From Covid recovery to running Land’s End to John O’Groats Virtual Race

From Covid recovery to running Land’s End to John O’Groats Virtual Race

Thank you to RIOTer Peter Smith for sharing his experience of recovering from Covid-19 and then taking on a mammoth running challenge with wife Katie.

At the end of March 2020, myself and Katie Smith were trained up and ready to take on the Manchester Marathon and all was great. Little did we know what the next month and months ahead had in store for us that would put doubts into our minds that we could ever run again or even wanted to run again.

So having caught Covid in late March and being very ill for 16 days (same time as Boris) my marathon training had paid off as being so fit the paramedics had said this had kept me out of hospital. The support of the RIOT family towards Katie was truly appreciated and so needed in these difficult times for her. Now I was on the long road back to recovery to get back into running again.

So as the months went by and the RIOT challenges came and went and other runs were done, I had no interest in putting on my running shoes. Long covid had hit me and I was depressed but could not see it. Katie and myself had put down for Race the Sun and we did do this but I knew my mind was not in this. Knowing that I was struggling on all accounts, a trip to the doctors was needed and was reassured that all was well, and was told you have just got to be patient. It’s not a quick fix.

Festive 24 came along and this was the time where I started to feel I was getting back into my running again. Getting up at 04.00 hrs to do a 3 mile run just before work seemed a bit mad but it had to be done to complete this challenge. Challenge completed I decided to run every day in December and try and get Katie to do the same, as stopping now might have made me stop altogether.

New Year’s resolutions were set and the one for me was to run outdoors a minimum of 3 miles every day and see if I could run the whole year (I already had December in the bag, just 11 months to go). Being a team, Katie had decided to do the challenge with me but we both needed something to keep us focused and motivated. Along came The Length of the UK Virtual Challenge; a 1,083 mile (1,743 km) road trip from Lands End to John O’Groats. We could do this in our own time frame, however we wanted to do the miles by combining walking, running, cycling and swimming.

With the challenge started we had already done Red January, February, March and getting into April, when fellow runners and friends were asking if we were doing this for a charity? At the time we had not even considered this, but with the number of days running we still had to do we thought it would be a good opportunity to raise some funds for a worthy cause. With Katie’s daughter suffering from Multiple Sclerosis we felt it was a good reason to use this as our charity.

So far we are on day 134 of our running and many more days to go, but this time last year I felt I could not run one day. You just have to take each day as it comes, take small steps that will go into bigger steps along your journey, and try to be patient along the way.  You will get setbacks but it’s how you deal with them.  Being part of this RIOT Family, anything is possible with the love and support of this great club.



If you would like to donate or track Peter and Katie’s progress you can find their donation page here:

Written by Peter Smith.  Edited and formatted by Christina Guppy.