Paul v the wall

by Paul Shields
Northampton Saints Manager and fundraiser for Marie Curie

I am a glutton for a challenge. So when my mate Brian Facer (the Saints marketing director) suggested running all 69 miles of Hadrian's Wall, my competitive instincts took over.  It is a hell of an undertaking and on consultation with the necessary parties (asking my wife Gemma's permission) I decided I was going to do this.

There is no doubt it is going to be the most demanding thing I have ever done. I will run about 600 miles in training with a couple of 30 mile runs in there.  It will take me between 16-20 hours and I will burn around 17,000 calories.  It is going to be awful and I am going to need support, guts and inspiration.

I know where to draw my inspiration from.  Cancer, it has or will touch us all in some shape or form whether it be directly or through someone you know and care about.  I have lost two uncles to it but more recently it has been in my family's life through my wife's mum.

My mother in law, Rozi, is a hell of a woman.  When I see what she has been through, this run is a walk in the park.  She has been through chemo, surgery, had setbacks, got knocked down and got straight back up again.  Tough is not a shaved head, tattoos and a big dog.  Tough is always fighting and not letting it change you or how you lead your life no matter what you are faced with.  Since her second diagnosis four years ago, she has had seven grandchildren who are her world and each of them adores her immensely.  So, when it is tough, the tank is empty and I am not sure how I am going to get through, it will not be eye of the tiger, but rather Rozi.

Now, if I am going to do this, I want to raise awareness but more importantly money.  No point lying about it.  I asked Rozi to choose a charity where the money will go and she chose Marie Curie.  They do incredible work not only with patients but also in helping families to cope.  They are a most worthy cause and, you never know, they might help you some day.  Every penny I make will go there.  I do not want you to sign over your life savings, but I think that if everyone gives me £1 then I will be able to raise plenty.  Don't get me wrong; feel free to give more if you wish!

You can donate by going to my JustGiving page.  And look out for more events at

I have set up a Twitter account if you wish to follow me and see how I am getting on for the duration of the training and the event itself.  You will find me at @PaulVsthewall; feel free to get in touch but please be patient as social media is not my thing.

If you want to know more please go to