South Coast Challenge

A huge physical challenge – and a massive thank you


Hi all,

Hope you had a lovely bank holiday weekend? I spent it finally doing what I’ve been training for for six months – taking on the 100km South Coast Challenge, a charity event to raise money for Headway, the brain injury charity. As many of you know, my sister Deborah died from a brain haemorrhage six years ago when she was 39, so this challenge was in memory of her.

Group run

I’d trained hard, and I knew this was going to be tough, but OH MY GOODNESS. It was a hundred times harder than I could ever have imagined. The route took us across the South Downs, starting at Eastbourne and finishing at Arundel, so I knew there would be hills – I just hadn’t realised quite how many hills, or how steep they would be! It was also a very hot day, which didn’t help. I was with friends – myself and my pal Natalie in our team, plus one of our QVC directors Gilly and two of her friends in another team – but as the day wore on poor Gilly had to withdraw due to an injury, as did her pal Sarah when the heat got to her. Natalie and I were a couple of hours ahead of the other team by this stage, and when Nat stopped at the 54km point (something she had always planned to do) I was then on my own for the night phase of the challenge.


That was when it got really tough. I was already exhausted from a day of climbing hills in the heat (we lost count at around 25!) but now I had to battle through the same sort of terrain in the dark, with just a head torch for light on the wide expanse of unlit Downs. Of course, I wasn’t on my own, and met some really lovely people during the night. But as well as the physical pain – by now, everything hurt – it was also tough psychologically. For hours and hours, all we could see in the pitch darkness was the little patch of rough ground right in front of us, in the light from our torch, so different from during the day when at least we had stunning scenery to distract us.

I was alright up to around the 40 mile mark (I still think in miles, not km!) but after that I began to struggle and the last 20 miles or so were pretty horrendous. There were times when I had no idea how I was going to drag myself to that finish line. At this stage people were dropping out constantly, and twice I saw people who had collapsed on the road and were being treated by paramedics. I think that if this had just been a personal challenge, I wouldn’t have been able to continue. But because so many people had sponsored me, and because I had SO MUCH support in the form of tweets and messages throughout the event, quitting simply wasn’t an option. With just seven miles to go I started to feel really sick and weak – I hadn’t eaten nearly enough during the day or night – but I forced some fruit gums and water down me and made the final push. That finish line was one of the most welcome sights of my life. I made it in 24 hours, 25 minutes and 9 seconds, and of the 276 women who made the 100km finish line, I came in 82nd, and 24th in my age group, which made me very happy too. But what made me even happier was that I absolutely smashed my fundraising target, with donations more than doubling what I had hoped for, and I am completely and utterly thrilled by that. I can’t thank everyone enough. I have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity, and I know that Headway is equally delighted.

Jackie Kabler

This may sound a little dramatic, but doing this challenge has changed me. I’ve always believed that you can do anything you want to if you really put your mind to it. But now, I’ll never put limits on myself again. I’ve realised that you can push yourself right to the very limits of your endurance, and then go way beyond that, if you really have the motivation.

Below is a video I made to give you a little taster of the event, and to say thank you.

Much love,

Jackie xx


  1. Val stewart September 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm -  Reply

    Well done……congratulations……… Something to feel proud of and remember forever

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Val….certainly won’t forget it in a hurry!
      Love Jackie x

  2. Denise Brown September 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

    You have every right to feel very proud of yourself an absolutely awesome achievement…well done

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

      Thanks so much Denise…just about recovered now!
      Love Jackie x

  3. theresa September 1, 2016 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    Jackie one word for you amazing. So glad you completed your challenge but I think all who supported you would not have minded if you had not finished the race and I’m pleased to hear you beat the target you set for the charity you picked in memory of your sister, now you can relax knowing you did what you set out to do all those months ago, you take care x

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm -  Reply

      Hi Theresa,
      I did come very close to stopping at a couple of points but I am very very stubborn when I put my mind to something! Thanks so much for your support.
      Love Jackie x

  4. Susan September 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie, what a wonderful, inspirational film. Congratulations!! You’ve certainly inspired me to get fit (again). Thank you.

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm -  Reply

      Thanks so much Susan! Take it easy though, I wouldn’t recommend doing 100km very often, a little bit tiring!
      Love Jackie x

  5. Claire Sutton September 1, 2016 at 5:38 pm -  Reply

    So proud of you x

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:04 pm -  Reply

      Aww thanks gorgeous roomie! Xx

  6. Deborah Barry September 1, 2016 at 6:59 pm -  Reply

    Well done Jackie, what an achievement, even when things got tough you kept going, am sure you felt amazing & tired at the end of your journey, what an inspiration.

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:05 pm -  Reply

      Hi Deborah,
      I was SO glad to see that finish line, but yes once the pain subsided I was very glad I had stuck it out. Thanks for your support.
      Love Jackie x

  7. Debbie September 1, 2016 at 7:07 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Jackie,what a massive achievement and you still looked so glamorous at the end!!…you deserve a well earned rest now xx

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm -  Reply

      Haha, thanks Debbie, the baseball cap (one of my husband’s!) hid a multitude! Had a good rest the next day and back to normal now, more or less!
      Love Jackie x

  8. Pamela September 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm -  Reply

    Massive well done for a great achievement.

