THE LONG PUSH 2012 is sponsored by...

THE LONG PUSH has been sponsored and supported by the following companies and individuals...



If you would like to sponsor me on my journeys, please contact me at the_long_push@btinternet.com

justgiving - sponsor me now!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Back on board

It's two weeks since The Long Push 2012. I'm still working on writing up the journey, from concept to Days 1 and 2 of the journey itself. Until I've done that, today, Saturday 22nd September was my first day back on board and it felt good to be back rolling again.

A perfect day came out of nowhere, in a week where it's felt like winter has come early. Wetter, colder and with the noisey gaggle from the geese as they start flying South for winter again already! I found some time in the afternoon to get out on my board again for a while and had the idea to just do a 6 mile or so push up and down the coast road to Ainsdale and back. I didn't want to do too much (I didn't have time to either) and I wanted to try out some different shoes over a decent distance, but not too far. So this route filled the bill well. I set off from Southport Pier at about 4.30 in the afternoon. The warmest part of the day had passed, but it was still warm enough to make the journey in my Longboarding4Cancer (Sweden) baseball shirt and show some love for George and Oscar's journey across Sweden this year. Kinda nice not to feel obliged to wear the 'compulsory' yellow Long Push T-shirt, now that this years autism fundraising charity work is done with. Winter gives me a bit more freedom and time to try different things ahead of a new Long Push 2013 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness campaign. That will come again in March next year, with a new colour scheme for 2013.

Poor photo from the Southport end of the sea wall.

It's a straight, smooth push along the cycle path next to the coastal road, marred only by the small stones from the recent resurfacing of one part of the road, and having to breathe in to let any cyclists pass me on the narrow cycle path. I wanted to try some different shoes out on this ride today. I saw Adam Colton's equipment video for his 1000 mile longboard journey across China (yes, you read that right, one thousand miles!) and noticed what footwear he was going to be using for that journey. For anyone who doesn't know who Adam Colton is, he's a legend in longboarding. A real character, one of the Long Treks on Skate Decks team and pretty much a genius on a longboard. I figure with his experience, he knows what he's talking about. Here's the link to his kit list for the China journey and the acompanying video...


So, one Saturday recently I found myself in Sports Direct here in Southport and stumbled across these Karrimor 'trail' running shoes. Now, I'm no runner, but I liked the look of these instantly and tried a pair on. The main thing I noticed was that the sole under the ball of my pushing foot felt really well cushioned, despite the contact tread being quite stiff and rugged. They are designed for 'off road' running after all. They were light and breathable as well, so they fitted a lot of the chracteristics that Adam mentioned in a shoe for distance skating, and I figured they might work well for me too. Then I noticed the price, £24.99! And only £20.99 if bought online! For that price it seemed rude not to give them a go. I could always use them for mountain biking if they don't work on the board. Debit card out and order placed. Back to today...

Karrimor Trail Run SNR 23 in Grey/Blue/Lime
Pushing the three miles to Ainsdale the Karrimor's felt really good. My feet have had two weeks to heal from the 100 mile push but even so, the sole of my pushing foot felt absolutley fine when I arrived at the Sands pub on the edge of the beach at Ainsdale, and the stiff sole fitted into the concave of the 'Switchblade' perfectly. The DC Alias Lite performed brilliantly over the 100 miles of  The Long Push this year, but the Karrimor's have definitly given me food for thought. Got some other shoes to try over the winter season too, so a lot more testing to do. I hadn't touched my board since finishing The Long Push either. It still had all the mud and dirt over the underside and my wheel nuts and truck bolts could probably have done with tightening up a bit but...it actually felt really good! The Landyachtz 'Switchblade' really is a GREAT deck and set up with the Paris 180 trucks and still with the 80A 75mm Orangatang 'In Heat' wheels it really works very well.

