UK Coast Run

Go to content


October 1st 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 27.1
Total miles run 3094.7
From Clough to Newry
Map of run

I had Ted knocking on my door this morning to get me up. I was totally exhausted and out for the count. That has never happened before. I must be getting old.

At 9 a.m. we set off from Clough on the A25 and headed for Newry. The course was a bit hilly so I got tired after 12 miles. We stopped at 15 miles for lunch. As it was a Sunday there wasn't a lot of people around so we didn't collect much money. On the second run a family came rushing out of their house when they saw us pass and gave us £2.

As we reached the streets of Newry I was stopped in my tracks by a small boy. He told me not to turn down the next street as a bomb had been planted. He said it in such a fearless way that it made me wonder if this was a normal way of life for him. He had grown up with the, ' Troubles' so I guess he was not as perturbed as I was about the situation. Ted and I took a different route around the city. It meant me running an extra mile, but that was hardly a problem.

After I marked up, Ted and I returned to Newcastle, Co Down to the same hotel as yesterday. I felt really, really tired again. I decided not to tell my parents about what happened in Newry today as they had been concerned for my safety from the moment I told them I was going to Northern Ireland. They felt it was dangerous to go when the country was going through such a turbulent time.


October 2nd 1989, Monday
Miles run today 26.1
Total miles run 3120.8
From Newry to Charlemont
Map of run

Set off on the A28 to run 20 miles to Armagh on the first run. I found it really hard going so I stopped after 15 miles and took a half hour break and had some food. I felt a lot better after eating and got to Armagh with no problems. The fundraising in Armagh didn't go well for some reason. I wondered if anyone had seen our report on television. I guess they hadn't, hence the lack of response. After a couple of hours I continued the run to Charlemont and marked up.

Today we had free accommodation at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown. I went to my room feeling completely washed out. As the days go on I am finding it harder and harder to keep myself going. I feel so drained of energy and it seems to me that all the effort Ted and I have put in hasn't really been rewarded. We have only raised £10,000 to date. I know the potential of this run is enormous. I have seen people's reaction to us when they know what we are doing and why. If the national media got hold of this story we would raise hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Later on I was given a fax from Jane Arnell from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. It said that Stephen Gardner from the BBC Newsroom South East is really interested in helping us out. He wants to film us when we get back to England over a 2 day period. Stephen had filmed us at the beginning of the 'Keep Hope Alive' run. BBC Newsroom South East have also put out an appeal for donations using some footage from previous news reports and this will be shown tonight. Let's hope it gets a good response.


BBC South East News appeal for donations.

October 3rd 1989, Tuesday
Miles run today 25.6
Total miles run 3146.4
From Charlemont to Clogher
Map of run

I ran 15 miles in the morning passing through Dungannon and it was really hard going. I am so, so tired. I don't know what is wrong with me lately. I always feel tired. It is all mental effort at the moment just to keep myself going. After the morning run we headed for Portadown. It wasn't on our list to raise money but it is a big town, so we thought we would give it a try. Ted collected money and I did shopping, typed some letters and made my umpteen millionth phone call. We stayed in Portadown for a couple of hours and then I continued running from where I left off along the A4 to Clogher. I got really worried after a couple of miles. I went dizzy and felt really weak. I thought I was going to pass out. Ted didn't notice what was happening as all he could see was my back. Things got better after a few miles, but I was really tired when I finished.

People in Northern Ireland have been very kind. They say to me how marvellous it is that we have come here. One man gave me a kiss and another man said he was saved from cancer a few years ago and gave us £5. It is great when people show their appreciation for what we are doing.

We stayed at the Valley Hotel in Fivemiletown in County Tyrone free of charge.

October 4th 1989, Wednesday
Miles run today 25.7
Total miles run 3172.1
From Clogher to Enniskillen
Map of run

Again the morning run was hard going. I must be getting old because I feel tired all the time. I completed 15 miles and marked up. Ted then drove us to Enniskillen but when we got there it was half day closing for the shops so hardly anyone was about. We didn't make much in the way of donations so we left after a couple of hours and returned to the place where I had marked up. I carried on running along the A4 and completed over 25 miles for today's run.

I phoned Mike Gaston and asked if it would be possible for the BBC to film us again at the end of the run so I can have the opportunity to thank the people of Northern Ireland for their hospitality and donations. Mike said he wasn't sure if it was possible but he would let me know. I also phoned Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and she told me they had a fabulous response to Monday's appeal. Nearly £1000 had come in the first post, which is fantastic. I just knew people would respond once they knew about the run.

Tonight we stayed at the same hotel as yesterday free of charge.


October 5th 1989, Thursday
Miles run today 28.2
Total miles run 3200.3
From Enniskillen to Omagh
Map of run

Felt a bit better today as I run along the A32 heading for Irvinestown. On the second run I noticed up ahead an army roadblock where vehicles were being checked. As I got closer I saw about twenty soldiers all carrying weapons. They seemed a bit bemused and somewhat surprised to see us. Anyway we got waved through. I carried on running along the A32 towards Omagh and when we were about three miles away, a transit van came from nowhere and screeched to a halt in front of me. I immediately signalled to Ted to stop but he had already done so. The back doors of the van suddenly flew open and out jumped three men dressed in green. They were very big men and to me they looked like the Incredible Hulk on a bad day. A bit disturbing was the guns they had attached to their belts. I don't know why, but in moments of danger I tend to giggle. Normal behaviour would be to run or fight, but what is normal in moments of peril. As they walked towards me, I began to think of life in the hereafter. When they drew level I wondered if I should beg for my life or be defiant and chant, 'I'm going to Heaven, you're not.' With a sigh of relief they walked past me and headed for the back-up van. I looked at Ted and he was motionless. I wondered if he was suffering from catalepsy or something similar but then I saw his eyes follow the three men as they moved to the side of the vehicle. Their next movement was one of surprise as they pulled out a load of coins from their trouser pockets and placed it in the collection buckets attached to the wing mirrors. Then they quickly turned round, nodded to me and jumped back into the transit van and drove off at high speed. I walked over to Ted and asked him if he was okay.
'I think I need a change of underwear,' he said smiling with relief.

Also on the run today we went by a field full of cows. They began to moo, so I did the same. One cow took exception to this and started charging across the field. The other cows did the same. I yelled, 'Oh shit' and started running really fast. Thankfully there was a hedge that stopped them charging onto the road. I decided at that moment never to do that again.

We had free accommodation at the Royal Arms Hotel in Omagh (
now closed).


October 6th 1989, Friday
Miles run today 26.2
Total miles run 3226.5
From Omagh to the A5 by the Burn Dennet
Map of run

It was a wet and windy day today. I set off from Omagh on the A5 and ran though Newtownstewart and headed for Strabane. We had been told by Sergeant Murdoch of the RUC not to even consider going into the town because of the many bombings that had occurred there, but I was curious to see the town for myself. We did see a number of army patrol vehicles but we both felt relatively safe, so we made the decision to fundraise and we collected a fair amount of money. Afterwards I carried on running on the A5 stopping at the spot where the Burn Dennet River passes by.

Stephen Gardner from BBC Newsroom South East phoned and said that what I am doing is marvellous and how amazing it is that I have kept going. He went on to say that he would film us on Monday, October 16th.

I was informed that over £3000 has now been collected since the appeal went out on Monday. That appeal was shown in the South East area of England. Can you imagine if an appeal went nationwide? We would raise so much more money for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.


October 7th 1989, Saturday
Miles run today 25.9
Total miles run 3252.4
From the A5 by the Burn Dennet to Limavady
Map of run

The weather was the same as yesterday - Yuk! As I ran I ached all over and felt really tired. I shut my eyes for a second a felt myself going to sleep. I thought if I do that I will fall flat on my face, so I stayed awake!

As I continued along the route I noticed a helicopter flying overhead. I am sure the pilot and crew are not looking at us, but they have been with us every day since I started running in Northern Ireland. Maybe they think we are crazy and therefore we have to be watched closely.

I ran nearly 14 miles passing through Londonderry on the A5 and marked up. We had planned to go fundraising in the city, but Ted wasn't feeling well. He had stomach pains and felt rundown. I certainly wasn't going to push him to fundraise as it was only 3 weeks ago that doctors told Ted not to drive the backup vehicle anymore as his health wasn't great. I feel Ted has done really well fundraising in the towns and cities around the UK. Not all my back up drivers wanted to do it, but he did, so I am extremely grateful. I know he can be moody at times and on a bad day, a complete pain in the backside, but he has put himself on the line for this cause.

With the decision taken not to fundraise, Ted and I chilled out in the van and had a light lunch. In the afternoon I ran along the A2 to Limavady. We drove to the hotel and hoped for a really good room with a bath. The hotel we had yesterday was ok but it had a shower, which is not good for Ted because he has a hole in his throat after his laryngectomy operation, and the water from the shower causes him problems. Unfortunately the hotel was not up to standard, or any standard compared to that. There was no bath, no television and even worse for Ted, no tea making facilities. A couple of the staff reminded us of characters from the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers, which we both found amusing. I did jokingly tell Ted there is a kettle and a small camping gas stove in the backup van if he gets desperate for a cup of tea. I did not expect him to go and get it, but he did. Anyway we both hoped for a better hotel tomorrow.


October 8th 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 26.6
Total miles run 3279
From Limavady to the A26 junction of Burnquarter Road
Map of run

During the night the fire alarm went off and as I gathered my senses from being in a deep sleep my first thought was that Ted had used the gas stove and had set his room and the hotel on fire. I evacuated from my room to the outside of the hotel with Ted nowhere to be seen. Just as I was becoming really anxious a member of staff told everyone that a fight had broken out in the adjoining disco and someone had pressed the alarm. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and returned to my room. I spoke to Ted at breakfast and he told me had he slept through it all.

When I set off on this morning's run, I can honestly say I was knackered. It was a nice course though and a bit hilly, which is better for me. I made Coleraine in good time and headed for the newsagents. As I was purchasing a paper a customer recognised me.
'I saw you on television. You are running around the UK,' said the man. 'How come you are not in the newspapers?'
'I have no idea. I have informed them, but for some reason they don't want to publish the story.'
'It makes me laugh. If you went out and shot somebody, they would print the story then,' he said in a matter of fact way.
'Tell me about it.'
'When people are trying to do good things the press don't want to know. I tell you what. I'll get you a gun!'
With the ' Troubles' going on in Northern Ireland, I did not doubt for one minute that he could get me a gun.
'Thanks for your offer,' I said politely. 'As much as I want to raise as much money as possible for cancer research, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to go to that extreme, but thank you anyway.'
'That's alright,' he said. 'But if you ever change your mind, you just let me know. I drink in the pub across the way, so you can find me there.'
I left the shop and went back to Ted and told him what the man had just said. We both laughed, but thought the man had a point.

On the second run I ran along the A26 passing through Ballymoney and finally finishing after 26 ½ miles. We got free accommodation at the Bohill Auto Inn in Coleraine.


October 9th 1989, Monday
Miles run today 26.3
Total miles run 3305.3
From the A26 junction of Burnquarter Road to A36 junction of the B94
Map of run

Set off for Ballymena, which was about 18 miles away and got there without stopping. I was very tired and my left thigh and right hip was sore. We fundraised for a couple of hours, but Ted still felt a bit under the weather and I felt a bit nauseas too. I carried on running and finished on the A36 at the B94 junction. We headed straight to the Country House Hotel (now the Rosspark Hotel) in Ballymena, which had given us free accommodation. I phoned Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and was told that £4200 has now been collected since last Monday's appeal.

I'm feeling really tired at the moment so I'm going to end the diary for today and go to sleep.


October 10th 1989, Tuesday
Miles run today 14.7
Total miles run 3320
From the A36 junction of the B94 to Larne
Map of run

My hip and thigh felt ok as I set off towards Larne along the A36. It was raining and a bit misty but after an hour the sun came out and we had the best scenery yet. When we were three miles from Larne a film crew turned up along with Mike Gaston. I was surprised he found us as he wouldn't have known what road we were on. He told me he had contacted the police and cancer research but figured it out for himself where we would be. Good man.

We decided the best place to film was in Larne. We were filmed fundraising and Mike spoke to some of the shoppers and interviewed them. Ted was interviewed and filmed driving the backup van. After my interview, Mike said to me that he knows after each days run, I like one of these and he produced a huge cream cake. I cracked up laughing. We then went to the Magheramorne Hotel that had given us free accommodation and we did another interview. Mike told me he hoped to sell the report to BBC Breakfast News so it can go nationwide. It would be brilliant if that happened.

I had an interview with Sean Rafferty on BBC Radio. He was really nice and the interview went well.

We had invited Margaret Murdoch from the RUC to dinner in the evening as she had been so helpful in the organisation of our trip to Northern Ireland. The stories she told us were both frightening and hilarious. We laughed at one incident she had been involved in as it sounded like something out of Cagney and Lacy. It was a nice evening and it felt good to relax and chill out.

Mike Gaston rang later and said he managed to sell today's report to BBC Breakfast News but they wanted a bit more film, so we have delayed our departure for a later time tomorrow.


October 11th 1989, Wednesday
No running

Met Mike Gaston at 10 a.m. and he filmed me running onto the ferry with Ted and the backup van following behind. Mike was in front of us doing a running commentary. It took three attempts to get it right. Just before we left Northern Ireland I said to Mike that I would like to show our appreciation for what he has done for us and I produced the same huge cream cake that he had given me yesterday. His reaction to this was terrific and we laughed so much. After that we sadly said our goodbyes. I so hate goodbyes.

As we looked out from the ferry watching the coast of Northern Ireland disappear, I felt so glad that we went. It had been beneficial and produced the publicity we needed to raise more money. The people of Northern Ireland really warmed to our cause and we collected more £5 and £10 notes than anywhere in the UK. It is a great country and I hope the ' Troubles' end soon and the people can live in peace.

We had a hotel booked in Berwick-upon-Tweed and we reached there at 6.15 p.m. I phoned Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London as I needed to know what date they wanted me to finish the run. I had provisionally set Sunday, November 12th, but Stephen Gardner of BBC Newsroom South East felt it would be better on a week day. Anyway Jane hadn't got in touch with Stephen so I was none the wiser.

Mike Gaston's report was shown on the BBC Northern Ireland nightly news programme 'Inside Ulster'. Let's hope it get shown on BBC Breakfast News too.


Video report shown on the BBC Northern Ireland nightly news programme 'Inside Ulster'.

October 12th 1989, Thursday
Miles run today 25.3
Total miles run 3345.3
From Waren Mill to A1068 near Alnmouth
Map of run

As I began running from Waren Mill near the Northumberland Coast I became aware that we were on the last leg of this incredible journey. I have the east coast of England to run and I will be home in less than 4 weeks. When it is finally over I know I will be disappointed at the amount of money raised for Imperial Cancer Research. My only hope is that lessons will be learned by the charity and that more support is needed for an event like this. Certainly the publicity could have been arranged better. But this was new to them. Not many take on the challenge of running around the UK.

After 13 miles my left thigh was sore so we stopped for lunch in Embleton. I managed to get free accommodation at the first attempt at the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel. After a couple of hours I began running again but the thigh got even more painful and I nearly stopped, but I managed to keep going until I reached 25 miles in total near Alnmouth. I then went for a walk on Alnmouth beach. I wanted to walk as far out to sea until I covered my thighs, but when my feet started to turn blue I decided that was deep enough. I have never experienced sea water that cold before. However the beauty of the place made up for the cold.

In the evening I spoke with Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and she told me that the police are not keen on me running through London on November 12th as it is Remembrance Sunday. Most of the roads will be closed and more so this year because of the IRA bomb threats. I suggested we think about an alternative date.

I also spoke to a lady from the head office of Imperial Cancer Research Fund and I was given about ten phone numbers to ring tomorrow. I'm not sure when I am going to find the time as we spend most of the day on the road and fundraising. Also if I phone from the hotel it costs me a fortune. This person also wanted me to tell the media how well the fundraising is going. I told her that raising £15,000 when I know the amount could have been hundreds of thousands of pounds if publicity had been better, is very disappointing. She told me I should be more positive. This really annoyed me. If I had been anything less than positive I would have given up by now. The charity has now woken up because of the response from the appeal a couple of weeks ago, but that should have happened much earlier in the run. There was nothing stopping them contacting the national media demanding publicity. They have more clout than I do. To say I went to bed angry would be an understatement.


