Nik's 144 km winter challenge

02 Feb 2024

In December, our dedicated supporter Nik embarked on the 12Ks of Christmas challenge. Braving the elements, he ran 12 kilometres daily for 12 consecutive days. Despite the harsh weather, including rain and biting cold, Nik’s determination didn’t waver. Reflecting on his journey, Nik shared “there weren’t hundreds of people to cheer me over the line but there were in my head. I felt a sense of personal achievement – and that really mattered to me – and I felt that I had played a small part in raising awareness”. We’re incredibly proud of Nik’s efforts and delighted by the overwhelming support he received from colleagues, friends, and family, raising an incredible £1,532 for our treatment service.

When Nik signed up for our 12Ks of Christmas challenge he may not have been prepared for the weather conditions that would hamper his efforts! He began his challenge with an early morning run on his favourite off-road route, taking in the great views of the sunrise over the Norfolk countryside. Having accidentally paused his Strava during this first run, Nik added an additional 2km to record the full 12km!

The conditions on day 2 were so wet, flooding forced a re-route and whilst a frosty day 3 provided wonderful blue skies, the distance was achieved by pigeon steps in places, to avoid slipping.

Due to work commitments, some of Nik's runs started at 6am and finished while it was still dark! This provided the advantage of hearing two types of owls, although did disguise the the puddles - so there were some wet feet. The dark made Nik feel like he was running faster than normal, although a check of his watch showed that he wasn't.

Day 6 "There is wet and there is wet. I am sure my running clothing had absorbed a couple of kilos of water. Strangely there were others out running off-road and along the quiet country lanes. Drenched and dripping, I was not allowed into the house until I had taken everything off - not in full sight of the neighbours!"

This didn't put Nik off and he was out the next day for an early Sunday morning run on what is considered to be Norfolk high grouond. Awash with water running off the fields, it was soggy under foot but there were beautiful blue skies and an early wintery sun. With hardly a soul around there was plenty of time to give thanks for his good fortune and blessings.

The record rainfall for Norfolk continued and Nik braved another 6am start. He described day 9 of the challenge as more of a mental challenge than a physical one. 

A heavy cold and being drenched by passing vehicles didn't help matters. Day 10 wasn't much easier although he was sustained by the news that a friend had received the support they needed and was now in a healthy position with a great future ahead.

By the penultimate day Nik's cold was clearing up and he "had his mojo back!"

The final of day of the challenge had arrived and Nik was so grateful that his body had help up and he was injury free. This final run was in the glorious early morning sun and Nik chose a favourite route to bask in his success - Old Buckenham to New Buckenham, round the common grazing land and old castle and back to Old Buckenham via the windmill. A wonderful route that put a bounce in his step. Although there weren't hundreds of people to cheer him over the finish line, he could imagine them and the thing that mattered most to Nik was the sense of personal achievement he felt. He had played his part in raising awareness.

We are incredibly proud that Nik chose to support Combat Stress through this challenge and that he persevered through all that the December weather threw at him. We're so grateful for the outstanding £1,532 he raised for our treatment service.

If you'd like to support Nik's fundraising you can visit his page via this link