Try to Explain

"Sophie couldn't sleep. A brilliant moonbeam was slanting through a gap in the curtains. It was shining right onto her pillow. The other children in the dormitory had been asleep for hours."

These are the first 2 lines from Roald Dahl's The BFG, a story I was able to memorise word for word when I was a child, mostly through the aid of a cassette tape that would sit amongst other assortments such as Michael Jackson's 'Bad' and the double of cassette of Smash Hits 1991 featuring 'Do the Bartman', 'Summertime' by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and 'Happy Together' by Jason Donovan.

The above will come around full circle and will remain a sincere personal achievement of mine, in the meantime with almost a year since we departed on our daily marathon journey from Melbourne to Brisbane (22nd October 2017) there is plenty to write about and share. Over the coming weeks I will hope to piece together our journey over the last 5/6 years, documenting The Longest Try's inception to executing this extraordinary adventure. There have been many aims, causes and people who have been involved with this process, not only do they need to be mentioned but they all need to know what and how they've contributed.

I have only been able to write about this now, I think its part of the process of planning and executing something so big that it’s only natural there’ll be a dip in form afterwards. Time is set aside for other things.

Subject matters I'll cover will be, friendship, financial and sponsorship, coaching and mental strength, companionship, rugby league, running, charity and finally the future. All this and the sheer amount of work, knowledge and covering full-time jobs in two years of decisive planning to produce this event.

Three charities benefitted from The Longest Try, Miracle Babies Foundation, Children's Tumour Foundation of Australia and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity, the latter being the UK charity, the first two based in Australia received just over $8,500 and UK over £6,500 both including Gift Aid or equivalent.

Reaching 34°C in an Ooompa Loompa onsie - a record day for Vaseline application

Reaching 34°C in an Ooompa Loompa onsie - a record day for Vaseline application

The original idea for The Longest Try didn't involve any of the aspects of what actually happened, it didn’t even involve Miriam as we wouldn’t meet for another couple of years, I just wanted to run across Australia because I thought I could do it. Fast forwarding a couple of years to 2012 I contacted Guinness World Records for the first time on the premise if I could get Australia sanctioned as the largest rugby field by the Rugby League International Federation, could running from Perth to Sydney with a rugby ball be classed as the longest try ever scored? A long wait ensued with a clear 'no' in the reply email. I would contact Guinness twice again in later years, refining the idea but the answer remained the same. No.

Sanctioning a World Record can prove very problematic and can often be viewed as subjective, what it does require is a minimum of 2 independent witnesses and the ability to measure the achievement. I'm guessing The Longest Try just had too many variables to be decisively ratified.

We probably need to go further back to understand why I came to think of something so extreme to do with my time, in 2009 I'd taken the decision to leave York and head to Milton Keynes, a decision I would quickly have difficulty wondering why. The emphasis on 'job' and 'career' is routinely told is our pathway to happiness so when you find yourself in a 'job' or 'career' that isn't working, making you unhappy or both, what are you to do?

I started running.

In March 2011 I would run my first marathon albeit with very annoying ITB syndrome, 2 months later I would fundraise for my local (ish) team and run my first 33-mile ultra-marathon in Wiltshire. All of this, however was not achieved on my own.

The Longest Try could not have been achieved without the input of others. Next, I will talk about Coaching and Mental Strength and how important this became during our run to Brisbane.