I stopped at the Sands pub, bought a beer and sat outside in the sun, watching the bikers riding back away from Southport for the day. Part of me always wishes I was on my own bike when I see other guys on theirs, but you can't do everything once, can you? And even over winter there will be good biking days between the wet days. It occured to me that, despite driving/riding past this pub hundreds of times over my 48 years, I've never actually set foot in The Sands before in my life! Something I commented on to the bar maid. I'll remedy that whenever I'm passing and not driving/riding my mororbike in the future. Nice setting on a Sunny day.

The battery was dying on my mobile phone again (as usual!), so I stopped RunKeeper at this point, so that I could upload the details of my ride onto the Long Push Facebook page. The camera on the phone won't work when the battery is low, so I couldn't take another photo and I'd travelled light, with no bag, so no second camera with me.   RunKeeper link

Glass emptied it was time to head home. I had a wedding reception to get to later on, so no time to hang about. An incident free 3 miles later, I was back at my car and still feeling the love for the new Karrimor's. Good stuff. Poor weather forcast for the coming week, so unsure when I'll next get out on a board again. Plus, I've got some 'life stuff' to do. Watch out here for the first installment summarising The Long Push 2012.

Until then, rock and roll whenever you get chance, people.


Monday, 10 September 2012

The Eagle Has Landed!

Home! Hopefully by now you know that I completed The Long Push  2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness at about 9.45pm on Sunday 9th September! A new personal best distance for a single day skated of 59 miles and 100 miles in total over the weekend. Thanks to everyone who has donated and supported me this year and those who have followed my journey on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend.

A couple of days of recovery time and then I'll start writing up full blog posts of the journey.

The Just Giving page will be winding up soon too. Full details when I have them, but for now there's still time to donate for anyone who wishes to:


Friday, 7 September 2012

The Important Stuff!

Ok, I set off on Saturday 8th September at 9.00AM, from McDonalds, Ocean Plaza in Southport.
For anyone thinking about coming to see me off ( by which I mean 'wave' me off, not...y'know, 'kill me', or anything!) then you are very welcome but BE WARNED, It's Southport Air Show weekend, and traffic will be bad around the seafront. I may even have to skate off along the promenade instead of the first section of the coastal road, depending on how busy it is.

The full route plan is on the other post here:

I'm intending to post updates at the various Sector points, but this will depend on there being a decent 3g/wi-fi signal where I am and how long the battery lasts on my phone!!! I may have to text friends to post updates on The Long Push facebook page for me! But somehow or other I'll let y'all know where I am.

In a late change to plans, I will now be accompanied by skater, spark, awesome photographer and generally all round good egg, Trev Wells (Twellsy) who is going to lead/follow on his bike, carry my backpack and help out documenting the journey. Completely awesome of him to offer to do this. I'm really grateful.

A few people have asked if they can join me on the journey. If you want to push along with me for a mile or so in your area as I pass through and you can meet up with us as we pass through then that's fine. You may be handed a bucket and asked to hand a few flyers out on the way, so be prepared for that. You may get a freebie sticker for your efforts...or not, depending on how long they last! Follow the progress updates on Facebook/Twitter to find where we are.

Anyone who does meet up with is, bring your camera or phone with you and save any video you take. I'm hoping to gather together everyone's clips and get a student at our local art college to edit it altogether into a promo film for next year. I like the idea of it being a 'patchwork' movie, with varying quality of footage. I'll post more about how to send this after the weekend.

Oh yeah, the purpose of this project all year has been to raise awareness of autism. I would LOVE to meet any families who have autistic family members, or pop into any autism support services along the route. If you are happy to be filmed/photographed then I'd love to include that in the document of the journey, or if you just want to tell me your story and have me share it here on The Long Push blog then I would be happy to do that. Again, check the route plan and watch for our progress on Facebook. Leave us a message and we'll try to get to you if you are on the route.

Noooooooo idea what time we'll get back into Southport on the Sunday., but I'm guessing around 6.00-7.00pm. Ending at McDonalds Ocean Plaza again.

