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Keeping you informed on Riley and the family
We are doing our best to keep this up-to-date, but obviously Riley's well being comes first.


Hmmm...about time we updated the Blog perhaps? :-)

Posted by: Lee Runciman Posted Date: 27/03/2013
Hi all – wow it has been a long time since we posted a blog update – sorry about that if anyone is reading. Here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on: • The grand total raised by the Land’s End to John O’Groats was around £8,500 so massive thanks to everyone for such generosity! • Sally Robinson’s Hell on the Humber looooong walk also raised well over £500 – thanks Sal! • Riley had another Nissan’s fundoplication operation, which appeared to work in that it helped control his reflux but the latest news is that he may need further surgery and is undergoing tests as I write • With the proceeds of Sally’s hard work and that of the LEJOG 5 we managed to take Riley across to Switzerland in November 2012 for further stem cell treatment. All went well although the benefits to him this time around are not as profound as they were the first time. • We still had enough left over to buy a buggy that will make a massive difference to Riley as it means he will be able to go to far more places that are inaccessible by wheelchair (rumour has it Lee is thinking of pushing him around a marathon as well at some point)! So that’s the news update. What’s next? A cycle ride from Paris to London in 24 hours of course! For the first time in a long while, there is nothing specific Riley needs that we need to raise money for so we are going back to our roots and will be distributing any cash raised to worthy causes with a particular focus on local children with special needs. If you know of anyone who needs a helping hand, please let us know as we would love to help!

Disneyland trip ends sadly

Posted by: Lee Runciman Posted Date: 16/05/2011
Poor old Riley's trip to Disneyland Paris this weekend, courtesy of the kind folks at Make A Wish foundation, didn't go exactly to plan. Riley was very unsettled the night before we set off, which we put down to excitement, but we realised when we got to the hotel that he'd developed a cough. We took him to the Theme Park, but he cried all the way around and then started being really ill. Unfortunately, things didn't get any better and we ended up hotel room bound until we took him to the hospital on Saturday night, where they prescribed him some antibiotics and allowed him back to the room. The next day was much the same so with great regret, we made the decision to return home a day earlier. The people at Make a Wish were really helpful on this front and we managed to get a seat on the train and get ourselves home after a very tiring and unfulfilling weekend. Never mind Riley - we'll take you back there one day when you're feeling better.

Land’s End to John O’Groats – Day Ten: The Crask Inn to John O’Groats

Posted by: Lee Runciman Posted Date: 02/05/2011
 We really enjoyed staying at The Crask Inn as it was delightfully quirky and like stepping back in time to the 1950s. The owners were just brilliant, simple people who took care of us as though we were their house guests. They had prepared for us a fantastic beef stew the evening before, despite the fact that they had agreed to be a feeding station for a 400 kilometre organised bike ride. They were up until 4am feeding hungry cyclists but were still up early in the morning to prepare for us a great cooked breakfast to set us up for the final push to John O’Groats.

Adjoining the pub was a sheep farm (in fact, most of Scotland seems to be a sheep farm) that it turned out was also the property of the owners of the pub. As we were setting up the bikes for the day, the owner appeared with his two sheepdogs and went to fetch a young lamb that had only just been born, before bringing it across to us to coo over it – an especially nice touch. He also donated us £20 to the Life of Riley fund before regaling us with tales of other LEJOGers who had stayed there over the years, including a unicyclist!

Eventually, though it was time to go and the group headed up the road, which quickly turned into some gorgeous countryside through an impressive glen. Shortly after starting, we were treated to the majestic sight of three wild red deer, including a young stag, who inspected us in silence as we rolled past them. The road wound on past the beautiful Loch Nevar, once more in glorious sunshine and we eventually reached the coast road that would lead us to our journey’s end.

It was now getting really hot and we stripped off some extraneous layers of clothing and then we spotted a sign showing that we had 55 miles to go to John O’Groats. We decided that we needed a photograph of this but the only camera we had was Joe’s helmet mounted video camera. Then ensued a ridiculous scene as we used two bikes and a cycling helmet as a tripod before Joe raced over to get in the picture. Then of course, we couldn’t think of anything to do, so we just pulled some stupid faces and got back on the road. Clearly, some last day lunacy was starting to creep in.

