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  • James

54 miles a day for 54 consecutive days

Monday 7th May to Friday 29th June 2018 raising funds for Marie Curie.

My story 16th September 2001 and my life was torn apart. My dad passed away after a very short and brave battle with cancer. He was diagnosed in the May of 2001, and by September he succumbed after an incredible battle. It was hell. I know there is never an ideal way to say ‘that final goodbye’ to a loved one, but this had happened too quick. His death literally tore my immediate family apart. As a very young and immature 23 year old, neither I, nor my family, had the skills in coping with his death. We had experienced an emotional, turbulent, roller coaster ride for the 5 months leading up to his death, then once he had passed away we were left to get on with it. Empty and lost is the only way I could describe how I was feeling at the time. We were not made aware of any resources available to us to help us cope and grieve his death. For me, my Mum, or my brother to be offered the chance to speak to someone external about what had just happened would have been a god send. I have since come to learn of information and support that charities, such as Marie Curie, can offer families at such times. Ever since he passed away I wanted to do something ‘epic’ to remember him. Turning 40 last year made me realise its time I got my act together. My Dad, Roy Foster, was 54 years old when he passed away. He was a great man. An inspiration. A loving, and loved, husband and father. A man that, in my mind, requires an ‘epic’ challenge to make it worthy to raise the money in his memory. I’ve always liked the idea of cycling Lands End to John O’Groats and back again. End to end to end. But with work, a family and other commitments the idea becomes somewhat unrealistic. If I was to attempt this, I would want to do it solo. I would need back up, volunteers and financial input. Organised charity rides, as fantastic as they are, for me, seem a bit like cheating given the amount of cycling that I do. I want to something that will break me! After sitting down with my better half, brainstorming ideas and possibilities, we eventually settled on the idea of cycling 54 miles a day for 54 consecutive days. Dad was 54 when he passed away, hence the 54! My daily commute in and out of work is usually around 30 miles. That’s ‘only’ another 24 miles a day. Oh, plus the weekend rides and the fact that I don’t get a day off for 54 days. I got the thumbs up and started to plan. Which charity? As I’ve already mentioned, reading about Marie Curie and the support their nurses provide has been an inspiration. They give care and support to people living with any terminal illness and their families, bringing light in the darkest hours. When? Timing is important. May to June, spring and early summer, will hopefully bring some good weather and riding conditions. I can make the most of the long days and the motivation that spring always brings. So what exactly does riding 54 miles a day for 54 consecutive day consist of? It’s a minimum of 2916 miles over the 54 days. Each day I must ride a minimum of 54 miles. The 54 miles can be made up of multiple rides. All my rides are uploaded to Strava for ‘added proof’! I will have to fit this challenge into my everyday life; family and work. I’m looking forward to the challenge. The events along the way. The highs, the lows, and the sense that I will be achieving something ‘fantastic’ in memory of a fantastic and inspirational man.

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