How did it come to this?

It was US comedian and actor Steven Wright that quiped "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time".  Although this was a joke it is also very true and is the basis upon which I plan on mentally overcoming the longest, most arduous undertaking of my life so far.

In 2009 I ran my first full marathon.  I didn't win.... I didn't come last either.  I did come in at precise below average for my age group.  However, the timing didn't matter to me, nor did the preceding week of broken muscles and aching bones bother me.  No, to me the only thing that mattered was I had achieved a boyhood dream of taking part in the London marathon.  This was an event I'd watched as a child and thought "I don't know how they do it but I would love to be part of that".

That dream laid dormant for many years.  It laid dormant until I started to find a purpose in life circa 2003. That purpose was to be a better Dad to my - as yet - unborn daughter. I left my previous life behind and changed my entire life all in under a year. It was a whirlwind year that left me feeling as though I could accomplish anything! I set about challenging myself. The first goal being to run the Silverstone half marathon in 2004. I trained relatively hard but looking back I did not have a clue what I was doing! I explain to people now that when I first started running the thought of running 1 mile seemed ridiculous... but I did it; then the thought of running 5 miles seemed liked a mountain to climb... but I did it. This pattern carried on until I found myself easily covering a 4 mile circuit in training and wanting more. I continued to up the mileage without any real structure. I just fitted in a few miles here and there, and then tried to do a long run at weekends when time would allow.

Race day - I was completely ill prepared - wearing a hooded top (that I wanted to keep), no means of stopping the inevitable chaffing,  I recall it being cold to start but within a mile being roasting hot. I turned up late for the start... in fact I ran to the start from the parking area half a mile away.  I was one of the last, if not the last person to cross the start line. I played 'catch up' all the way round the Silverstone course.  I remember seeing someone being sick within 3 miles and at that moment I thought "what have I let myself in for?!"

As the miles went by 1 by 1 I started to gather confidence and I also settled into my natural stride.  I passed people, people passed me. All was good until mile 11 where I had been saying in my head "mile 12 coming up, not far to go!" Unfortunately I had miss counted and when I saw the mile 11 marker I felt completely deflated. "YOU HAVE AN EXTRA MILE TO RUN!!" was the voice inside screaming at me. Of course there was no 'extra' mile at all but that voice beat me that day. I walked and felt like I'd failed because I came in at just over 2 hours.

Of course I hadn't failed and those feelings of deflation and failure ebbed away. I started to look at other half marathons and I eventually broke the 2 hour barrier in 2008 at the Reading half marathon. I then met and lived with someone who showed me that with the right training and determination you can overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles.