11 challenges, 2,677 miles, and 1 hospice: this is James’ story Meet James Taylor, an inspirational 32-year-old from Kings Norton. From April to August, James will be completing 11 gruelling challenges, in which he will be cycling and walking an impressive 2,677 miles for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Read his incredible story and discover why he’s taking on such a mammoth task during the Hospice’s special 40th anniversary year… I’ve always enjoyed travelling, backpacking and cycling. Having become slightly disillusioned with the 9-5 routine, I decided to go on an adventure and so I took on a 40-day challenge in which I cycled the coast of England. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I got to explore England’s beautiful coastline, meet some truly brilliant people, and even got to celebrate my birthday with a family of alpacas – it really was an adventure like no other! Over the years, most of the challenges I’ve done have always been for myself but this time round, I’ve decided to do something a little different and raise money for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. One of my closest school friends, Nathan, is currently receiving care and support from the Hospice and whenever I hear his tales – whether it’s the friends he’s made there, the sense of community and belonging that he feels at the Hospice, or even the time he got to meet some weird and wonderful animals during a pet therapy session – I can’t help but think what an inspirational place it is. I knew that if I was going to raise money for the charity, I would have to do something truly bonkers to encourage my friends and family to sponsor me. That’s why I decided to take on 11 challenges which will see me cycle and walk all over the UK – as well as even cross the channel and travel to Paris too! Across April to August, I will be covering over 2,677 miles. I have chosen this challenge because I think the UK has some beautiful landscapes and I believe that the best way to explore them is by either getting on your bike or using your feet. Don’t get me wrong, whilst I’m looking forward to this new adventure it definitely won’t be easy and it’ll be a huge challenge to take on. Thankfully, some of my friends and family will be joining me along the way and I’m grateful to have their company for some of the journey! The challenges I’m doing are: Challenge Distance Cycle from Milton Keynes to the Isle of Wight and back 335 miles Walk Hadrian’s Wall from coast to coast 84 miles Swim, cycle and run Birmingham’s Triathlon 10 miles Walk the Jurassic Coast from East Devon to Dorset 95 miles Cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats 1000 miles Walk from Milton Keynes to Birmingham (for a friend’s wedding!) 125 miles Cycle the Tour de Yorkshire route 382 miles Cycle from London to Paris 205 miles Of course, training for the different events has been key. Training started off quite light – I went for a walk every other day and cycled a couple of times a week. But as April approached, training got more intense and I was walking and cycling pretty much every weekday, saving my weekends for rest. Although training has been pretty full on, knowing that I am fundraising for a charity close to my heart and which is currently supporting a friend, makes it that little bit easier. It definitely makes me feel more motivated when I’m getting up for an early morning run, or setting up the bike for a hilly 30 miler! Throughout my journey, I’m most looking forward to the London to Paris cycle. I think it will be a great way to end the challenges and I can’t wait get on my bike in the French capital. Plus, I also want to bring back the word ‘chunnel’, which is an abbreviation for the Channel Tunnel! I think the most difficult one will be the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle. Cycling the length of Britain won’t be easy – especially as it will involve all sorts of different landscapes and terrains – but I’m looking forward to visiting some new places in the UK. I feel really proud to be taking on this challenge for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and for Nathan. Until Nathan started using its services, I had no idea about the different types of care it could offer, as well as how much of a difference it can make to people who need hospice support. In fact, when we asked Nathan about the challenge, he said: “I’m really proud of what James is doing for the Hospice and I know a lot of our friends will be too. I attend Welcome Group every Wednesday and I know the money that James will raise will enable me – and others – to live as comfortable as possible. Coming to the Hospice provides peace of mind for me, my family, partner and friends, giving me the confidence to live well.” As soon as people found out about my fundraising, I was surprised at how many had a story about the Hospice. It has helped so many people over the past 40 years and it’s a privilege to be doing something during this special anniversary year. I hope my challenge helps raise awareness of the vital care the Hospice provides, as well as encourage more people to get involved and do something incredible during its 40th year. Thank you James for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best with your fantastic challenges and look forward to hearing about your adventures. If you’ve been inspired by James’ story and want to take on your own challenge during our 40th anniversary year, take a read here and discover 40 ways to fundraise this year. If you want to keep up-to-date with James’ mammoth challenge – or if you would like to donate to his Give Penny page – you can do so by taking a look here.