I don’t remember much of my childhood but can remember having to stay in Leicester with my godmother whilst my dad moved to Mablethorpe, as I was in some running competition to do with Leicester schools, the weather was bad and it got cancelled a couple of times, so I sadly never ran in it and eventually moved to Mablethorpe.
I was 10, I loved running and moved to secondary school that year 1981. At school I ran 800m 1500m and cross country, our course was along the beach through the sandhills and along the ups and downs (Quebec Road) I won many a race and started competing for the school and in the four counties etc.
While all this was going on I noticed problems with my sight especially at night, but thought nothing of it as at the age of 4 my dad was told I didn’t have a problem and never would. At about 16/17 I stopped running as my sight by now was quite bad (I have retinitis pigmentosa which causes night blindness, cataracts and severe tunnel vision, later in life I developed macular oedema, petit mal epilepsy and COPD ).
Within a few years I smoked, had a family etc but in the back of my mind I wished I could have carried on running. I know my dad regretted me packing in, he always thought i was special and thought I’d maybe have a career to do with running but all parents think that about their children don’t they? Who knows what would have been if my sight hadn’t failed me and there were the facilities and knowledge that there are/is now.
27 years past, mid Jan 2015 I stopped smoking, as in November 2014 I was diagnosed as having COPD, and then I lost my dad 31 Jan 2015, even though he been quite ill it wasn’t expected so was a shock. It hit me hard and I didn’t know what to do, the next few months were a daze. Dad was a member of Blind Veterans UK and they had helped him often over the years, so I had a look on their website to see if there was anything I could do to raise some money for them and they were looking for people to run the London Marathon, I mean how hard could it be I was reasonably fit (so I thought), I applied.
I found out a couple of days before Halloween that I had a place and Halloween 2015 I ran/walked my first unofficial (without a barcode) Parkrun with my dog and a lady called Sharon who showed me the route, over the next fortnight I ran the route every other day and on the 14th of November 2015 I ran my first official Parkrun with my dog, he was the only guide I had, still wondering how on earth I would train for a marathon, how boring 26 laps of Sandal Park would be, and who would run it with me, obviously it wouldn’t be my dog.
In the meantime I’d joined a craft class and the lady who ran it Susan told me about Doncaster Pacers, at first I was told they didn’t have a regular guide but that all changed on the 19th of November as I had my first official run with Doncaster Pacers guided by Rose we did 3 mile round the lake and it was brilliant, since then I’ve ran with them twice a week, I’ve done time trials, fartlek, intervals and even ran with the beginners to give them some encouragement, there are now several guides and always someone willing to learn, we regularly meet up at weekends for a long run and drink and sneaky cake afterwards.
There are so many inspirational people in the group, if it wasn’t for them I haven’t a clue how I would have trained for this Marathon but I know now with their expert advice and encouragement and my guide Sharon whom I have met through Pacers I will complete it with true Pacer Passion.
I cannot thank them enough I’ve gone from sat around doing nothing to out running 5 days/nights a week and what I’ve achieved in less than four months is still unbelievable but it puts a great big smile on my face when I think about it. As for my original four legged guide on a Saturday morning that’s still our run day, he fetches my trainers (if I’ve forgot to box them up) and bounces around as he knows this is his run, he will always be my Parkrun buddy/guide and together we get our PBs (as we did last Saturday we ran it in 28-12 and took a minute of our old PB), he also might be guiding me on my first official 10k in March as my guide is injured and two others are away so unless I get another volunteer he’s my guide.
I’ve entered a few more races too (7) all before July 2 x 5k, 2 more x 10k, a 9 mile, half marathon and a colour run obstacle course (should be interesting) a fortnight ago my guide Sharon who is doing the London Marathon and me decided to do two of the Cusworth 3 x 10k races as part of our marathon training. The first was a road race, the second a trail and I enjoyed them both that much I decided to do the third!! 30k and Cusworth Hill twice brings a new meaning to “onwards and upwards” doesn’t it lol So here’s to all the people like the old me that think “I can’t do that” and the “I won’t be able to do that” you can and you will just like the new me Happy running x