5 Marathons in 5 Days: Day 1 - Alan's Account

The Day Before

Gaynor, my wife, and I drove to Little Wenlock on Sunday to meet our old friends Peter and Betty Morris and their daughter Louise. Betty had been an RAF pilot and actually flew a number of the planes in the Cosford museum. Gaynor taxed the new gut with them and I drove to RAF Cosford and checked in the Officer's Mess. I met the Station Commander Group Captain Mark Hunt who apologised for not being able to join us at the start of the walk as he would be travelling to Windsor for a Windsor Leadership programme-small world, I have been a Patron of the Trust for nearly 15 years.
Cosford from the Air
Nick (Sanders, Museum Trustee) was first to arrive and we then picked up Robin (Southwell) from the station at Cosford and went to a country pub where we had a great carvery.

You learn a lot about people when you spend time with them e.g.: Robin, like me, smothers his food with gravy and Nick is more parsimonious...they had all four meats on offer, I stuck to ham and pork. We then drove to the Officers Mess and had a few drinks before retiring.

Day 1

We were up bright and early had breakfast -Robin had full English and Nick and I had cereals/porridge.

We set off for the Cosford Museum about 8.00 am RAF transport had been provided and I followed in Gaynor's car.

Fantastic reception at the Museum from our terrific colleagues, including CEO Maggie Appleton, Gaynor, Peter and Louise were already there. We had a number of photos taken be the press and RAF museum staff including of a warm up by two RAF physical training instructions, Olly and Ian.
From Left to Right : Robin Southwell OBE, The Lady Mayoress of Wolverhampton Margaret Findlay, The Mayor of Wolverhampton Barry Findlay, Nick Sanders, Museum CEO Maggie Appleton, & Alan Coppin
The Mayor and Mayoress of Wolverhampton also arrived to see us off and more photos were taken with them. Robin the media spokesperson for the walk and Nick did an interview with local radio.

At about 9.30 am we left accompanied by our PT instructors and a number of Cosford staff for the first mile. It is as very kind of them, we waved them goodbye and were off. 

Alan on the road in the Shropshire Countryside

Then the serious walking began, initially through some beautiful countryside. Nick, who has walked from Jon O'Groats to Lands End set the pace which we kept up virtually throughout the walk at about 3.5+ miles per hour.

The banter was endless, although tapered slightly at the end of the walk. It was great fun and they were terrific company. We stopped in Wolverhampton for a coffee and toilet stop, for about 15 mins and Robin did a telephone interview with another local radio station. We had the only one other stop, again for about 15 mins the other side of Dudley. We only each had a Chia bar and peanut butter bar to eat and a couple of bottles of water. At each stop we noticed our legs and backs were feeling the strain rather. Nick and I took a couple of paracetamol towards the end of the walk.

Yet another Llama Drama - just what Alan ordered another Llama to greet the team.

We eventually arrived at the Premier Inn at Solihull at about 7.45 pm where Gaynor was waiting for us with our bags and some bananas. Nick had to leave us here (we will miss him, his leadership and camaraderie but he said he would try to join us for the final leg) - his wife picked him up and Robin Gaynor and I checked in.

Our rooms were on the fourth floor and the lift wasn't working - stairs were very difficult for Robin and I!!! We had hot baths (my only physical damage a large blister but nothing a plaster couldn't fix and the three of us met for dinner at 8.00 pm in the hotel restaurant -neither of us could contemplate walking into Solihull!! Interestingly neither Robin or I were hungry after only eating a couple of bars but realising we had probably used up 3,000 calories we forced steak and chips (me)and posh burger and chips (Robin) down us although neither finished their meal.

Essentials that sustained them during the first day.

Throughout the meal I was getting updates on how Chelsea were doing against Middlesbrough (they won 3-0)!!! We went up to bed about 10.00 pm, again no lift...and I watched match of the day and saw the Chelsea goals. Also got a report from Ed my son who had taken Agus, his Argentinian girlfriend, to the match. I responded to emails from well wishers and sank into the Hypnos mattress. 

Tuesday we all met for breakfast at 7.30 am ready for another day on the road....

Alan and Robin at the beginning of Day 2

Alan and Robin's 5 Marathons in 5 Days is supported by Spitfire Kentish Ale
Alan and Robin's 5 Marathons in 5 Days is supported by Spitfire Kentish Ale

If you would like to sponsor Alan and Robin in their attempt to raise £100,000 for the RAF Museum, you may make a donation here.

Alan Coppin : Museum Trustee
About the Author

Alan Coppin : Museum Trustee

I have had an extensive career in the private, public and non profit sectors. After leaving a senior management consultant role at KMPG, I became CEO of international leisure company Wembley plc before becoming CEO and government accounting Officer for Royal Historic Palaces. Currently, I am a trustee of the Royal Air Force Museum and hold a number of advisory roles as well as chairing the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

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