RW's Kerry tackles 12 Marathons in 12 Days

Never one to shirk a challenge RW's Kerry McCarthy is undertaking his biggest challenge yet: 12 marathons in 12 days - in plummeting winter temperatures. Follow his progress in his blog.

Hope Tour: Day One - Harrogate to Leeds

Well that was a baptism of fire. Or perhaps ice would be more appropriate. We seemed to have chosen the coldest bloody day of the year to start our epic journey down the country in aid of HopeHIV. It dipped below zero for some of it and with the wind chill factor it felt like -5 at times. Throw in the Yorkshire hills, some icy patches on the road, a few playful headwinds and it all added up to a tough first day.

After a rousing send-off from supporters and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress by the Cenotaph in Harrogate town centre (in hindsight starting yards from the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms was a cruel trick to play on ourselves), we sailed off and made good time until we took a wrong turn at around mile six. Long story cut short, yesterday’s leg was almost 28 miles instead of 26.2.

The group stayed together until about mile 18, with the crew cars whizzing up and down the road to check on us and escorting us along dangerous non-pavemented patches, with flashing lights on the roof and hazard lights on (made us feel proper important that did). In the later stages we became a little more strung out and everyone settled into whatever pace hurt them the least. Our finishing times ranged from five hours to 5:20.

One big mistake we made was not having any decent food ready to devour immediately upon finishing, although Greggs the Bakers opposite Leeds Town Hall was the beneficiary of that particular oversight. Never has a grease-laden Cornish pasty tasted so good.

The rest of the day passed in a procession of taping, massage, ice baths, dinner and figuring out fascinating logistical conundrums for tomorrow's adventure such as: 'Since the Barnsley Holiday Inn does not have ice machines, is there a supermarket nearby to get our ice for the ice baths?' I know, rock ‘n’ roll…

Thanks to the many of you who have emailed/texted/FB’d/tweeted messages to us so far. They mean a lot and we had a great time over dinner reading some of them out to each other.

Tomorrow: Leeds to Barnsley. 

You can find out more about the project at the12in12.com/hope-tour and follow Kerry on Twitter at @RWKerry.

Our day in three words

From the runners:

Matt: ‘Cold. Relaxing. Done.’

Kerry: ‘Nutrition strategy needed.’

Sarah: ‘Glad we’ve started!’

Meredith: ‘Hideous. Hideous. Hideous.’

From the crew:

Mike: ‘Stray FM Rules.’ (a Harrogate radio station that gave us loads of coverage).

Janis: ‘Ups and downs.’

From the physios:

Rich: ‘Everyone still running.’

Megan: ‘Ice bath joys.’

Thanks to our sponsors: ASICS, Saucony, Eat Natural, Iceni Water, Nectar, Nike and Holiday Inn.

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