Firstly a big thank you to Paul and Full Stride for the invitation to write a blog for the site. Having been really active since an early age and throughout my professional career working as a gym instructor, personal trainer and exercise rehabilitation instructor 2011 proved to be a bit of a fitness turning point for me.
Playing Sunday league football was becoming a battle against injuries rather than for enjoyment due to previously suffering two bad dislocations of my right knee, so I made the hard decision to pack in playing and take up another activity which would allow me to stay fit but without the constant worry of getting regular injuries. The answer was to take up running!
Although I have always been into fitness and did the occasional outdoor run, up until this point I hadn’t thought about taking up running as a hobby.
After doing a bit of research and speaking to a few of my friends who were already taking part in local events and races I decided to enter my first race which was the North Tyneside 10k road race which goes from North Shields to the seafront at Whitley Bay. The run itself was well organised with a great atmosphere, I finished in a time of 48mins which I thought for my first 10k was great. Loved everything about the day and got a great buzz out crossing the finishing line with people cheering you on. I had got the running bug.
Here’s one of my favourite running quotes:
“Head down and let the legs do the talking.” – Author Unknown
Over the next few weeks I was hitting the running hard and loving every minute of it, couldn’t wait to run my next race. I entered a few more events, then another one of my friends sent me a link on Facebook asking if I wanted to enter the Kielder Marathon. At first I was a bit nervous about giving it ago with only running short distances, but I am always up for a challenge so thought what the hell I’ll give it ago and what better event to enter for my first marathon, an event that has been named Britain’s most beautiful race.
I searched on line for a marathon training programme and over the next 16 weeks followed this week by week up until race day. I must admit that throughout the 16 weeks I found some of the long run days a bit of a slog but knew I would need to get these under my belt in order to get through the brutal terrain of Kielder. Steve Cram and his army of organisers weren’t wrong when they named Kielder Britain’s most beautiful race (or should that be brutal), it was one of the hardest things I have ever done with driving rain and wind but the buzz and feeling I got crossing the finish line at Leaplish was something that I had never experience before.
Over the past 12 months I have completed many different events including Kielder again, the great north run, Sunderland Darlington and Middlesborough 10k, Hamsterley 10k, Karrimor Great Trail Challenge and Grizedale trail run, to name just a few. I have recently joined the Elvet Striders running club in Durham which has made a big difference to my running. Although I love hitting the roads and trails on my own, I am finding it a lot easier running in a group and I am feeling the benefits of being pushed.
Running now has become a big part of my life, there is nothing better than pulling on the running shoes, sticking the headphones in, getting out in the fresh air, switching off from the world and banging out the miles. Also the feeling you get crossing the finish line after pushing hard completing and event is priceless.
Look forward to telling you about my running adventure over the next 12 months.