Learning to Run

When I was at school I wasn’t particularly good at sport. Enthusiastic, but not good. 

I couldn’t dribble so was last in the queue when picking teams for footy.  I couldn’t catch or throw so cricket was out, and everyone seemed to be faster than me and so with  asthma there seemed little point in running.

The one event I enjoyed doing was the 1500m. I was the slowest, every time but I consoled myself that I had finished and that having two boys who ran for the county in my race was hardly a fair comparison. 

When I was about to leave school I suddenly shot up. I went from 5th shortest lad In the year to among the ten tallest!

I grew legs and discovered that the lads who had beat me up and beaten me in the flat race on sports day since time immemorial were now easy to avoid. These legs had a stride which could outpace most of the lads in my year now.

By the time I discovered this new tool, I had left school and so sports day was just a memory and to me it all seemed like too little, too late.

I wasn’t aware of running clubs and didn’t think there was any point in approaching athletics clubs as I didn’t know how or what they would do.

As an asthmatic I struggled with breathing and so was never able to get far enough to build the stamina for running.

So I avoided sport, generally. But when at College I had an evening job in town, my shift finished 5 minutes after the bus left and so I would have a 20 minute wait for another. I took to racing the bus from Market Street to Victoria Centre as it went round the blocks and picked up the extra passengers.

But then I started to run for fun. I used to run the bus route, with a couple of shortcuts, to see how far I could get before the bus caught up with me. I would regularly reach Sneinton Crossing (halfway home) before the bus caught up with me. Despite this I didn’t get involved in any running events. 

I left college and started work and forgot all about sport. Marriage and children requires dedication and devotion and so once again I forgot about sport.

A sponsored event at work a few years ago came along. A sponsored Santa Fun Run. I trained for it and surprised myself at my renewed stamina.

A previous job working nights at a supermarket had caused me to gain weight in a favourable way and I gained 30 about pounds. In 2 months I had gone from 10 1/2 to 12 1/2 stones (147 pounds to 175 pounds)

No longer a skinny weakling in danger of being blown away by a gust of wind, I now filled my broad frame and my lungs were stronger, asthma no longer an issue.

I started to run 5km regularly 2 to 3 times per week and increased my distance up to 10km to raise money for a trip to work with a children’s charity in India.

After the event I stopped training. The. A year ago a friend I’d made through my drama society encouraged me along to the local ParkRun. I took part and was pleased with the noticeable improvements in my fitness and performance.

Yet again I lost interest a little as Summer’s heat took my breath away. Having moved house in the New Year I determined to persevere with the running and booked myself a place in a Half Marathon in my hometown of Nottingham for September as an inspiration and target to get me out of bed on Saturday morning.

Since then I’ve seen my time splits plummet as I’ve turned up each week, joined the local running club and signed up for an additional half marathon this Sunday, the Ramathon in Derby.

I used to think that sport was something I would never be good at. Some people just had it and some, like me, didn’t. But I have realised that some sports are less about skill and more about practice.

Anyone can run. How often and how far is up to you, but anyone can do it. I’m already looking ahead to next year for my first marathon.  I’m not the fittest person, but I’ve learned that with hard work and determination I can achieve much more than I ever thought possible and so can you!

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