Alex Field …

24 06 2011

I just wanted to let everyone who so generously supported my North Pole Marathon cause to help Alex Field travel to America for potential life saving treatment of his brain tumour; that young Alex and his family left for Chicago last Sunday, where he will be meeting with the oncologists this week to discuss the options now open to him.

Fundraising is still continuing as this process is not cheap (!) but we have raised to enough for him to begin this important journey.

He has been so brave recently having suffered further fragmentation and growth of the tumour. All our thoughts and prayers are with him as enters, what we hope, will be a period of positive treatment that will help give him back his life.

Thank you all again so much on behalf of Alex and his family.

How to donate:

Cheques payable to: The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd

Reference: Polarrunner

Send to: The Secretary
The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd
First Artist House
85A Wembley Hill Road
Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8BU

or by debit/credit card at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner

Advertisements




And finally …..

12 04 2011

And Finally ……. the mission is complete !

Having arrived at base camp in Spitsbergen to minus 25 degrees and howling snow on Sunday 3rd April – we then got stuck  in Longyearbyen until Friday 8th.

Whilst Prince Harry was at our North Pole camp with the ‘Walking with the Wounded’ soldiers, we were with his plane in Svalbard. As the weather started clearing on Tuesday,  so the ice runway at the Pole cracked (apparently due to the sizable closeness of the large full moon the previous week which had disturbed the worlds oceanic flow and had put additional pressure on the Arctic ocean cap). The Russian Military worked overnight to create a new runway and we finally arrived at the site of our North Pole Marathon very early in the morning of Friday 8th April (circa 7am).In fact it’s probable that we only got on that first flight out through the influence of our organiser Richard Donovan as the queue for polar trekkers waiting on the island of Svalbard was now sizable … and the fact that the world’s media had turned their attention to our young prince who was stuck on the ice awaiting his / our plane … well actually plane is an exageration it was a tube with two engines with us strapped in !! (see apprehensive me en route)

The marathon started at 22.00 that night and was absolutely brutal! I am wearing a blue jacket, yellow vest and the number “21”.  By now the temperature had dropped to minus 32 degrees and although beautifully bright and sunny, the storms that had passed through the previous days had left the course covered in really powdery snow so it became exceedingly difficult to get a grip underfoot.  As the temperature dropped some parts of the course resembled a skating rink with the top end of the lap (there were 14 laps around the Pole) appearing to be a thin covering of ice over the blue ocean which creaked and cracked as you ran across it and sent ‘pinging’ noises like a sonar to the ice and snow features surrounding us. Although I didn’t really take it all in at the time, it was abjectively beautiful … the bright sun reflecting off the white blue ocean turning some of the snow hills to lime green … if only my legs would have appreciated it!

We couldn’t carry any refreshments as they would freeze so I planned to come into the medical / refreshment tent every other lap to make sure that I was refueled, but this changed as I got to lap 8 and various body parts started to sizably ache, largely due to the stumbling, falling and enormous effort required just to run through some of the hillier areas of the snow on the course that, in places, meant we were running virtually up to our knees in the stuff.

Lap 10 was my only major problem when both my eyes froze and I committed the cardinal sin of removing my right hand glove (Greg Whyte had only told me about 400 or so times NEVER to do that!) to un stick my right eye which had only just iced over. Within no more than 20 seconds my thumb had frozen and was turning a delicate shade of white at the top (the first sign of frost nip) so I had to haretail fairly rapidly (well sort of!) back to the refreshment tent, fortunately only a third of a lap away, where they applied heat and TLC to ensure that I didn’t loose my thumb.

All the runners were concerned for each other, the comradarie both immense and intense.

So eventually the race was won in a fraction under 5 hours and I came in (not last as I expected !!) in 8 hours 34 minutes 44 seconds. Crossing the line was a lifetime moment that I shall never forget followed by a feeling of intense nausea and 90 minutes of constant convulsive body shaking! Some of the other competitors came round, stripped me of my sweaty gear, which had now turned to ice on my body, warmed me up, redressed me and threw me in a cosy sleeping bag … I am as indebted to them as I am to all of you who have supported this project of mine both financially and spiritually!

