From new beginnings to ultra marathons: James’ Story


In 2018, on a period of gardening leave, I joined my local running club.

I went along thinking I had a moderate level of fitness, but it rapidly turned out I did not. But after 6 weeks I had managed to get myself to 5k and became hooked on running.

When lockdown hit, my running took a backseat, as balancing it with working from home and our family life didn’t work. Primarily because my wife was working on the frontlines at Southmead as a Ward Manager, while I looked after our two pre-school aged daughters.

I was thrilled to get back out and running when “RED” October came around. The RED (Run Every Day) month challenged runners to commit to completing a minimum of a mile every 24 hours. Taking part helped me get my focus back, with minimal impact on family life, and I started to be joined by a couple of friends.

The “Rub Club”

Every Tuesday we would go for a two mile run as the Rub Club was formed – named from an amalgamation of “run” and “pub”! We soon focused on the challenge of running an ultra marathon, taking on 31 miles a day over a weekend – 62miles in two days at the Race to the Stones in Oxfordshire. 

The training is pushing us in so many ways, both physically and mentally. We still managed a total of 136 miles in May, with 161 miles planned for June.

Supporting Southmead Hospital

I’m so happy to be using this opportunity to raise money for Southmead Hospital, thanks to my own family ties there.

My sister was treated there for specialist surgery on her spine, and the skill of the team means she now leads a full and active life as a mother of 3 young children. As a big brother, I am so grateful to see her enjoying a fulfilled life.

And there is, of course, my wife Adele, a Ward Manager at Southmead Hospital.

Watching her and her colleagues threw themselves into fighting Covid was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.

All the NHS workers who put the safety of others first deserve more respect than we can ever give them, they really have been the soldiers fighting on the front line to protect us. 

I’m so thankful for all that my running journey has given me, and can’t wait to give back by taking on this challenge in July.

Thank you for your support – it makes a huge difference to our patients, their families and our staff.

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