SINCE leaving the classroom teacher Sam Boatwright packed plenty into his summer break.

The business studies teacher at St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College, Bradford, undertook one of the most challenging adventures in his life culminating in the perfect fairytale finale - his marriage to his girlfriend, Kerry Germany.

After schools closed for the summer, Sam headed off to New York where, on July 24, he set off from Times Square on his mammoth fundraiser - but it wasn't all plain sailing as he explains and there were plenty of pitfalls along the way during his five week Epic Adventure.

Sam's journey began running down to Manhattan island, out of New York and towards Philadelphia. Following a brief photo stop at the White House in Washington DC, Sam pushed north to Chicago to the start of Route 66.

"I have always loved the allure of Route 66, the "Mother road," its iconic status and just authentic feel," he explains.

"I wanted something that was going to be tough with different terrains, accents and lifestyles. I also wanted to be able to say I had crossed a continent. Other ideas included Africa and Antarctica but I wanted to be able to take the team with me and also had to think about budget."

Sam recalls the journey to the "Mother road" was 'amazing.' "Heading out of Pennsylvania into Ohio and Indianapolis then onto Illinois. Route 66 was not what I expected at all. I expected a remote, almost deserted road, where houses and shops are few and far between. This was not the case. Many parts are desolate, ghost towns or run down ruins but you are never far from civilisation."

Across America, Sam headed into the heat of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. "The temperatures soared and became the main daily battle. We finished through Arizona and finally into California 32 days after setting off.

"Everyday I alternated between running and cycling. 50 mile run one day followed by 150 miles on my bike the next. On one particular day I managed to run 62.5 miles as the previous day I had not quite managed my mileage."

Sam recalls one of the hardest challenges was dealing with the desert.

"The desert was not something I had ever dealt with before in this capacity. The heat changed from humid and sticky to hotter and incredibly dry. As we moved west the temperature climbed. Dry dust caked me from the desert making visibility tough."

Climbing the Appalachian mountains was one of the most punishing routes resulting in Sam losing one stone in weight in one day!

"Climb after climb broke me down. I could never truly relax at the top as I could see the next climb coming up. It filled me with dread and I just wanted to get off."

Sam, who has written a blog - Epicrun - on Facebook and a book about his adventure 'Wrong Side of the Road' which is due out early December, recalls many highlights including the brutal 50 mile run through the Continental Divide that climbed from 4,000 to 7,000 feet in one day.

The run on to Santa Monica Pier was probably one of the most emotional moments. "A brilliant day, euphoric, amazing day," he recalls.

After a team meal in Los Angeles, they spent the rest of their time relaxing in LA and four days in Las Vegas where Sam and Kerry married - the perfect finale to his Epic Adventure.

Working off all that weight, Sam was conscious his wedding suit may not fit - it did -with the help of a belt!

"My legs had actually grown and become more muscular, so round my thigh was very tight. My waist was down quite a lot," he says.

Adding: "It was everything we wanted it to be and the best way to end the adventure."

Says Kerry: "I was worried at first about Sam and the effect it would have on his health and his body, but on that last day at the end of Santa Monica Pier I couldn't have been prouder of what he had achieved."

The couple met at a gym in Skipton and Sam recalls his romantic proposal during a holiday to Goa at Christmas.

"I proposed at an old fort at the end of the beach as the sun set."

Incidentally, they married in a sunset ceremony at the Chapel of Flowers in Vegas surrounded by parents, grandparents and the rest of the Epic Adventure team.

"The wedding day was perfect," says Kerry.

Following his Epic Adventure Sam returned to the classroom.

"I love my job and the place I work," he says.

But are there any more epic adventures in the pipeline?

"If it was up to my Mum then no!" says Sam, hinting that New Zealand could be the next destination. Watch this space....

So far Sam, who served in the forces at 16, has raised £6,215 for the charity Help for Heroes. Previous challenges include a 2,500 mile run over 50 days around the UK coastline and cycling non-stop from John O' Groat's to Land's End.

Sam will be talking about his Epic Adventure; "In Conversation with Sam Boatwright - NYC to LA" takes place from 7.30 until 9.30pm at Skipton Town Hall on Saturday November 18.

Fifty per cent of the proceeds will be donated to Help for Heroes and it is already booking up fast. For bookings, or for more information, call 07584 304754; email or visit Skipton Town Hall tourist information centre based in the Town Hall on High Street. To pre-order Sam's book visit