Thanks as ever, to THE LONG PUSH 2012 sponsors, www.bigwoodys.co.uk  www.uk.dcshoes-store.com  www.sporting-sails.com  www.orangatangwheels.com  www.jandrsports.co.uk  and to all who have donated and supported me in any way so far.

I've probalby forgotten something or somebody, but if I have I apologise.You've all been amazing.


Friday 7th September. Counting down...1 day to go...

Forecast for the weekend? First suggestion of...rain! :-/

SATURDAY: AM Showers 68/52f  30% chance of rain
SUNDAY: Partly Cloudy 72/53F  10% chance of rain

Ghaaaaa!!!!! We've had a great week of weather here so far this week. But according to these Weather Channel forecasts (and the station used to generate them is in Blackpool, right in the middle of the route) the risk of rain has changed from ) Nil to 30% across the week. Best pack a waterpoof then!

Most distance skaters probably wouldn't be phased by a bit of rain and I'm already prepared to get wet next year on a longer journey than this one. I was just hoping to get this first distance skate done in dry conditions. Urethane (what skateboard wheels are made from) and water don't mix well. Rain will make it slippy and more dangerous, it will affect the performamce of the wheel bearings and of course, make it more uncomfortable for me to push the distance in. But...I'm just gonna have to get on with it, and take my time. Hopefully if we get any rain it will just be short showers which I can duck and cover from without it causing too many delays. Hey ho!

It's Southport Air Show this weekend too. I LOVE the air show, although I don't love the fact that it's not free anymore, but... I have to thank the organisers this year for giving myself and Trev Staff/Trader wristbands, so that we can pass through the site as we set off on The Long Push on Saturday morning. THANK YOU!      

I used to be in the Air Training Corps when I was 14. On my first days flying from RAF Woodvale, the pilot in the Chipmunk trainer aircraft I was in flew us over the promenade. I remember looking down from the cockpit to see if anyone was skating there, but I don't remember seeing anyone. And everyone loves the Red Arrows don't they? They are are flying on both days of the Air Show this weekend, as well as the Vulcan bomber, which is just an amazing sight to see. What I would love to see is the Gloster Meteor.  

One of these was burnt out on the airfield at Woodvale for years, and could be seen from the passing railway track. It was removed after years being there and restored and for a while was situated at the front of the airfield. Now it's been fully restored to a flying aircraft and will be making it's first appearance at the air show this weekend. I'll probably miss that, seeing as it's going to fly from Woodvale and I'm pushing in the opposite direction, but a lot of the aircraft will fly from Blackpool or Warton, so I'm hoping to see and hear them flying overhead while I push along the coastline. Ahem! Sorry! Plane geek! Back to topic...

I spent part of yesterday afternoon laying all my kit out, so I don't forget anything. So, as well as being a plane geek here's the equipment list for any other longboard/distance skater geeks reading. OK,so starting with the two boards here we have:

LANDYACHTZ Switchblade, with 180mm Paris Trucks (standard bushings), Orangatang 'In Heat' wheels 75mm 80A (Hardness) with LOADED 'Jehu' bearings. This is the board I'm using for the journey.

LUSH 'Samba', with Seismic trucks (grey springs) and Orangatang 'Durian' wheels, 75mm 83A with LOADED 'Jehu' bearings. This is my back-up board. In case of any mechanicial failure this one has been left with Rachael to be brought out to me, but I don't expect to have to use it.

