Wills Journey

A Year ago last Summer I became friends with KJ and was challenged by Ken via DM on Instagram to see how I would do on the AEE Fan Dance. I signed up with a trainer friend of mine knowing it would be a brutal test of mental strength , endurance and determination.

We decided to do a practice run the weekend before by ourselves which we finished in 5 hours 20. 35lbs + food and water.

The following week I showed up with my trainer friend and met Ken Jones in person.

I also met EOF Nick at the weigh in for the Bergens. I was told I was underweight so I added some more equipment. Bad Admin I guess.

Anyway it was the hottest that Sunday morning and I nearly collapsed coming back up Jacobs Ladder. But I did get there and fought the daemons in my head. When I eventually got to the red phone box I was presented with my finishing patch by Ken.

It was the most humbling experience of my life. My Bergen was over closer to 42lbs so I didn’t make my life easy up that climb.

Anyway Ken said he felt I could go way quicker so he begun training me at this time he also introduced me to Nick of EOF. I was away in New York doing all my training for Winter Fan Dance Black Edition. I have never pushed myself so much in my life. My mindset changed and my fitness levels.

I came back to UK and did the Q Course and TWM with AEE. I saw Nick once again and heard more about EOF and Phrases such as ” Hills pay the Bills ” and ” Don’t be shit” . I saw incredible people on that Sunday receiving framed Awards and finishing patches for finishing TWM. I saw inspirational men such as Dai Sage, Duncan Horn , met some incredible people too on Q Course such as Si Harris and Ange Copeland to name a few.

Winter FD was looming so there I was once again at that Red Phone Box. I remembered all my training and those dark moments I had gone through on tempo sessions, Loaded Tabs , Speed Work etc. I was lacking in Hills though. A Fact that came back to bite me on FD. I was going for sub 4 hour so when I got to Red Phone Box at 4hour 37 I was gutted , demoralised etc. I still had High Moon that night too.

I felt terrible and my legs were like lead. I dug deep got to bottom of Pont AR Darf and set off on High Moon. I was on ridgeline when I fell badly sprained my ankle and was in a lot of pain. I got to DS Biggs and fell coming down off Ridgeline again.

When I got to the pumphouse Nick was there asking me what I wanted to do. I said VW. It was a very low point for me to VW in front of Nick, DS , and Ken. When I got back to SA Karl Rushen was there another EOF Legend. He got me to sit down got me some grub and said I will be stronger after this.

After I saw Nick and Ken I felt ashamed i had failed on HM.

A Few days later Ken messaged me and said all in all I had done extremely well considering I had only started to run 4 months previously to this. I had knocked off 1hour and 12 mins off my Summer FD time.

He suggested I get into training with Nick from EOF. So I did i followed WNS sessions. I said I would do Paras 10 in May and Signed up for Woodhouse Trident in Summer.

I followed the training plan Nick gave us and added additional stuff in too. I did Hills and more hills and even did The Woodhouse Route in April to RV3 with Brian Tinker . Brian has been a massive inspiration to me too and pushes me.. Nick shared some key training with me. There were days my 10 miler was slow , I felt broken and low and there were days that I felt lifted. We all have these sessions and this is where we find out how much human resolve we have.

May 18th Paras 10 EOF in massive force , this was a very hot day and a way harder course apparently. But being there with all these supportive , inspirational people and Nick was awesome.

My Paras 10 was horrible but I was so pleased to run all the way from the barracks to the finish line. The shouting from all the EOF lot was so supportive and it got me through the pain.

I finished it in 2 hours 13 and again not what I wanted but it was a wake up call too. It was great to be there with so many like driven people. Once again great to see Karl Rushen and Dai Sage, Si Harris , Rich Haynes , meet the infamous Bob not a DS. Tinx who was there as moral support for us all, Rob Naylor, Brian Yeatmen, Marc Kavanagh , to finally meet The Big Man Duncan Horn. I see all these names on our WhatsApp group so it was great to finally meet some of them too. Also to see Nick and DS Stu. Paras 10 was epic and to receive that finishing medal from an ex para veteran was priceless.

WH Trident was 7 weeks away. I messaged Nick he told me LSD was key to me finishing WH Trident. So I started upping the distances and gradually the load. I did way more hills and when I couldn’t get into the hills I did Stepper with a Sand Bag on my back, I also did Way more Hill Reps and just constantly keeping leg strength up. It was a gamechanger for me on WH Trident I was passing people on the hilly efforts and up JL too. Wow I thought these hard sessions have paid off.

It was great to see Nick at Basecamp on Friday eve and Bob , and many more EOF as well. Nick gave me some sound advice and warned me how I would feel after High Moon when I woke up for final Fan Dance. He said Admin , Food , Water and rest was key.

