Gav’s GBR 30/30 Challenge

Gav’s GBR 30/30 Challenge saw The Diathlete take on running Ultra Marathons all across Great Britain in raising funds for the charities Diabetes UK and JDRF UK and awareness for Type 1 Diabetes.

27th April

The Ultimate Ultra-Marathon Challenge

Gavin endured his way across the UK
Saturday 27th April until Sunday 26th May 2013

“This is a challenge to highlight the daily challenges people with type 1 diabetes have to live with every day, whilst showing those with it that we can achieve anything we set our hearts to accomplish in life – diabetes cannot hold us back.”

Old Trafford pitch
Event updates LIKE the Facebook Page:
Diathlete Official Facebook Page:

Challenge Twitter: @GBR3030
Gav: @Diathlete

To DONATE to both Diabetes UK and JDRF UK in support of this immense effort, please see the following link (donations automatically go into a 50/50 split between charities) :


A thanks to GlucoMen who donated some sponsorship towards the challenge in support.




Saturday 27th April 2013 John O’Groats Sign Post Lybster Golf Club
Sunday 28th April 2013 Scotsburn Road, Tain Inverness Castle
 Monday 29th April 2013 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium Mosset Park, Forres
Tuesday 30th April 2013 Insch Train Station Esplanade Aberdeen
Wednesday 1st May 2013 Pittodrie Park, Aberdeen FC Johnshaven
Thursday 2nd May 2013 Links Park, Montrose FC Overgate Centre, High St, Dundee
Friday 3rd May 2013 Tannadice Park, Dundee Utd FC Black Watch Castle, Perth
Saturday 4th May 2013 Curves Perth Gym, Perth East End Park, Dunfermline AFC
Sunday 5th May 2013 Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Rangers FC Memorial Park, Wishaw
Monday 6th May 2013 Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie Edinburgh Castle
Tuesday 7th May 2013 Edinburgh Castle Dunbar
Wednesday 8th May 2013 Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle Roman Vindolanda Museum, Hadrian’s Wall
Thursday 9th May 2013 Bardon Mill Carlisle Castle
Friday 10th May 2013 Brunton Park, Carlisle Utd FC Derwent Park, Workington
Saturday 11th May 2013 Lancaster Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood Town FC
Sunday 12th May 2013 Blackpool Pier Ewood Park Blackburn Rovers FC
Monday 13th May 2013 Old Trafford, Manchester Utd Anfield, Liverpool FC
Tuesday 14th May 2013 Goodison Park, Everton FC Queensway Sports Complex
Wednesday 15th May 2013 The Racecourse Ground Wrexham FC Gresty Road, Crewe Alexandra FC
Thursday 16th May 2013 The Potteries Museum, Stoke Telford Athletics Club
Friday 17th May 2013 Central Park, Telford The Bull Ring, Birmingham
Saturday 18th May 2013 Villa Park, Birmingham Worcester Cathedral
Sunday 19th May 2013 Worcester Gloucester Athletics Club
Monday 20th May 2013 Stratford Park, Stroud Bristol Cathedral
Tuesday 21st May 2013 Cheddar Gorge Somerset Country Cricket Club
Wednesday 22nd May 2013 Somerset County Cricket Club Saint James’ Park Exeter City FC
Thursday 23rd May 2013 Plainmoor, Torquay United FC Plymouth Harbour
Friday 24th May 2013 Home Park, Plymouth Argyle FC Bodmin Jail
Saturday 25th May 2013 Bodmin Jail Saint Agnes Post Office
Sunday 26th May 2013 Saint Agnes Land’s End Sign Post

john o'groats pic


Saturday 27th April 2013, start point at John O’Groats.






Wick AFCHalfway through Day 1, Matt Wood (who joined me in running the whole day for the first ultra run of 30 and his wife Clare was the support car driver for the day), and I stopped in at Hamsworth Park, home of Wick Academy FC in the Highland League.


I had a great nights sleep at the Golf View in Tain before setting off from Tain to Inverness. A great thanks to Stephen Bourne who was a support driver for the whole day. Also thanks to Esk who I happened to run by as he went for a Sunday morning cycle and he ended up guiding me through half the journey!

Inverness GBR 3030

After avoiding cars on the A9 through Day 2, Day 3 saw me take on running from the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, home of the very supportive Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC of the SPL, to Mosset Park in Forres – home of the likewise supportive Forres Mechanics FC from the Highland League.

