Kirsteen’s Blog

With only less than 6 weeks to go until the big challenge I thought it was time to give you all and insight on how the other 3 Cook’s have coped with everything!

Let’s start with the washing….what a pain in the a** that is! 2-3 towels and really smelly training gear to wash everyday and I mean really smelly! Someone owes me at least £1000 in washing tablets!

I’m not going to lie as a family it has been really hard on us all sometimes. We are really proud of Barry and his commitment to this challenge, but…he spends a lot of time training which means we don’t see him that much or get to do as many family things together as we normally would – especially at the weekends.

We have sacrificed our summer holiday…suffered Barry falling asleep on the couch by 9pm most nights…Barry moaning or in a mood when injured or can’t do a training session!

But we understand why and even if I say so myself, the kids and I have been extremely understanding and supportive! (Definitely earned myself a new Mulberry Bag)

Barry and Derek have been training for over 10 months now. It seems so long ago that we were sitting chatting about it and thinking – ‘yes it will be hard but let’s do it’!

I know Barry better than anyone and I know Derek very well too…they can both be completely infuriating, stubborn pain in the bloody arses!! But I knew from day 1 once they had committed to this challenge neither of them would ever give up. It means far too much to them both.

For the past 9 years the Cook’s and the McEwan’s have been good friends.

2003 was the year Jenny was born and the year Derek founded The Catherine McEwan Foundation in memory of his mum. We didn’t know then that 4 years later on our paths would cross after Jenny being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.

56d9bc6e-3d30-4026-8396-204ebfebad06No one’s mum should pass away age 38 and no parent should have to watch their 4 year old daughter in so much pain.
But it happens and it is still happening – all because of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Barry and Derek have taken on this big challenge to help change this.

What they have achieved already is incredible and I know like us, you will all continue to help, support and encourage them to the finish line in Paris!!

Derek Talks London Marathon

The London Marathon

My turn on the blog this week and I have to say I am delighted that I have the honour of the London Marathon piece. It was an incredible experience to say the least and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster!


Marathon Week

Whilst other runners were tapering for the big event we were still hammering it on all levels. I have been lucky enough to experience the New York & Berlin Marathons and they have been huge events and the final destination in months of training. London was different! Psychologically it took some time for me to get my head around that this Marathon was part of the journey and not the destination. Kevin reflected this in our training with very little tapering as the legs need to work when fatigued and we need to build our endurance. So there was a bit of a drop in running, however the rowing and cycling was still at a high intensity and duration. Tapering may have helped us do better in the Marathon but as far as Arch2Arc is concerned it would have been detrimental to our training. See the big picture is what Kevin told us! I got there in the end!

High Drama at McEwan Manor

 The registration document had been sitting on the kitchen workout since it came through the door. I left it there so I knew where it was. There would be no drama for this boy. Well until I actually went to get it and it wasn’t there! Jules and I pulled the place apart. Mail from years ago was discovered but the most important piece of paper in my life at that time was nowhere to be seen. Needless to say Jules was giving me pelters. “You are so last minute!” “How could you be so careless”, I am sure you get the picture. Where the added challenge was that I wasn’t picking my number up at the expo, Barry was doing it for me as I had work commitments on the Friday and wasn’t arriving in London till Saturday evening. So after a fair bit of panic we sorted it out with the London Marathon office and could breathe a sigh of relief.

In the end we got to the bottom of the registration form mystery. The lovely Julie McEwan had thrown it out with the London Marathon magazine! I have no words!


Jules and I got into London about 9pm and went straight for food with the Barry & his clan. I have to say I was dying for a nice red with my pasta but being the consummate professional I went for the water! We had a big day the next day after all! We then went round to our hotel. I have to say I was quite impressed by the Ibis London Euston, much better than expected. If you are staying around there, I would recommend it. A quick preparation for the next day and it was off to bed! Actually swept well considering I had the “Battle Fever”


Marathon Day

I am a creature of habit, just ask Jules. So when the advice for the prep for the marathon is stick to your routine it is right up my street. Same pasta dishes a couple of days before, same bagels and banana before the run and plenty fluids! Perfect!

The excitement of getting to the start builds and is halted when the three stooges realise that none of us actually know where we are going! A damsel, in not so much distress as us helped us on our way and we got to the start in good time. When I do a big organised run I wear older clothes to keep me warm prior to the start but also the added bonus is that when you discard them, they are collected for charity, so you are doing your bit. Big Hollywood Reilly had a belter of a Nike track suit top that he had worn twice that he was donating. I was going to go back for it myself! Oh! how the other half live!


Baz and I decided to run together and keep a steady pace. Dean would be doing a slower pace than us and taking selfies so it made sense. From the start I was blown away by the crowds. I had done New York and Berlin but I have to say they are nowhere near as good as the London crowd. The support from start to finish was incredible. Some of the sights were hilarious. We had one guy DJing from his balcony as if he was playing at T in the Park! Great patter! The signs people had were also superb, some hilarious but my favourite was always beer related. Funny that!

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I have to say that going round at a steady 11 minute mile pace was a joy! Barry and I had great banter with the crowds. It freaks me out a bit to think that we were laughing so much going round on what should have been torture! Now don’t get me wrong we were still working hard but between the crowds, the banter and the sweets we were given all round the course we were having a great time. The Crohns and Colitis UK cheering point was at 13 miles and it was great to see everyone. Jules, Kirsteen, Jenny and Alex were cheering us on and it really does give you a lift. Hats off to the Crohn’s & Colitis UK team as they picked a great spot where we also seen them at 22 miles, when we really needed the lift!!!!!


