Academy Manager John Hewitson writes a blog to encourage fans to get behind a fellow Poolie in the midst of an incredible charity challenge.
On Sunday, our Academy Manager John Hewitson and his friend Lee Dodgson set out on one of the most incredible charity challenges to raise money for Alice House Hospice.
The pair had decided to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just over two weeks, covering over 800 miles – and it’s a challenge that they had prepared for with months of rigorous training.
Sadly, on Day Three, John suffered a serious hamstring injury and was forced to stand down from the challenge. But Lee, spurred on by a support team and message of backing from friends, family and those on social media, has vowed to continue.
Here, we get the inside take from John as he issues a plea to fans to get behind a fellow Poolie in whatever way they can as he looks to complete a truly astonishing charity challenge.
It was devastating for me to have to pull out of the run after tearing my hamstring on Day 3, particularly given I have been in training for this challenge almost every day since September.
I was as gutted for Lee as I was for myself because I know what it is like getting up every morning and going through what he is going through. People can look at the photos but they aren’t actually seeing what happens. I mean, Lee has to walk two or three miles every morning just to get in to some sort of shape to start running – and every step is painful so it’s all about having the mental strength to keep your body going.
Even in the second and third day it was getting difficult on the legs, really horrible in fact. Sometimes the pain was actually lessened when you were running because when you were walking or standing still it felt as though people were sticking knives in your joints.
To do what he is doing for eleven hours every day, along with the prehab work and making sure he gets enough to eat and drink is incredible. People won’t realise just what he is putting himself through every day and what he is going to continue putting himself through, it’s unbelievable.
The support he has had so far has been phenomenal. It’s so hard to get up and out for 7am every morning but there are so many people who are wishing him well that it’s certainly helped. A couple of lads from the town even travelled down to meet up and run with him on Thursday to keep his spirits up and there are more due to go and do the same over the weekend. It’s brilliant to see.
Today is Day Six of the challenge so he’s got another 10 days to go after this one and my heart goes out to him because I know he’s running with a few niggles now. He’s in agony with every step and it’s a testament to his character that he’s been able to keep himself going.
He just had a massive desire to achieve this challenge that he has set himself and he wants to prove to himself that he can do it. He’s getting lots of support from close friends and family, of course, but I think that determination to raise money for Alice House Hospice is driving him on too. He doesn’t want to let anyone down.
The messages of support on social media are definitely keeping him going too. You do flick through to read them at the end of the day when the running is over and that certainly brings a smile to the face. Plus, he gets a message every time anyone donates to the charity page so that gives him a boost every time it happens as well.
He is due to reach Preston on Saturday evening and then the plan is to arrive in Kendal on Sunday so he’s still doing just short of 50 miles every day, even though he’s sensibly limiting the running time to 11 hours a day. He’s going to run 11 hours and then just see where it takes him but it’s gruelling to be finishing running at 10pm, knowing that you have to be up at 5.30am.
I remain absolutely sure he’s going to complete it. One way or another, he will get it done. Even if he has to crawl some of the way. He’s just that type of character and that type of lad. I know he will do it. He’s gone through so much pain already that as soon as he hits the halfway point he will know there is some light at the end of the tunnel and it will spur him on even more.
I think I should thank Kevin and Gordon who are there as support and doing an amazing job of keeping Lee in good spirits and making sure he’s got everything he needs. They are there making him breakfast and keeping him fed throughout what must be long and monotonous days for them waiting for him as he runs but they’re doing a fantastic job and I know Lee massively appreciates it.
Lee is a massive Pools fan so I know it would mean the world to him to have the support of his fellow Poolies so whether it’s making a donation or sending a message on Facebook please do it. It will make a difference for him and keep him moving.