Despite the multitude of incredible claims to greatness including the Spitfire fighter plane, Phil Taylor, Slash and the Staffordshire Oatcake, Stoke-On-Trent is not a place known for outstanding achievement. Having been recently voted as the most depressing place to live in Britain today, Stoke is burdened with an unjustified label of negativity. However, from the ashes of a shamed city often rises a flaming phoenix to battle the slanderous opinions of many.
Simon Whitehouse, a proud Stokie currently working for Diesel in Milan, had an idea and dream for a charitable cause: A 175 mile (Seven Marathons) non-stop marathon from North London to his home in Kidsgrove/Stoke. Having completed a similarly epic quest of 100 miles (Four marathons) over in America from New York to the Rocky Balboa steps in Philadelphia, Simon was more than prepared for a greater challenge and decided to run an extra 75 miles in the harsh of British winter. At 08:00 on the 21st of December 2013, Simon and two co-runners (‘Magic’ Mike and Anne Paque) started a 175 mile physical and mental torture to raise funds for mental illness charities.
From start to finish, the British weather and terrain appeared to be challenging and daring the trio to battle on. With high winds and bone freezing rain, they battled hypothermia and extreme physical trauma. At 50 miles, Anne declared her limit and caught a train home. Having only intended to run part-way with Simon and Mike, this was an extraordinary achievement. At over 100 miles, the American-born ‘Magic’ Mike had suffered severe injuries and was forced to drop-out at an incredible distance from the starting point. This left only the Stokie to finish the ultra-marathon which was seeming an increasing impossibility in the harsh weather. Despite suffering from a ruptured ligament in his foot, Simon walked, cycled and damn-near crawled his way onwards. Having travelled non-stop for over 30 hours through the freezing cold night and soaking wet British canal-sides, extreme fatigue and the sheer length of the remaining marathon ahead threatened to end Simon’s dream of achieving such an increasingly impossible goal. Miles became themselves marathons. Minutes became hours. The cold became life threatening. However, with the ambition and drive of such an incredible man with the encouragement of an incredible team behind him, Simon reached the front door of his mother’s house an entire day ahead of schedule. He had made it home for christmas.
Simon had set out with one idea in mind, when pushed to your ultimate limit and your body wants nothing less than a total and utter shutdown, to give up, can you stand up? Can you keep going? Can you defeat that block and carry on walking towards your goal despite incredible pain both physical and mental? The lesson we must all learn from Simon’s journey is that no matter how difficult and daunting times may seem to us all, there is always the ability to choose to get back up on our feet and fight onwards. With the drive and passion found within the likes of Simon Whitehouse and his friends, any goal can be achieved…despite how impossible they may seem.
Thank you Simon and everyone else involved for an incredible journey and for the opportunity to document an incredible achievement.
Here is the visual story: