My running, like most people, started at school and I was one of the strange kids that actually enjoyed cross country and joined the Norton school running club. I remember watching the early London Marathons and being in awe and thinking only proper athletes did that. I was never any good, but I enjoyed it.
Well, again like lots of people, when I finished school the running stopped and for me alcohol and motorbikes became much more interesting, and at the age of 25 I started motorcycle racing. Not long after I started I realised that I needed to get myself fit again, so along with cycling I started jogging again. It was slow and probably no more than a couple of miles (no Garmin then). It definitely helped though, and after about 7 or 8 years of it and a few 2nd 3rd and 4th places in national club championships, and of course meeting my now wife Jo - I like to tell her she’s the best trophy I ever won! Well, it all went a bit wrong with a 120 mph crash at Cadwell Park and a shattered hand/wrist/arm and nearly 4 months off work!!! So with a mortgage to pay we decided maybe it was time to pack it in and be sensible - although I’m still thinking of having another go!!!
So over the next few years again running dropped out of my life and with career changes that eventually took me to lorry driving for Sainsburys my fitness dropped and my weight rocketed, so I took up golf and after seeing a photo of a charity golf day that my wife took and seeing 6 or 7 typical rather round truck drivers I was horrified that I was the one in the middle (getting close to 18 stone). So it was off to GL14 gym (now Bannatynes) and having improved my fitness a bit I spotted a poster for Standalone 10k (2008 I think) and my gym instructor challenged me to do it, so I started running to the gym and back very slowly with a workout in the middle and then realised I enjoyed the running much more than the gym. Well Standalone arrived and I was so pleased/surprised to finish in 59 minutes that I was hooked so I carried on doing more running and my next 2 Standalone’s got slower by a minute each time!!! So my neighbour convinced me to join the Road Runners as they were doing a beginners group. Well what a difference training and encouragement made: 2011 Standalone was done in 54 minutes (I think).
More 10ks followed, getting down to 50 minutes and 10 mile races and half marathons, my first being St Albans, and I remember finishing in about 2 hours 30 and saying “I am never doing anything like that again”. Well later that day I was entering another one!!!
And then I just thought I’d put in for the London Marathon because I won’t get in.........well you guessed it: Got in first time! Again, with help/advice and great encouragement from the fantastic club, I was so pleased - not to say amazed - to finish in 4h 23 and ran all the way. I’ve now done 5 marathons which I would have said was impossible as that 18 stone trucker.
I have to thank the wonderful members and coaches for all the help, encouragement and fun over the years, and I feel I have made some great friends at the club too. Recently, I have been struggling with my running mojo, but I’m still getting great encouraging messages from club friends that are getting me to put those trainers on and get out there. And like the kid at school, I’m still never going to be any good, but I enjoy it.