December 10, 2019 4 min read
The first person to fill up his Notch bracelet with 15 Notches (and earn himself a FREE replacement bracelet in the process) is….Daniel Paton.
Given that Daniel’s such a NOTCH fan, we went to speak to him to find out how he’s managed to fill up his bracelet, and why he’s run an average of 7 miles every day this year!
So, how have you managed to fill your NOTCH bracelet?
Well, in fact, I’ve nearly filled a second one as well! By the end of the year I’ll probably have filled a third one, too. All the Notches are for events I’ve done. These have kept my year-long challenge interesting.
It gets a bit boring running by yourself every day, so I wanted to mix things up by doing some events. I enjoy running with company. In fact, I don’t think I would have managed the challenge if I was just running by myself. My mojo would have long gone.
How often have you done an event?
It varies. Some months I’ve done 4 or 5 events, but some months I’ve only done one. So, for example, over a recent five week period (end of September until the end of October) I completed the Berlin Marathon, Chester Marathon, Yorkshire Marathon and the Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultra marathon. That was a crazy period.
How do you recover from that?
One aspect of the challenge is that I must run at least 5km a day, so the day after a marathon or ultra, I will run the bare 5km minimum as a form of recovery. However, those 5ks are never pleasant!
So, what is your Challenge?
There are three parts to the 'Sophie Rocks 2019' challenge. The overall challenge is to run the equivalent of 100 marathons in a year. That works out at over 2,600 miles, or 7.2 miles per day. The second part is that I have to run every day. I can’t miss a single day. And I can’t walk any of those miles, or use a treadmill.
And the third part?
Well, this is maybe the most difficult part, for me anyway… My wife knows I like to be clean shaven and hate stubble. Between her and her best mate Sam, Sophie’s mum, they decided that the third part of the challenge should be that I have to go a year without shaving! Thanks!
I can imagine it’s pretty long by now!
Yes, it is. It’s horrible. It’s not even all the same colour, and is just not nice (think badger beard). My full time job is as a project manager and a recently started working for a new client (Stagecoach). I'm sure people look at me and are thinking ‘Who’s this hobo we’ve taken on?’
And what’s the challenge in aid of?
Last year, my goddaughter, Sophie Moolman, passed away quite suddenly at just seven. She was a perfectly healthy girl with nothing wrong with her, she had a few days off school with a cold/flu, during that time she went into cardiac arrest and passed away.
It turned out that that she was taken by a condition known as acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscles, which is a rare condition and can’t be easily diagnosed (which triggered her cardiac arrest).
While the inquest was ongoing, the children’s wing of the Isle of Man Hospice in Douglas (where Sophie lives), Rebecca House, let us lay Sophie to rest in their special rainbow room. The Hospice were phenomenal, at a time when her family & friends were in obvious shock and helped the transition into mourning.
As a result, I wanted to do something for the hospice. So we came up with a challenge which would be really tough (even for a keen runner), and so, the Sophie Rocks 2019 Challenge was born!
How is your body holding up?
It’s easier when I’m healthy. But If I get a cold, it just takes me ages to get rid of. Normally it would take me a week to get rid of a cold, but it can now take around 4-6 weeks! I think I’m just not giving myself any recovery time. Especially now, when I need to continue to push out the 60 mile weeks.
Having said that, as regards the mileage itself, I think my body has got used to it. It just shows how amazing the human body is. At the start of the year, I was wondering how I was going to run 5k every day, but now, I find myself thinking I can run 7 or 8 miles a day, fairly comfortably. So, in that sense, I’m still not sure where my limits are.
And overall, are you on track to complete the challenge?
To start with I was really naïve about it, because I’ve never done this kind of challenge before. I’ve only every previously done normal marathon training where you run 5 days a week, then maybe a couple of rest days etc. So to start with, I was doing a lot of 5k minimums as I was adapting to running every day, but by the end of May I was way behind. I had about 180 miles to make up.
So, for the second half of the year, I’ve had to run more like 8 or 9 mile days on average! By running 60-mile weeks until year end, I should succeed…
What about 2020, any challenges?
My wife, Michelle, is due to give birth early next year so I’ve tried not to commit myself to too much, especially after this year...
That said I'll run the Boston (the US one..) marathon and the Highland Fling ultramarathon within a week of each other in April. Can't wait…
Basically, I think it will be really weird not running every day, it will take some getting used to.
I’m sure it will. Thanks for your time, and good luck with the end of the challenge.
To support Daniel see: https://www.justgiving.com/sophierocks2019