We won’t forget you Martha!

Thanks Jonny for the lead in from your previous post……

We are all really excited about participating in Dove Step……not just because we are absolutely passionate about the cause but also because it will be an undoubted epic adventure! The walking of 300 miles across the historic core range of the Turtle Dove is a fantastic symbolic adventure; but one thing we have discussed during the planning of Dove Step is what is next! We don’t want Dove Step to be a single event as such, we really want it to be the catalyst for a series of conservation fuelled adventures!

Back in October I received a magazine from the Virgin London Marathon…..it said ‘you’re in’!

Oh f~@ck!
Oh f@ck!

I’d forgotten that I’d applied……but now I actually have a place on the London Marathon in 2014! After the initial panic was over, I was pretty pleased that I had secured a place on the  biggest road marathon in the world! I ignored the painful memories from the last time I did this event (about five years ago) with pretty much no preparation! Thankfully I am already a lot more prepared as I have been doing ridiculous amounts of running since February this year! I decided I wanted to use this opportunity to continue what we are starting with Dove Step and continue to raise funds for and awareness of Operation Turtle Dove!

However…..I never do things the straight forward way……

Whilst travelling to Sheffield by coach to give a talk to Sheffield Bird Study Group I had a ridiculous idea……….what if I ran fourteen marathon’s in 2014….you know…..instead of just the one?

This all seemed very sensible to me! The other thing that lodged in my mind (thanks to reminders via Mark Avery’s blog) was the significance of 2014 in relation to pigeons/doves and extinctions….

Martha....the last Passanger Pigeon
Martha….the last Passenger Pigeon

On September the 1st 1914 Martha, the very last Passenger Pigeon died; marking the extinction of what was formally believed to be the most common bird on the planet! The rapid decline of this species was caused by habitat loss and hunting. There are harrowing parallels between the demise of the Passenger Pigeon and the rapid decline (see Jonny’s previous post here) of the Turtle Dove!  I am adamant that we should never forget Martha and we should not and cannot allow the same fate to happen to our much loved Turtle Dove!

So as a continuation of what we have started with Dove Step my mad plan has been hatched…..

I will run a minimum of 14 Marathons (including an ultra or two) during 2014 and I pledge to run (including the marathons) a minimum of 1000 miles during that same year _ I have called this project ‘Running 1000 miles in memory of Martha’. You can find out more about this project here: http://www.theinkednaturalist.co.uk/1000-miles-memory-martha/

As an added incentive (and in line with my ‘Inked Naturalist alter ego)…if I we raise over £1000 in donations for Operation Turtle Dove through Dove Step/1000 miles in memory of Martha I will pledge to get a design featuring the Passenger Pigeon and the Turtle Dove tattooed onto my skin!

You can donate here:


or here:


alternatively you can donate with your mobile phone by sending a text to 70070 with the code DOVE75 followed by the amount you would like to donate (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5, or £10).


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