The most amazing experience!

9 04 2011

Jon has successfully completed the North Pole Marathon … After all the delays due to cracks on the runway the competitors were eventually flown out to the race site at Barneo ice station on two separate flights on Friday 8th April. The race began 22:00 on April 8th and was run throughout the ‘night’ finishing on Saturday 9th April. As there is 24 hour daylight at the Pole this made it easier on the time clocks of the competitors.

The temperature was -32C and conditions underfoot were very powdery and uneven which became more difficult as the race progressed.

Jon finished the marathon in 8 hours and 34 mins  – a personal best having never run this distance before (or probably again!!!)

A full update together with pix and video will follow on Jon’s return from the Pole to the UK!!!

Many  thanks for all your support…


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:


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 (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 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:

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:

Registered charity no: 1112905

A marathon on ice – trained for underwater !

9 01 2011

So finally I am in the year of my North Pole marathon … and disaster has struck!

Returned from Theatre

Over Christmas my left knee never got better resulting in unbelievably the one thing that I really didn’t want to happen taking place – I had to succumb to surgery on the 4th January but I did manage to get my hands on arguably the best knee surgeon in the world today – Fares Haddad. This was largely through the pulling power of my coach Greg Whyte and my physio Ed Blake.

So its now January 9th and I have my leg in bandage and we are going to spend the next month running this marathon training programme underwater.

Kicking against a jet in the pool holding onto ‘my noodle’!! Apparently this is going to be hard work and will make me aerobically fit enough to undertake this ridiculous challenge.

Prepared for deep water training - with dry knee equipment !!!

Although my left knee is surgically better, my right one is still a risky proposition we just couldn’t do two knees at the same time!

It’s 12 weeks to go this week – the mountain just got a lot steeper but having sold a chunk of my business in December at least I am going to have more quality noodle time !!

Going to do Radio 5 breakfast tomorrow morning in my capacity of patron of the British Stammering Association (talking about the King’s Speech) then off to buy a pool buoy to keep me company in the first of my many new deep water world of aerobic / kneeless exercise! – what a bizarre way to train for this crazy challenge!

This is certainly going to be ‘fun’ hope you will join me over the next 12 weeks following our cause and concerns.

Incidentally told my father who lives in Toronto over Christmas what I was doing; said that it would circa minus 40 degrees at the Pole … he told me where he lives, they call that January!

Happy New Year …