5 Marathons in 5 Days: Day 2 - Robin's Account

When we got to our Premier Inn Hotel in Solihull at the end of the first day, both Alan and I had walked the first 30 of 130 miles in our 5 Day Challenge. Therefore, when we were told that not only were our rooms on the 4th floor of the hotel and that the lift had broken down - we initially thought that one of our more 'enterprising' colleagues might have paid the Hotel's Receptionist to pull our legs!

When it turned out that it wasn't a joke, Alan and I made our way to our rooms foot-sore and weary, after climbing what felt like a mountain of stairs, to fall into a soothing bath to soak away the pains of the day. Thankfully, the Hotel Receptionist took pity on us and mustered up a couple of colleagues to help us with our bags - a lovely thing to do and something for which we were truly grateful.

We were joined for dinner by Nick Sanders, who had accompanied us throughout Day 1, Alan kept jumping up and down to see how his beloved Chelsea were performing on TV, and then it was off to bed.
From left to right: RAF Museum Trustees Robin Southwell, Nick Sanders and Alan Coppin on the evening before they set off
After a peaceful night's sleep for me - Alan was up and down a couple of times during the night with some discomfort - I woke up as stiff as a board. A long hot shower, some pain killers and some light stretching put paid to this. But the first 100 yards of any movement underlines how every part of me is aching. Then it was downstairs for a quick breakfast - Full English for me, much healthier porridge for Robin before setting off on our way to walk the 26 miles from Solihull to Radbourn in Warwickshire.

The weather again wasn't too bad, a bit overcast and on the cool side, but that's what you want when you are working up a sweat. The banter between Alan and I continued and I took the opportunity to gently rib him about his sartorial elegance, in some of the pictures tweeted by the Museum on Monday. The compression socks help immensely with his shin splints...but the photos don't reflect Alan's normal elegant boardroom look.

Thankfully no blisters as yet for me and Alan's blister didn't hold back the pace which once we got into our stride, moved along quite nicely. Again, during the course of our walk I was struck by how beautiful the countryside south of Birmingham is. We definitely picked the right time of year to do this, with the vibrant yellows of various rape fields and the delicate green shoots of what I can only surmise to be cornfields creating a patchwork landscape before us.
Robin Southwell enjoying lunch in the Stag at Offchurch
Our main challenge, was that Day 2's route was much steeper and hillier than the previous day's. This really took it out on our calves and ankles and I knew that I would be spending another evening soaking the day's pains away in a long hot bath once we arrived at our destination.

We stopped at the Stag in Offchurch to have a light lunch and got talking to the publican there who when he heard about what we were doing made a donation to the cause. Both Alan and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his generosity.

It wasn't exactly with a light heart that both of us set off on our way again. One of the things that we are both noticing is that once we stop it takes longer and longer for both of us to pick up the pace. Mentally both Alan and I are trying to convince ourselves that we are already over the half-way mark, we both know that that will come tomorrow, but it is very much a question of adopting a positive mental attitude.

What Alan and I are doing it for - The RAF Museum, RAF Centenary Programme

This lead to a conversation where both Alan and I discovered that both of us had studied transcendental meditation! Myself fleetingly, when travelling around India as a teenager and Alan a few year's back in Shepherds Bush. Accordingly, we decided to use meditation to help control the pain- which has also been challenging today as large parts of our route have had no pathways, unlike yesterday's route.

So we have been walking along the verges of various roads with me in the lead whilst cars and lorries go thundering past in both directions. Both of us are definitely looking forward to that pint of Spitfire this evening!

The Kentish Spitfire Ale logo


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

If you would like to help Alan and Robin achieve their goal of raising £100,000 for the RAF Museum's RAF Centenary Programme, you can now make a donation here.

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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