Deemed 'crazy' by royalty - January 23rd, 2014
24th January 2014
I was once taught the concept of 'mirroring', matching one's facial expressions and body language to the person you are talking to - helping ensure they are comfortable. I appear to have perfected this and apparently did a perfect job with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, by pulling a truly bizarre facial expression.
Meeting HRH... only to be told
My Dad got an MBE a couple of years ago. Amazing achievement. I sat on the sidelines with great pride as the Queen gave him his medal and chuckled at something he said (he still doesn't remember what this was). Whilst not quite as high profile, I was honoured to be asked to meet HRH Princess Anne on behalf of VSO as an ambassador for their fundraising programmes.
Mental deficiencies by declaration of royalty
I was given the 'brief' of what to do and what not to do... typically just a guide in my book as I think we have far too much formality in the UK. That said, I didn't want to make a total fool of myself and try and kiss her on the cheek or any other such imbecilic action. I was introduced by Katie (my counterpart at VSO) as 'a superstar fundraiser who went to the North Pole and is now fundraising by running across the Sahara desert'. On shaking her (gloved) hand, she had a very perplexed look on her face (one that I can see I so successfully 'mirrored') and said quite simply 'are you mad?!', to which I replied something along the lines of 'I get told that a lot, so perhaps I am...'
We had a good chat and she was really nice and quite down to earth. She genuinely did consider me to be a little mad and couldn't quite fathom what I was doing, but to be fair, I can say that of the vast majority of people I meet.
A great experience and good to be recognised for the stupidity of running 100km a week.
Mission accomplished - April 24th 2014
Mission successful! I completed the Marathon Des Sables after 6 days of running, walking and hobbling the 250km through the Sahara in temperatures that went up to 54c (130f). The race... more »
Being light on my feet - March 20th 2014
I may be injured, but I am lighter than I have ever been. In just 6 months, I have lost over 10% of my bodyweight and am going to be hauling a lot less mass around the desert. At least one thing... more »
AAAGGGHHH, what is wrong with my leg?! - March 18th 2014
My last run... my very last long run, just 5km to go out of the 28km and BANG! Massive pain down the outside of my leg. Hmmm... I can't run. I can barely walk. This really isn't good at... more »
Injury and optimism - March 11th 2014
Hearing the words 'Sorry, I can't sign your medical form as you have a heart defect' did come as a bit of a surprise to me I must admit. A heart defect eh? That doesn't sound... more »
The weight of things - March 7th 2014
£12.99 for an 11g spoon? Absolutely worth it. £400 on a 535g ultralight sleeping bag? Seems reasonable. 7.45 calories per gram of macademia nuts - best stock up. I have even... more »
How hot is 'hot'? - February 28th 2014
Experiencing extreme cold was quite horrific at times. I regularly worried about bits of my face, hands and feet falling off. Extreme heat however, presents a whole host of other problems.... more »
Breaking my Marathon PB - February 22nd, 2014
Late flight, a greasy burger for dinner and a 3am start. Far from ideal preparation for what was only my 2nd ever timed marathon. Could I beat my marathon PB? Well, that wasn't going to be... more »
Running 1000km and questioning why? - February 14th 2014
Do I like running? No, I am pretty sure I don't. This weekend I reached a 'small' milestone in that I have done 1000km of running in training. Whilst I unwittingly completed the... more »
Deemed 'crazy' by royalty - January 23rd, 2014
I was once taught the concept of 'mirroring', matching one's facial expressions and body language to the person you are talking to - helping ensure they are comfortable. I appear to... more »
Christmas 'training' - December 26th, 2013
Despite having lived in Torquay for 18 years, I don't think I had ever once been running. Why would I have done that?! So, it's Christmas, and I need to run a marathon. This was easier... more »
Maps & Tracking
You can explore the full route to the North Pole and follow Paul’s progress with live maps that will plot his position each day as he progresses towards the pole more >
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries (www.vso.org.uk). The Fire and Ice Challenge is aiming to raise £50,000 for VSO’s secure livelihoods programme more >