A Year of Running by Edward Shawcross

Lands End to John O’Groats: A Year of Running.

Words by Emma Shawcross (Edward's mother).

At the start of 2021, schools were shut and we were all working from home with all the challenges

and benefits that brought us. Edward had been running well all Autumn and during January racked

up over 100km in a month as we sought to get outside and see some daylight, grabbing time

between teaching, lessons and meetings. He then said “I wonder how far I could run this year if I

kept this up?” It turned out that he’d complete over 1400km which roughly equated to the distance

from Lands End to John O’Groats (on the signposts at these locations, the distance between the two

is 874 miles – 1407km) and so the seed had been set.

With Edward being 10 at the time, there was absolutely no pressure for him to complete this but his

own determination and willpower meant that as the months went by, he met and even exceeded

regularly, the 27km a week target. He still tells people about the time when he’d managed to

“break” both parents and we had to recruit others to keep the mileage going. Most runs were under

10km but we did go on a few longer adventures (Ullswater Way over two days, a lap of Coniston

Water, the Espresso round and the Yorkshire 3 Peaks over two days).

In August we reached the 1000km milestone and what had seemed like a ridiculous challenge at the

start of the year became achievable with time to spare. This turned out to be a good thing because

he started secondary school in September and the nights were drawing in so finishing off the

distance became more difficult due to less time being available (HOMEWORK!) and having to run in

the dark. We were reciting German homework while running by torchlight, trying to avoid the

zombie-eyed wildlife, uber-slippy limestone and tree roots. What was remarkable was that Edward

was dragging us out in all weathers, not the other way round: “I need to do 5km today or you’ll have

to take me on a really long run at the weekend….”

On the