini natural waterfall in Splatt’s Wood and some water purification tablets gave me the liquids that would see me through to the end and it was shortly after this point that I got an energy spike and enjoyed a couple of hours of quiet night-time running at a steady pace, reaching Tormarton and shortly afterwards, the M4.

That second wind blew over, though, and not even the hint of the sun emerging in the east could stop me from deteriorating with around 20km to go. Overcome with nausea and feeling like I was going to pass out, I sat on a bench outside the Dyrham Park estate, fighting the urge to have a nap.

Forcing myself on, the next few miles were hell, but I got a boost of adrenaline at completing the final big climb up to Lansdown and reaching familiar training run territory around Bath Racecourse. The day fittingly ended as it had begun, with a morning mist, the city of Bath hidden below me as I ran past Kelston Roundhill. I dropped into Weston, did the final short climb up to Summerhill, and ran through Victoria Park, past the Royal Crescent, through the Circus and down into town. As the Abbey loomed, I curled up in a ball on the limestone slab that marks the end of the route at 8:15am, delirious with fatigue but ecstatic at getting the job done.

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James running the Cotswold Way

Not only did James write down his experience of running the Cotswold Way, he also decided to film it, and make a video diary of the challenge. Watch him run from Chipping Camden to Bath Abbey here.

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