JUST over two and a half years ago, Blind Dave, the Black Country's very own living legend, completed a Top2Toe Challenge in support of Macmillan Cancer Support by running and cycling nearly 1000 miles from John O'Groats to Lands End over ten days.
It is a feat that will go down in the annals of history, and since that intrepid journey in August 2011, Dave has been busy as usual, raising money for charitable causes and keeping himself fit. It's been a while since we caught up with this 'fleet of foot' Black country mon, and on this occasion it gives followers of the legend the opportunity to step back and reminisce, courtesy of a poem by Gary Wells, one of Dave's principal supporters during the challenge, who made the road ahead safe and sound.
Only recently Dave told us, "At last my mate Gary, who has been threatening to put pen to paper ever since we crossed the finishing line, has finished his poem about Top2Toe. When I recall the journey the Top2Toe team took back then, it seems like a lifetime away, but trust me, memories of the aches, pains and exhaustion are never far away. Any road up, it's nice to recollect the struggle from a different perspective and I have to thank Gary for finally getting the job done."
Gary has called his poem "Ode to Toe" and begins as the route is being planned:
The stage is set, the route is planned, but who to choose to travel the land.
Teachers, policemen, electricians too, all on board to help the Doc through.
A breakfast farewell, final waves of goodbye, Team Blind Dave departs, and there's not a dry eye.
In search of the Top to seek out the Toe, what lies in between we just don't know.
Day 1 arrives, the team draws to the line, all thoughts with t he Toe as the Top gets left behind.
The first run complete, and a fast one to boot, time for cake and jam butties, before a change of suit.
Pedals turn miles as the rain shows its face, the team heads south at a faster pace.
Day 1 complete, only 9 to go, time for food, time for rest, time for physio.
Day 2 is here and it's déjà vue, back on foot with another 26 to do.
The pace is much more suited as the challenge unfolds, already there are memories, with stories to be told.
Day 3 gives no rest as Glasgow is next stop, a great run today, now to the bike we must swap.
All cyclists to the canal, there are paths to wind down, with no guide to follow, getting lost brings a sad frown.
When lead bike reappears there's a sigh of relief, now to finish those miles, now to start to believe.
The team grows stronger as each day passes by, we're into day 4 now as Team Blind Dave waves goodbye.
So its farewell to the Scots, hello England our home, there's a fresh buzz in the team as on home turf we roam.
Chains leaving cogs and brakes failing to stop, Shap summit awaits, we must reach the top.
With wind in our face, heads down for the climb, feeling on top of the world, feeling totally sublime.
Now as we all know what goes up must come down, one more day over, one more step to the crown.
Day 5 beckons as mid point closes in, it's back to the running, let the strain begin.
Now running tired but with a surprise in store, the 5th Marathon is over as Blind Dave sinks to the floor.
With wife and kids there, emotions are sky high, hugs and kisses all round, and tears in the eye.
But it's onwards and downwards, wheels turning again, it's back on the bike, no time for ache or pain.
Alarm clock sounds Day 6, the mornings soon come round, and it's off to the Midlands and Blind Dave's hometown.
A rapturous welcome, a hero to me and you, a taste of success, but the challenge is far from through.
Applause short lived as the team bids farewell, smiles fading slowly as the challenge begins to tell.
Day 7 is here, only four hours sleep, hardly time for breakfast before feet hit the street.
The entourage has grown as guest runners take part, each showing their support, each showing true heart.
We're winding up the miles as if life must depend, focusing on foot, seeing what lies round the next bend.
Back to the bike, time to burn up some miles, it's amazing to see how miles bring smiles.
Day 8 and 9 bring much of the same, cycling, running, with burdens of pain.
But with support now growing, people lining the street, we know we're getting close to accomplishing our feat.
The finish is in sight, hearing cheers like a riot, we stop to dismount as the crowd goes quiet.
Following Doc's orders we walk hand in hand, and crossing the line we have travelled the land.
Tears of joy, tears of pain, hugs and kisses all round, mission complete, game over, feet firmly on the ground.
Challenge now over, what lies next we never know, but one thing for sure, we've now conquered Top2Toe.