The final countdown – Bristol Half Marathon Take 2

Come Sunday we’ll be finishing our (very extended) year of challenges raising money for Southmead Hospital. We’ll be running the Bristol Half Marathon and hoping to finish on a high…. well, just hoping to finish really, we’re a little unprepared for this one and haven’t really trained in earnest. We did manage a 10k run a couple of weeks ago, but I (Cozzie) can safely say this is the most unprepared I’ve ever been for a half marathon…!

So, this will be our last hurrah! We joked that the 13th challenge would be marriage (and in all honesty, organising 2 weddings has been quite a challenge) but, rather aptly this Sunday marks our 13th challenge… by running 13 miles… a mere 13 days out from our big wedding day! We may even have a little fancy dress outfit to wear for a little fun (or to give us an excuse for not hitting a PB!)

For anyone that’s in Bristol, we have an area reserved at the Pitcher & Piano in Millenium Square, so hope to be there post-run by about midday – if anyone wants to come down and say hello or join us for lunch/a pint, then the more the merrier! It would be great to see everyone, especially as we’ve had sooooo much support and generous donations for such a special cause to us.

So…  this is our last call for donations for anyone that hasn’t already donated and we look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday!

Cozzie and Dom x


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The end is near…

It is with great sadness (we think) that we announce our final Helping Hearts challenge – in less than 2 weeks’ time we will be doing our last ever event in our Helping Hearts calendar – finishing with a bang (hopefully) at the Bristol Half Marathon on the 21st September 2014.

We want to take this opportunity to invite all of our supporters – from everyone (there’s a lot of you!) that has donated money to this cause, those that have joined us on the challenges, those that have cheered us on, and everyone who has tolerated us talking about it since last year – to come and celebrate the finale with us in Bristol. We will be reserving an area in a bar/restaurant in central Bristol after the half marathon to have some food and raise a drink to what has been a truly memorable, and special, cause to us – and to thank everyone that has been there along the way.

Details to follow, but drop us a call/email/text/facebook message/whatsapp message/pigeon carrier if you’re interested in stopping by on Sunday 21st and we’ll make sure we have a suitable sized area available

… and last chance if anyone else wants to add to the already fantastic donation tally!:

Helping Hearts 2013 logo

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Da de daaa, da, da, da, da, da da…. Helping Hearts Challenge 12 is tomorrow!

I know “Da de daaa, da, da, da, da, da da….” doesn’t mean much in just words, but if you set it to music it’s a whole lot different… yes, our 12th and penultimate Helping Hearts 2013 challenge is just a few hours away – we are canoeing down the River Wye, that forms part of the border between England and Wales. As it’s 134-odd miles from source to sea and we’ve only got two days we’re just doing a stretch of it – 33-ish miles, in fact, between Hoarwithy and Monmouth. On our journey we will be accompanied by our trusty Helping Hearts Heroes Jon Webb, Dave Marsden, Dan Rose and James Langlands. We’re not sure about Langlands, as he has a dodgy reputation for abandoning ship on the Wye and leaving his crew to go down with the boat while he swans off to safety, so we might put him in a canoe on his own…

We are canoeing the 30-odd miles from Hoarwithy to Monmouth

We are canoeing the 30-odd miles from Hoarwithy to Monmouth

Saturday will see us paddle around 10 miles in canoes from Hoarwithy to Ross-on-Wye, where we will camp overnight at the Hope and Anchor pub and hopefully sup the odd real ale or two. Dan and James will be leaving us on the Saturday, leaving Jon and Dave to continue with us down to Monmouth, another 20 or so miles downstream.

We’re hoping the trip will be like this:

Mmmm... relaxing day on the River Wye...

Mmmm, relaxing on the River Wye…

Rather than “Da de daaa, da, da, da, da, da da….” – something out of Deliverance:

"I think you could squeal like a piggy..."

“I think you could squeal like a piggy, boy…”

But you never know… Either way, we’ll do our best to get home safe and hopefully raise a bit more money for Southmead Hospital’s heart units (yes, you buggers who haven’t stumped up yet, I mean you…!!) Everyone’s support is greatly appreciated, so get behind us as we embark on what is our last but one Helping Hearts challenge /

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Muddy, manky and magnificent – Tough Mudder is done!

We came, we saw and, well, we got Muddered – absolutely plastered in thick goo, electrocuted in a way that it felt like our entire bodies were licking batteries, bitten by flies the size of small birds and frozen like we’d jumped into a rather brown Alpine lake, all in the spirit of “fun” and raising money for Helping Hearts…

Muddied and Muddered - challenge 11 is done!

Muddied and Muddered – challenge 11 is done!

And what a bloody brilliant day it was. The Tough Mudder in Kettering certainly lived up to its bill – 11.4 miles and 25 obstacles that required lung-busting effort, nerves of steel and muscles like Popeye. I was in trouble.

But we got through it and – whisper it very quietly – it wasn’t quite as bad as we thought. Perhaps it was because Cozzie and I had such an awesome team behind us – Frenchy, Cozzie’s old workmate, formally known as Arthur – and Den, a Helping Hearts veteran. We certainly couldn’t have done it without them – there’s no way we would have got over the Hero Walls without working together as a four (although Den’s magical go-go Gadget legs helped him spring over on his own…) and the Everest obstacle would have certainly been a little different if we didn’t have our team to help drag us up the half-pipe slope.

The final obstacle - some other poor souls braving Electroshock Therapy...

