Si’s challenge: 8,000 mile run and Everest

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In May last year, Si Homfray was thrown off his motorbike like “a human cannonball” into a stone wall after being hit by a car on the edge of Sheffield.

With a head injury that made him wobbly on his feet, he had to learn to walk again. With the help of friends, he eventually returned to running.

Now the businessman, 50, is taking it to extremes - aiming to run 8,000 miles on his own across 20 countries. Then he will climb Everest.

He left Sheffield last August and has reached northern Italy on the way to Slovenia and Croatia. The full trip is expected to end in March 2015.

“I have always wanted to do something big,” said Si, whose previous exploits have included running across the Nepal Himalaya. “I have always been fit and been a climber. All of my life, I have wanted to do Everest.”

It was the smash at Dore Moor that was to set him on the road to something higher.

Si, who lives near Ringinglow, and has set up six companies, latterly Hammer Design, ended up in a ditch with 39 fractures, severe facial damage and spinal and brain injuries as a result of his impression of “a human cannonball”.

He praises the Northern General Hospital. “They did a good job in putting me back together. It’s so humbling.”

After being “a self-centred businessman for 25 years”, he had the motivation for an expedition he calls “A Road Of Many Colours”.

“Suddenly I was seeing that the glass was half full, not half empty. That’s what I hoped would happen.”

A veteran runner, he hopes to prove “that age is not a barrier to achieving physical performance. So far it has been a great experience, and a world of wonderful people have helped carve a journey that is just meant to happen.”

So far Si has run more than 1,300 miles across the UK, France and Italy. His route will now take him 6,600 miles to Istanbul and the Middle East on the way to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Tibet.

Staying in campsites, hostels and sleeping by the road, he is carrying his kit in a two wheel trailer he designed himself called ‘Gromit’, which he pulls using a harness.

Friends and local companies have all pulled together to get him going.

As well as being a long distance slow runner, Si has climbed on all five continents, been a mountain biker for 32 years, raced motorbikes and sailed the Atlantic with his wife, Meilee Rafe, a climber.

There is a very long way to the top of Everest, but he says: “You just get on with it. Every day is different and exciting.”