So, …. welcome to what I think is called my blog, and to those of you that know me as a publicity shy technophobe, stop laughing. This is probably scarier than the prospect of what I’m about to attempt !
I ran my first marathon in London in 1996 as something to tick off the list, after which running took a back seat as my wife Sharon and I settled in to a happily married life.
Health issues tried to interrupt that happy life, more of which can be found in other parts of this blog. And so I started making tentative steps back into the running world in 2012 as a way of coping with Sharon’s ill-health, in the hope that I would be better able to support her.
By 2013 running had become more than just a coping mechanism and the passion was well and truly returning. Running was helping, and like so many others I wanted to give back. I entered the ballot for the 2014 London Marathon and was lucky enough to get a place to run my second marathon 18 years after my first. I joined the parkrun family late in 2013, and training for London started shortly afterwards.
Despite a few early setbacks I stuck to (most of) my training plan, and completed my second London Marathon raising over £800 for Cancer Research UK, running around 15 minutes quicker than my considerably younger self 18 years earlier and joining the sub 4 hour club.
Most marathon runners will be familiar with the well used phrase “never again”, uttered when light of head, sore of feet and exhausted of breath after crossing the finish line of a race that we’d actually paid for the ‘pleasure’ of competing in. Yep, I did that ….. and within about 20 minutes like most marathon runners I wanted to do another one !
And so I entered, but was unsuccessful in the ballot for London 2015. As a result I made a decision which unbeknown to me at the time would have a massive impact on my running and my life to date. I entered the Paris Marathon instead and met an amazing group of runners that are BCRC.
Life changed immeasurably during 2014 / 2015 and running quite rightly became fairly insignificant for some time.
I was due to run Paris for Macmillan Cancer Support in April 2015, Sharon wanted me to run but I doubted whether I wanted to. Having raised over £1300, and with the support of family and friends, old and very new, I completed my third marathon with Sharon constantly in my thoughts in the city we loved so much.
2015 continued to be a year I didn’t want to be involved in, and so punctuated by visits to The Fire Fighters Charity, The Loss Foundation and friends, I threw myself into running. Three weeks after Paris I ran over 19 miles in The Wings for Life World Run in Ypres, Belgium which wasn’t pretty …. the run, not Ypres. Approximately 5 weeks later, I ran my fourth marathon personal best in Liverpool.
It was around this time that I had the idea to create a memorial and fundraising year. I wanted to raise money for charity, I needed Sharon to be remembered and I needed to run. Running was helping, we’d been married for twenty wonderful and eventful years, it almost made sense !
Running continued to help fill my time throughout the summer, and after being encouraged to run Amsterdam by the amazing runners of BCRC, and knowing I’d need to slow down a bit in 2016 with the thought of running twenty, I got stuck in to a full training plan with a view to seeing what my little legs could really do.
Amsterdam in October 2015 was what I needed. I’d prepared fairly well, I was meeting up with the most supportive group of runners you could ever hope to meet and I felt physically strong. Race day came, the support was there, the city was beautiful, the weather was cold and wet and I took another 16 minutes off of my personal best, and around an hour off of my first marathon in 1996.
Planning for the year is well under way, all twenty are now booked in, kicking off in Milton Keynes on January 3rd.
My fundraising page is live :
and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support for it already. Thank you to everybody who has that much faith in me that you’ve donated already ! and thank you to everyone supporting me in other ways too. It means a lot.
Please do take a look at the page. It gives a lot more information about the charities I’m running for, with links to their webpages.
Adjusting to this new life has been without doubt the toughest challenge I’m ever likely to face. Not a minute goes by when I don’t think of my beautiful wife, and I miss her desperately. Sharon was the best thing that ever happened to me, and it goes without saying that losing her was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
Without the support I’ve had from some family, friends, colleagues, The Fire Fighters Charity, The Loss Foundation and without running I doubt I’d be able to do 2016.
Let’s see if I can …..