The Inverness Diabetes Support Group saw me off and I was also joined a few miles by Roddy Riddle – a former professional cyclist who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and the first Type 1 Diabetic I believe to ever complete the Marathon De Sables – which he recently accomplished!

Aberdeen fight clubDay 4 had an hours long train journey, which stiffened my legs up before even starting. I went from a random and empty town named Insch to Aberdeen – and am very grateful to the Aberdeen Combat Center for their support, taking my bags in the morning and having me at their gym afterwards. It was a lonely route out there on my own for a whole day!


Aberdeen JL
Here I am on Day 5 with Jim Leighton – a legendary former international Goalkeeper of Scotland and the Goalkeeping coach at Aberdeen FC.
I ran from Aberdeen to Johnshaven, very grateful for the support from Bee, Phil McLean, Bill and Margaret Ferries on the day – Phil and Bill being with me in support the entire day!

montrose start
ay 6 started with a real lift – I wasn’t running alone – I had a class of eager school children joining me for the first mile at Montrose! Then I was accompanied for 15 miles by Wendy who also donated £300!

Come Dundee though, I was in a bad state in my legs…

NinewellsI gave a talk in the evening after reaching Dundee at Ninewells Hospital, to the Taykids diabetes support group. The group also donated £250!




Perth FinI stayed at the Aabalree Guest House in Dundee and the support of John and Linda Bell there was magnificent – John even went a bought me a knee strap to help me on my way. Day 7 didn’t go to plan, suffering badly with my legs on the back of 7 marathons in distance, unaided, in 6 days. I managed a number of miles – but come Perth I had to limp my way to the rainy finish line – Type 1 Beth saw that I did it!

Day 7 began at Tannadice Park home of Dundee United FC

Dundee Utd








curvesI had a bright start on Day 8, my parents and my kind of aunt and uncle (I guess would be the easiest way to describe close 2nd/3rd cousins..) had come up for the bank holiday weekend with my Dad and Gary joining for the second week. I was seen off by the ladies at Curves Gym in Perth – and here modeled their new seated exercise machine…

DAFCFinished Day 8 at East End Park, Dundermline Athletic's ground - as they played their last league game of the season in a defeat against Airdrie. The club gave me a cuppa and a pork pie to keep me happy - I forced movements but legs were in a right old state at this point!

“Does anybody want a bit of quiche?”

RangersThe mighty Rangers were celebrating becoming Division 3 Champions on the back of difficult times at Ibrox and I started Day 9 from there to Wishaw – a day I spent limping in some agony.



Celtic FC weren’t too supportive, so I took my photo from outside the stadium… It may have been the British Flag and Blue I was wearing, even though I’m a Palace Boy!Celtic FC








Airdrie picThe Excelsior Stadium, which currently hosts Airdrie United FC, was the start point for Day 10: Airdrie to Edinburgh. I had a number of troubles early on and couldn’t move well at all – to my frustration I had to rest for half the day and run the last part into Edinburgh – with extreme difficulty!









Edinburgh Castle groupThis is the very supportive Diabetes UK Edinburgh Voluntary Group – and the lady on the far right (arms folded in blue) named Cloutilde, is the sports masseuse that I would say saved my challenge! She gave me a check over and highlighted the seed of my problem – a previous injury 4 years back where I tore ankle ligaments, the left did not heal as well as the right and left a weakness, which was exposed by the excessive amount of exercise and strain I had enforced on my feet in the past number of Ultra runs back-to-back. This meant with an in-balance on my feet, I naturally counteracted it by leaning more on the right side, causing the limp, and also put added pressure on my knees – which I was feeling the impact of! I had to strengthen the left foot back up if I was to stand any chance of completing the next 2/3′s of the challenge.

north berwickI done the appropriate exercises, got in the ICE COLD Sea at North Berwick and hoped for a miracle…





Newcastle UnitedWith my Dad and Gary we had a few Newcastle Brown Ale’s in Geordie Land that evening, not too many but enough! This, I feel, was needed. To wind down a little. The following day was Newcastle to Hexham and if I was to be successful a lot depended on this day – could I get moving again without limping?

HexhamI was walk-run-walk-running, taking it easy to not over-do-it – even though I was still covering 30(+) miles. But the important factor was that I was doing it! I was moving and I was moving with much more comfort again, able to keep an even balance. The exercises on my legs had been effective and the challenge was back on!

