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Friday, January 2, 2015

I ran 160 miles home for the Christmas holidays

Jules Roberts, powered by pork scratchings and Guinness, ran from London to Crewe to raise money for homeless veterans


It was 11pm on 22 December. Dinner had consisted of two scotch eggs, a packet of pork scratchings, a lump of cheddar and a couple of oatcake biscuits. Hardly the best fuel to help my legs recover, having run 120 miles in the previous 40 hours and still with a significant distance to go. I was crawling into my bivi bag, lying on the cold floor of a pub car park on the outskirts of Tamworth. The smell of urine was overwhelming. It was my second night sleeping rough and I was beginning to wonder what I was doing.


A couple of months previously, I’d seen an announcement on Facebook from my favourite charity, Walking with the Wounded. They were launching this year’s Walking Home for Christmas campaign, which encourages people to walk home from their office in the runup to Christmas. This year the money raised was going to help homeless former servicemen and women. One in 10 homeless people in the UK used to serve in our forces. This statistic really hit me and I decided that I was going to get involved. As I’m an experienced ultramarathon runner, running the three miles home from my office wouldn’t grab anyone’s attention. I was, however, going to my parents’ home in Alsager near Crewe for Christmas – 160 miles away. Plan made: I would run back to their house over three days and, in keeping with the homeless theme, would carry all my kit, and sleep rough en route. Before I could back out, I put a statement of intent on social media, and that was it. No way out …


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