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Ironman training: The heat wave has led to me running half marathons at midnight.

James Cliff has taken the rather ambitious step up from running a 5k last year to a gruelling Ironman this summer, something he's now dedicated to Saint Francis Hospice...
James has run over 500km and cycled nearly 1500km during his Ironman training
So I'm almost at the end of my journey. It's three weeks until I attempt to complete the Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham. For those unaware, this is an Ironman distance triathlon which means I will be required to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run a marathon. You have 17 hours to complete it. If I'm lucky I will start at 6am and finish at around 9pm that day.  

This all started as some office bragging and arguments about the relative fitness between friends. I'm from a swimming background and up until July last year, had never run more than 5k and didn't own a bike. I was also 15 stone after eating for two, long after my son arrived!  

But how hard could it be?   

James Cliff training in the sea ahead of his first Ironman

Well...extremely hard. To date I have now run over 500km and cycled almost 1500 km. This has bought me numerous injuries, aching legs, and countless sleepless nights along with two stone of weight loss. It has also required the amazing support and understanding of my fiancé.  But I have had to do it. Using the expression cyclists love, I need to put the miles in the legs.  

Training has been inconsistent at times due to injury. My Excel spreadsheet detailed plan was ignored as family life and my poor limbs made it impossible to go out. One of these times was when my fiancé's dear Nanny Gina became ill and started what was to be a difficult and ultimately heart breaking battle with cancer. To see such a beautiful and warm woman suffer like this was probably the worst period of our family's life. Even so, her humour and life shone out long after we had realised that the illness was terminal.  

Towards the end, Gina was admitted into Saint Francis Hospice. My partner's uncle volunteers at the hospice and so it was the obvious choice. The care she received here along with the wonderful surroundings and staff helped make the worst of times that bit more bearable. The work carried out at the hospice is truly a light in the dark for those who need its help.  

And so it became obvious. We wanted to give back to the hospice. I previously hadn't thought of being sponsored for what was originally just office banter that had gotten out of control, but using the event to support Saint Francis Hospice was an easy decision to make.  

Training is entering its final and hardest phase now; not helped by the sudden heat wave which has led to me running half marathons at midnight with a torch to try and avoid the heat! I know I'll complete it though, both for myself but also for an amazing cause. And of course, even more so, I will complete it for Gina, who I'm sure is laughing at me right now. 

Show your support and sponsor James via his Justgiving Page.