So finally ….. its over and your junk boxes will no longer be bombarded !

The TaNK treatment that Lee’s charity is helping fund is progressing very well and will, in time, help save many lives, which, as Mastercard would say …  is priceless!

Thank you all so much for your patience and your support: between us all we have raised enough money to give young Alex Field the opportunity of his life saving treatment.

All of my good wishes and positive thoughts now go to him – his battle is far more important than my challenge !!

Jon and Alex ...

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

check out the video page and polar gallery for updates ….

How to donate:

Cheques payable to: The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd

Reference: Polarrunner

Send to: The Secretary
The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd
First Artist House
85A Wembley Hill Road
Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8BU

or by debit/credit card at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner





The moment has arrived …

31 03 2011

Thumbs up from Alex ...

So finally after a little over a year of working towards my marathon at the North Pole – the moment has arrived … I leave this weekend for the Pole.

Actually, firstly via Oslo and onto our base camp at Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle. I spoke to the organisers of the event the other day and asked them what the time difference will be at the Pole … most amazing answer – there is no time at the North Pole! This is because all the world longitudinal lines that determine the world’s time zones meet at the Pole. So I can stare due south to Great Britain and be on BST, turn a couple of inches to my right and be on West Coast American Time, turn to my left and I am on the same time as Tokyo or turn behind me and be on the same time as New Zealand!! – So actually I will be doing my marathon in NO TIME at all !!!!

Near disaster yesterday … knocked out half a marathon before breakfast in 2.5 hours but swallowed some pain preventatives, just in case I need them half way through and was quite ill for the rest of the day. Arrived home with a couple of nice blisters but most depressingly a very sore left knee which puffed up quite nastily, so I am having to pay a final visit to the hospital tomorrow to have it aspirated one last time.

Then I travel with good heart, good hope and a lot of Compeed!

Peter Crouch and Alex

Looks like we might meet Prince Harry’s ‘Walking with the Wounded’ at the Pole.

I leave Spitsbergen on Tues/Wed by Russian Millitary plane and then get ferried by helicopter to the Pole – so I guess this will be the final blog before I get there although if possible I will try and send something from Spitsbergen.

To those have followed my blog during the last year, thank you for your interest and support I hope it has been mildly informative and of some amusement! To the many sponsors who have raised so much money for both Lee’s Charity and Alex’s treatment a huge and heartfelt thank you – in a real goofed up world each and every one of you have made a real difference!!! … and finally to anyone who is still thinking of donation – NOW would be a good time!

Harry Redknapp and Alex

This blog is being written at the end of a long day … I took Alex and his family to meet Harry Redknapp and the Tottenham team today – what a great bunch of lads who spent so much time caring and encouraging Alex. That was followed by Andrey Arshavin coming down to spend some time with Alex and the family. For those of you who are bored or can’t sleep Sky Sports News have been running a piece all evening at about 10 to the hour which will be run all though the night on the project and Alex’s day. All in all it was a really positive day that in my darker moments at the Pole will lighten my spirit and make me realise yet again how important it is that we give a little back to those that really do need it!

Andrey Arshavin and Alex

How to donate:

If you would like to donate by cheque they should be made payable to: The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd

Send to: The Secretary

Reference: Polarrunner

The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd
First Artist House
85A Wembley Hill Road
Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8BU

or by debit/credit card at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner

 





One week to go !

25 03 2011

I thought you might like to see the pictures that I have received from the advance party setting up camp for us at the North Pole …. this time next week I will be partaking of the last supper !! before I depart.

Laying out the course !

Dormitory Tent

Kitchen Tent

My kit list is pretty much complete now – I have enclosed some pictures of what’s going to be travelling with me … all feels a bit surreal at the moment as I am writing this sitting outside wearing only a t-shirt and it all feels so much like Spring (don’t forget the clocks go forward this Saturday night / Sunday morning !) and in a few days time I will be deeply embedded in the biggest Winter I have ever experienced – but it will be  24 hour daylight!

