Over the last year Steve Atherton has been completing 56 challenges since he turned 56 to help raise awareness about homelessness. Courier reporter Kirstie Smith has been chatting to him throughout the year and even joined him for one of his running tasks. She spoke to Steve about how the 12 months have gone.
Steve Atherton from Leamington has completed his mammoth task of taking on 56 challenges in a year to help raise awareness for the homeless.
Steve, who now lives in Warwick, decided to take on the challenges for the year that he is 56.
He also hoped during his year to raise awareness about the homelessness issue in the Warwick district.
Since May 30 last year Steve has taken on a range of challenges including: running with 56 different people, abseiling, running the London Marathon and doing a fire walk.
Steve reached the end of his year of challenges on May 30, which was his 57th birthday.
He said: “We made it. 56 challenges completed or attempted in the case of the unicycle. We actually managed 58.
“The year started off with plan and a list like all good ideas should but some challenges never came to fruition whilst others that I always thought were a dead cert, somehow failed to get off the ground.
“I never did get to breathe fire or shear a sheep, or introduce a band on stage, I came close, but no cigar, and as for a run with Daniel Craig – that didn’t happen. I would still like to do these and if I ever get to meet Mr Bond, I’ll let you know.
“Fire walking was a perfect end to an incredible year and although busy at times, and a little stressful, especially towards the end, when the 56-not-out idea was born on Friday 2nd December 2016, I would never imagine that the year would have had such an impact on my life and those around me.
“Many will know that I loved running with so many people over the last year and these people have made the year one that I will never forget.
“The support from family, friends, local companies and strangers who have become friends has brought me to tears many times, and I loved this quote written in my log book of runners from someone very close to me and it made me cry. ‘I may not have physically ran with you, but I have held your hand on roller coasters, swam through icy water, washed a million sets of running clothes, dressed you as woman, and watched as you knocked yourself out mentally and physically for something you believe in.’”
When asked about what his best and worst challenges were he said: “There were so many great challenges and it’s hard to pick a favourite but the London Marathon was good. It’s easy to say which was my worst and that was the roller coaster challenge.”
As well as raising awareness about the homeless situation in the Warwick district Steve has also been raising money for Leamington-based charity Helping Hands and national homelessness charity Shelter.
So far Steve has raised more than £4,500 and is hoping to hit £5,000
Lianne Kirkman from Helping Hands said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed and in awe of the effort Steve has put in over this last year to fundraise for our charity Helping Hands and Shelter.
“We can’t thank him enough. He has also done so much in terms of raising awareness of our charity but also about the local and national issues of homelessness.
“He has gone above and beyond and has had to endure not one, but 56 challenges. He has already made a huge difference in the lives of local people in need but my feeling is, he will continue to impact many lives from all he has learnt over this last year. Thank you Steve from all us at Helping Hands.”
Steve said: “I will keep posting a blog from time to time. I also plan to keep the Justgiving page open until the end of July. We might even top £5,000, which would be amazing.”
To donate to Steve’s fundraising page go to: www.justgiving.com/teams/56notout
Here is the list of Steve’s 56 challenges:
1 Be on the radio
2 work on a market stall
3 run 10k in fancy dress
4 see the sunrise and set on the longest day
5 eat a raw egg
6 get face painted
7 help at soup kitchen
9 fire a gun
10 cycle 100k in a day
11 open water swimming
13 blind park run
14 run half marathon in fancy dress
15 squash challenge
16 drive a JCB
17 sleep on the streets
18 quiz night
19 photo challenge
20 grow a beard
21 perform solo in a show
22 run naked in the snow,
23 acro yoga
24 appear in a panto,
25 be a blind guide
26 try a new sport
27 drive a tank
29 climbing wall
30 make a snow angel
31 walk sunset to sunrise
32 cycle 56 miles
33 ride a roller coaster
34 trombone challenge
35 appear at a major sporting event
36 ring church bells
37 introduce artist at a venue
38 get a book signed by the author
39 Bush Tucker Challenge
40 dress up as a knight
41 London Marathon
42 no alcohol for 56 days
44 run 56 times with 56 different people
46 drive steam powered vehicle
47 ride a Harley Davidson
48 cycle 56 miles in a day
49 colour run
50 ride a scooter
51 be a DJ live on air
52 pole challenge
53 take part in Gay Pride parade
54 ride a unicycle
55 run in 10 cities
56 fire walk