And so this is Christmas and what have you done?

On the finish

From Kevin Webber, a man who inspires us:

“I looked back on my bloggy emails I have sent this year to reflect on what I have achieved, inspired by John Lennon immortal line “And so this is Christmas and what have you done” which is all too easy to hear this time of year!
I guess to me my life is sometimes like trying to swim against the tide. If you stood on the bank of a river and watched the tide go by you may think you can never compete against that and that is how it sometimes looks for me but if you jump (or in my case got pushed) in you have a choice, do nothing and disappear out to sea or swim. Use your arms only and you may still get swept out but just slower, use your legs too and you may almost stay still however get your head in the water between strokes , focus on what you want to achieve and you can then compete with it and for a period of time actually make some headway.
Even if I say so myself, I feel proud of what I have done in 2018, I think I have swum against the tide successfully this year.
What does that look like in numbers in terms of achievement and what I have endured? Well I have completed over 1,000 miles of events including 5 week long ultra marathons, 40 days when I have completed at least a marathon distance, 1,000s more miles training, 70 visits to medical facilities, taken over 5,000 pills, presented to 1,000s about prostate cancer and living in the now, won 1 national award, raised with colleagues, friends (including many of you) over £150,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, written way over 100,000 words about my life and raced in temperatures between -35c and +45C however, I guess the most important one to me is 1 and that’s 1 extra year of life as 4 years ago I was told that every number would be zero for this year as it may not have existed at all for me, I have a lot to be grateful for don’t I?
Earlier this month, I did my final big challenge of the calendar year but my first big one of the 5th year of my life with cancer, a 220K race across Cambodia.
I was full of fear before I set off, just like looking at the strong tide, what was the country like, how would I cope with the potential of snakes, landmines, a head full of negative history, my own injuries I was carrying, the heat, humidity and the potential of further injury. But I jumped in, gave it my best and was delighted with the outcome.
Cambodia is an amazing place, 27 runners from around the world competed in a race that took us to places where no tourists have ever been, where the majority of the population are very poor, can not read or write yet are some of the most happy people I have met in my life. Everywhere we were greeted with smiles from endless seas of children. Unlike other countries I have run in where the children beg, it was almost non existent here as they all seemed content with a simple untroubled life.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still many troubles in the country, we were advised not to leave the trail for the call of nature as landmines still exist even where the vast majority have been cleared, there is still corruption and extreme poverty but the beauty of the country is incredible and the people so welcoming.
We ran past so many abandoned massive temples from 1,000s of years ago, 25 meter waterfalls, vast paddy fields with endless blue skies. However the race was also a tough one, I think only 20 of the 27 starters finished and despite getting a new injury I did manage to finish and not last, an accolade I have still to achieve! The photo is of me on the finish line of Ankor Wat the biggest of all temples!
Like most races, I also met inspirational people. The most poignant was a man about my age who had been a forced boy soldier for the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, he talked about how hard life was for everyone under Pol Pot then showed me his three bullet wounds where he had been shot, finally lifting his other trouser leg to show a rough prosthetic leg having lost his real one to a landmine. Somehow he had swam against the tide and survived, he was still smiling although admitted still having the darkest thoughts about his own actions 35 years ago. I explored S21, an interrogation center from that era where 20,000 were tortured and beaten, only 12 lived, some of the graphic descriptions of what was done were worse that I could imagine yet the photos where there showing it all.
So what do I have to worry about? in fact what do any of us in the UK have to worry about compared with what I saw there, I again was reminded just how lucky I am to have had 53 good years (so far!) on this planet.
Of course another month, another blood test. The results were the same as last month which remains the best ever. I also had the results of a bone scan which showed I had reversed some of the bone deterioration due to the drugs following 18 months of treatment although I do have some signs of disc issues but for now they are not causing any problems so why worry?
I am now back on my training again for my next big race in the Arctic in March. Its a whopping 380 miles pulling my sledge again and I need to be out 6 days a week for an average of 5 hours a day to give me any hope of completing it so if you are in and around Epsom and see a wrapped up runner dragging a tyre its probably me, it will certainly help me have a dry January but I will be having Xmas off!
As ever if you can afford to and want to encourage me to get out there day after day then please do visit as not only does that genuinely help me swim against the tide it more importantly helps Prostate Cancer UK stop this disease wrecking families in the future.
As the year comes to an end, I sincerely hope that all who read this look back on their own tide of life and see where they ended up. It does not matter now though, its gone, but do remember what it looked like. What does matter is that you enjoy the now with those important to you for the next week having the best of times you can in whatever your circumstances are and then plan, decide and commit to not making the same mistakes and doing better in 2019. Visualise what you want to be able to say this time next year about your year and make it happen, no excuses, learn to swim like an Olympian.
Remember, its not about being the best just being better than you were yesterday.
Have a fantastic Xmas and amazing New year, thanks for being there for me.

We’ve added Kev’s JustGiving Page: