In November 2019, MRF member Will Storey is taking on the ultimate challenge – an ultramathon all the way from Ullapool to Skye Bridge. This non-stop 113 mile will take him over difficult terrain, through freezing temperatures and into the dark. Below, in his own words, Will explains why he’s taking on this epic challenge…
Way back in 2015, I attended the wedding of an old mate from my RAF days. I had a busy day as Best Man and photographer. Throughout the day, a lady approached me and explained that her husband wanted to buy a camera, and could he pick my brains. Later, during the post ceremony party, the couple joined us at our table and we enjoyed some time chatting. When my wife commented that their young daughter was so full of energy, her mum replied by saying, “You would never know she has a prosthetic leg!”
This young girl was Sofia Crockatt – aka “Sonic Sofia” – MRF’s youngest Ambassador! A few years later we were staying near London and I put up a post on Facebook saying that I was heading to the city on Sunday to do some street photography. Sofia’s mam, Karen, contacted me and asked if I would like to meet up with them at Parallel London. Of course we did! And we got to witness Sofia in her athletic mode. Her Dad, Nick, then suggested I might like to do some photographic coverage at Superhero Tri – I thought, “What a great opportunity”. Now I have covered 2 Superhero Tri’s and 1 Winter Wonder Wheels and will be there again this year. I have never felt so humbled as when I see the enormity of the competitors at Superhero Series.
Sofia Crockatt at Superhero Tri, 2017 – photo taken by Will Storey.
I wanted to do something that was significant, something that would really take some oomph. So I thought about a marathon, but look at the numbers that do London Marathon every year, not hard enough… How about 2 marathons back to back? Nah, still not eye catching enough. What about 4 back to back non-stop…? Yeah, that’s it!
So I had a look at some ultra marathons, but at this distance there are some caveats, like a running cv and timescales you must meet in order to take part – so not really what I was looking for. So I went out with the map and Google Earth and started trying to find a road route on challenging terrain in the UK that gives me a proper start and finish place and 104 miles. Tough to find!
I decided I want to start from Ullapool, just because I like it there, and in November as I run hot so a cooler climb will be favourable in part. Ullapool to Kyle of Lochalsh is 113 miles, finishing on Skye Bridge. It is significant, it is tough terrain, it will be brutally cold, it will be dark. All of these negatives for me make the possibility worthwhile. There will always be a real risk of not completing but I’m raising vital money for MRF, so the show must go on. Once it is all done and I am getting back to normality, when my legs are better and I feel fine, so many people will still be living through hellish pain every day – people like Sofia Crockatt will still be wishing they had normal functioning legs.
Nick Crockatt, Sofia’s Dad, has promised to be my support for the run and I will hope to see him in his Range Rover about once every 10 miles or so with fresh socks, t shirt, hat, food and water, gels and sweets!
I want to raise as much money as possible for MRF, but also raise awareness of the disease which took Sofia’s leg.
Please support: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/william-storey2