So here we are. The 31st December 2014. The end of the year, and most importantly for me the end of the month. A 31-day challenge taken on, on a boozy whim over a month ago, is now close to completion. 31 consecutive runs, one per day, for an entire calendar month. And finally, it’s 30 down and just one to go.

After work today I will lace up one of my trusty old battered pairs of running shoes and head out for the final time in 2014, satisfied in the knowledge that I have managed to complete every single run for this year’s Marcothon. At least three miles a day, every day, through wind, rain, ice and hail (and even the occasional sunny one thrown in along the way too). I’ve run on Christmas Day, I’ve run Boxing Day. I’ve run with a cold, I’ve run with horrific hangovers and minor injuries, and I’ve (unintentionally) even run with a small yappy dog trying to nibble my ankles for a few yards too. I’ve run fast, I’ve run slow, I’ve run long and I’ve run short. On Sunday, I ran the furthest I’ve run since Marathon Day all the way back in April. I’ve run 120 miles this month and now I’m 97% through the challenge. And, remarkably, thanks to all you lovely people I’ve raised over £600 for the Booth Centre. I’m genuinely so incredibly, unbelievably happy with that. Thank you all so, so much.

I probably have to say that the favourite run of the whole month was actually Christmas Day, believe it or not. Arising early doors to squeeze it in before all the presents, family visits, eating and drinking, I headed out with a mild hangover in near-darkness and returned feeling clear headed, under resplendent blue skies having seen a stunning sunrise as it peeked out from behind the gloomy overnight clouds. Despite the time and date, I saw (I think) six other runners out and about on my quick festive loop around South Manchester and each and every one acknowledged me, which almost never happens. Most reflected my grim smile of appreciation at another seeing nutcase forsaking their traditional Christmas morning, and then in most cases followed by a cheerful “Merry Christmas!” as we flashed past each other, never to be see one other again. I returned home feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to smash Christmas Day in, and unlike last year I hadn’t fallen over on the way round which is a bonus. Maybe this should be an annual thing from now on.

That was probably the high point anyway, with the two terrible hangovers probably the lows. It’s been an odd month generally, and somewhat dull at times trudging round the same three mile loop from my flat every single day. I should have mixed it up a bit more I think, as the middle of the month became a bit of a chore at times, and as the month has gone on those of you who follow me on Strava or RunKeeper may have noticed that I’ve started to do just that as I begin to build up to what could potentially be my next challenge.

Regardless of how I got here though, the fact is that I’m chuffed to say that I have, and I wanted to thank you all again for taking the time to read my ramblings, and to those of you who have donated. My JustGiving page is still open, and will be for a time after I’ve finished the whole bloody thing, so anything you’d like to chuck in would be gratefully received, no amount too big or too small. You’ll be helping the Booth Centre to go about their amazing work at a time of year when homeless people need them more than ever. Just yesterday they posted on Twitter to announce they’d found employment for the 50th person since April, and then today an announcement that they’ve managed to help 44 people into accommodation in just two days, which is absolutely fantastic. And you’ve all helped to make it possible.

So I’ll sign off for 2014 by saying again, thanks everyone, and I hope you have a good one this evening and 2015 treats you well.

Happy new year. x

If you’d like to donate you can visit my fundraising page at
justgiving.com/marcothon2014

Or text GUMP81 followed by your amount (e.g. £5) to 70070