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May 22nd 2015

Paul Spence Ibiza Challenge: Day 4 – Support inspired me to my greatest achievement

Paul Spence Ibiza Challenge: Day 4 – Support inspired me to my greatest achievement

I’ve done it. Four marathons in four days around the coastline of Ibiza.

I’ve done it. Four marathons in four days around the coastline of Ibiza.

To be honest, the scale of the achievement hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’m not sure when it will.

Physically, I’m in bits.

When I finished the final marathon, all I could think about was rest and sleep. My ankle was in a bad way, so whilst my support team went out for a drink to celebrate, I stopped in the hotel with my foot in a bucket and had an early night.

The final day was, as expected, extremely tough, as we headed back to close to where we started and finished at Ibiza Castle. The castle is on the highest point of the island at Dalt Vila. It was fantastic to cross that finishing point and enjoy the stunning views.

I have to thank my support team for motivating me and being behind me every step of the way over the past week. They have run and cycled parts of the courses with me, kept me safe, and made sure

I’ve recovered at the end of one marathon and been ready mentally and physically for the next. I couldn’t have done it without them.

The reason I took on this challenge was to help achieve my goal of providing a centre where people who suffer a serious brain injury like I did can access support as they walk that long, hard, demanding road towards brain injury recovery.

The support of people around you, who understand what you are going through and want to help you come out the other side, makes a huge difference. They keep you motivated, positive and focussed on your end goal.

My support team out in Ibiza did just that. They kept me going when at times I was so tired during the final marathon that I felt like my body was shutting down.

Actually, if I closed my eyes for a short time whilst I was running, I felt like I could fall asleep there and then. I had to keep having a banana or a bar of chocolate just to keep giving me a boost every five miles or so.

People have already asked me how I feel, and whilst I am delighted to have completed the challenge, I don’t think the enormity has hit me yet.

Ever since I suffered my brain injury three years ago, I haven’t really been an emotional person. For the first two years I hardly showed any emotion at all.

That emotional side is coming back to me now, and I am sure that in a few days or weeks, it will really hit me in terms of what I have achieved here.

What I do feel is a sense of great pride and achievement. The whole aim of this was to show how far I have come over the past three years, and to raise awareness of my charity. That has certainly happened, and I have already been approached by some sections of the media to speak about recovering from brain injuries when I get back home.

Finally, I really want to thank everybody for their support. It has carried me through the week, and has hopefully helped Headway’s Action For Brain Injury Awareness campaign.

Now I’m going to enjoy my final days in Ibiza soaking up the sun and resting. I won’t be going anywhere fast for a while, and they’ll certainly be no running.

To donate to my charity Paul, which is raising money to establish a new walk-in support centre for people with brain injuries, go to https://pledgie.com/campaigns/29249

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