Karrimor 'Wind 35+5' rucksack
DC cap - DC Shoes will be on my feet!
Sporting Sail as supplied by LOng Push sponsors http://sporting-sails.com/
Crivit sport sunglasses
Skate tool
Sansa 'Clip' mp3 player
Nokia 5510 mobile phone. (A relic, but it's my back-up phone...and I still love it!)
Spare pair of running socks
Snacks: Salted peanuts/Kendal mint cake/Protein bars
My main mobile phone
Kryptonics helmet
Spare set of  bearings
Remaining Long Push flyers to hand out on the route
Long Push high viz vest, supplied by Mark Robinson from www.middle-age-shred.com
'Sorbothane' heel pads (In case of any sorness from heel/achiles etc.)
First Aid Kit
Fuji Finepix camera (Rachaels!)
Spare batteries
Families Connected running vest. ( A bit small!)
AUTISM AWARENESS wristbands to sell for donations on the route
2 x spare LONG PUSH T-shirts
The first bottle of water of the day!

And now it's all packed it looks like this...

That will do for this post now. One more post later tonight and then, that's it, till morning.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Tursday 6th September: Countdown continues...2...and The Long Push route plan

First things first, it's a beautiful day this morning, and I'm hoping to get a few miles in as a last bit of training today, but what's the forecast for the weekend?

SATURDAY: AM Clouds/PM Sun 68/52F 20% chance of rain
SUNDAY: Partly Cludy 71/52F 10% chance of rain

Hmmm, the chance of rain seems to be on the increase, but as long as it doesn't go over 20% we should be OK. Would be a shame after the weather leading up to the weekend.

OK, so I'm not going to waste a beautiful morning like this sat behind a PC. Here's the breakdown of the towns that I will be pushing through on the full 100 miles of The Long Push this weekend. Later on I'll break it down into the sectors I'm using a to monitor my progress. I was going to put a full Google map up, but stuff it! You can see the route on the poster anyway! But come back tonight or tomorrow to have another look at this post to see how it's been updated.

Day 1 -Starting from McDonalds, OCEAN PLAZA, in Southport at approximately 9.00AM on SATURDAY 8th September, THE LONG PUSH 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness will be going through the following towns and villages:


Ending Day 1 at the FERRYSIDE CAFE in Fleetwood.

Day 2, Sunday 9th September - Starts from the Ferryside Cafe at approx 10.00AM and follows the reverse route:


Ending Day 2 back at McDonalds, OCEAN PLAZA again.

On the two days, check The Long Push Facebook page or @TheLongPush on Twitter for progress reports at the various sector points, and here are the different sectors:

Day 1

Sector 1: Home via Ocean Plaza to Banks Roundabout - 8.3 miles

Sector 2: Tarleton Library - 12.8 miles

Sector 3: Roundabout at Bretherton - 16.0 miles

Sector 4: Penwortham Traffic Lights - 20.3 miles

Sector 5: McDonalds, Riversway, Preston - 22.2 miles

Sector 6: Freckleton - 27.6 miles

Sector 7: Lytham Windmill - 31.8 miles

Sector 8: St. Annes Pier - 35.4 miles

Sector 9: Blackpool Tower/Big Woody's Skateshop - 40.5 miles

Sector 10: Cleveleys - 45.0 miles

Sector 11: Ferryside Cafe, Fleetwood and end of day 1 - 50.0 miles

Day 2

Sector 12: Start from Ferryside Cafe, Fleetwood to Cleveleys - 55.0 miles

Sector 13: Blackpool Tower - 59.4 miles

Sector 14: St. Annes Pier - 64.3 miles

Sector 15: Lytham Windmill - 68.6 miles

Sector 16: Freckleton - 72.9 miles

Sector 17: McDonalds, Riversway, Preston - 78.3 miles

Sector 18: Penwortham Traffic Lights - 80.4 miles

Sector 19: Roundabout at Bretherton - 84.5 miles

Sector 20: Tarleton Library - 88.0 miles

Sector 21: Banks Roundabout 91.00 miles

Sector 22: Day 2 ends at McDonalds, Ocean Plaza, Southport.
Check The Long Push Facebook page or @TheLongPush on Twitter throughout the weekend for progress reports at the various sector points.

