Simon Reaches England

Simon Reaches England

Just a Little Run Around Britain – the first 100 days

Help Simon achieve £10,000!

Simon at England borderOn July 24th, his 100th day on the road after being cheered off from our base in Findhorn, on a chilly, grey Easter Sunday, Simon Clark crossed the border between Scotland and England. 1,500 miles, 3 pairs of shoes, countless pairs of socks, and even a change of rucksack later, he is now in Cumbria, skirting the western edges of the Lake District, bound for Whitehaven, Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster.

Simon's tracked run along the British Coast

 

Simon is running an astounding 5,000 miles anticlockwise around mainland Britain’s crinkly coast to celebrate Ecologia’s 20th Anniversary and raise at least £10,000 to support our work to enable disadvantaged youngsters around the world to realise their potential. His aim is to follow the sea’s edge along the coast, to test his own limits, his own edge.

Well, Simon has certainly been tested! Running against gale force winds in unseasonably cold weather, the first few weeks were about finding a rhythm and battling the sheer aloneness of spending nights wrapped in just a bivvy bag, sheltering in the corners of graveyards, mountain bothies, abandoned buildings, campsite laundry rooms – anywhere that seemed to offer an ounce of shelter.

Simon's bivvy bag in the graveyardI lie awake for what seems ages, at my most vulnerable … listening to the rain beat-and-bounce on the bivvy, feeling as secure as it’s going to be, in the graveyard. A push and up and out, only to discover a rain-sodden top end of sleeping bag as I complacently didn’t zip up the bivvy, believing it wouldn’t rain. Lesson learnt. April 15th

The old shoes in Glasgow

 

 

By early summer, coming down the west coast in warmer weather, the views were magnificent – but the midgies and boggy ground caused their own problems, putting an end to Simon’s second pair of running shoes fairly rapidly!

I have been wearing road running shoes with cushioned soles and vulnerable uppers. They have lasted 750 miles but initiated in the bogs of Cape Wrath, the sides have split and my feet are falling out. July 1st

Simon enroute from Saddell to CampbeltownThe worst part was when Simon’s ankles began to cause such pain that at one point he wasn’t even sure if he could continue. A change of rucksack, to rebalance the weight of the bare necessities he must also carry, suddenly made all the difference, allowing Simon to start enjoying the run once again.

…the new rucksack has changed everything, running posture much more upright; I have rediscovered zest for running which I had lost [through feeling] so demoralised with the scrunched pain. June 28th

 

Seaview hotel john o groats with walt waldo waldenIn the midst of all the difficulties though, are moments of joy, precious unexpected meetings, with the landscape, its wildlife (highland coos, lambs, chattering seals, even a friendly deer), fellow modern day pilgrims – in addition to all the friends-well-met, who have freely shared their time and local knowledge, given food, encouragement and donations, and opened their doors to Simon. Arriving at his destination after 10pm one night:

I call in at a caravan site and find the bar still open, but the food finished. I’m starving, and Christine steps up for me – fish and chips, pints of water and ginger beer, nuts and chocolate bars – on the house. She gives me a duvet cover for the night and I pull away from the bright lights of the ferry terminals to camp down on the grassy path … It’s been a satisfying 27-mile day. A shimmering Stranraer is lit up and calling in the distance at the far, south end of a very deep Loch Ryan. July 11th

Near glenuigTo celebrate Simon’s extraordinary efforts we have put together a collection of some of the best photos from the first 100 days of his run to create a Flickr montage of his journey so far. We hope you will enjoy it. Don’t forget that you can also can track Simon’s progress on our live map, browse our media archive, and get his latest updates by following his entertaining blog and video clips on Facebook at ‘remembersimon’.

 

Children outside KACH
Children at IPI

Apart from the physical and mental challenges Simon has set himself, he has also pledged to raise £10,000 – £2 per mile – to enable us to continue our work to empower children who have experienced tremendous challenges of their own to create a better future. When times are tough, these children inspire Simon to keep going – children like Samuel and Joseph, who were locked up in their house by their father after their mother passed away due to AIDS and they were found to be HIV positive. By the time they were rescued they were so malnourished that doctors said they had only a few days to live. Since our Kenyan partners at IPI opened their doors to the boys, however, things have changed immeasurably for the better. Samuel and Joseph’s health has improved, they are able to access ARV therapy, and thanks to good nutrition, regular attendance and their own hard work, they are always among the top 5 in their class.

To help us continue our efforts to give a future back to children like Samuel and Joseph, please

Help Simon achieve £10,000!

Near ardrossanIt is the children at our projects, including two he has become a god parent to, that Simon is dedicating his run to. Here he describes his feelings as he crossed the River Sark, which forms the western section of the border between Scotland and England:

I cross the river at 12.30 and head for Carlisle … I’ve made it, I feel triumphant, magnificent, reckless and sad and dedicate the moment to my two Ecologia godsons, Vanya in Russia and Patrick in Kenya, as we are all people holding hands across international borders. God bless us all. Sunday, 24th July

We leave you with a little bit of fun – a video of Simon running and filming in tandem with his friend Simon Maclaren, who accompanied him by bike for a few days along the Galloway coast.

Happy running Simon and thank you!

 

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.