News from Paul, our very own superman!

 Challenge #1

On Sunday 5th August, after completing the equivalent of 5½ marathons (230 kms) in five days, I crossed the finish line – right on the equator – accompanied by two armed Rangers who spontaneously ran alongside me, to be presented with my (suitably large) medal by none other than Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner of the current era and winner of the marathon gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. I am reasonably sure that Eliud could not have felt more elated winning in Rio than I felt that day – and he didn’t get an armed escort! 

 

It was an extraordinary race : amazing to run amongst the wildlife of beautiful Kenya, whilst the Rangers did an incredible job of allowing the animals to get close, whilst always keeping the runners safe. We ran amongst numerous elephant, rhino, zebra, wildebeest, impala – and lion, though the latter were fortunately rarely seen at close quarters. The organisers were amazing : whenever the animals got too close to the route, they intervened to divert them, initially with 4x4s, and when that didn’t work (normally with rather determined elephant on their way to a waterhole) the helicopter was brought in, flying low, which invariably did do the job. The terrain was fairly brutal : extremely rocky and very much hillier than anticipated, and my feet took quite a beating, requiring significant taping for blisters each night by the brilliant medics who were always on hand.

 

Daytime temperatures, under a clear blue sky, rose to 36 - hot enough to make running uncomfortable; night-time, under the most spectacular display of stars, it dropped to around 0 - definitely cold enough to prevent much sleep. This was compounded by sharing an army tent with 15 other runners, a large proportion of whom snored heavily. The biggest problem that I faced was an inability to keep food down for much of the week – I genuinely never want to see packets of dehydrated food again – meaning that I was taking in far fewer calories each day than I needed.

 

Challenge #2 

And so, challenge number 2 – the Berlin Marathon on 16th September – is in the bag, completed in a time of 4h 35m. More importantly, all eight of us, running in teamArchie shirts, successfully completed the race including my darling daughter Bella who started despite a ruptured knee tendon, and battled through considerable pain from 10km onwards to collect her medal at the finish line – for which she deserves huge credit.

 

And of course, in a rather nice link between my challenges, Eliud Kipchoge, an absolute gentleman who came to present us with our medals at the For Rangers Ultra in Kenya in August, ran an epic race to smash the world marathon record in the quite extraordinary time of 2h 01m 39s (over 20kmh for two hours!). My only disappointment was that he didn’t wait to see me again at the finish line – I am sure he could have found something useful to do for 2.5 hours…

Now only one remains – the Everest Trail Race in the Himalayas in November, and the focus of my training has changed from steady-paced road running, to concentrating on hills in anticipation of the 15,000m of ascent and 14,000m of descent which I will tackle over 160km. I am writing this having just returned from the gym where I spent an extremely dull session pounding up a treadmill at maximum incline (15%) wearing a 10kg weight vest. Last weekend saw me in Devon hunting out hills on the coastal path, and next weekend I head to the Breckon Beacons in Wales to run up and down the notorious Pen y Fan. I am also about to start sleeping in an altitude tent for the next month, which will deprive me of oxygen whilst sleeping in order to try to minimise the risk of altitude sickness when out in Nepal – something which is unpredictable and which could preclude even managing to start the race.

 

I return from Nepal on 16th November, and I then plan a long and happy retirement from tackling marathons and ultra-marathons. Many people have pointed out that I have said this before, but I think that this time I really mean it!

 

Thank you for your amazing support, both in the form of sponsorship and simply being so positive and encouraging.

Paul

Instagram feed

News from @paulhbowker who has just completed the gruelling @everesttrailrace ! He had to spend 5 hours standing in Lukla airport before getting back to Kathmandu for a hot shower and some normal clothes! A mammoth success 🏔🏔🏔 #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendReposting @paulhbowker and his staggering view of Everest. He is taking part in the @everesttrailrace as the final of three unbelievable challenges. We wish you the best of luck Paul ! 🏔🏔🏔 #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendOffering life changing opportunities to special individuals is a huge part of what teamArchie does. This is Bo Srey Net from Cambodia who was selected to attend the Global Youth Leadership Summit in San Diego. Her leadership skills are flourishing and we are so proud ! #walkbesidemeandbemyfriend @cambochildrensfundDo not miss out on this incredible evening of ballet at Sadler’s Wells. teamArchie have limited tickets to @matthewbourne13’s #SwanLake on 11th January. A sensational performance of a classic story- just the pick me up you’ll need after Christmas! #walkbesidemeandbemyfriend #balletWe have had a number of fantastic and impressive applications for the teamArchie Clipper Race Bursary. 
Given the volume of applications we've had in the last 24 hours, we'd like to extend the cut off date to Thursday 1st November. This will give those who may have missed the deadline to get their skates on! 
Interviews for the shortlisted candidates will take place on Thursday 29th November.

You can read more about this bursary on our website.  #youngsailors #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendWhat an inspiration! @paulhbowker preparing for the altitude for the @everesttrailrace - Challenge #3 soon to be completed ! Read all about Challenge #1 and Challenge #2 on our website! #walkbesidemeandbemyfriend #marathonrunner #supermanLast weekend @seenary0 launched #Nabad, the next round of their Young Facilitatior’s program. They are working with a group of 8 adults to develop an amazing play. We are very happy to support #Nabad and the incredible work they do exposing refugees in Lebanon and Jordan to the arts. #artsforall #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendAre you ready for something a bit different? Join @greenhousesports corporate table tennis tournament in our teamArchie team of ten! Over four evenings (October-June) unwind with some drinks at their HQ in Marylebone. Networking has never been so much fun! #getinvolved #walkbesidemeandbemyfriend Get in touch to sign up ✏️✏️✏️✏️The Three Peaks Girls have overcome #StormAli and raised over £10,000 for teamArchie! Congratulations to the girls on a fantastic achievement. #fundraising #challengeaccepted #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendWell done to the Three Peaks girls for not just beating but far surpassing their target ! Thank you for choosing teamArchie as your charity. #walkbesidemeandbemyfriend 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️All finished the @berlinmarathon safely and now having a well deserved beer 🍻 Well done Team Archie! #walkbesidemeandbemyfriendNews from @milliemackichan and @paulhbowker ! Very well done! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉#walkbesidemeandbemyfriend @berlinmarathon