October 13th 1989, Friday
Miles run today 26.4
Total miles run 3371.7
From A1068 near Alnmouth to the A189 Burradon, Tyne and Wear
Map of run

When I woke up my first thought was what the lady from the head office of Imperial Cancer Research Fund had said the night before. I felt really annoyed and when I told Ted he was more annoyed than I was. To have to tell the media that fundraising is going well when it clearly isn't is wrong. If more people had known about this run much more money would have been raised and that is the truth. Anyone that did find out about it has been more than generous.

By the time I had phoned all the numbers I had been given yesterday it was 10 a.m. I feel someone at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund could have phoned these numbers and arranged the times I needed to be at a place to meet reporters. As it is, I am late starting my run and the cost of phone calls is ever rising.

When I began running the wind was really strong that I had trouble remaining upright. I ran over 26 miles along the A1068 and was totally exhausted when I finished. I could hardly climb into the seat of the backup van, so I fell in. I was utterly washed.

I found free accommodation at the Hospitality Inn (now the Caledonian Hotel) in Jesmond and Ted and I really cheered up when the manager gave us a suite each. Ted told me at dinner he took great delight in phoning his wife Betty from the sunken bath that had gold taps. My room had a four poster bed. We were thoroughly spoilt.


October 14th 1989, Saturday
Miles run today 27.2
Total miles run 3398.9
From the A189 Burradon, Tyne and Wear to Easington (B1432)
Map of run

I began running from Burradon and headed for the Tyne Bridge. As with most cities the road signs could have been a lot better, but we eventually found our way and crossed over the River Tyne. As I carried on running I touched the outskirts of Sunderland and when I reached 16 miles I marked up. Ted then drove us into the heart of the City of Sunderland to fundraise. Earlier in the morning I had phoned a reporter of the Sunderland Echo and was told to ring them once we were in the shopping centre. This I did and I was told a photographer would arrive shortly. We stayed for two hours and no one showed up. Another waste of time! We then headed back to the place I marked up and I continued running to a total distant of over 27 miles ending in Easington on the B1432. We got free accommodation at the Hospitality Inn (now the Thistle Hotel) in Middlesbrough.

Mum and dad have been contacting the national media for weeks, but they just won't show an interest. One reporter asked my mother if I had cancer and when she answered no, he said it wasn't worth reporting as it didn't have a heartrending story to it. This kind of attitude has prevailed throughout my run. I had been asked the same question by reporters time and time again. They also wanted to know why I had decided to raise money for cancer research when no one in my family had cancer. On one particularly day when I was feeling exhausted after a long day from running, raising funds and looking for a hotel, a reporter was given a verbal tirade when he mentioned that. I said, 'Do I have to wait until my family or I get cancer before I do something about it.' I retorted. 'If I get through my whole life without being touched by cancer, I will feel very lucky. I don't know what the future holds, but the odds are that at some point, someone I know will get cancer. Also when I read in a newspaper a tragic story about a child or a parent having cancer should I feel anything less because that person is not from my immediate family? When we stop realising that the human race is not a billion separate lives but is inexplicably linked to one spiritual force, then we realise that what affects one, affects us all.' The reporter didn't print my story, probably because he thought I was barking mad after that outburst, but at least I felt better at having had a go at him.

Stephen Gardner of BBC Newsroom South East told me he will meet us on Monday and film for a couple of days. It will be great if he does.

The report we did with Mike Gaston in Northern Ireland was due to be shown on BBC Breakfast Time, but it wasn't. The excuse was that something else had come up, but as there was no national disaster I cannot see what was more important. There are thousands of people dying of cancer each day and an appeal to raise money for research would have a touch of importance, wouldn't it?


October 15th 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 28.2
Total miles run 3427.1
From Easington (B1432) to Redcar
Map of run

It was really cold this morning and I never felt warm at any time. I had started the run at Easington and made my way along the A1086 passing through Hartlepool. After ten miles I was really tired but I struggled on for another 3 miles and then stopped for lunch. Afterwards I followed the A178 towards Middlesbrough to the Tees Transporter Bridge. It took us across the River Tees where I carried on running along the A1085 towards Redcar. As I was approaching the end of today's run three boys on bikes came and rode beside me. As I jogged along they asked me why I was running. I told them my story and why it is important to raise money for cancer research. Before saying goodbye to me they emptied their pockets of all the money they had and gave it to me. It amounted to seven pence but it meant so much more. It showed they cared enough to give everything they had and I can't ask for anything more than that.

Stephen Gardner phoned me and said he would meet us at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.
I spoke to Jeremy Brett and he was in good spirits. He said he was looking forward to meeting me on Friday in Hull. I'm looking forward to seeing him too.

A lady at the Parkmore Hotel, where we were staying free of charge, wanted our autographs for her two children Marcus and Stella. It was an honour to sign as it showed again that people appreciate what we are trying to do.


October 16th 1989, Monday
Miles run today 26.5
Total miles run 3453.6
From Redcar to Whitby
Map of run

The camera crew, John and Andy arrived first followed by Stephen Gardner. It was nice to see Stephen again as it has been a long time since I last saw him at the start of my run at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Before filming really got going Stephen asked people in Redcar town centre for donations. He even took me into a bank and while people were queuing he asked them for donations. He did really well and I was most impressed. I would have liked someone like him along on the run who is not embarrassed in any way to ask people for money. I on the other hand do find fundraising difficult, but I do it anyway.

I ran along the A174 and the camera crew did some filming. Then Ted got filmed from inside the backup vehicle where he spoke about the run and his experience with cancer. When we got to Lythe there was a steep descent at Lythe Bank and Stephen decided this would look really good in the news report. Well it might look good to him, but it certainly wasn't good for me. We had to film the decent three times, so each time I got to the bottom of the hill I had to go back up and run it again. It is a good job I like Stephen because if I thought anything less of him, I would be well miffed.