It’s incredible the lift that a stranger calling your name and encouraging you gives. You smile or cheer back depending on how vocal they are and trot away on a little high. We had loads of banter with Barry’s T-Shirt as he had “Barry Cook” on his and not just “Barry” courtesy of a kind lady in his work. It produced a few laughs between us and the crowd on many occasions! I think maybe the kind soul who got it printed maybe thought Barry wouldn’t be able to remember his second name by the end! So I would just like to thank the lady who got it printed. You are a hero!

We weren’t so jovial by the time we hit 22 miles! We saw the guys at the the Crohns & Colitis Uk cheering point again which gave us a life and then moved on. The last 4 miles (Actually 5 according to my watch) was painful. Aches and pains a plenty but the crowd got us through.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: A general view as competitors make their way down the mall during the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Running the last 1000 metres past Buckingham Palace and up the Mall with thousands cheering us on was fantastic and a memory that will live with me for the rest of my life. It was very special. We crossed the line and received our medals, hugged it out and if I’m honest I shed a wee tear. I obviously walked away from Barry at this point as this would not be the “done” thing for tough guys like us! It’s easy to get emotional on these days and I always do. I remember not only the incredible challenge but the reason why I am doing it; In memory of my wee mum, Catherine and to help as many people as I can who suffer from Crohns and Colitis.


Crohns & Colitis UK had put on a great reception after the run only a few hundred yards from the finishing line so we headed up there to meet the team and get a few beers and a massage. We met some fellow runners and supporters and it was a nice to mingle and share our stories of the day. We headed back to the hotel after that and teamed up with Dean for food, more beers and plenty laughs!


A massive thanks to everyone for their incredible support, encouragement and digging deep. The first major challenge is now complete and we are entering the business end of this Arch2Arc journey! Bring it on!!!!!!

One Love!



A word from Kevin Henderson Arch 2 Arc Endurance Coach

The challenge of running 87 miles, rowing 29 miles then cycling 181 miles requires fitness, focus and determination. Barry, Derek and Dean have now been training solidly for over 6 months and the initial preparatory phase of their training is complete.



This has focussed on getting them adjusted to consistent training and progressively increasing the training load. It was key to build a solid foundation on which the next stage can progress from. The London marathon is next for the trio and after that we will be looking to get them outdoors on the bikes, rowing and continuing with the long runs. Phase 1 has not been without obstacles but the boys have shown commitment and worked through injuries and illnesses and we have adapted the training along the way.

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Phase 2 will now start to focus on the technical side of the three sports whilst continuing to build on the endurance. Getting them ready for August is going to require them to draw on every ounce of physical and mental strength but I have every confidence in this trio and excited to be working with them on the next training block.

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Barry’s blog #2

Well over 2 months since my last blog so thought I would do a quick update.

We have now passed the 4 months of sustained training (5 days out of 7) and I am really pleased with how things are going.
Like Derek said in his previous blog, this is also the longest I have sustained a period of high level training. Let’s not kid ourselves though, it’s not really an option and vital to having any chance of completing the main event, as well as the ‘warm up’ marathons!
sixDecember was a busy month for the family as we were invited to Downing Street for a reception with the Prime Minister and for my daughter, Jenny, to collect her Point of Light award. We had a great time and Trainer Kev was able to tweak my programme so I could get out for an early morning run on the Friday. I took the chance to run up to Marble Arch and get a good look at our starting point – I also sent the boys a picture to prove that the training doesn’t stop even when you are on your holidays! Was brilliant to hear that so many friends and family plan to see us off in August and painful to know they will hit the pub as soon as we are out of

We also had a visit to the house from the First Minister of Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon was out to officially open Jenny’s new fundraising office and Derek and I got the chance to talk to her about our plans for the year. She was very impressed and we promised we would keep her up to date with our progress.

Training over the winter months has been tough as times – no doubt about it… but it has also been really rewarding and a great feeling when you get those early morning sessions over and see progress week to week. As well as ‘big run’ day on a Sat we now have ‘big row day’ on a Monday. The run is up to 2 hours 45 (approx 15 miles) and the row is around 1 hour (approx 8 miles) with some endurance and speed cycling inbetween.

We also completed a circuit session (my first ever!) with Kev a couple of weeks ago and I am sure some if you will have seen the video! It is not pretty to be fair!

threeMy weight / training heart rate continues to come down which is keeping me motivated to make the targets set. I have also joined another gym in the City Centre so I can pick between that and EK depending on my day. Kirsteen usually comes out and does part of the big run on a Saturday. This weekend we were in Rothesay and had a great run up to the St Blanes Chapel, although taking the wrong route on the way and climbing a number of steep hills wasn’t the greatest idea in the world but the scenery was incredible. We are planning on taking the bikes over for some cycle training as we are also targeting the Yorkhill cycle in May.

It is great that people are really engaging in what we are doing. I am always being asked how things are going in the office and at the football when picking up Alex. There is a real chance for people to get involved in the coming months and join our team whilst looking to replicate the challenge distance. You can do this as a team in a relay or individually if you prefer. I know we also have plans to speak with some schools who are interested.

fourWe also have some big news to announce on our rowing team support and bike sponsor. This has totally blown us away and it was a major item on our list to have confirmed. Needless to say we are delighted – look out for the news soon.
There are loads of ways to get involved and support – individually or perhaps even as a business. We are on the lookout for support cars, branding. clothing etc and will gladly talk to anyone who can assist us.

Finally, I had my very first sports massage last night. Have to say I wish I had done that sooner twoand have already booked in again for next week!
Thanks, as always, for all your support. It means the world and really drives us as we look to raise as much funds as possible for 3 great charities close to our hearts.

Barry x