Moon Shadow Wales Challenge

This is the first of a number of blogs that will appear over forthcoming months.

On Saturday 26th March 2016, I embark on the Moon Shadow Wales Challenge. This requires me to run around the entire perimeter of Wales. Why? A simple and facetious answer would be to say “why not”! The longer answer points to a story and hence this blog.

So how did this crazy idea come about? I suppose the one word answer is serendipity. If I had not bumped into Andy Middleton I would not have attended the DO Lectures in West Wales in June 2015.

With the DO slogan of “ideas + energy = change” in my mind, if I had not bumped into Alex Jungmayr on an early morning estuary run (someone who had attempted to run around the entire perimeter of Wales), I would not have come up with the idea of running around Wales. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if I had not gone to the DO Lectures with the subliminal thought (concern) about a client and friend Tony John who had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in December 2013, then this challenge would not be happening today. Tony passed away on 30th July 2015. I attended the funeral service. I am sure he would have smiled to hear his favourite song being played: Moon Shadow by Cat Stevens, hence the title of this challenge. His eldest daughter spoke on behalf of the family at the funeral and recalled one of his sayings: ‘‘It’s not what you do, but who you are that matters’’. So typical of the man and so profound.

What was my link with Tony? Again by way of serendipity, I was introduced to Tony John (by the then Planning Officer of Bridgend CBC Sue Jones) and his fellow partners in the late Spring of 2004. One of the partners of Shepherds The Vets in Bridgend, Tony and fellow partners Bob and Clive had a vision to create and deliver a veterinary animal hospital, the best in Wales (the UK). Over a period of 5 years, my professional services (strategic property advice) helped the practice to deliver their vision. It was officially opened in late Summer 2009. During the 5 year period, Tony was my constant point of contact and became a good friend. We had empathy because I came from a farming background and wanted to be a vet but did not achieve the grades. Tony lived in Bridgend and trained at Bristol University. He was a thoroughly decent and thoughtful family man. I last saw him with his wife Lynne on 25th June 2015 at a time when (as I remember it) because of the devastating impact of MND he could hardly move any part of his body, other than his eyes. I broached my mad idea to run around the perimeter of Wales to raise £25,000 for MND research. He said “yes” verbally………….and with his eyes. His wife Lynne contacted me on 31st July 2015 to say: “I am afraid the news is not good, Tony died yesterday evening [30th July 2015], but at least there will be no more suffering.”

Other blogs will follow this one but if anyone is moved to support me in raising £25,000 to support research into this insidious and devastating disease, then visit JustGiving or JustTexting via the web site and / or share with others.

Thank you for showing your interest.


2 thoughts on “Moon Shadow Wales Challenge”

  1. Hi Robert, I found this article very moving. We lost mum 10 years ago to MND, indeed a very cruel disease. I am also a ultra runner, currently struggling thru injuries as we do, but all the information on food you take on board is really interesting. MND was made very poignant again for me a couple of weeks ago. I was marshalling the 100k Action challenge London – Brighton walk/run a couple of weeks ago. 2 walkers came in wearing MND t shirts and I commented on the good cause. As they were about to leave that CP one of them informed me he had MND, we hugged hard, and cried. He’d only been diagnosed 2 weeks earlier, he had another 40miles to walk, but far tougher challenges were yet to come for this man. Sadly I never knew his name or anymore about him.

  2. Hi Jackie,
    Thank you for taking the time to offer a reply and thank you for your thoughtful words.
    I’m not an ultra runner per se but since last Summer have entered into the trail running arena as a result of committing to the challenge of running around the entire perimeter of Wales.
    It is comments such as yours that will give me strength & resilience to continue with this relentless challenge until it finishes on 30th July 2016, the anniversary of Tony John’s passing last year. I have been running consecutive weekends (I have a business to ‘run’ during the week) since the Easter Bank holiday weekend: a rude awakening to the challenge in the teeth of storm Katie and 3 marathon+ distances back-to-back.
    With your interest in ultra running, you might be interested in this ‘green-horn’ perspective which was published by RunUltra
    Thank you again for your reply and you feel inclined to do so, please share what I am doing via twitter or Linked-in or Facebook – my wife Jackie (Chapman) has a Facebook page and publishes stuff about each weekend.
    Best Wishes,
    Best Wishes

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