As a teenager I had two ambitions: one was to run from Lands End to John O’ Groats and the other was to be in the Olympics. Oddly enough this was way before I ever became a runner. Infact my passion as a young teenager was pony riding. One of the qualities our London 2012 Olympic athletes have is ‘ambition’. A desire of personal achievement.
I was recently asked what inspired me to start running. So, this is my story.
I started at a time when the trend is to give up – in the 6th form at school my PE teacher started a lunchtime running club and asked me if I would like to attend. I had spent my child hood running around the New Forest trying to catch my rather annoying pony so I took to the running and loved it. But it was being part of a group and having the support of our teacher and the other students that kept me going.
At Durham University I met someone who went on to be my coach for my whole running career. Alan Storey coached the cross country team at Durham. He encouraged me to start marathon running and you could say the rest is history. The marathon became my event. I was inspired by two people who have really made my journey. Often it is a challenge by a friend or encouragement from a colleague that starts us on that journey. Joining a group of like minded people can help keep us motivated. Of course we have to be willing to take up that challenge. Maybe, in this Olympic year this will be your opportunity to take up the challenge. Who will influence you in 2012 to get the exercise habit? We don’t need to set our goals too high – I fear running Lands End to John O’Groats has rather slipped my grasp!