Filming for the day went well but I did get emotional during an interview when it got on to the topic of how much we have raised so far. £15000 is such a disappointing amount especially when I know it could have been so much more.

I finished the day having run 26 ½ miles and felt exhausted.

In the evening Stephen took Ted and me out for dinner. He told us that the local media in the towns and cities should have been informed about our arrival way before we got there and when we arrived there should have been street collections. Stephen went on to say that a hundred thousand pounds or more could have been raised had things been better organised. I told Stephen that this is what we have been saying all along.


October 17th 1989, Tuesday
Miles run today 26
Total miles run 3479.6
From Whitby to Cayton Bay (A165)
Map of run

We met Stephen and the crew at 9 a.m. and we were filmed fundraising. We both felt more relaxed in front of the camera and we enjoyed ourselves. Later that morning after filming had been completed, Stephen, John and Andy said goodbye. Ted and I had enjoyed their company and we were sorry to see them go.

Running started at 11:45 a.m. My legs were already aching from yesterdays run due to the hilly course and the stopping and starting that occurred during filming. It was an undulating course today, but the scenery was great along the A171 through the North Yorkshire Moors and I really enjoyed the run. We then passed through Scarborough before finishing near Cayton Bay in the evening.

We had free accommodation at the Holbeck Hall Hotel. As I was showering I kept thinking about the lack of money raised. The thought was like a stuck record, repeating itself over and over again and more it went on, the more depressed I was getting. At one point I wondered if I was in the early stages of some sort of mental breakdown. I tried to distract the thoughts by doing things, like letter writing and phone calls, but feelings of despair and disappointment were enveloping me. All through the night my mind wouldn't let up and I got little sleep.


October 18th 1989, Wednesday
Miles run today 26.2
Total miles run 3505.8
From Cayton Bay (A165) to B1242 near Atwick
Map of run

The fog was really thick this morning and I could only see about ten yards in front of me. It remained that way along the A165 into Bridlington where Ted fundraised and I went shopping and made loads of phone calls. On the second run I felt totally exhausted and drained of all energy. Not only that but I still felt run down and miserable and the same negative thoughts that I had last night kept clouding my mind. By the time I finished the run I was utterly depressed and an emotional wreck.

We headed for the Royal Hotel in Hull where we had free accommodation. On entering my room I threw my bag in the corner, collapsed on the bed and cried my eyes out. I was completely physically and mentally shattered. For nearly two years I have given everything to make this run a success but if I honestly ask myself has it been worth the effort, I would have to say no. I could easily have raised more money by driving from town to town doing street collections. At that moment a wave of total dejection hit me so hard that I made the decision to finish the run.

I phoned my parents and when my mother answered I told her the run is over and that I have had enough. There was silence from her for a short time and then she spoke.
'Why do you want to stop now when you only have another five hundred miles to go?'
'Only another five hundred miles,' I said with sarcasm in my voice. 'That's just another 24 marathons.'
'Don't talk like that.' mum said. 'You have done all the hard work, why give up now?'
'Because all my efforts have been worthless,' I said emotionally. 'I could have raised more money without having to run over four thousand miles. The reason for this run was to make people curious enough to ask why I was running and when they knew I was running for people with cancer, they would respond by giving donations. People have responded when they have seen me but not enough people know about what I am doing because the national media are not interested in the story. During the Terry Fox run he had help from a person from cancer research who organised everything in advance and he had a national newspaper following his progress. I just hoped something similar would happen with my run although I knew from the very start that I wouldn't get the same reaction as Terry Fox got for his Marathon of Hope. Nevertheless I did hope my run would generate at least one story in a daily newspapers. But that hasn't happened so there is no point in carrying on.'
'Listen Linda, speak to your father.' My mother always says that when she is lost for words.
As the phoned was passed over I heard my mother say, 'Linda wants to quit.'
'Why?' I then went through my reasons again.
'OK so the run has not gone as you hoped,' dad said purposefully. 'You have just been filmed by BBC Newsroom South East so why not carry on until you see what response you get from that. Also there are a lot of people who want you to finish the run despite the lack of money raised. They think it is terrific that you have run so far. '
'But dad I was never doing this run for myself. I don't want any praise for what I have done, I just want money in the pot for cancer research so that the scientists can get on and end this disease because it has been around too bloody long. This disease destroys lives and it does not discriminate between young or old, rich or poor. It just annihilates without a care and I want it wiped off the face of the earth forever. But the money this run has raised is not enough and I feel I have let people down.'
'You have not let anyone down,' dad said emotionally. 'You have tried and that is what is important.'
We spoke for ages and we all got very emotional. I realised my mind wasn't in a very good place right now so I told my parents I would have a bath and consider my decision.

As I sat in the bath, I hoped for a few moments when the phone wouldn't ring and I could gather my thoughts. I searched my mind, looking back over the time I have been running and wondered if the run had done anything to help people with cancer. I recalled the times people thanked us for what we were trying to do, the children who had given their pocket money, the people who have been inspired watching me run. I wondered if those people would be inspired to achieve something of their own. I guess this run is like the ripple effect you get from throwing a stone into a pond. You never really know how far those ripples reach and who or what are touched by them. Therefore I will never know how much has been achieved, but I do know that it has made a difference to those we have met. If I carry on running I may inspire someone else to achieve much more than I have, so with that in mind, I shall keep going. I phoned my parents and told them of my decision and they went to bed happy.

October 19th 1989, Thursday
Miles run today 26
Total miles run 3531.8
From the B1242 near Atwick to Patrington
Map of run

The run today took me along the B1242 through Hornsea and onto Aldbrough. The course was fairly flat, which I find more tiring as certain muscles take more of the strain. I completed 17 miles near Roos where we had lunch. Lunch usually consists of any kind of sandwich that has been made up in the morning from the hotel breakfast bar, bananas and lots of coffee. I do not have any particular diet. I just eat anything and lots of it. In the mornings I can eat a full fry up and start running a short time after with no ill effects, except the occasional burping.

Ted and I rested for a couple of hours and continued on the B1242 through Withernsea before finishing on the A1033 at Patrington, where I marked up. We headed for the Royal Hotel in Hull, the same hotel as yesterday, and as I picked up the keys to my room, I was given a note from Roger Scott of the Daily Mail to phone him. 'A national newspaper,' I thought. 'Well that is a first.' I also had a message to phone Tom Knight from Running Magazine, but before I started making phone calls I took a shower. My right hamstring felt sore. It is a very sharp pain so I will have to watch that tomorrow.

The interview with Roger Scott went well but I have my doubts whether the report will appear as I have been let down before by national newspapers. Tom Knight from Running Magazine wants to do an interview with me in Kings Lynn. I should reach there next week.

October 20th 1989, Friday
Miles run today 26.4
Total miles run 3558.2
From Patrington to Barton-upon-Humber
Map of run

The day started off very wet and windy and yet despite the rain the traffic was moving very quickly. Today we saw out first accident during the entire run. A car suddenly stopped to turn right without indicating and three cars banged into the back of each other. Luckily no one was seriously hurt but there were a couple of people who were really annoyed. As there was nothing Ted or I could do, we carried on to the centre of Kingston upon Hull where we stopped for lunch and did some fundraising.

On the second run we headed for the Humber Bridge along the A63. The wind was really blowing hard and when we got there, the east side of the bridge was closed and a 30 mile an hour speed limit imposed. As it was too dangerous to have the backup van behind me, I told Ted to drive to the other side of the bridge and wait for me. I took the footpath but this wasn't without its dangers. Due to the severity of the wind, I had to hold on to the suspension wires on the bridge for dear life during some of the stronger gusts. It took me nearly twenty minutes to get across and considering it is just under a mile and half long, that is a long time for me. My normal speed is about nine to ten minute miles, so when I eventually reached Ted, he breathed a sigh of relief because he had been wondering where I had got to. Feeling knackered, I finished running at Barton-upon-Humber.

The interview I did with Roger Scott has appeared in the Daily Mail. Halleluiah! Unfortunately it will not appear in all editions and not every area of the UK. But at least it is a national newspaper and hopefully a lot of people will read it. There was no photo with the report but at least the report is a good one.

I went to meet Jeremy Brett at his hotel in Hull. He is appearing in the play the 'Secret of Sherlock Holmes' at the New Theatre. We talked for ages about the run, his family, friends and his career. We laughed a lot too and I felt so comfortable in his company. As I was putting on my coat to leave, Jeremy wrote a note for Ted. I don't know what was in it, but when I gave it to Ted later, he sure cheered up. Jeremy and I then parted company. I was very sad to say goodbye to him as my feelings for him have increased as this run has gone on. He has been my constant source of optimism whenever I have spoken to him on the phone. I do hope our friendship can continue after this run is over.


October 21st 1989, Saturday
Miles run today 27.3
Total miles run 3585.5
From Barton-upon-Humber to Humberston
Map of run

We had Scottish weather today, a lot of rain and very windy. Today's run took us from Barton-upon-Humber onto the A1077 through Barrow-upon-Humber and onto the B1211. We stopped for lunch and Ted seemed very quite. I asked him if he was feeling alright and he said no. His throat was bothering him and he said he would get a biopsy when he gets home. He then said something that really worried me. He said it could be cancer again. I wanted to take Ted off to hospital there and then, but then he said if it is cancer then he might get some publicity. I was thrown for a moment by this remark until he said he was hurt that he didn't get a mention in the Daily Mail. I told Ted that I had of course mentioned him to the reporter but I had no influence as to what ended up in the final report. I can understand his annoyance because he has been a huge part of this run, but it is something that I had no control over.

We continued the run to Laceby and then turned off onto the A46 to finally finish at Humberston.

October 22nd 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 27.2
Total miles run 3612.7
From Humberston to Sutton on Sea
Map of run

I began running from Humberston on the A1031 with the rain pouring down. By nine miles the rain had got worse and I felt incredibly tired. It felt like all the energy I had, had evaporated in some way and I could hardly lift my feet off the ground. I tripped a few times but each time I managed to stay on my feet. We did not find anywhere to have lunch so we made do sitting in the van. I was soaked through and because I wasn't able to dry off, I started to get the first signs of hypothermia. I just couldn't get warm so I decided to start running again as soon as we finished eating. It took ages to get any sort of warmth in my body and I started stumbling again despite the road being flat. One time I did end up face down on the road and thankfully Ted stopped in time. He got out of the van to see if I was alright. After brushing the grit from my hands I told Ted I was ok and that I wanted to finish the run as soon as possible in Sutton on Sea where we had free accommodation at the Grange and Links Hotel.

When we got to the hotel I made a beeline to the bathroom. I have never been so pleased to have a hot bath in my life.

A lot of donations have been arriving at the Imperial Cancer Research Office in London from Daily Mail readers. Brilliant news!

