My Potters 'Arf - Justin Hume

I am Justin Hume, 45 years old and I had never done anything like this before. Envisage, the company I work for was sponsoring the event so I joined in with our team effort. Unfortunately I have a very weak right ankle due to a deformity from birth so I could not run therefore I opted to walk the entire half marathon.

Approximately two months prior to the event I found out that a good friend in Cornwall who had thought that she had gotten through breast cancer was told that the cancer had spread into her bones and was stage four (Incurable). She then did the 5Km walk for life on crutches so I took her bravery as my inspiration and decided to help try to push her message through facebook and me doing the potters ‘arf.

I had done some training and my initial aim was to walk it in under three hours but at best it was sketchy and the furthest I had walked had been 5 miles. So when it came to the morning I was not really looking forward to the event and was nervous if I would actually make it around never mind in under three hours. At 9am I started the walk with a reasonable sized bunch of people and walked with one of the ladies with our team who was doing the walk as a relay, she peeled off at the top of Victoria Road, hugged me, wished me well and I then carried on alone.

I did not see many people with the early start however as I got to the Bentilee relay point I saw one of the girls in our team crossing the road towards me. I thought she was going to walk with me for a while and give me some support but as she got to me I heard ‘This is going to sound really bad but have you got any money on you, I am starving?’ I explained that I had not and carried on walking.

There was now only three people who started the walk in front of me, what seemed to be a father with his two daughters, however every time I caught up with them they would start running for a few hundred meters and then go back to walking! They did this on several occasions and although at the time it was quite annoying they probably were helping to pace me around.

I had arranged with my parents for them to be at the corner of Leek New Road and Berwick Road with a water bottle and gel if I needed it, as I approached I was unsure if they would be there as I was ahead of my estimated schedule, they were and I also realized that this was also the point of the final relay exchange point. I had a very quick word with my parents and grabbed the water bottle and gel and carried on. Apparently one of the girls went over to talk to my parents thinking that I had grabbed a drinks bottle off some random stranger standing watching!

As I got to Milton Road in Sneyd Green there were a lot more people out on the street watching and clapping which did spur me on. I could see the three people in front of me and knew on that uphill section at this point they would not be running anywhere so I put an extra effort in and finally got past them and just carried on going.

As I got to Hanley there were a lot of people on the final stretch and towards the finish line, I was getting high fives from some of the younger members of the crowd as I got into Hanley and the feeling of this and the cheering etc was amazing, it is really something I can’t really put into words. Something else that I cannot put into words was the feeling when I got to the line with a time of 2 hours 51 minutes and 29 seconds, I had done it, I made it all the way around and managed to break the 3 hour target I had set myself and not only that I was the first walker to cross the line so I was well chuffed and fairly surprised with my efforts. I was a complete mess, I was wet as it had rained literally from start to finish, sweaty and tired but I was really happy.

I will do it again next year and try to beat this year’s time. Jane, my friend from Cornwall was so impressed and thankful for my efforts and help in spreading her message. On the way to the toilets after finishing and sorting myself out, I bumped into the guy who had been, who I presumed to be the father out of the three people who had been in front of me, he checked that I was doing it for charity and thrust twenty pounds into my hands towards our fund-raising telling me it was for ‘mugging him off’ on Milton Road! If I can sign off with the messages I am helping to spread for Jane, ladies #checkyourboobs and gents #checkyourbits.