In May 2012 I had never run before, I was a smoker and not very active apart from biking to work. We were at some friends on a Saturday night attending a birthday party when I became cold and started to shiver. The next day I was coughing, had a fever and was not feeling very good. We put it down to a really bad cold but after 2 weeks I was not getting any better so booked in to see the doctor. They did some checks and within an hour of walking in to the doctors I was in hospital being rigged up to various drips as the doctor diagnosed me with pneumonia.
At this point it was just me as my wife was at work so unable to contact. It turned out I was pretty ill as I spent 9 days in hospital, had about 18 bags of saline and roughly 20 blood tests. Once I was back at home I was on home leave from work for 6 months which was really hard as even getting up from bed to walk to the front room was hard work. Once I was ready to be signed off and get back to work we had our last meeting with the doctor at which point they told us that I was lucky to get out of hospital alive, at this point we realised how severe it was. The doctor said I needed to get some fitness back so I decided at that point (January 2013) that I would run the Peterborough half marathon with some friends from work. I completed the run in October 2013 and felt like I was going to die in the last couple of miles but I did it. That was the ignition point for my running journey.
In 2014 I started doing parkrun at Ferry Meadows in Peterborough and soon got hooked. It became part of my week and with that I started taking part in more local races like obstacle races, 10km and half marathons. I became pretty good in 5km, 10km and half's and started to focus a lot more on my training. I then decided to join a club and as I knew a lot of people from Eye Community Runners that was who I joined. This was about end of 2015 and allowed me to get involved in more races like Frostbite series, club championship and club awards. Heading in to late 2016 I was running really well and hitting PB's in most distances and had started doing some races in London like London Landmarks, Vitality 10000 and Richmond half. It was turning into a great running year for me as I was coming in top 10 for my age in most races.
In 2017 it was all coming together and was I enjoying my running and looking forward to a great season with the club and was in with a chance of winning races for my age category. On May 6th (my birthday) we had a tourist trip to Thetford parkrun with the club. This was a fantastic day as I got my first and only 1st place token and being my birthday was even better. On May 10th it all went bad in a pretty horrific way.
While walking across a field I rolled my ankle, the noise it made was heard by people standing 50 metres away. My ankle swelled up like a balloon in no time at all. Taken down to hospital and after x-rays it turned out I had destroyed most of my ligaments leading to my ankle. This is when I grew attached to the boot they gave me as I was in it for 16 weeks. This was not a good time as I was unable to do anything but we have a great group in the running community and I was often picked up to go and watch events which was hard but good at the same point. Having such a strong group around at this point was great. Once I was out the boot it was back to training, I was totally focused on getting back to the level before the accident.
By the time we got to 2018 I was back up and running. I took part in the London Landmarks half in March 2018 and smashed a PB which was a great confidence boost as I knew the ankle was strong enough to start racing. In the club 2018 - 2019 season I took part in races that contributed to the Club Championship and Club Awards. I was destroying my PB's which was great but also inspired other members as they could see with the right focus you can achieve things. By the time it came round to our awards night I was feeling back to 100% and actually was quicker and stronger than I was before the accident. At the club awards night I walked away with a box full but the greatest moment was being voted Runner of the Season by my clubmates. This was a great honour as most of them had played a part in getting me back to where I was at that point (I came 2nd in club champs which I was still very please with).
Now, bringing it all to date I have had a few issues to deal with since starting running but they have all made me the person I am now. I have achieved so much more than I expected and this is not me showing off but letting people know what is possible. I am 50 years old and came 32nd in London Landmarks 2019 with a time of 1hr 24mins, I can run 5km in 18mins 30secs, I can run 10km in under 39mins, I have had a number of wins in my age category (so looking forward to getting back to races as I have moved up a category). Since we have been in lockdown I have run every day. Now all this to me does not seem like a lot as I see people going quicker than me and that is what drives me even though a lot of them are younger. I get a lot of people tell my how inspiring I have been to them, what a role model to others I am, what a dedicated person I am and how they would love to run as quick as I do. I love running and without the support of my family, my club and the running community I would not be doing what I do. In my view anyone that runs is doing great, just because you are not at the front or smashing PB's it does not matter. As long as you are enjoying it where you finish or who is in front of you does not matter.
In 2019 I took part in 2 Ultra Marathon events. The first one was a solo entry at our local park. This was one of the hardest things I have done. I completed 74km and my body was totally wiped out, after a few hours sleep I was back on the course and eventually finished with 102km in 24 hours. In September 2019 I took part in Equinox with a friend of mine and we smashed 120km between us. This was my 3rd time at this event the previous 2 being in a group of 5. Taking on Ultras is great for team building or to test yourself, it is mentally challenging and can be the most rewarding to complete.
Hope you all enjoyed the read and it gives people hope that you can overcome obstacles as long as you have the right people around you.