From ‘No Run’ to ‘Mo Run’ in a year…. By Malcolm Saunders
My story of my start to running, to entering a half marathon in which Mo Farah is competing:
I have participated in many sports over the years, including football, horse-riding, trampolining, gymnastics, kickboxing, Thai-boxing…..but I had always envied those who could just chuck their trainers on and go out running for hours. I had tried many times over the years to persevere on getting further than the end of my road before wanting to cough, splutter and walk back home, but I had never got past running 5 kilometres…..even taking a breather halfway through!
But what hurt the most was all of my friends on the Nike Running App were kicking my backside! All doing 8/10/15ks a lot more regularly than my weekly 5k struggle!
So one evening in September 2014, after mentally geeing myself up all day, I set out determined to keep on running through the pain barrier, not stopping halfway through a 5k run. I had half planned a route and was going to see how far I could push myself. I set out and ran….and ran….and ran…..8 kilometres!!!!!! I was over the moon!!!! I hit my usual barrier but persevered and didn’t stop and actually started feeling OK?!
Which tells me that maybe I should have kept pushing all those years before, because now I know that the pain barrier was just my body warming up, going from cold to hot within 10 minutes, then levelling out.
Of course, 8k is close to 10k (my competitive brain yelled to itself!!!) So after another comfortable 8k I attempted to run 10k……and did it!!! I was elated, I actually thought I was Mo Farah?!?!
So with 10k under my belt, I began to push myself for faster times, my first was just over the hour, but those times slowly dropped, 59mins…..58mins…..and almost a year later my fastest 10k is down to 50mins 30seconds. Which after a bit of research I have found isn’t a too shabby time for a 44-year-old.
Around this time a good friend asked me if I would like to join him in running The Great North Run in Newcastle – a half Marathon – around 21 kilometres in September 2015. I said yes half hoping it was all talk on his behalf! But he had genuine reasons for wanting to run this event, 3 years ago his Son was extremely ill and had to spend 4 months in intensive care after having a tracheostomy fitted. The care was provided by The Sick Children’s Trust who gave them quality accommodation (a family room) in Eckersley House next to Leeds General. By staying next to the hospital they could give their Son the best support possible, and learn how to care for him properly once they took him home. Therefore we are both running to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust.
The training was hard, to begin with, but it becomes very addictive, because not only are you trying to beat your friends monthly/weekly runs, you are constantly trying to beat your own personal records, both distances and times. After 10k was 13k, then 14k……then and occasional 16k. I now often run home from Romax in Greenwich to Belvedere……it’s quite a buzz! But a good friend who runs once told me not to actually do the Half Marathon distance until race day, which I haven’t, just an 18.5k run last week, which I was quite comfortable with.
So, as the title says, ‘No Run’ to ‘Mo Run’, Mo Farah is in fact running this race too Sunday 13th September, albeit he will be running a time around half of what I am capable of, I am actually competing in the same race as him, and it’s an achievement I am quite proud of.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope I have inspired someone to get out there and run, it’s ironically quite relaxing and a great way to get away from it all. And if you wanted to sponsor me, please follow the link below, thanks again. HERE
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