Things got pretty tough after this because there was a very strong headwind in our faces as we made our way East along the glorious north coast of Scotland. The scenery was once again breathtaking as we made our way past rocky beaches with deep blue seas crashing onto natural sandy beaches. There were some really testing hills, however, where progress was made even slower due to the incessant headwind.

It was time to stop for lunch, so we stopped at a small pub on the road and walked into the bar, where we were greeted by the landlord, who happened to be from Benfleet, around the corner from where Lee’s wife grew up!

Before long, the road flattened somewhat and we were on the final stretch. We kept on finding ourselves grinning at each other as the realisation that we were shortly going to reach our destination. Finally, a signpost appeared saying “John O’Groats ¼” and we turned left to freewheel down to the end of our journey. There waiting as ever, was our brilliant and ever-present support crew with cameras at the ready. We jumped off our bikes with glee and hugged each other and then Lee broke down in tears as a mixture of emotions overwhelmed him.

Debbie then presented him with a bottle of champagne, which was duly opened and quickly necked by the team as we had our pictures taken in front of the signpost, which we had asked to have the letters “Life of Riley 1035 miles” placed on it.

There really is very little at John O’Groats – a small ferry terminal, a derelict hotel and a couple of snack bars and souvenir shops – so we wheeled the bikes up to the van and packed up ready for the drive down to Inverness. Neil and the other cyclists got changed into “civilian” clothes and hid their modesty behind towels. Lee was lazier and took a quick look around and decided that he’d just whip everything off in the car park. As he was stood there naked, a coachload of American OAPs pulled in and he had just about enough time to pull on his boxer shorts before being closely inspected through the windows! 

As we set off, Queen’s “Bicycle Race” bellowed out of the stereo and we were all singing along to this and many other favourites including, of course, “We are the Champions”.

There was also lots of banter about Joe cheating, Paul being fifty (he’s not) and Neil being an alien who has flesh regeneration abilities and is in constant touch with the mother ship. After a wee stop, at which Debbie attempted to use Paul’s bad leg as a handbrake, we pressed onto Inverness and booked into what was to us after 11 days of Youth Hostels a 5-start luxury hotel – the Premier Inn.

A quick freshen up and then came the moment that we had all been waiting for – the much anticipated curry! The hotel had recommended the Cinnamon, which was around a ten minute walk from the hotel and it was perfect – great food in huge portions. There was a choice of either a buffet or a la carte. Unsurprisingly, Neil and Joe both opted for the buffet and each polished off an impressive three heaped platefuls of curry. Everyone ordered lots of Cobra and Lee was delighted that most people were too bloated to finish theirs, so he duly did the honours and kept to his vow “never to leave a man in the field”.

A brief walk back to the hotel and everyone collapsed into the most comfortable beds they had slept in for almost two weeks – sheer bliss. 

Land’s End to John O’Groats – Day Nine: Laggan to The Crask Inn

Posted by: Lee Runciman Posted Date: 30/04/2011
 The group awoke yet again to another day of glorious sunshine. If there is anything that we have been unbelievably lucky with, it’s the weather! The traditional hearty breakfast was today enjoyed amongst the company of some rather strange individuals in a large dining room. Then again, perhaps they were thinking the same as the LEJOG 5 and support crew!

Then it was time for our penultimate ride. Gingerly, we clipped in and rested our torn and tattered backsides into the saddle for the 102 mile leg to Britain’s most remote pub. Everyone was looking forward to this leg because it included a long stretch alongside the beautiful Loch Ness into Inverness. Since Lee had run the Loch Ness marathon some years previously (well he’d run some of it, at least), he confidently predicted that there would be no nasty climbs before Inverness.

Poor old Paul had changed the dressing on his leg wound and it was taking a little time for him to shake off the stiffness as there was still a chill in the air.

Soon after we set off, Lee was proved wrong about the climbing when the road suddenly turned into a steep climb that went on and on. And then on some more. Then it went down for a while before it went up again. For ages. As ever, the trusty support crew lay in wait with their cameras at the tops of the climbs to catch the LEJOG 5 at their *ahem* best.

At last, the road started to dip down again and the group were treated to some spectacular views of the Loch as the road followed alongside it. The trouble is the road carried on alongside it for about twenty miles and before long, Joe was screaming “I’m bored”. Lee was screaming, “My back hurts”. Dan was saying “I’m not feeling so good”, Paul was saying, “My leg’s stiff” and of course, “I’m fifty”. He isn’t.

After far too long of looking at the wonderfully beautiful, but ultimately mind-numbingly boring views, we finally got the Loch’s end and stopped off for a coke, bag of crisps and an ice cream, which we ate overlooking it in the warm sunshine, hoping to catch a glimpse of the monster. Before they left Essex Joe had urged Neil to bring his wetsuit along for just this occasion, but in the event both of them wimped out on account of the fact that the water looked skull-crushingly cold.

We then ventured on and everyone was reporting varying problems – Joe felt sick, Paul was stiff, Dan wasn’t feeling great, Lee’s legs had stopped working and even Neil’s smile faded from his face for an instant. We faced a mentally tough stretch of 16 miles along the A9 - another boring stretch of road, the only highlight of which was watching some seals basking themselves on a sandbank on the Moray Firth.

At last, we came to Alness, the meeting place we had arranged to meet the support crew at. Everyone decamped for a feed up, some more than others. Most had a roll or a roll and chips (Joe), but Neil had two rolls, each with a side salad but Lee trumped everyone with an enormous plate of Steak Pie, Chips and Beans...the first time anyone had out-eaten Joe or Neil in the entire trip. Joe and Neil were both jealous.

Over lunch, we had a little comparison of suntan lines. Paul clearly has an interesting one on his legs as one of them has been covered by a bandage since day three. Neil has an all over perma-tan, but he had that since before we started, as did Joe since the pair of them did a 140 mile bike ride without lotion on the hottest day of the year. Joe, however, does have helmet strap lines around the side of his face that make him look as though he has applied foundation over most of his face but has left the bits at the side out. Possibly the most disturbing tan-lines were those of Lee, however, whose bald head has developed some tiger-like streaks through the holes in his helmet, making it look as though he has visited a children’s face painter.

After such a hearty feed up, everyone’s spirits and ailments improved considerably and we cracked on, knowing we only had forty more miles on the road.

We were cheered up even more when we passed the group of cyclists who were queuing behind us for the photographs of themselves at the signpost at Land’s End. We gave them a cheer and a wave as we passed by, and a “see you later, suckers” as we left their earshot! We were later to learn that they had enjoyed a stay at a “very good hotel that was only £54 each per night”. Bet they didn’t have to cope with someone snoring like Lee in an 8-berth dormitory the day before!

It’s time to say a word about Neil. Neil is an enigma. Everyone has had their lows along the journey over the last ten days and has used every opportunity to moan about their various ailments, the hills, the road surface, the fast pace, the slow pace, the wind or anything else that was pissing them off at that moment in time. Neil has not complained once. He has not stopped smiling. He has not changed his riding position once in the entire journey. We have worked out why. Neil is completely wind-resistant, hill-resistant, pace-resistant and road surface resistant. We reckon he could win the Tour de France by just sitting up in his saddle looking completely relaxed with a smile playing around corners of his of his mouth, provided he had a shopping basket on the front of his bike to carry his lunch in.

Eventually, we reached Laggan and left the main road and into the desolate wasteland that was to lead us to the most remote pub in the UK. This road was over 9 miles long and there was not a single, solitary thing standing the entire way – not a tree, not a building. Even the fences were falling over. To say that the LEJOG 5 were bored would be an understatement – Joe started a second-by-second countdown until we reached the destination until Lee threatened extreme physical violence.

Finally, the Crask Inn came into view and we raced to the bar and ordered some well deserved beers, safe in the knowledge that we have only a “short” ride of 84 miles to John O’Groats tomorrow. 

Land’s End to John O’Groats – Day Eight: Perth to Laggan

Posted by: Lee Runciman Posted Date: 29/04/2011
 Despite the good rest in the lovely guest house and a cracking cooked breakfast for the first time since Land’s End, the group were very strangely subdued in the morning. The miles and the constant pressure of churning out mile after mile, day after day, were clearly starting to take their toll.

