Hi, my name is Simon, I’m a marathon runner, aspiring running coach, apple pie addict and this blog is all about my running story.
It all began when I was 11 years old. I was cold, muddy, tired, and stood in the middle of a field. And it was miserable. I was enduring my first experience of rugby and had already decided that I hated it. I must have cut a pretty forlorn picture because my unforgiving PE teacher took pity on me and sent me back to the changing rooms. I was clearly a lost cause! A week later I was back in the field. I was again cold, muddy, and tired. But this time I was exhilarated. I had just had my first experience of cross country running. I was instantly hooked. Partly because it wasn’t rugby, but mostly because I discovered I had a modicum of talent for running. I was immediately drafted into the school cross country team and so began my love affair with running. Yep, that means I was the weird skinny kid at school that actually enjoyed running up hills and through puddles on freezing conditions.
Soon after I joined a running club, won my first County vest, and went on to have some success as a junior, including a national honours with my County, and culminating in becoming UK 3000m champion.
I was forced to take a prolonged break from running in my late twenties due partly to injury and partly because, honestly, I started chasing girls (not literally, that would have surely landed me in a lot of trouble!). it wasn’t long before running took a back seat to going to nightclubs, drinking a little too much, and attempting to dance. I call these my experimental years. They served only to prove that I can’t handle my beer, I can’t dance, and I’m socially awkward around pretty girls! A few too many late nights later I had a ‘moment of clarify’ and realised that I was wasting my life in night clubs. I resolved to get back in to shape immediately.
Looking back I now realise that it was entirely misguided to try my return to running the morning after the night before. Having rolled in at 5:30am I rolled back out again at 7:30am. If I’m kind to myself I’d describe that first run as heroic. If I’m honest I’d say to was a complete disaster. I must have looked like a drunken lunatic to the early morning dog walkers in the park. I was wearing bermuda shorts, a polo short, and football boots and I stank of tequila. I managed a sluggish 2.5 miles. Still, from little acorns and all that.
I’ve come a long way since my misguided and tentative return to running. Over the last few years I’ve started to take running more seriously and would now proudly describe myself as an athlete (and with no hint of sarcasm). I own a mountain of running kit, regularly run 6 times a week, and even stretch….occasionally. More importantly the good people of Birmingham no longer have to endure my drunken dancing!
My running highlights of the last few years include taking an hour off my marathon pb, running 72 miles around the Isle of Wight (no, I don’t know why!), and finishing the New York half marathon in 75 minutes – in fact I’m more proud of the fact I was described as an international athlete in New York. I didn’t correct them. I’ve also lined up on the same start line as running legend Haile Gebreselaisse at the Birmingham Half marathon – sadly he had a little too much for me on the day, but then so did a man dressed as banana…a fact my running buddies often remind me of!
I’m now looking to take my running to the next level and have challenged myself to achieve a top 250 UK ranking in the marathon. I’ve created this blog as a record of my attempt, including details of my training, my highs and lows, things that inspire me, and any thoughts I have along the way. There’ll be absolutely no mention of rugby whatsoever but I’m making no promises that tequila won’t appear at some point!
So, I hope you find something of interest on my blog. If you do please feel free to let me know and share your own thoughts – its good to know at least someone is reading!