The idea of running the Belfast Marathon 2011 came on my 4th consecutive night on the Prague Bar Crawl.
Feeling a little strung out after many consecutive nights of partying in London – Paris – Amsterdam – Berlin and then Prague, I decided that a change was in order.
So on the balmy evening of the 18th July 2010 I made a pledge to run the Belfast Marathon in support of Macmillan Cancer as my dad had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Before all of this I’d managed to get up to an impressive 20 stone, through being extraordinarily lazy and hungry.
The only ever exercise I did was in the Limelight Club, Belfast – pogoing badly to The Smiths.
Anyway, From October 2010 onwards I started going to the local gym just to walk on the treadmill for an hour and to try a little bit of running here and there.
By November I could run a kilometer. I was delighted at my progress but was brought back down to earth when I did the maths regarding the task ahead.
A marathon is 42 kilometers.
I had never ran outside at all until one fateful December afternoon in 2010.
We were let out of work early as the heating system in the University had broken down. The trains were running late. I decided that I was going to run home.
Back then I was even more clueless about running attire than I am now. I jogged home in jeans, a ‘The Clash’ t-shirt, a pair of DC shoes and a leather jacket.
And I made it too. All 4.2 miles of the way. It took 48 minutes. I was slipping all over the place. It was -7C and I distinctly remember almost choking on a snowflake.
I ran into Sainsbury’s sweating like hell and buying a tube of Smarties thinking that I had made it big time.
Over the next few months I ran and ran until I could run no more.
Long runs came and went. As did the frustration and pain of running.
Ever since then I haven’t stopped running and I don’t honestly think I ever will.
I finished my first marathon in 5:00:56. I was hoping for a sub 5 hour time. I missed out by 57 seconds. I was annoyed but delighted at the same time for having gone the distance.
Running has changed my life for the better in many, many ways. I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been.
I use jogging as a way to travel to new cities and to meet new people by entering long distance events.
If you’re interested in running but can’t run the length of yourself like me 2 years ago, then start tomorrow. If I can do it, then you can too!
Any distance travelled counts and puts a gap between yourself and your past.
Just keep fucking going.