OK, with that done, by about 10.00AM this morning I got my kit together for a last bit of training on the 'Switchblade'. On my way out through Birkdale village I stopped at a Macolls store to get a bottle of water and checked the local paper, the Southport Visiter, to see if my article was in and...IT WAS!!!! Right at the top of page 6 the headline, "I'M SKATEBOARDING 100 MILES" and the photo of Nikki Skinner presenting the cheque to Carol and myself back in July. The article wasn't bad either. SEverly edited from what I gave them (which I'll post up seperately) but all the important info was in there, so all in all, a pretty good job. :o)

I skated up to and along the costal road, the 6.91 miles up to Formby. Recorded on Runkeeper. 
At least my dreadful phone battery managed that far! Lord only knows how I'll get on over two days, but I certainly won't be able to track my route using Runkeeper. My phone just isn't up to the job. I won't mention the brand because I'll be writing to them to see if they can offer me some kind of upgrade for future LONG PUSH sponsorship.

Back on the Coastal Road, back from Formby to Southport
I had to take the orthotic insoles out before I set off today though. Although they felt ok under my foot and were giving the foot good support, they were also lifting my heel too high on my left foot. The DC's are quite low at the heel and with the additional insoles they were starting to rub. So I took the orthotics out, but seeing as the DC's I'm using have quite a lot of arch support, I felt fine without them. I'll just have to use them in other shoes instead. I've packed a pair of gel heel pads in case of any problems over the weekend, but they are more for cushioning the heel and raising it to protect the achilees tendon than anything else. 

Just as I reached the coast road I stopped to do a bit of stretching and an oldish guy on a bike went past me on the cycle path heading in the Formby direction. I carried on doing my warm-up, ate a Snickers and drank some water and then set off. Ten minutes later I'd caught up with  the guy on the bike an...was stuck behind him on the narrow cycle path! I couldn't believe it. But the path is really narrow and I just couldn't get past for bikes coming the other way. I had to wait till the path widened at Ainsdale to scoot on past him! Anyway I met up with Rachael at Formby Cycles where she...bought a bike! Nothing like striking while the iron's hot! Alan at Formby Cycles was really helpful and interested in my board, so some Long Push flyers and Skate Further cards were left with them at the shop. I was undecided whether to skate back or not, but decided to leave it at that, rather than do too much before the weekend. Back to Southport for lunch, a baked potato (The carb loading starts now!), and then I went home to start laying my kit out and packing my bag, so that I don't forget anything...which I will, of course. More about this tomorrow.

Back-Up board. Lush Samba, Seismics and Orangatang Durians
The day ended, like it usually does with me tweaking the blog and the Facebook pages, but not before I gave my back-up board, the Lush Samba with Seismic trucks, a brief roll along the promenade, after changing wheels and putting on the purple Orangatang 'Durians' (75mm 83A). This is just in case anything breaks and I can have this board brought out to me.Hopefully I won't have to use it. I'm expecting the 'blade to handle all that gets thrown at it on the journey. Tonight it felt wierd, but of course it would, it's the polar opposite of the Landyachtz Switchblade, with a soft flex and directional shape. Wheels were fine though. Hard to remember that I did a couple of training rides on it at the beginning of this in January/February. I'm so used to the Switchblade now.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more important info about the weekend journey


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday 5th September: The Countdown continues...3...

Weather forecast for the weekend?

SATURDAY: Partly Cloudy 68/55F  10% Chance of rain
SUNDAY: Partly Cludy 69/55F  0% Chance of rain

Still sounding good for the weekend but worringly, it's just gone really overcast here now and we've had a shower, which wasn't predicted by either The Weather Channel or Rain Alarm! Let's hope they are a bit more accurate for the weekend!

Last laundry ahead of the weekend just done.  Time to start laying my kit out and making sure nothing gets left behind.

