You may have seen in the news that ‘Speedo Mick’ finished his John O’Groats to Lands End walk last week. A 1000 mile walk. During winter. Just wearing a pair of Speedo trunks. An incredible feat that has helped him raise over £300,000 for a charity he is setting up to help disadvantaged people.
This is obviously not something that a reasonable person would choose to do but it does highlight how the famous JOGLE / LEJOG route brings out some of the best of Britain’s eccentrics. Since the Naylor brothers’ first recorded walk in 1871 sparked interest in the idea, people have been looking at more and more unusual ways to get from one end of our island to the other. Someone once hit a golf ball over the entire distance to make it the longest ever golf hole. One chap spent 5 days travelling the length of the country on a lawnmower. Someone else paddle boarded along various waterways. It’s been covered by skateboard, horse, wheelchair, walking backwards and by swimming. Fastest of them all was a time of 46 minutes and 44 minutes made in 1988 by a fighter jet. Slightly slower was the ‘Naked Rambler’ who kept getting arrested during his attempts.
The most popular way to complete the route is of course by bike and hundreds take on the challenge each year. Even within that category there are options to be more unusual such as by riding a tandem, triplet or unicycle. Last year the penny farthing record was broken having not been attempted since 1886! Some go fast (the record is 43hr 23min) while most take it a bit more slowly, taking the time to enjoy the changing scenery and the host of local hostelries along the way. A proper tour rather than a race.
The list of successful runners is a bit shorter or perhaps less well documented. In 1977 Fred Hicks ‘accidentally’ set the record having run the journey in a little over 10 days. He hadn’t planned to set a record but was approached by the Road Running Association who submitted it to Guinness. There are now several categories depending on the style of the run whether it be off road, on road, supported or unsupported and all of them are frighteningly fast and in some cases quite dubious.
I hope to join this esteemed list of successful LEJOGers by running from Lands End to John O’Groats dressed as a toilet. I feel it’s a rite of passage for any Brit to take on this journey in whatever shape or form they can manage. I may not be as crazy as Speedo Mick (and I hope to be a bit warmer) but hopefully my costume adds enough eccentricity to the challenge to raise lots of money for the amazing charity WaterAid. You can sponsor me by donating here and if you’d like to help out by running with me, riding with Kirsty or putting us up for the night then we’d love to hear from you.