Why run? My running story.
Updated: May 7, 2020
Running is often a passion project for people - there's usually a reason why they started running, or continue to run, and I'm no different.
In my late 20's whilst playing football, I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligaments on both knees. Anyone who has had the same experience will know about the rehab and what it means for ‘twisting and turning’ - my footballing and martial arts days were firmly over.
Soon after, one of my best friends from school, Grant, asked me if I wanted to run the London Marathon for charity…..we were in a pub…so of course the answer was yes. In 2012 we ran for the Garwood Foundation, a charity that Lucy - Grant's fantastic wife - was working with. That thrill of turning the corner at Buckingham Palace and having enough in the tank to open my legs and kick was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life….after that it was never going to be my last time.
Over the following years, I ran a few more marathons: Edinburgh, Bristol-Bath – the one and only time that happened - and a number of half marathons. I found that once I had the confidence in my body that the distance could be achieved, these challenges became mentally easier, although not always physically!
Then my life changed dramatically: I had two wonderful children (Isla and Bobby), work became increasingly demanding after a promotion and soon after, my marriage broke down. I went through a huge upheaval both literally and emotionally but soon things started to settle. I’ll talk about mental health and running in another post, because for me they’ve been intrinsically linked, and never more so than at this point in my life.
Soon, the clouds began to clear; my partner Sophie and I moved to a small village, Bitton, and this couldn't have been a wiser choice. Not only was it slap bang in the middle of the countryside right on the 16 mile cycle path between Bristol and Bath but it allowed me to be close to my children.
I was then able to meet some of the most influential people in my life – Bitton Road Runners. My experience from day one was a warm welcome, a chat with Terry, the Head Coach about my running experience and what I wanted to achieve. I haven’t looked back since. As a result of working with the team I lost over a stone of weight, my marathon time went from 4hrs 12mins to 3hrs 47mins but more importantly I felt fitter, stronger and I’d started to rebuild my feeling of self-worth.
With my new found confidence, I started to explore the world of the Ultra Marathon - a whole new realm of running compared to what I was used to, but one I instantly fell in love with. I managed to complete The Green Man Summer in 2019 and found I was strong enough to complete the distance but needed some help with my training and technique, having quickly developed tendonitis in my heel.
It was at Bitton Road Runners that I met Ash, responsible for one of my sponsors on this 500 mile journey: Kinetic Sports. Ash is rocket fuelled. Absolutely rapid quick but also a great guy. He’s helped me in a number of ways over the last year or so. He identified why I drag my feet and gave me some great exercises to work on. He also got me ready for the Gower 50 Ultra showing me how to counteract the tendonitis. As soon as Soph and I had talked this through I knew that I’d need Ash in the camp. So I was really pleased when he agreed to work on this project with me.
As soon as one enters the Ultra Marathon world, it's impossible to avoid hearing about Marathon Des Sables, coined: 'the toughest foot race on earth'. Much to Sophie and Isla's dismay (!) I knew I needed to do it. How better than to coincide the training and lead up to this race with raising money for a wonderful cause. Moreover, little Chloe's father - one of my closest friends, Jamie - helped me through some dark days. It's time I repaid the favour.
So, why run? Running to me means so much more than exercise. It's been vital for my mental health, my motivation and is now serving as a purpose to help a greater good.