This spring Eram Osman challenged herself to completing a virtual challenge in memory of her mum, who would have turned 80 on 2 May. Here Eram talks about her mum and how her challenge went.
“My mum lived with PSP for a very long time, and sadly, she left us in October 2016. Since then, I have been doing what I can to raise awareness and funds for PSPA. We all know that there isn’t a cure for PSP yet, and the only way forward is research.
On 2 May 2022 my mum would have celebrated her 80th birthday. I wanted to do something to keep her memory alive. It was important for me to have some relevance to ‘80’ and to India where Mum was born and spent most of her childhood and teenage years. So, I decided to take on the Golden Triangle virtual challenge, which covers 476 miles, starting from the Indian capital of Delhi to Agra and Jaipur. I set myself a goal to complete this distance in 80 days! This worked out at running six miles per day starting on 2 May. It would mean that no matter how I was feeling or what the weather was like, I would have to get out the door and do the mileage.
My friend recommended the Conqueror app, which I found really motivating. Your journey is tracked virtually, and you can see where you are on the map. You get beautiful postcards, and for every milestone you hit, a tree is planted somewhere in the world on your behalf, or plastic is removed from the ocean, so there is a real sense of ‘caring for the planet’ as you are doing your challenge.
Monday 2 May arrived. It was literally the day my holy month of Ramadan ended. I had been keeping my fasts, so I wasn’t fuelled up as I should have been, but this was something I really wanted to do – the date/timeframe was really important to me. I had running buddies lined up to support me on my runs. I had a food and mobility plan, I knew I had to eat properly and look after my legs, glutes, hamstrings and calves, if I wanted to get through this journey injury free.
The first couple of weeks were really tough. On day 15, I hit 100 miles which was 20% of my distance. It felt good, and it was so exciting to hear that a tree was planted in the world somewhere on my behalf. The weather was getting better, I was in a good routine, making sure I stretched and kept mobile throughout the day. My appetite was going a bit crazy – by 11am I would be on my second breakfast!
The beautiful postcards and the support I was receiving from my family, friends, colleagues and PSPA family kept me going. On day 29, I hit 200 miles; I was nearly at the halfway mark. But on day 40 I had a setback, I got a shin splint in my right leg. I didn’t quite know what this was and how severe it could be. It was so painful, the skin around my shin was swollen and really tender. I couldn’t even touch it, let alone walk properly.
At this point, I was really upset and had to figure out what I was going to do; I had 40 days and 205 miles to go. I asked my friend for advice, I watched a ton of YouTube videos and tried to follow the advice. After a few days of cold ice treatment, anti- inflammatory tablets and stretching/foam rolling (which is more painful than actually having a shin splint) I managed a very slow five-mile walk wearing funny looking compression socks! My body was really feeling it and this challenge was no longer just physical – it was mental and emotional. There was fear and anxiety. I had to finish, and I was doing my best to look after my legs, hips and calves, in the hope they would return the favour and get me to the finish line, strong.
For the next 13 days, I just managed slow walks. I wasn’t achieving my daily distance, I just did the best I could in the hope that I would get better and be able to make up the lost miles. The turning point came on day 53. It was more of a relief than anything else.
My leg felt much stronger, and I started to do six-mile brisk walks. I was desperate to start running again but every time I tried, I would get pain in both legs, so I decided it was best to walk fast and get the miles done. Suddenly, the days just started to fly by. The weather was beautiful, which meant I could go out early and take my time.
On day 66 I had covered 90% of the distance and I only had 47 miles to do in 14 days. By now I had really started to enjoy the challenge again. The injury was a distant memory. Even though I couldn’t run, the days flew by and to my surprise I completed the challenge on Sunday 17 July on day 77 😊.
A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who supported me, including Ravi Sardana for taking the pictures. Without you all I couldn’t have done this or achieved my sponsorship target for PSPA. I hope that along the way I have made a small difference by raising awareness of this awful condition.”
Read some of Eram’s challenge updates on her fundraising page at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/eram-osman or search for #India80Challenge on Twitter.
If anyone is interested in doing a Conqueror challenge and would like 10% off, take a look here https://www.theconqueror.events/r/EO527