…we did get lost on the wrong side of the River Tyne that day though

CArlisle Castle

When I made it from Bardon Mill to Carlisle Castle, hitting a sudden burst into a 10mph pace to finish the day off on Day 13, I knew in my mind the I really could achieve completing 30/30 – the problems were behind me, I could run strong again!
Holding the Torch is Type 1 6 year Old Angel, who really is an Angel! She gave me a wooden Angel to protect me for the rest of my journey.

Carlisle UnitedDay 14, Carlisle to Workington, started at Brunton Park home of Carlisle United FC. The 10th of May is a date where on both sides of my family an important member to me has been lost. In 1998 my Grandad Harry passed on that day, and recently in 2011 we lost Uncle Michael that day. So I wanted to get through the day and dedicate that to them and my family on the 10th – I ran with Angel’s angel in my pocket for the first time – ironically enough.

Fleetwood TownDay 15, the halfway day, was filled with non-stop rain!!! 4 hours of rain to start the day = #unpleasant
I ran from Lancaster to Fleetwood – finishing at Highbury Stadium home of Fleetwood Town FC, whose hospitality of me was incredible: a tour around the ground, a meal, a shower, a beer, a box to sit and watch the FA Cup final in. I was delighted to be running strongly and this was the icing on the cake! Thank you Fleetwood Town FC!

Blackburn RoversDay 16, over the halfway mark and feeling very confident. I was joined by Danny Moon on the first 15 miles from Blackpool into Preston, he done brilliant as a 15 year old with Type 1 diabetes who’d never ran more than 5 miles before!

I finished in the rain at Ewood Park.

In the evening of Day 16 I went back to Preston to speak with the Preston and Area Junior Diabetes Group, before saying goodbye to Dad and Gary and being picked to to go to Bury, where I’d stay at fellow Type 1 Hannah’s families home, before travelling to Manchester in the morning!



(Preston Group)





man utdJude Sutton took me from Bury to Old Trafford and then took my bags on from there, her twins both have Type 1 diabetes!

We had a tour around Old Trafford, with thanks to the Premier League Champions, Manchester United FC, who were super on the day.

The day was raising for DWED (Diabetics With Eating Disorders) and is dedicated in memory of Sian Howarth, who was taken far before her time at just 23 and was a Type 1 diabetic that worked to inspire – hence DWED being set up. Kathryn from DWED joined my final 10 miles of a very hard day, and we finished at Anfield home of Liverpool FC!

Liverpool CupArriving at Anfield at 7pm, the club were very supportive. This photo is in front of the Champion’s League Trophy won in 2005!





Everton FCDay 18 of the challenge was from Goodison Park, across the Mersey and eventually across the England-Wales border into Wrexham.

Tom Jones, from Wales of course, joined me to run the whole day – Tom is a fellow Type 1 like myself and a Everton fan.

queenswayIn getting the wrong Ferry across the Mersey and seeing the ‘sights’ of Liverpool… we then ended up in the back of a Police car after taking the wrong turn… onto the dangerous Rock Ferry Bypass!

This is the finish at Queensway Wrexham – I was pleased to make it alive!

wrexhamAfter a wet and long day the day before and in being without a sports masseuse or any professional help since Edinburgh, on Day 19 I was feeling the affects again. Fortunately we were able to see a physio! The route was Wrexham to Crewe, but in seeing the physio I couldn’t do a full day being against the clock (any later than a 8pm finish and my recovery for the next day would be under pressure) so I was pushed up a couple of miles. This didn’t matter too much, I’m only human and needed to be fit for the next 1/3 of the challenge having already covered more miles than I should have and over 20 marathons in 19 days. Tom supported as a driver with my bags, and when approaching Crewe I got my pace going strong again and finished very well.

creweWith the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, after receiving excellent hospitality from Crewe Alexandra FC.





stoke museumDay 20, Stoke to Telford. I started at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent and after finding my way out of the city center, made my way to Telford on a day that registered over 35 miles!

Andy Clifton supported me as a driver and a runner – parking up and running 5 miles before running back to get the car!

telford acMy spirits were lifted on my Telford finish. We couldn’t find the originally planned ‘Central Park’ anywhere and so went to Telford Athletics Club – there I ended up doing an additonal 400m with around 50 young athletes around the track! They each took turns at carrying the Olympic Torch!

I stayed at the Stone House Guest House and can’t thank the Taylor’s enough for their support and hospitality, having me for dinner as well as for Bed and Breakfast!


