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What a difference a year makes! In the image above, the left image was taken on September 20th, 2018 and the right image, September 24th, 2019.
“You are fat John….” Words uttered by my mother on August 31, 2018. My mother only comes to see me in London, on average, once a year….
So, it was at this point I knew I had to do something regarding my fitness, or rather the lack of anything acutely resembling fitness.
I had thought that something should be done a few weeks earlier, as I’d agreed to go to Sitges, Barcelona, with a friend of mine, in mid-September 2018, who’s fitness levels resemble an Olympic athlete, and the thought of appearing on a beach next to him, filled me with dread!
Factor in to this that plans were well under way recruiting supporters for the Red Run London 2018 in London’s Victoria Park, and as Operations Manager of Spectra, one of the charities supported, I’ve always felt a responsibility to participate and support the runners running to raise money for us, you have a case of practicing what I preach, perhaps?
So, I downloaded the Couch25K mobile app, hoped my ageing knees wouldn’t let me down, and start to run.
During the first few weeks, most training runs were almost done under the cover of darkness, but then fitting the runs in became a challenge and knew I couldn’t hide away forever, so one of the first few outdoor runs was on the break in Sitges, supported by aforementioned athletic travel companion. See left hand
Over the following nine weeks, I managed to graduate the app, be officially called a “runner” and do 5K in 30 minutes, but then had just 5 weeks before run day of Dec 1, 2018, to be manage 10k, in any amount of time.
During that five weeks I increased the distance by approximately a kilometre a week, even managing a “practice” 10k, to see how long it would take. Along with my then flat mate, who I’d managed to get to run as well, we completed it in 01:08:53, which was just fine by me.
On run day the combination of atmosphere, the crowds, fellow runners and support team were amazing, managing to complete the run, and what’s more amazing to me, is that I managed to do it under an hour, well it was an official recorded time of 59:59, but technically under an hour, and same time as someone 20 years younger than me, not that I’m gloating or anything…….
It was with much wonder and amazement from many of my friends, family and colleagues that this was happening, seeing as in the first year I did the run, it had taken me over an hour to walk the 5K option, but they had faith and rewarded with almost £1000 in sponsorship, contributing to Team Spectra’s overall figure raised of nearly £5000.
Since then, I’ve continued to run, managed to lose over three stone in weight, which is probably why the knees are still holding out, averaging a couple of 5K’s a week to maintain a moderate level of fitness.
Add in another 10K in June of this year to support the inaugural Pride in London 10K in Hyde Park in June, and you have someone who’s gone from zero exercise to almost run junkie.
The reason I wanted to share this with you, is that if someone like me can do a run, then ANYONE can do a run! Seriously some of my friends and family, still can’t believe this has happened.
As to my mother’s visit this year to London, I was met with “You’re too thin…..”
As well maybe next year I might be “just right….”
As well as benefitting your health, you can also do it to support a charity and raise
money at the same time for them.
So know that when you’re pledging money in sponsorship for my run, know it is being used to help support the services that we provide in the community to help educate and inform people regarding HIV, safe sexual health practices, including information on PrEP and services available to the Trans community, including counselling, peer mentoring and social groups.
For more information on how you can join in this year’s Red Run London 2019, go to www.redrun.org.uk
This year’s run even gives you a 5K walk opportunity. Whatever you choose, be assured that it is a great day, that attracts over a 1000 runners and supporters, all
joining together for a common cause.