Just before Christmas 2015, my world was rocked forever... I remember dropping the phone and breaking down after hearing my Dad had just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and being advised to fly home to see him before he underwent surgery in the next few days. By New Year's Eve Dad was diagnosed with a Grade IV Glioblastoma brain tumour and given maybe six months to live.
Dad was fit and healthy otherwise, but we were told that there was no cure and treatment would just help manage quality of life for as long as possible. So the hard journey started and Dad faced it head on but rooted in his faith, supported tirelessly by Mum.
I can't put into words how much Dad meant and means to my family, but he was a rock, always there. He was a man of faith, a man of integrity, a loving Husband to my Mum, Dad to me and my brothers, Grandpa to his seven grandchildren, brother, uncle, boss and mentor, and through all and to lots of people a true friend.
On 11th June 2016, heartbreakingly Dad lost his battle with cancer and many people paid tribute to him through a service of thanksgiving at his home church later that week. I just wish he had been there as so many people shared how he helped them, I just wish I could have told him how proud I am to be his son.
In the last weeks of his life, I said to Dad I'd do something BIG to raise money for research into brain tumours. We talked and I shared the Cotswold Way Challenge with him which particularly resonated as it finishes outside Bath Abbey, where my graduation ceremony was. So at that point, I said I'd do it. To those who don't know me well, I used to hate long distance running, I played rugby and then sprinted in the off-season, to me running 800m was long distance! But I said I'd do it for Dad and to help others, so this is what this is all about, running 100 miles (actually ~104!) over four days, finishing a year and a day after Dad died.
The last time I did a sponsored event was probably 25 years ago and I've never run a marathon in my life, let alone four, so this is a major challenge in memory of Dad and to raise funds so that maybe someone, somewhere, one day, will have more time with their loved one than we had with Dad.
"Thank you Dad for the time we had and all you did for our family and others, I am so proud to be your son, these 100 miles are for you."