Not the Fairmont ... but warm with hot tea and Vodka !!!

The fundraising is going really well. Between Alex’s Family and various allied groups together with our own sponsorship effort we are only £23,000 away from reaching the target required to help send Alex Field to America to start this hopefully life changing treatment.

Lee’s Charity funding continues at a pace as well and I really want to thank the many Trust Funds that have donated separately to this cause.

How to donate:

If you would like to donate by cheque they should be made payable to: The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd

Send to: The Secretary

Reference: Polarrunner

The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd
First Artist House
85A Wembley Hill Road
Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8BU

or by debit/credit card at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner





A little light listening …

17 03 2011

Here is an audio clip of today’s chat with Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs on Talk Sport Radio  … hope you enjoy it

If you do have a copy of this weekend’s Mail on Sunday – check out the article in the Health section

Thank you





3 weeks to go !!

12 03 2011

Having worked at this for over a year, this challenge is getting perilously close. My biggest fear continues to be that because of all the problems that I have suffered with my fragile knees and the fact that I am still only doing 4/5 miles during my post op running sessions which are 3 times a week (although I have only been doing these over the last two weeks). It’s a major haul to get to 26 plus miles in arctic conditions at the North Pole.

My fitness however is relatively prolific! Due to the intense pool and bike sessions over the last few months I was hardly even drawing breath during today’s run. I have also spent some time running on soft sand in Spain last weekend to try and replicate deep snow (sorry about the picture – was trying out my arctic socks during the Spanish run!)

However the list of competitors from around the world for the marathon reads like a who’s who of uber marathoners http://www.npmarathon.com/html/200427/ (and then there is me !!) Think I will be lucky to finish last but all I am really concerned about is somehow completing the challenge in a bit of style (actually, any style will do!)  Anyway, enough about me …. !

We have started our PR work this week with a feature in the Mail on Sunday due for publication next week and an article in the Jewish Chronicle yesterday http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/46462/soccer-agents-%C2%A3100k-pole-goal Looking forward to some radio and TV promotion in the next couple of weeks.

Little Alex has been in hospital again this week but fortunately was well enough to be allowed out to be Accrington Stanley’s mascot in their game against Gillingham today…

I spent some time with him and his mother, Rachel, this week. He is so brave and the family are so supportive – I really want to help make this work for him!

.





5 weeks to go !!!

26 02 2011

5 weeks to go … and this will be me – it’s all getting very real now!  I love this picture from the 2009 marathon at the North Pole (last year’s pictures weren’t that good as it was near white out and blizzard conditions!) but the thought of being so close to actually doing this now and running a marathon in those conditions fills me with trepidation and enthralls me all in the same sentence.

I am working very hard in the pool and on the bike (and with the ice packs) and actually took my first steps back as a runner yesterday, since November – both knees held fine and I did all of 2 miles – only 24 and a bit to go so that should be alright then!

Just want to say thank you to so many of you who have been so generous and unashamedly please can I ask again for the support of anybody who hasn’t yet donated. Alex is in hospital at the moment having some stabilization treatment but I really would like to be able to get him to California for his major surgery in the Summer. So please don’t be backward in coming forward – every penny helps and every donation is as important as the last one we receive.

The Lee Smith Foundation TaNK treatment continues to progress well – we hope to be in patient trials with this later in the year.  Can I take this opportunity to remind you all that the donation site is:  www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner

In the Climate Chamber again with Greg Whyte on Wednesday (after he returns from the desert trek with Lorainne Kelly, Craig David, Dermot O’Leary and the Comic Relief crew!) … so he will be moving from + 40 degrees to – 40 degrees !!

Think my kit pack is finally complete – the final piece was my minus 100 degree boots to enable me to walk at the North Pole the day before the marathon and “inspect the course” before retiring to my thermal sleeping bag … my new puppy Smudge seems quite impressed with this piece of equipment.


How to donate:

Cheques payable to: The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd

Send to: The Secretary
The Lee Smith Foundation Ltd
First Artist House
85A Wembley Hill Road
Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8BU

or at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/polarrunner

Registered charity no: 1112905