October 23rd 1989, Monday
Miles run today 26.2
Total miles run 3638.9
From Sutton on Sea to A52 junction of Main Rd and Holland Ln
Map of run

The weather was really nice when I started running from Sutton on Sea. I followed the A52 to Skegness, a distance of about 15 miles. When we got to the town centre Ted fundraised and I went off in search of a phone box to make numerous phone calls. I also did some shopping and went to the bank to deposit the money we collect each day. By the time I returned to Ted I felt really tired. Apart from the running making me tired, it is that time of the month that a woman would rather do without. This is why I am convinced God is a male. No female God would put women through a monthly cycle that makes them tired, moody and pi**ed off when things get painful. Anyway the point I'm trying to make is that after I made lunch, I was too tired to help Ted and if anyone thinks I am being unfair leaving him to do the fundraising, then speak to God.

On the second run I saw a field full of cauliflowers. I noticed three very fit young men working hard and when one noticed us, he came running over. He gave me a cauliflower, which I thanked him for. I'm not sure when we will get the chance to cook it, but it was a nice gesture. We have been offered other food items before such as fish, biscuits and fruit. The rest of the run was uneventful and after 26 miles I finished running on the A52 near the Friskney Flats and marked up. We returned to Skegness where we had free accommodation at the County Hotel.

I phoned home in the evening and mum told me the report that Stephen Gardner did with us over a two day period near Whitby, was meant to be shown on BBC Newsroom South East today. Unfortunately, due to ambulance workers escalating their strike, that was shown as a news item instead. I just hope the report gets shown, otherwise an opportunity will be missed to raise so much more money for cancer research.


October 24th 1989, Tuesday
Miles run today 26.1
Total miles run 3665
From the A52 junction of Main Rd and Holland Ln to the A17 Saracen's Head near Holbeach
Map of run

Today was cold but at least it was dry. I ran 12 miles to Boston and we decided to stop there for lunch. Ted fundraised and I went looking for free accommodation at the local hotels. Unfortunately I didn't get lucky so a lot of time was wasted. I also had a lot of phone calls to make and when I spoke to Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund we decided that Wednesday, November 8th would be the finish date for the run.

The second part of the run took me along the A16 through Kirton and then onto the A17, finally finishing at Saracen's Head near Holbeach. We then went in search of a hotel and finally found one where the manager was prepared to give us free accommodation. It was the Woodlands Hotel in Spalding.

In the evening I phoned Jeremy Brett to ask if he would be available to come to the finish of the run. His reply was hugely disappointing when he told me he wouldn't be able to make it due to work commitments and health problems. Jeremy was still on tour with the play, 'The Secret of Sherlock Holmes' and on the day the run finishes he will be appearing at the Festival Theatre in Chichester. His health was a concern because he has high blood pressure again and the last time he had that, he had to quit the show for two weeks. I of course understood his reasons for not making the finish, but I felt gutted that I wouldn't have the opportunity to thank him publicly for all the help he has given me. Without his moral support throughout the run I would have found it so much harder.


October 25th 1989, Wednesday
Miles run today 14.7
Total miles run 3679.7
From the A17 Saracen's Head near Holbeach to A17 near Terrington St Clement
Map of run

It is 7 a.m. and I'm about to get ready for another day. I hope Ted's driving is going to be better than it was yesterday. He had half the van on the road and the other half on the pavement. I told him I wasn't getting any protection from the traffic when he drives like that. He told me I was well protected! But it didn't feel like it when trucks and lorries were coming within a few inches of me.

The run along the A17 took me through Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge. When I reached nearly 15 miles I marked up and we headed for Kings Lynn. It had been arranged for us to visit the Imperial Cancer Research charity shop and for me to do a couple of interviews. We got there just on time and we met the hardworking volunteers who work in the shop. I did an interview with a reporter from the local newspaper and this was followed by a meeting with Tom Knight from Running Magazine. I assumed he was going to ask me questions about the run, but then he told me that Elizabeth Lancaster, who had been my backup driver for a week back in June, had nominated me for, 'Runner of the Year' and much to my surprise, I had won. I was very pleased with the award because it acknowledges my efforts as a runner, but the whole purpose of this run is to raise money for cancer research and I would rather raise hundreds of thousands of pounds than have awards. But I will of course accept the award with pride and hope it brings the publicity needed to raise more money.

Ted was over the moon that I won the award. He patted me on the shoulder and said, 'Well done Linda. Brilliant.' I was really touched by that as he has never said anything like that to me before. At the very least it showed Ted cared.

The afternoon was spent on a nearby beach having my picture taken for Running Magazine. While it was going on, Ted was asked by Tom Knight if I really had run all the way around the UK. Ted's answer was straight to the point, 'Linda has run every single step and more. When we return to the spot we marked up on the previous day, Linda starts running ten yards behind the mark to make sure she doesn't miss an inch out of the route. '

By the time the photographer had finished there wasn't time to run anymore so we headed for the Knights Hill Hotel who had provided us with two night's free accommodation. On our arrival the manager asked if he could have a few photos taken with us for the local press. Of course we obliged.

BBC Newsroom South East showed our report today. Let's hope it gets a huge response.

Video of UK Coast Run

Video news report shown on BBC Newsroom South East.

October 26th 1989, Thursday
Miles run today 26.2
Total miles run 3705.9
From the A17 near Terrington St Clement to Holme next the Sea
Map of run

At breakfast this morning, Ted was still telling me how pleased he was for me for winning 'Runner of the Year'. He had phoned his wife Betty last night and she was so happy too. I had phoned my parents, but they already knew about the award as Tom Knight had already spoken to them when he wanted to know my remaining route around the UK and my shoe size. The award that will be given to me in a couple of month's time of £1000 has also come with a pair of running shoes and a much needed tracksuit.

