Back in 2013 I, alongside my two lifelong friends Rob Martineau and Guy Hacking and 250 others, ran 1,000 miles from Odessa, Ukraine to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was excruciating, we couldn’t imagine a tougher challenge, or think we’d ever relive such moments of either sheer desperation or euphoria. During the month we took it on, together we raised over £300,000 to help fight and raise awareness of child trafficking, with all funds donated to human trafficking charity Love146. Fittingly, we called it Run For Love.
Four years on, human trafficking is still a major, global issue. As well as being the impetus for the creation of natural sports nutrition brand Tribe, Run for Love paved the way for an even bigger beast – Run for Love II.
This July, we took on a 2,000km duathlon, in 14 days. Hoping to raise a further £250,000 for the same cause, this’d see us run over 30 miles a day, with the cycling section putting us through over 130 daily miles too. No easy feat!
After months of planning, relentless training sessions leading to almost daily back-to-back marathons, and plenty of ‘out of office’ time to pavement pound, we were as ready as we could ever be.
We set off in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina with a combination of sheer excitement and trepidation. We knew we had the toughest two weeks of our lives ahead of us, starting with a day one 43km ultra-marathon run.
We were initially joined by 55 members of the Tribe community, and in the first days we conquered 94 miles, climbed over 1,000ft, and witness some pretty severe injuries (Rob’s ankle will agree with us). Several of our team fainted from heat exhaustion (before getting support!). Travelling through the Bosnian mountains was brutal. That mood I mentioned earlier – euphoria mixed with anguish – was very much there.
Throughout each day, with stages lasting upwards of 12 hours with little to no break, we were burning thousands upon thousands of calories. With what spare time we had, I can’t stress enough how important recovery time and getting your nutrition and hydration right is. Fortunately, that’s where Tribe came in, and we were tearing into these endurance bars like it was our first batch. We were running on empty far too much, and still had 11 days to go.
Needless to say, as the days went on, and we took down another three days and 116 miles of gruelling, gruelling mountain passes, we were flagging. It’s amazing how much we relied upon each other. When your resources are depleted, that arm around the shoulder, that ‘come on’, that saved us. Every time someone broke down in tears or succumbed to pain, ranging from serious knee injuries to countless blisters, we were all there to support them, as a Tribe, and inspire them to push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of. Ultimately that is what Tribe is about. It’s about the shared experiences and the camaraderie of bringing people together on the road.
Eventually, after 210 miles and six of the most draining days of running I have ever experienced, both physically and mentally, we made it to Zagreb, Croatia, the end of our running stage. We could not have been prouder of ourselves, and more importantly, of our Tribe community.
Yet, we were only in Zagreb, and our finish line was in London. There was still the small matter of roughly 1,000 cycling miles ahead, through Zagreb, Munich, before ending in London. But were we happy to be off our feet. Having survived such as intense running phase, easily the hardest of our running lives, we pushed through. Barring one unfortunate challenge-ending injury for one of our team, we all made it to the UK in one, big, piece.
Finally, after covering 1,222 miles and conquering 9 countries in a relentless 16 days of running and riding, we clocked in our final 20 miles, a quick ‘easy’ (yeah, right) final run into London. Hugs, tears, and a feeling you just cannot put into words overwhelmed us. We were absolutely broken. But would we do it again? In a heartbeat.
To date we have raised a fantastic £90,000 to help combat human trafficking. Please visit http://triberunforlove.com/ to donate now.