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm -  Reply

      Thanks so much Pamela, very kind.
      Love Jackie x

  9. Jelena September 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    Well done Jackie – what an achievement!!! šŸ™‚

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jelena,
      Thanks so much!
      Love Jackie x

  10. Susan walker September 2, 2016 at 8:09 am -  Reply

    Dear Jackie,
    Just read your blog and watched your video, I am in floods off tears, it is so touching you did so well, I like you lost my brother young with the same thing, the. Video is wonderful you put across really well. God you are amazing doing what you did. I admire you so much and also at QVC, I love to watch you. Your hubby and family will be so proud off you. Well done Jackie.

    • Jackie Kabler September 2, 2016 at 5:09 pm -  Reply

      Hi Susan,
      Oh I’m sorry to make you cry! You are so kind, thanks so much and sorry to hear you lost your brother too. Thanks so much for your support.
      Love Jackie x

  11. michelle lloyd September 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

    Well done Jackie, you should be really proud of yourself and all for such a great cause xx

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 9:55 am -  Reply

      Thanks so much Michelle!
      Love Jackie x

  12. Jayne Baker September 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm -  Reply

    Well done Jackie, you did amazing and for such a worthy cause. x

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 9:57 am -  Reply

      So kind of you to say so Jayne, thank you.
      Love Jackie x

  13. Susan September 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    You are wonder woman Jackie! Absolutely inspirational. Your sister would be so very proud of you. Well well done x

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:00 am -  Reply

      My sister would have told me I was bonkers, but yes I hope she would be proud too! Thanks so much Susan.
      Love Jackie x

  14. Denise September 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    Wow Jackie what an achievement and what a challenge that was. Truly inspiring. Well done.
    Denise x

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:01 am -  Reply

      Thanks so much Denise!
      Love Jackie x

  15. Judy Austin September 2, 2016 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Jackie. An amazing achievement.

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:02 am -  Reply

      Awww thanks Judy!
      Love Jackie x

  16. charlotte September 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    very well done Jackie. x

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:02 am -  Reply

      Thanks Charlotte!
      Love Jackie x

  17. Janet September 3, 2016 at 5:54 am -  Reply

    Fantastic achievement! To run that distance, up and down those hills for so long ….. well, that takes steely determination and commitment. Well deserved congratulations.

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:03 am -  Reply

      I never want to see another hill again Janet…torture! Worth it though, thank you!
      Love Jackie x

  18. Carol Whitmore September 3, 2016 at 8:15 am -  Reply

    Well done Jackie fantastic such a brilliant cause. I also lost my brother to a brain aneurysm 31 years ago when he was 28 years old. Your video was brilliant such an amazing thing you did your family must be so proud of you. Well done.

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:04 am -  Reply

      So sorry to hear about your brother Carol. Thanks so much for the kind words.
      Love Jackie x

  19. Carol Ann Norman September 3, 2016 at 10:40 am -  Reply

    Well done Jackle. I did several charity walks when I was younger
    So know that wonderful feeling when you complete the challenge.

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:05 am -  Reply

      Yes, the feeling when it’s over is fabulous and makes it feel worth all the pain! Thank you for getting in touch.
      Love Jackie x

  20. Beverley September 3, 2016 at 2:10 pm -  Reply

    What an achievement Jackie well done x

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:06 am -  Reply

      Thanks so much Beverley!
      Love Jackie x

  21. Amanda Yeates September 4, 2016 at 5:09 am -  Reply

    Huge congratulations Jackie, you must be so proud of yours. A great charity too.
    Well done xx

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:07 am -  Reply

      Hi Amanda, yes a great charity. Thank you!
      Love Jackie x

  22. Karen September 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie
    To be really honest, I don’t know how you did this but what an amazing achievement! Having worked in Sport Dev. I have seen many super fit people struggle with Marathons and the likes! SO, this is simply FANTASTIC!! WELL DONE YOU!

    Hope your poor muscles are bit rested now and getting back to normal!
    Look forward to seeing you back on the telly soon.

    • Jackie Kabler September 5, 2016 at 10:09 am -  Reply

      Hi Karen
      I’m not sure either…sheer bloody-minded stubbornness not to give up, I think! Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done but pretty much back to normal now, a week later! Thanks so much for your support.
      Love Jackie x

  23. MARGARET September 5, 2016 at 10:04 am -  Reply

    Many congratulation Jackie. You must be very proud at such an achievement and also to be able to support such a worthwhile charity.

    • Jackie Kabler September 6, 2016 at 11:36 am -  Reply

      Thanks Margaret. Yes, the charity does fantastic work, so I’m very pleased to have been able to support it in a small way.
      Love Jackie x

  24. Wendy September 8, 2016 at 6:25 am -  Reply

    Congratulations Jackie on such an achievement for such a fabulous cause. You must feel very empowered, probably aching but empowered. Amazing lady!

    • Jackie Kabler September 9, 2016 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

      Hi Wendy, I do feel empowered, yes! I was rubbish at PE at school so if you told me then that at the age of 50 I could do this, I would never have believed you. It’s never too late, eh?
      Love Jackie x

  25. Kathy September 19, 2016 at 1:07 am -  Reply

    Hi Jackie, I’ve just watched your video at Miami airport waiting for my flight home and I’m writing this with tears in my eyes! So proud of you, a massive achievement. I walked 27 miles along the Ridgeway path last year and there is NO WAY I could have more than doubled that. Huge respect!
    Kathy T xx

    • Jackie Kabler September 20, 2016 at 9:31 am -  Reply

      Hi Kathy,
      That’s so kind, thank you! It was incredibly hard and there were moments I didn’t think I could go on but I’m so glad I did. I think it’s like childbirth…afterwards you forget the horrible bits and just remember the positives! I’m actually considering doing another 100km next year, but not such a hilly route this time…I’ve gone off hills a bit…!
      Love Jackie x

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