You could say I took an arrow to the knee…

We don’t like to talk about much, but there’s a time to look at “crazy” challenges with a face of sensibility.

Sometimes it's important to check how you're doing... (Sweden, 2012)
Sometimes it's important to check how you're doing... (Sweden, 2012)

Last year, I did a 26 mile [sponsored] walk around Manchester, and so this year, I signed up to do the 55 mile version. I’m undoubtedly fitter than I was a year ago, and it looked like a tough, yet probably achievable challenge.

In November, I went for a hike. We went fast, the views were amazing, my photos were great, and it was a great day – however since then my right knee has started behaving in a temperamental fashion – sometimes being randomly painful to bend, whilst often being painful after a days walking.

In late December, I missed out on many exciting hikes in the snow because of it, and whilst I’ve done some fun things more recently, it’s still by no means on form – just the other day I did no serious walking at all, and yet found it painful to walk upstairs – not good. With my knee being in such uncertain condition, I thought it’d be prudent to have done at least one 20-30 mile training walk in advance of the real thing and I’d set myself this weekend as the deadline, however I don’t even feel up to the training walk really.

Starting and “seeing how I do” isn’t an option – once I cross the starting line, the red mist will come down and the only thing on my mind will be the finish line, the state of my body will not be in the equation.

I’d rather not jeopardise fun plans for later in the year, by doing something ostentatiously crazily difficult, and so, with sadness, I’ll be withdrawing from the Bogle Stroll 2013, to allow my body to sort itself out.

There’s nothing good about missing fun and exciting things 12 months because you tried to do something stupidly strenuous, when you knew you weren’t up to it.

(I’ve let the guys at mySociety (my would-be sponsoree) know I won’t be walking and they’re understandingly supportive about it.)

I’m walking 55 miles around Manchester | Can you help?

Update: I’m unfortunately having to pull out of this.

I try to push myself to new heights, distances and places – and in March, I’m going to take it to the next level.

I’m doing 55 mile walk around Manchester – The Bogle – an onroad event which consists of a ~30mile south loop round Cheadle and the airport, and a ~26 mile northern loop taking in much of northern Manchester.

I would walk 56 miles just to fall down at your door.
I would walk 56 miles just to fall down at your door.

The route is intensely challenging – the impact of 56 miles of continuous road travel will take it’s toll ony my body and the psychological challenges after 18+ hours of walking will be intense and raw.

This will be quite there are various places people in which people can help:

  • Training walks

I’m planning to do some training for the event by walking some of the route beforehand so I know what works and what doesn’t – could you help keep me company on some?

  • On the day, remote support team

On the day, I’ll start at midnight on a Friday night and walk through the night and following day. Could you form part of a remote support team, providing moral support, news, and a friendly voice (via telecommunication magic) whilst I’m on the move?

Can you help me? Please do get in touch either by email – td(AT) or phone – 0800 112 6000

  • Sponsorship

I’m fund-raising for mySociety – they are the people behind TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, WhatDoTheyKnow – and other projects that make British democracy more user-friendly and accessible! I’m hoping to do some creative fundraising things – if you had any ideas here – I’d be very happy to hear them, or equally happy if you just wanted to throw a few pennies in their direction

Sponsor Me, Maybe?

The Bogle Ramble :: 26 miles across Manchester on foot

You can sponsor my efforts here on mydonate and let mySociety know how much you appreciate them!

The Bogle Ramble was an interesting challenge: throughout the day I made a video blog, capturing my thoughts, messages of thanks to my sponsors and other notable moments.

The Eighty Three Bus,
Overtakes me once again,
please let me ride you!

After we started, there was this guy who seemed intent on running it, but didn’t know his way to Oldham Road through the centre, so I jogged with him across the city centre to Oldham Road where I let him move onwards at an incredible pace, whilst I resumed walking to catch my breath. From there until Failsworth (Checkpoint 6), I only encountered one other Bogler – a lady who had also been jogging a fair bit.

Walking and jogging…
Staple bogle essentials.
Checkpoint seven soon!

On the stint between Checkpoint 6 and Checkpoint 7 I overtook a good number of clearly exhausted Bogle Strollers. One lot seemed to be limping so badly I jogged across the road and gave them a bunch of chocolate bars from my bag; their eyes showed their appreciation which they didn’t seem to be able to find words to express.

Crossing the River Irwell in Kearsley
Crossing the River Irwell in Kearsley

After Checkpoint 7, I noticed a lot more Bogle Strollers, many sitting on walls, comforting friends… or just plodding along. I’d been told that between Checkpoint 7 and 8 there were some hiking club strollers which I really wanted to catch up with. Once I reached “checkpoint” 7.5, I met up with them and found they’d dropped out. After stopping for a brief chat, my first snack and a friendly face, I headed on for Checkpoint 8 at Kearsley.

Shortly before Checkpoint 8, it started raining, which, given I hadn’t brought waterproof trousers with me, was unwanted, and quite depressing. Ultimately though, the rain broke away to sun and there was a DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Sunshine through the rain,
an inspiring sight to see,
a rainbow of hope.

Double Rainbow!
Double Rainbow!

From there on, I started to really notice that I was no longer up to short periods of jogging downhill and was it was beginning to lose it’s edge. I was largely walking following the signs the Bogle team had put up on lampposts and occasionally falling back to my map/route instructions for the bigger picture. Somehow however, I managed to completely walk past Checkpoint 9. From then onwards, then on, I suspect my average speed dropped quite a bit. I started to find people overtaking me, rather than the other way round. As I walked through Salford, I started to notice bunches of youths apparently eyeing me up and so I pressed on to checkpoint 10, just 2.5 miles from the finish line, and then onwards towards the finish.

The Bogle tired me in ways I hadn’t previously anticipated. I knew it would be a physically tiring time. I knew I’d have to tell myself just to keep going and that I was going to finish it. I didn’t expect the fatigue and stress of the previous few weeks to be brought close to the surface due to Bogle fatigue and for me to feel like I inexplicably was going to burst into tears. This, I was completely unprepared for.

I finished The Bogle at 17:57. About 8 hours, 37 minutes, 26 miles after I started – an average speed of about 3mph. There were no blisters or other injuries.

You can still sponsor me here!