Having never visited Chester and with a 9.00am start I decided to travel up the day before from Nottingham – and I am really glad I did. What a beautiful city Chester is to visit as well as run through. I got the feeling then that Sunday’s finishing area was going to be a bit special, and so it turned out to be.

The loneliness of the long distance runner is well documented, but being on your own away from home can lead to encounters with some brilliant people and this was certainly the case on this occasion. Whilst out ‘carb-loading’ (eating pasta) the night before the run, I bumped into the lovely 86-years-young Liverpudlian Laurie who shared his fantastic life story – truly inspirational. He then asked, “What is a good looking young man like you doing alone in Chester?” (and yes, he was wearing glasses!). So I told him about my challenge at which point he donated £10 to our cause. What a star, and a genuine random act of kindness.


It is difficult to write or talk about running this week without thinking about Matt Campbell who sadly passed away whilst talking part in the London Marathon. The Chester race organisers and all the runners made a fitting tribute to him before the race. Very emotional to see so many dedicating the last 3.7 miles to his memory – #FinishForMatt.

Starting at Chester Racecourse, the route took us up through the city centre as I tucked in behind the 01:50 pace runners. Once my legs had warmed up from the chilly spring morning I headed on past the pacers and off into the lovely countryside surrounding the city. Great support around every corner, including the young trombone player with his dad on the tambourine (a la YouTube – and not forgetting a fantastic selection of live bands. Running into mile 13 and up that brutal hill, my legs were screaming, but this was balanced by the huge crowds screaming at me to carry on. A brilliantly organised race and one I will probably return to after the 20 Challenge is complete. Race organisers and volunteers – you should be very proud of your efforts.

Best Moments – The words of encouragement from a fellow runner from Scotland who talked about her brother celebrating 5 years in recovery. The superb atmosphere and buzz of the finishing area. The crowds on that final hill. The ‘Race Angels’ helping people to finish.

Funniest Moment – In the finishing funnels someone pointing out that no-one was joining the XXL queue for finishing shirts.

So it’s 9 down and 11 to go, almost halfway through this crazy challenge!


As we near the Spirit of Recovery Awards on the 11th of May excitement is growing to find out who this year’s winners are and to celebrate the actual 20th birthday of Double Impact opening its doors.


We are still looking for people to run the Robin Hood Half Marathon in September. Would you like to join us and raise funds to support our work? E-mail us at, or to find out more visit the charity partners info page on the marathon website – click here. Thanks to our service users, The Treat Kitchen, Buckles Solicitors, and other supporters who are already signed up to run alongside staff from Café Sobar and Double Impact.

If you would like to make a donation to the campaign please click here.


It’s a packed schedule now and due to the winter cancellations I will attempt to do 5 in 6 weeks. Chester is now completed, with Scunthorpe, Leeds, Liverpool and Derby all to do by the 3rd of June! I’ll post some updates on Twitter for you to @DI_Recovery & @DI_Runs.

Nine down and eleven to go! Thanks for reading.

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