I stopped in at Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, on my run from Telford to Birmingham – which again clocked up considerable miles more than the intended 30. It wasn’t easy going, the canals for many miles appeared like I could get mugged at any moment!



Villa Park GMet my family on the morning of Day 22, which was a boost, and my sister Kaylie I hadn’t seen in around 8 months – she’d be with me on the support team for the remainder of the challenge! Villa Park to Worcester – very grateful for the support of Aston Villa FC!


Worcester Cathedral(Worcester Cathedral)








Gloucester FinishI had my family in support for the final day until the final weekend, so it was a good boost for the route from Worcester to Gloucester. The Glenvum Voluntary Group at Gloucester donated £150 at my finish!






Bristol schoolStroud to Bristol – I said from the start if I make Bristol, I’m going the distance.

Alfie Huke was the star of this show, Type 1 and aged 5! His school mates came out to support. Jeff Astle ran the whole day and Chris Huke covered over 10 miles as the support really began to grow.


TauntonCheddar Gorge to Taunton was a great day, people were out on the streets and the schools were out to cheer me on through Cheddar, Wedmore and Mark. For a moment I thought the Olympics were back on…

Jeff Astle (in the photo) ran 2 full days incredibly back-to-back! His daughter, Mimi, a 9 year old Type 1, was the star of the day running the Torch past her class mates at the start of the day through Cheddar and then finishing the day with it into Somerset County Cricket Club.

ExeterI was struggling along a bit as I entered Devon from Somerset on my route from Taunton to Exeter. The night before the town of Mark had a fund raiser at the Pack Horse Inn pub which raised £1200 for the cause – so on this day my spirits were lifted.
I can be your hero baby…

Exeter City FC gave me a warm welcome to Saint James Park to finish.


Torquay UtdI could almost smell the finish line when in Torquay – starting at Plainmoor, Torquay United FC.

It was an extremely difficult run to Plymouth though…




TorquayKevin Winchcombe joined up with me for the remaining 4 days, along with Kaylie and aunt Jayne who were the support team for the final week.

Kev would cycle each day beside me.





torquay hillsThe hills were pretty extreme, non-stop, until Land’s End more or less.





plymouth argI started Day 28 at Home Park, Plymouth Argyle’s football ground, on a route from Plymouth to Bodmin. Finish point at Bodmin Jail, where I would start the following day from.

‘Support Team’ were enthusiastic… (this video contains some bad language from my support team, I do apologise..)
BodminAfter a look around the spooky Bodmin Jail, my second to last day was a route from Bodmin to Saint Agnes – very hilly again!

Amy Winchcombe, a Type 1 12 Year old (holding Torch), joined me in defying diabetes as she cycled for a day meeting me with her family at the top of this crazy 500ft hill out of Bodmin! Amy done fantastic – even running the final MASSIVE hill into Saint Agnes with the Torch!

lands end finishThe final day was Saint Agnes to Land’s End – an absolute monster 40 miles (after Matt Wood – again running a full day – and I took a wrong turn 12 miles in). Kev met us and cycled from Hayle, what was meant to be the 15/16 mile point but probably was more around 20 miles!

I was in a eager mood to get the job done and hit some quick speeds in good spells. It was a long old day but come the finish point, I had to go full out. Before I started the challenge I knew a Sprint Finish would be the way to do it, as I always have forced out in the past.


A sprint finish it was!

lands end photoA fantastic bit of support through the final day and at the end to see me in!






There was little rest. The following day I needed to make it to Wembley Stadium, finishing my tour of football stadiums, to watch Crystal Palace get promoted!

wembley crystals







Boris Johnson

JDRF_2C_Logo (1)



11 thoughts on “Gav’s GBR 30/30 Challenge

  1. I am very inspired reading about you. I have a n 18 year old son with type 1 since he was 2 years old. I work for Roche a company who make the insulin pumps and Accu Chek blood glucoe metres. Do you wear a pump in order to do all this sport? I am interested in find a motivational speaker to come to a meeting to talk about diabetes and exercise.

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  3. Donna, what a great choice, perhaps you should sponsor MDI’r Gav with a pump+CGM to assist you in getting the word out there and taking your research forward?

    Would this event be a public one or private for your organisation? My type 1 12 year old daughter Amy (mentioned above – Bodmin) is currently using Roche equipment.

    Kev: @oceantragic

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