The run started on the A17 near Terrington St Clement and when I finally came off it and got on the A149 we both breathed a sigh of relief. The A17 must have the worst traffic in the UK and the most dangerous. Both of us had feared for our lives. The remaining route took us through Dersingham and Hunstanton and a distance of over 26 miles.

When I went to the reception desk at the hotel I had three messages from three different people from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. It seems they are really pleased with the report that went out last night and feel it will get a big response. Now isn't that what I have been saying for months. That if we get publicity, people will respond and money will be raised. Anyway, I was asked for the remaining schedule so they can arrange press interviews.

October 27th 1989, Friday
Miles run today 27.5
Total miles run 3733.4
From Holme next the Sea to Kelling
Map of run

It was cold and damp this morning, but the run was enjoyable. There was hardly any traffic on the road and the scenery was nice. After I ran 15 miles we stopped for lunch just outside Wells-next-the-Sea. Ted asked if we could visit Walsingham as there is a religious shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary and a pilgrimage centre. It was really nice inside and we spent about half an hour there. On the second run we saw some windmills near Cley next the Sea. We stopped and I took some photos and so did Ted. I then needed the toilet so I went to the nearest bush, which meant I had to go through some stinging nettles. As I squatted down I got stung . . . on the leg and not my bum thankfully. The run continued to Kelling where I marked up after 27 ½ miles.

We got to the Beaumaris Hotel where we had been given free accommodation and no sooner had I got settled in, Jane Arnell and Sue Kiddy from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund phoned. When they had finished speaking to me I had five newspapers to ring on Monday. The best news was that donations totally £1700 had arrived on the first day after the Stephen Gardner report on BBC Newsroom South East. Fantastic!

October 28th 1989, Saturday
Miles run today 27.3
Total miles run 3760.7
From Kelling to the junction of the B1151 near Ingham
Map of run

It was raining in the morning and I felt really tired when I set off from Kelling. I ran through Sheringham and Cromer on the A149 then joined the B1159. I thought I would only be able to complete ten miles on the morning run but I managed sixteen miles before stopping for lunch. On the second run the sun came out but the wind was really blowing strong, so much so that I had trouble staying upright. My right hip got sore but it wasn't painful enough to stop me carrying on. When I reached 23 miles in total, I had the surprise of my life. My parents, sister Helen and family friend Anita appeared out of nowhere. It was fantastic to see them and we all had a group hug. My mum said they had parked up on the road ahead of me and when I approached, it had brought tears to their eyes watching me run. They all realised how hard it must be to run day after day. I carried on running until I reached 27 miles and then we all headed for Great Yarmouth. Ted and I were in a hotel and my parents, Helen and Anita was in a B & B just opposite. In the evening we went for a meal, which my father paid for. We then had fun at the amusement arcade, which made a change from sitting in a hotel room writing letters and making phone calls.

October 29th 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 27.1
Total miles run 3787.8
From the junction of the B1151 near Ingham to A12 near Lowestoft
Map of run

It was raining again and the wind was very strong as I began running on the B1159 near Ingham. I felt really tired and the run was so hard going. It was a real effort to put one foot in front of the other. I hate it when I feel like this. I ran through Hemsby and Caister-on-Sea before stopping after 16 miles in Great Yarmouth.

We met up with my parents, Helen and Anita for lunch and after a couple of hours we said goodbye. Goodbyes are always a sad time for me.

On the second run I still felt as bad as I did this morning. The tiredness is the one thing I will remember about this run. I finished running on the A12 just outside Lowestoft. It was one of those days when I was so glad to finish.


October 30th 1989, Monday
Miles run today 27.4
Total miles run 3815.2
From the A12 near Lowestoft to Saxmundham
Map of run

Ran though Lowestoft but due to heavy traffic I ran on the pavement. I felt a bit better today. The wind had dropped, so this was a great help. The run followed the A12 through Blythburgh and Yoxford before finishing in Saxmundham. We will be in Norwich tomorrow as Olivers have collected over £400 for us and we will be presented with a cheque. We are also meeting the Mayor.

About ten minutes after I got to the hotel, people from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund started phoning. The best news is that another £2000 has arrived at the office in London including a £10 donation from a person in prison. Other calls were about arrangements to meet the local press at towns we will pass through over the next few days. A call also came at 10 p.m. to ask if we would go to Chelmsford tomorrow to meet a reporter in the afternoon. I pointed out we are in Norwich tomorrow.

I have been waiting ages for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to get us publicity and arrange meetings with newspaper reporters, but now they have us in two places at once. I'm going to sleep now as there is nothing more to say!

October 31st 1989, Tuesday
Miles run today 27
Total miles run 3842.2
From Norwich to Sheringham
Map of run

As we were not due at Olivers until the afternoon I decided to do an extra run. I know I could have rested but I have found throughout the run that when I missed a day's running I felt worse the next day.

Ted and I headed for the outskirts of Norwich and I started running from the A140 Cromer Road. Our destination was Sheringham so I ran mainly on the B1149, which took me through the villages of Horsford and Saxthorpe. When I got to Holt, I turned off onto the A148 and stayed on it until the turn off to Sheringham. The distance was about 27 miles. Ted and I then headed back to Norwich and had a bit of difficulty with the one-way system. We arrived at Olivers and were met by the manager, Mary Jackson and the supervisor, Jane Walker. They handed a cheque to us for £421, which is a fantastic effort. Olivers have been excellent throughout the run by given us free sandwiches at any of the coffee shops we came to on our travels. After a reporter took our photo, we then went off to meet the Mayor at the City Hall.

Tonight we had accommodation in Norwich with Eric and Brenda Browne who are the parents of my sister's friend, Paula.




Back to content | Back to main menu