I’m extremely pleased, overwhelmed and excited to announce that it’s now official. Following an e-mail from the London 2012 Olympic Committee, I can now confirm that I am going to be a Torchbearer during the Olympic Torch Relay this summer.
Starting at Land’s End on Saturday 19th May, the Flame will visit 1018 communities across the UK, before it starts its London leg on Saturday 21 July. It will then arrive in the Olympic Stadium on Friday 27 July as part of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. However, the part of its journey that I’m most looking forward to, is the Manchester to Leeds leg, where I’ve been given the most amazing privilege of running with the torch, as part of the 2012 nominated torchbearers. More than 20,000 people were nominated because of their commitment to sport and their local community. I remember when my very great friend Sarah Shinnick, nominated me because of the Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge project.
At the time I was a little taken back, because whilst I’ve been involved with community work over the years, I’ve never been a sportsman (quite the opposite at school). To think that I could potentially be involved with the London 2012 Olympics because of something sports related I’d done, was crazy . However, I now have a slightly different view.
For quite some time I’ve been underestimating the gravity of the challenge project. I’m the kind of person to take things relatively in my stride, so I was never going to freak out about 21 challenges over 21 months. But when you think about it, it’s pretty big stuff – I’ve had fractured legs, ripped ligaments and lost more than 2 stone to prove it. I’ve also raised more than half of the £10,000 target I’ve set in aid of Help for Heroes, with the next £5k very much in my sights. But the most exciting bit for me doesn’t lie with me challenging myself, it lies with the people that I’ve inspired to do their bit and challenge themselves. Whether it’s the supreme challenger Rupert, who is undertaking at least 7 of the challenges with me, or another Sarah I know, who is coming to Ecuador to summit Cotopaxi with me, theres now a great group of people who have been inspired enough to get up, get active and push themselves harder than they have before.
Now for someone who hated PE and didn’t like sport, that’s something pretty special.
So to Rupert, Nat, Sarah x2, Harry, John, Chris, Sian, Luke, Phil, Lara, Nick & Julie THANK YOU for getting involved. I’m extremely glad you’ve jumped on board, I’m really glad to be sharing this amazing journey with you all, and that you’ve all helped me to be given the honour of carrying the Olympic Flame – literally a once in a lifetime opportunity.
On Sunday 24th June, I will not just be carrying the flame for me, for all of the guys mentioned above, and for my brother who inspired me to start the project, but I’ll be carrying it for all of the men & women of the British Armed Forces; the soldiers, sailors, airmen & marines, who have given their all for their country. For those who made it home safe, and for those that didn’t.
For anyone reading this who has ever thought I can’t, or I don’t know how – anything is possible. I used to weigh nearly 19 stone, couldn’t play sport, and didn’t know how to push myself beyond my limits. How times have changed – 2 marathons, a triathlon, £5,000 & counting, and soon to be Olympic Torchbearer amongst other things.
For anyone who thinks they can’t, you can. For anyone who is scared of the unknown, just take a step. Then another, and another.
Anything is possible when you set your mind to it.
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge