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A New Adventure: Home to Athens (via the Marathon)

A New Adventure: Home to Athens (via the Marathon)

After a great adventure by kayak across the whole of Poland last summer, I am itching to get back on my bike for a new adventure. The bike allows for a much faster speed and easily accessible hot food along the route!

I have always wanted to go to Marathon, Greece and run the original 25 mile route from Marathon to Athens that was taken by an ancient greek messenger. From where I currently call home (Katowice, Poland), there is a very interesting route, passing (albeit briefly in some) through 11 different countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and finally Greece).

Katowice to AthensThis new adventure is approximately 2200km, just like the London to Auschwitz bike ride. However, this new journey appears more hilly, especially the second half. London to Auschwitz took 25 days, but I did stop off at a lot of sites to explore and I didn’t push the cycling too much.

Now the question is “when?” As a freelance software developer, I live in project work, and I am hoping to forge a gap in the projects within the next few months of winter.

Why do it in Winter? Why not? Adventure!

The cold of winter can be overcome with more layers – and actually, extreme minus temperatures are too cold to snow or rain, saving you from becoming damp. The difficulty with winter comes when you only have 8 hours of sunlight as you do here in Poland now. Fortunately I will be heading southwards and so the days will be getting longer as I go – in Athens right now there are almost 2 hours more sunlight a day and the temperatures are in the teens – warm enough for tee shirt and shorts!

I am looking for people (who might know people) along the route who I could stay with or at least meet for company. If you know anyone directly, or friends of friends, please do put me in contact with them! Failing that, I was planning on finding hostels/hotels that will no doubt be relatively cheap in this part of Europe. I haven’t brought myself to the idea of camping wild in winter on a cycling trip yet!

Similarly, if you have visited this part of the world before and have some recommendations, I would appreciate advice! The UK Government website suggests that all of these countries need NO visas and are all perfectly safe, apart from a few countries that might still have active landmines.

Marathons: London to New York

Marathons: London to New York

This year I decided – perhaps through boredom and people letting me down on cycling trips to Spain (from England) – that I was going to run the London marathon in April of this year. This was also the final year of three of my degree at The University of Cambridge in Computer Science, which meant that I had a dissertation to complete, as well as revising for my finals.

I completed the London marathon with my friend Ollie Gershfield this year, 2010 in April. Despite me doing a lot more cycling and general exercise than him, Ollie beat my time of 4 hours and 42 minutes with his time of 4 hours and 6 minutes. The final months leading up to the marathon I was working extremely hard and not focusing on my running which was perhaps a mistake for the marathon (although given a choice between running and working on my dissertation I think I made the correct long term decision) and so I am having another go at hitting under the 4 hour mark this November in New York (in fact just a few days away from writing this).

For the London marathon I managed to raise just under £21k for Norwood that looks after thousands of children with learning disabilities as well as children and families in need.

This November I am raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital which is another fantastic charity that help save children’s lives also. My target is to raise £50k which includes very generous personal, family and friend donations.

Having started work at Softwire recently I have gained a lot of support from colleagues as well as the company, both financially and mentally.

My donation page is with Virgin Money Giving and not JustGiving since JustGiving are in it for profit and take a chunky 5% of the donations you generate. Virgin are supposed to be the best out there being non-profit and taking just 2% (as of November 2010) saving millions of pounds for charities.

I miss New York and am looking forward to running through all of the boroughs despite it supposedly being extremely cold at this time of year!