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

After a very successful day - not without pain and some chafing, Robin Southwell talks to Paul Hudson-Knight Head of Marketing of the Royal Air Force Museum about his and Robin's first day's experiences.

RS: The day started early for both Alan and I, with both of us arriving at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford at about 8.00 am. Both of us had enjoyed a good night's sleep, but I do have to admit that I was slightly apprehensive about walking 30 miles in a single day - which was something that I had never done before. I believe that Alan felt the same. So to receive the magnificent send off that we did from Cosford truly boosted our spirits.

It was great to see staff come in early to greet us; and both Robin and I were particularly grateful that the Mayor of Wolverhampton Barry Findlay and the Lady Mayoress Margaret Findlay took the time to meet with us and wave us off.  

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank fellow Trustee Nick Sanders, the man in the yellow T-shirt  and sunglasses, for accompanying both Alan and I on our first day. I cannot emphasise how important it is to have such support when doing such a challenge.
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
Just before 9.00 am we were joined by two Physical Training Instructors from RAF Cosford, Sgt Ian Davies and Sgt Ollie Hill, who put Robin, Nick and I through a series of gentle warm ups to help stretch our muscles, all important for preventing injuries, and gently ease us into the walk ahead. Together with several staff members, they accompanied us for the first mile and that was it we were on our own.


Thankfully, the weather was just on the right side of warm for us. After a mile and a half we picked up the pace and it was then that we made an amazing discovery. During our time as Trustees for the Museum Robin, Nick and I have visited Cosford many tiimes. Usually, we either come up by train or drive. So the beauty of the Shropshire countryside is not something that we had really considered before. But in late spring, with hedgerows in flower, blossoms on trees, the fresh green of new leaves and wild flowers such as Bluebells along the route. As is his wont, Alan managed to make friends with a couple of Llamas on the way...it's almost as if he hunts them out!


Our first mistake was stopping at Wolverhampton for a coffee. Suddenly we realised how stiff we were, and it took us about a mile before the group were able to get back up to speed.

Other highlights of the day included passing through Dudley, which was captivating - beautiful, totally beautiful and we were incredibly lucky with the weather. 


But all of us have ended the day in pain. This is the first time that any of us have walked 30 miles in a day and even a long hot soak in the bath hasn't really helped with aches and pains. Hopefully a couple of pints of Spitfire Ale tonight before bed will help!

Also, there has been quite a bit of chafing taking place, so tomorrow, the intent is for both Robin and I to wear looser fitting and cooler clothing. Other than that the only other minor discomfort has been the development of a bunion on Alan's left foot. Hopefully this won't slow us down tomorrow, as our next leg to Radbourn is 26 miles - so another marathon in another day! 

Before, I sign off, I would like to thank everyone for the support that they have given us to date. It really helps with our morale to know that so many people are routing for us. Tomorrow will be an early start, and I think that after today it will be starting with plenty of stretching to loosen up those muscles that have tightened up over night!'

Please sponsor Alan and Robin

If you would like to sponsor Alan and Robin as they endeavour to walk #5Marathonsin5Days you can make a donation here.

The Spitfire Ale logo

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

Paul Hudson-Knight, Head of Marketing
About the Author

Paul Hudson-Knight, Head of Marketing

Paul Hudson-Knight joined the Royal Air Force Museum as Head of Marketing in early 2008, having previously worked in event organisation & commercial radio. He first visited the RAF Museum in London in 1982 and fell in love with it then. His intention is to introduce the Museum to a new generation of young men and women so that they may be as passionate about it as he is.

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