Right, got time to tell you a bit about our week at Butlins recently. This is the third year in a row we've been to Butlins in Skegness. Ailsa is 10 and Steven is 12 and very smart.  Academically he scores above his age, up to 15 in some subjects. But another aspect of his autism spectrum disorder is that he is socially and emotionally much more immature and often behaves like a child much younger than his age. So the nature of Butlins is pretty much ideal for them and...Steven absolutely LOVES it! Which in a way, is yet another contradiction of his condition. He is extremely sensory, with very accute hearing, sense of smell and reaction to light. He is often clumsy and shows little apptitude (or desire) to do any kind of physical exercise so Butlins would, on paper and in reality, look like it would be sensory overload for him and yet...no.

The crowds and volume of voices and the entertainment in the huge Skyline Pavillion don't seem to phase him at all. He loves the biggest, fastest, scariest rollercoasters and never show signs of feeling dizzy from them and perhaps the most at odds with his day to day mannerisms, he walks around the high ropes course like he's walking down the street! You wouldn't get me up there, that's for sure! But this is also one of the potential pitfalls of the condition. No sense of danger. The fact that he could fall, and the possible consequences aren't even a consideration for Steven, in the same way that, when he crosses a road, the consequence of what would happen if a car hit him doesn't even register. And of course, for many people on the autism spectrum, just walking down the street can be a collosal challenge, with all the sights, sounds and distractions around them. I shared a video about this on The Long Push Facebook page about this. This is a real eye opener. Give it a viewing...

Did we have any meltdowns this year? Yes, of course we had a couple, one which was very difficult, but shortly after he was on the high ropes in the pouring rain and after he got off it was like it hadn't happened. Welcome to the upside down world of the autism spectrum! And the reason behind The Long Push, to raise awareness of the issues families on the spectrum have to manage on a daily basis. But guess what? We'll be back there next year.

OK, back to today. I found out this afternoon that one of our local free papers that took a photo of me at the Parkside Court fundraiser a couple of weeks ago, put the story online and not in the actual paper! Thanks for that guys! So next to no one will have seen that then! Cheers! And...they want £9 to buy the 6 x 8 photograph!! Struth! Here's hoping the Southport Visiter article goes in tomorrow and is a good one.

Now it's 10.50pm and I vcan hera Moto GP on the TV in the other room. I feel I could do with the distraction tonight, so I'll sign off now and resume tomorrow with a full route plan for the weekend and hopefully, I'll get a few miles in on the board tomorrow too and then leave it at that until Saturday.

"This IS rock and roll radio,
Stay tuned for more rock and roll"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


'AUTISM AWARENESS' wristbands in both adult and child sizes are currently available exclusively* at BIG WOODY's SKATESHOP on Talbot Road in Blackpool, with all profits going to THE LONG PUSH 2012/FAMILIES CONNECTED BY AUTISM.

Minimum donation of £1

I will also have some of these with me as I push the 100 mile journey this weekend, but the adult size ones are going fast. I'll be picking up what's left at Big Woody's on Saturday on the way through, to sell on the way back. Whatever's left at the end I'll make available to anyone who wants one...somehow! I haven't really thought that through yet!

Here you can see them modeled on my very own, very hairy arm! What a sales technique!

*To clarify, these wristbands are NOT exclusive to THE LONG PUSH - Longboarding for Autism Awareness and are available elsewhere, but the profits will go to other autism charities, not The Long Push if purchased elsewhere.

Tuesday 4th September. The Countdown continues...4...

Jeez! So much to do, so little time!! First off, weather forecast for the weekend:

Wheel and bearing maintenance ahead of the weekend
SATURDAY:  Partly Cloudy 70/57F  10% chance of rain
SUNDAY:  Partly Cloudy 67/51F  0% chance of rain

OK, so on Sunday (still shattered from our week in Butlins and the drive back from Skegness), I fitted a fresh set of LOADED 'Jehu' bearings into the aluminium core Orangatang 'In Heat' wheels (75mm 80A), ahead of the 100 mile journey this weekend.

