Matt’s Magnificent Marathon
If you complained at all about the weather at the end of April, spare a thought for Matt Holmes, Associate Director of Newcastle-based architects, JDDK Ltd, who spent 12 days at that time cycling LEJOG – up from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a 12 day, 1,200 mile marathon effort that has so far raised over £2,000 for Diabetes UK.
Inspired by other cyclists and a friend’s struggle with diabetes, Matt completed the 1,274 miles from the 15th to the 26th of April, climbing and descending a total of 22,290 meters – over twice the height of Mt Everest!
Matt commented, “I only decided to do it after a chance meeting with another cyclist who had done the challenge on a whim and thought “If he can do it then so can I!” I based the route mainly around the Sustrans National Cycle Network and Youth Hostels, starting in Cornwall and Devon, where most of the hills are, and ending in Scotland which is actually much flatter on the route I chose going alongside the Lochs in the main. There’s no official route as riders choose their own way taking in areas that they personally want to see – I’d arranged to see a few friends on the way and ‘pop in’ to see our project The Sill at Bardon Mill, but beyond that didn’t really have any definite route.”
“It’s still a really strange feeling buying a single rail ticket to Penzance and realising you’re totally on your own to make your way to the other end of the country! It was a fantastic experience, however, with lows and highs – battling against a 45 mph head wind and thundering logging trucks on the incredibly dangerous A82 running alongside Loch Ness was definitely a low point whilst reaching the finish was a tremendous feeling I’ll never forget. In the main, though, it was the people I met and their kindness that will stay with me – café owners that wouldn’t take any money for meals once they saw I was doing a charity ride, total strangers that donated after chatting to me and the incredible JDDK team at The Sill in Northumberland who gathered to greet me!”
“It’s a mental battle as much as a physical one but I’d definitely do it all again although wouldn’t put myself under so much pressure as there’s so much to see on the route and there’s so many fantastic people to meet”
To donate to Matt’s chosen charity of DiabetesUK, please visit, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MattHolmesLEJOG-2017