As a child I hated most sports. I still do, and am one of the very rare males who can’t stand football. I think my problem is that I am inherently non-competitive which really is not a great trait if you want to excel at sport.
Running was one of those activities I tried infrequently, but found I was always totally exhausted after about 2miles, so thought this was yet another sport I was destined to be useless at so left it for many, many years.
5 years ago, in fact I remember it was October 2011 I had a mid life crisis. I was moving very close to 50 years of age, felt unhealthy and considered that I needed to do something about it as I realised it was not sustainable. I would never have classed myself as fat, but I was clearly overweight and out of physical shape. It was at that time that I spoke with a colleague who was a keen runner, and she suggested I take up running. I explained my hopeless efforts to enjoy running in the past, but she gave me some very helpful tips. Firstly she said not to expect too much too soon, to take things very steady and increase distance gradually. Also the key thing was not to start runs too fast, but to build pace gradually.
So it was that I took on board this advice and started going out for regular runs. I remember well my first attempt, which was a run/walk for about 1½ miles. I remember feeling hopelessly exhausted at the end, red faced, wheezing and looking pretty beaten. Normally I would at this point have simply given up and said I had tired, but this time I decided to stick at it. My motivation was my desire to do this for myself, so I could at least give my body a chance of a healthy life. I also deeply wanted to feel fit again.
And so it was that I kept running regularly, gradually increasing my distances. 1 ½ miles soon became 2 then 3, 4 and really not much longer 5 miles. I just couldn’t believe I was able to run 5 miles without stopping. But I was doing it, regularly!
I then decided I needed to challenge myself by entering a race. I therefore chose Longleat 10k race in Jan 2012. Yes a 10k after only 3 months. I remember arriving at the event alone thinking I had made a very bad decision, after hearing about those dreaded hills! Was I mad? I finished the race bang on 1 hour. I was elated, and I can’t explain how chuffed I was to get my first medal. Roll on 5 years and you can almost get a bit apathetic about them now.
Longleat was followed in March 2012 by Devizes 10k, and by now the bug had pretty well bitten me, and I have continued to run on a regular basis and infrequently enter races ever since. I ran my first half marathon in Salisbury in 2016 with a time of 1hr 50sec. I have also revisited Longleat 10k just recently in Feb 2017, 5 years since I did it last and was hoping for some improvement. I’m pleased to say I came in at 50mins. So that was a great feeling!!!
I have been regularly running and thoroughly enjoying it ever since. I would never have thought I would say this but I love this sport. Nobody judges me, my performance is my thing and if I decide to try and PB then great, but if not so what? I feel fit and healthy and have lost 2 stone in weight since I started. It really has been the best decision I have made, and I owe a huge thank-you to the colleague who simply gave me the help and advice on how to start.
The big thing in my life now has been starting the Shrewton Running Club and becoming affiliated to England Athletics. A very proud moment, and I get so much pleasure seeing new people coming to running in much the same way as myself and watching them enjoy this fantastic sport.