Then I did something I should have done a year ago, and got my feet checked out properly. The nice young lady in Shuropody on Lord Street fitted me for some orthotic inserts for my DC's, which have helped straighten the way I walk and also added extra cushioning into the soles of my shoes for The Long Push. I got the 'Active Foot Orthotic' type.  So now I just have to get used to them in less than a week! Great job though, and like I said, I should have done this ages ago!!

Yesterday, Monday I went into the offices of our local paper, The Southport Visiter, to see if I can get an article in this weekends edition. I spoke to a very nice young lady called Janine and hopefully something will be going in on Thursday. I've just written something up to date for her with all the local sponsorship details etc.

After that I had a quick roll on the board, just a couple of miles to see how I got on with the inserts in. A bit wobbly to be honest. It will take some getting used to the new 'shape' of my foot on the 'W' concave of the Landyachtz 'Switchblade' board that I'm using, but it will be fine.

Today I'm off to see Twellsy, to try and finalise arrangements for him to follow me on his bike this weekend, and help me document the journey.

Then tonight I've got more e mails to send, and stuff to update on the blog and facebook pages etc. and I need to start getting all my gear ready for the weekend too. Lots to do.

Gotta dash............

Monday, 3 September 2012

Monthly Vital Statistics - August

August ended up being another full month for fundraising for The Long Push 2012 after the date of the journey was pushed back from August to 8th/9th September. Details follow, but here, with the most important figure first, are the stats for August

CHARITY FUND TOTAL AT 31st August  -  £2288.66



NUMBER OF VIEWS OF THIS BLOG at 31st August  - 7234

NUMBER OF FACEBOOK 'LIKES' at 31st August - 513

Most importantly during August the charity fund increased by another £600.97 to come to a whopping £2288.66 and if all goes well this is due to rise by another £350 to take the total well past the £2500 mark. Amazing!! The charity fund rose by so much partly due to these donations among others:

  • Thom Bleasdale Art : Sale of one of Thom's photographs on a skateboard deck - £120
  • Donation by The Lions Club of Southport - £100
  • Parkside Court Diamond Jubilee garden fete and Cream Tea together contributed - £350

Read about these donations in more detail elsewhere in the blog.

And despite the original 'target figure' of £5000, £2,500 is WAAAY more than I ever expected The Long Push to make for Families Connected by Autism. Very interested to see what the final figure is after the journey is done and all the final donations are counted and added to the current total. We could end up raising over £3000!!!!

But August wasn't a good month for training, following the fall had in Blackpool at the end of July. I had to take time to let my knees recover and then had other problems with an Achilles tendon pull too. So only 11.1 miles skated in August, which was a pain. I kinda lost my training impetus, but on the positive side, I suppose I'll be fresh for the full 100 mile journey. Just got to get a few miles in this week.

Views of the blog rose over the 7000 mark, which is amazing. Please keep reading and sharing the link.

Facebook 'likes' grew by another 57  to go over and above the 500 mark. Excellent.Thanks to all who responded to my posts to share and get to 500 before The Long Push journey itself.

Thanks as ever, to THE LONG PUSH 2012 sponsors:
www.bigwoodys.co.uk  www.uk.dcshoes-store.com  www.sporting-sails.com  www.orangatangwheels.com  www.jandrsports.co.uk  and to all who have donated and supported me in any way so far.

Much more to come this week. Stay tuned....


Monday 3rd September: "Stand By For Action! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5..."

As anyone who has looked at The Long Push Facebook page will know, we've been away on the family holiday, and had little or no wi-fi access while we were away. Hence the lack of updates, but now....now I'm back and the weather forecast is looking GOOD for this weekend, 8th/9th September, so...


This post is the first of a 'blog a day' diary this week, leading up to setting off on the full 100 miles of  The Long Push 2012 on Saturday! Only a dramatic change in the weather will postpone it this time, and then only by a week or two, I reckon. But the aim is...this Saturday.