The final obstacle – some other poor souls braving Electroshock Therapy…

We started together – hauling each other over the Glory Blades walls, ducking under the icy sheep dip water of the Arctic Enema – and we finished together, hurling ourselves off the Plank before sprinting together through Electroshock Therapy to get that famous orange headband and a rather tasty pint.

It couldn’t have been a better day, and we couldn’t have had better team mates. You can read all about it soon in our full race review, and hopefully laugh at us caked in mud and getting thoroughly battered to pieces when Tough Mudder finally put their photos up on their Facebook page – we’ll let you know. And if you’re feeling rather flush, dig deep into your pockets and help gee us up for our next challenge by donating at

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Time to get muddy… challenge 11 – Tough Mudder!

13 hours and counting, it’s time to get muddy… Helping Hearts 2013 challenge 11 is nearly upon us and Cozzie and I are getting ready to hit what could perhaps be our most difficult challenge – or at least the dirtiest: Tough Mudder. We’re off to Kettering in the morning with our longstanding Helping Hearts compatriot Den (I have a feeling that his ginger hair might be a different shade by the time we’re finished…) and Cozzie’s former workmate Frenchy, otherwise known as Arthur.

Our training for this one has been exemplary – a bag of Cadbury Buttons tonight, one run in the last five weeks and more time spent looking at chair covers and flower arrangements for our coming wedding than sessions in the gym or pool.

By all accounts there will be more crawling, hauling and falling than standing on our feet tomorrow – with obstacles on the 12-mile course having names such as “Arctic Enema”, “Killa Gorilla”, “Mud Mile” and “Electroshock Therapy” it’s going to be a long day… if we survive we’ll post some amazing photos and hopefully a tall tale of mud, mayhem and a damn good pint of beer at the end!

Our year of challenges is drawing to a close, but we’re still raising money for Southmead Hospital’s heart units, so if you haven’t already donated, feel a sudden surge of generosity or want to help families in Bristol get through heart disease, log on to and dig deep into your pockets. Thanks always.

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Windermere marathon – the first event of 2014

We’re back!!

Last weekend Dom and I ran the Windermere marathon, as our 10th challenge for Helping Hearts. The race definitely deserves its title as one of the UK’s most scenic marathons, however what we had under-estimated a little was that ‘Scenic’ = ‘Hilly’. After driving the route on Saturday we quickly realised this is not a PB course, as the undulating nature of the roads with a few steep hills chucked in for good measure were going to be challenging to say the least…

But, we did it! Dom got around it despite not having run for a good 4 weeks beforehand due to a dodgy calf muscle, which just shows the grit and determination that he has in abundance. My long training runs paid off pretty well, although I did have to start the walk/run combo from mile 18 – but many people were already walking by that point so I was pretty happy with that.

So this was not a PB course, but I just snuck in under the 5 hour mark with Dom barely 10 minutes behind, so all-in-all we were pretty happy. The scenery is stunning, the marshalls and supporters are amongst the friendliest you’ll ever meet, and we have just 3 events left until we finish our ‘extended year’ of challenges and fundraising for Southmead Hospital in Bristol. It’s good to be back!


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Helping Hearts 2013 news – more running on the way!

G’day Helping Hearts fans, hope you are all well and happy new year to you, wherever you are in the world. Well, it’s a new year, with new things to do. 2013 was a year of incredible highs, with everything we managed to achieve with the charity, to the worst lows we’ve ever experienced, with my dad sadly dying from cancer in September and Cozzie’s mum being diagnosed with cancer herself just a week or so later.

The last few months have seen us step away from the charity for a bit as we took time to reflect, but with Cozzie’s mum on the mend – thinking of you every day, Barbara, kia kaha! – it’s time to move onwards and upwards.

Thanks to our wonderful supporters and fellow athletes (ha…!) we’ve raised more than £5,000 now for Southmead Hospital’s heart units, a fantastic amount of which we’re very proud. The money is going to good use, and we’ll update you on what it’s being spent on shortly.

After having to cancel one or two events at the end of last year, we’ve now gradually getting our final few events in the bag. First up is the Brathay Windermere Marathon, a marathon around Lake Windermere in the Lake District on May 18th. I can’t quite believe I’ve let myself in for this, but I did promise you all that I’d do one (a marathon, that is…), so if you fancy a nice weekend away to join us or jeer at us, get in touch. There’s also an awesome outdoor/mountaineering festival nearby that weekend, with guests such as explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and uber-triathlete and Cozzie’s heroine Chrissie Wellington, so it might be a nice way to make the most of the weekend.

We’re also looking at doing a Tough Guy/Tough Mudder event in July, a decent bike ride sportive and a finish with a flurry with a three-day kayak along the length of the River Wye. We’re keen to enter these events in teams, so if you want to join us for any of them let us know!

We’ve also posted our stories of two of our events from last year on to our website (, the Bristol to Paris bike ride and the Three Peaks challenge, which we did with friends Den and Nic – well worth a read.

So, thanks for sticking with us throughout the last year, for all your encouragement and support through the dark times – it means a hell of a lot to us. We haven’t given up – we’d never give up – as we’ve got too much to be thankful for. So many of you have already donated, but if you haven’t and want to help a great cause, visit

And once again, thanks from the bottom of my heart to Cozzie. Mum and I couldn’t have got through the last six months without her, she has given me support than I could possibly ever describe, and Helping Hearts without her just wouldn’t be worth doing.

Plenty of updates to come soon, so keep in touch!

Dom – January 24, 2014


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