When the LEJOG 5 set off, there was very little talking for the first hour as we just spent the time taking it in turns to take the brutal headwind at the front of the group. The mood wasn’t lightened at all by the fact that we were forced to follow the busy A9, constantly being further buffeted by lorries speeding past.

One thing that we haven’t written about so far is that despite an average of over eight hours of sleep a night, this is not enough when spending 6 to 8 hours a day churning out the miles in the saddle, so we are all constantly tired. As a consequence of this and the boringness of the A9, it was noticed that several of us were going into an almost trance like state, so it was decided that we would find an alternative route to the afternoon’s meeting point with the support crew. Joe was confident that this would shave off enough miles so that we would “only” do 100 miles for the day.

As you might guess, things didn’t quite turn out like that! Between us and the meeting point were four mountains with long, tough, technical climbs that were justly rewarded by some brilliant, fast technical descents.

After the first of these, Paul was feeling decidedly ropey and had a dodgy stomach and when we stopped at the bottom of the descent, he got off his bike and laid straight on the floor. This was not like Paul and we were even more concerned when he didn’t even tell us that he is fifty. Which he isn’t but you can appreciate the concern.

To make matters worse, Lee had some sciatica flaring up in his right leg, but luckily Joe is trained in stretching techniques for just such eventualities. Manipulating Lee into a position on his back that would have no doubt warranted an arrest if witnessed by a local policeman, or a kicking if witnessed by a bunch of local thugs, Joe set about resolving the position. Lee leapt to his feet, claiming Joe to be a miracle worker. The rest of the LEJOG 4 then collapsed in laughter as they saw that the banana that Lee had been carrying in his rear pocket had exploded everywhere so that it looked as though someone had been sick all over Lee’s (or Bananaman as he was now known) back.

We crossed the Tay Bridge, apparently the mustering point for the ancient Black Watch regiment, which we read as we waited for Joe to do yet another poo. Again, Joe had overdressed, so we assume some piece of redundant underwear was used for the cleaning up process this time and continued on up the road without asking for further details.

Eventually after the four mountains and descents and around 70 miles, we arrived at Dalwhinnie, scene of the distillery of the famed whisky. The support crew gamely waited while we ate a late lunch and replenished our supplies and the group set off again in much better spirits.

The spirits were raised even further when we realised that our route would not take us across the Cairngorms, which loomed ominously ahead, but around the edge of them. A glorious tailwind ensured a speedy journey for the final 48 miles of day eight, lifting us up the long gradual climbs and pushing us faster down the long sweeping descents.

The scenery in the Scottish Highlands is breathtakingly beautiful and every turn in the road shows yet another glorious site. As we neared Fort William, the magnificent, snow-covered Ben Nevis came into view and we knew that we were within 11 miles of our stopping point for the night. The pace quickened as we rode along the road alongside the stunning scenery of Loch Laggan but we kept a close eye on a still-suffering Paul. Like a true trooper, he kept the pedal to the metal until we found ourselves at the hostel we were to stay in for the night after a very tough 118 miles.

Paul collapsed on the lawn of the hostel and said, “I’m 60”. He isn’t. He’s a hero.

A very tired group gathered for the final dinner that the support crew would cook on the journey as tomorrow night promises a prepared-meal in the most remote pub in Britain and Sunday night is curry night in Inverness!
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27/03/2013 Paris to London cycle ride - in just 24 hours!
At 12 noon on 15th June 2013, Riley’s Dad and seven of his friends will set off from Paris’s famous Arc de Triomphe and start pedalling their bikes the 178 miles to Calais, arriving sometime after midnight. At Calais they will board the Eurotunnel train, w
12/08/2012 Sally Robinson takes on the Hell on the Humber
Sally Robinson, one of the best support crews on the ultra distance triathlon and running scene, takes on a challenge of her own - a 12 hour overnight running race to raise money for the Life of Riley foundation!
31/03/2012 Riley's Dad raises over £1,000 for Kingsdown School
Riley's Dad runs two marathons in two days to raise money to help pay for new disabled access vehicles for Riley's special needs school, Kingsdown.


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