So before I get onto the daily diary stuff, I need to catch you up on the last two weeks.

The week before going away was typically hectic, as the week before any family holiday is. There's all the laundry, tidying up before the neighbours come into feed the cats, (is it REALLY that long since I cleaned the toilet??)  laundry, taxing the car, renewing the insurance on the motorbike, laundry, packing, finishing off any loose ends at work and did I mention...laundry? Add the additional factors of a strange illness contracted by Rachael and an over excited boy on the autism spectrum, along with his 10 year old sister and I think I gotta  "... engine runnin' hotter than a boilin' kettle", as the Beastie Boys once chanted.

There was something else too!

Pat, outside Parkside Court on June 1st
When I first told  the mother of a friend of mine about The Long Push 2012 she immediately said "We'll organise something for that", before I'd even finished speaking! Pat and husband Brian live in a retirement block here in Southport called Parkside Court. I call into the block when I'm at work and so many of the other residents know me as well. Pretty soon Pat, Brian, Gill and some of the other residents had organised a garden fete for the Queen's Golden Jubillee celebrations in June, and Pat, (without my knowledge) had gone all over town, asking for items from shops and businesses to offer as prizes in a raffle and tombola at the event, with the proceeds going to The Long Push 2012/Families Connected. I only found out about the prizes the night before when I called round and saw this HUGE pile of stuff all over the floor Pat and Brian's flat! To cut a long stort short (a first for me) the sun shone on the day of the fete and £170 was made towards The Long Push. Pat, being Pat, wasn't happy with that though. Oh no.

Brian and Pat on The Long Push stall, doing good business
The  owners of the retirement block traditionally will double any amount that has been raised for charity, through the residents. Pat's aim was to raise the total to £250 in the hope of securing a £500 donation towards The Long Push! And she had a plan.

Pat was planning to organise a 'Cream Tea' afternoon for the residents, in support of The Long Push to try to raise the extra £80 to reach £250. Originally she planned to do this after I'd done my journey, but then she sprung the date on me of, 22nd August, the week before our hols! But, no problem, I arranged with work for some time to go and attend (which kinda went wrong, but I ended up ok in the end) and I arranged for Carol McKiernon, the head of the Families Connected By Autism to come over, to meet the residents and speak about the charity. I hastily got some photos printed off and stayed up 'till midnight the night before, mounting them onto a board, as Pat had contacted the local press and arranged for them to be there to take a photograph, so I needed something to show what the journey was about. (The board is a lot straighter than it looks in the photo!)

The hastily prepared LONG PUSH 2012 photo board
Running around all done, the afternoon was a great success. The wife of the new warden, Paul, at the block baked some beautiful scones specially for us, both Carol and myself spoke about the charity and The Long Push journey and Pat and Brian had purloined more raffle prizes to be won. I think almost everyone there went home with a prize! And the Southport Champion photographer turned up and took a photo, so all was good.

And the result, the money from this event was added to the original £170 to make a total of £350! A potential donation of £700 to the charity fund if doubled by the management company of the building. Incredible!!

So, HUGE thanks to Pat and Brian Froggatt, to Paul and his wife for their help with the food and posters for the event, Ruth and Len and all the residents and friends and relatives who paid their £3 to come in and support The Long Push 2012.

Thanks to all the people and companies who supplied prizes for the two days:

Residents, families and friends at Parkside Court,
Lin Canavan,
A base computers - Jude and Keith,
Claudes of Churchtown,
Staff at Albert Road Tesco - organised by Juliette
Boots at Chapel street
Boots at Central 12
Marks and Spencer.

Carol and myself can't thank you all enough. You have given the charity fund an enormous boost. Thank you all so much.

Right, it's now 10.00am and I have a million things to do today. I'll put up the August Vital Statistics post tonight, and tomorrow I'll tell you a bit about how we got on at Butlins this year.