So at the start of Woodhouse on the Saturday i put these into practice, granny slope was hard but I just kept going. Reached top of fan summit in about 48 mins , shifted down JL and across to Cribyn , tried to go as fast as I could across Cribyn , Ran all the way to RV2 and checked in with DS, Uzo was there and he said I was making great time. The leveller was back up the other side of Pen Y Fan. Saw some fellow EOF people here but cracked on and somehow never stopped. It was great to see Rich Morris at the top of Pen Y Fan and his support pushing us on , he said I was well within RV 3 cut off time. It was then I realised how my training sessions with Nick were paying off. How those threshold sessions and Hill Reps were paying the Bills.

Was great being on Woodhouse with Si Harris and Bob not a DS. Being in those Baby Heads together going through that suffering and pushing each other. It felt great to run from Fan Summit to Red Phone Box passing many regular FD Mincers . I didn’t want to be shit and get it done as Tinx had told me. When I got to red phone box and was given my Woodhouse Patch by DS Stu it felt pretty good.

I saw Nick at post march meal and he gave me some more advice about High Moon. It felt good talking to Si Harris and knowing he and I were both doing WH Trident too.

I got my admin sorted , Epsom salts bath and food rested 3.5 hours then was ready for High Moon. My legs were feeling it now but Nick said once I get going from red phone box I will find my legs again. Sure Enough he was right. Being in those mountains at night is like nothing else and with so many EOF people. Struggling up that climb to trig 642 with Rich Haynes , Si Harris etc. But at the end of the day you are alone with your own thoughts and mind on that Ridgeline. I was able to run all the way from top of Fan Summit to FRV and it felt amazing to finish that march in 4 hours 22 mins. Ken said he was so pleased for me and gave me my High Moon Patch. I was so pleased I finished the March I had to VW on in the Winter. I got some food in me saw Si Harris running in ten mins later and then sorted my admin and got some sleep. Slept 3.5 hours felt terrible much like Nick said I would feel. My mind was saying how the hell am I going to finish this final test march. I saw Nick at start of FD he said well done for getting here saw Duncan Horn and Si Harris and I waited for the start. I knew if I was here i was getting my Trident. When we set off the going was tough but I kept pushing. It was great to get to Fan Summit. Nick had said break down the Route into sections and tick them off as I complete each one.

When I reached Windy Gap I knew i was getting it done. As I was heading down the Roman Road I saw Nick coming back up. I thought to myself there is no way I am letting myself down , Nick down , Ken down and EOF. ( Nick later told me he was chuffed to see me as he was heading back up. ) It’s time like these being part of EOF and all it stands for is the difference to giving up or pushing yourself #alwaysalittlefurther

I reached halfway point in about 2 hours 10 mins . Checked in with DS and saw Si Harris there too. My feet were in rag order and my legs were like lead but I knew i was finishing at that Red Phone Box.

All the way back up Roman Road I just put one foot in front of the other. Then JL loomed ahead. I was like here we go dig deep. I was hanging out my hoop here as I hit false summit but I knew i was getting to that summit.

This was where I had all that training kicking in. I got to the top of fan summit even DS Stu gave me a wink as I checked in. I knew now I was home to Red Phone Box . I ran from summit as my feet were so sore so I knew the quicker I finished the better.

As I came down that last slope and saw the red phone box my pace increased. I ran all the way in. Checked in with DS and was given my Trident patch. I was elated and felt like I had transformed as a person. When I saw Ken at Base Camp he said he was so proud as very few get Woodhouse Trident , especially as in the Winter I had VW’ed on High Moon. I was broken but felt alive and I saw many EOF people there too. It felt great standing there with DS saying well done, Nails mate and getting that pic with Ken. Even DS Stu had said good effort mate and I should frame my patches.

I must say that what got me through the 79 km in 36 hours 7 ascents of Pen Y Fan and all the pain and suffering was my training with Nick and EOF. Now to build on that. Sub 4 hour FD maybe Double Tap Winter and RM 30 Miler. I can honestly say the work ethic and ethos that Nick instils in all of us at EOF is another level. I am proud to be part of such an inspirational group of people who support each other and push each other #alwaysalittlefurther in that #unrelentingpursuitofexcellence . I will add that when we are having a tough day and feeling low or down on ourselves I only have to go on the WhatsApp group to be cheered up. Ken once said to me Nick is the best out there for training for these events and challenges and I can only confirm that as I know it was the Game Changer for me to achieve Woodhouse Trident..


About

Will has been teaching Pilates for 9 years as a mat instructor and 7 years as a fully comprehensive senior Instructor at one of the top fitness clubs in London. He is trained in Reformer and at all levels for Cadillac, Tower Chair, Barrels, Spine Corrector etc.
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