A moment. A real turning point in life. Tearful breakdown at the side of the road. Crying about no longer being able to ride my bike up the hill. Crying about no longer being able to fly on Concorde. Decision made. London marathon to be run.
Cancer Research 10k. Weston Park. First ever race. Tremendous atmosphere. Wanted more.
Training hated, every step of the way. It had been ok up to 6 miles. Beyond that, anything but.
London marathon done. Thoroughly enjoyed. Totally inspired by the stories that I learned. How the marathon came to be. Dorando Pietri. London Olympics 1908. Kept on running. A 5k. A 10k. A 10 miler on the roads I used to play on as a boy.
The discovery of parkrun. Another marathon to do. Difficult year with injury. There was an incident with a rabbit hole before that 10 miler last year. My very first Realbuzz meet up, a 5k dressed as a nun. A 5 miler dressed as Santa, everybody else was too.
Think I’m actually a runner now. This isn’t going to stop. Parking miles away from races now, running to them, racing, and then running back to the car. A first, a metric marathon. From Nottingham to Derby. Running felt easy for the first time. Another London marathon. 45 minutes quicker than in 2008. The Bupa Great North Run. Biggest disappointment from running so far. So wanted to be on the Tyne Bridge when those Red Arrows flew above. Think I was nearer to South Shields when they actually came across.
A drive by invite from a Land Rover, “Do you want to join us on the 15 peaks?”. A life changing question as it turned out. All 15 of Wales’ 3,000ft peaks traversed within a single day. Then there was THAT day.
That great day on the Glyders. Dave Parker will know. Nobody else ever will. Love was born on that day. A pure love for the mountains that will never now go away. Camping up on Snowdon. Crib Goch when there was still a hint of ice. That breakfast on the Llanberis pass. The epic, unforgettable journey of getting across all those mountains in one go. The wild ponies on the Carneddau. The deepest satisfaction of getting it done. The inspiration from that woman, “I’m training for the Bob Graham Round” she said. My first taste of a fell race, in a forest, in the dark.
My 40th year. Thinking about triathlons. Getting out there on the bike. Broken spoke disaster. Then another day I might call THAT day. Perhaps the one that meant the most. The Cheshire Cat 100. A cycle sportive with my old mate Jim. Great for the rekindling of an old friendship, but greater still for the fact that years ago a certain car crash damaged my back enough that for the best part of a year I couldn’t even sit on a bike. Doing so had been painful ever since. Running had given me that back. Very emotional day. A new passion for fell races. Dinas Bran. Cader Idris. The Hotfoot Up Moel Famau. Overtook a man by jumping over his head! Tal-y-Fan and the discovery of that stone circle in the sky. The Snowdon International. Yes, this is what I love. Tegg’s Nose. Ras Cnicht. Didn’t get up Kilimanjaro. Ben Nevis got binned off too. The Olympics comes to London. Got to see Oscar Pistorius before the hero fell. Missed Chris Bonnington on Snowdon with the flame.
The Red Bull Steeplechase. A 3rd contender for the title of THAT day. Never had I enjoyed a race quite as much as I enjoyed this. Unique method of entry; ‘write and tell us in 250 characters why you should be in our race, as opposed to anybody else’. They picked me. And I’m grateful.
Another London Marathon. 6 days later, Yorkshire 3 Peaks. Passion for fell running burning. Roads don’t satisfy anymore. The Welsh 1,000 metres race. Toughest challenge of the lot so far. Loved for every single second. Another monster bike ride with Jim. Stretton Skyline. Another Red Bull. First taste of the Snowdonia Marathon. Met the great men Oggie and Brian. Turns out we inspired some of our fellow bloggers too.
Set myself a monster challenge. 17 marathons over the coming year, to raise funds for my brother to attempt Land’s End to John ‘O’ Groats in his chair. The wheelchair he was put in by the same car crash that had knackered my back. He kind of changed his mind. I’d ruined myself by June. Hypothermia on Anglesey in January as Britain got battered by storms. Flooded out in February at Shakespear’s old stomping ground. 3 marathons in 3 days in March. 2 marathons in the month of May, Neolithic then Excalibur on my favourite Clwydian Hills. Hypothermia again. A shortened Snowdon International, lightning at the top. Snowdonia marathon again. This time a Realbuzz meet up of a quality I could hardly believe. Strongest of friendships formed this year. Friendships between ‘buzzers will endure.
My biggest year of running. So many highlights I still can’t believe. Wrexham marathon, the first for my home town. Ras Yr Aran, a beautiful day by Bala lake and a run up into mountain snow. A million steps done in the month of May, walking as one for NASS. Only managed because of stepping out for the gorgeous Snowdonia half marathon on that final day. Excalibur marathon the day before had been a lovely course PB. The Green Green Grass Of Home, As beautiful a race as it sounds like from its name. Gladstone 9. That beautiful weekend of running Trailffest then the Sandstone trail. That most incredible weekend of pushing, well pulling mostly, Brian in the wheelchair all the way to Snowdon’s peak, and the adrenaline filled scree surfing being his brakes on the way down. Yet another contender for the title of THAT day. My trip to Llanwrtwd Wells for that marvellous Man vs Horse, that race that meant so much because of how long ago I first discovered it. I wanted it as a mountain biker back in those days, before that crash did what it did. I ran it as a runner now, and with Iwan Thomas no less. Chester Marathon with Jo Fielding, a friend not seen in 20 years, friendship rekindled once again. Snowdonia back with a vengeance. That very special line up with our special Realbuzz shirts.
Parbold hill race. Carding Mill Canter. Another life changing moment that day, the day I met another very special Jo. Manchester Marathon and a totally unexpected PB. Sub 3:30 finally achieved. I’d always believed it possible. Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race spectacular with snow on the tops. The next weekend a fall, and the beginning of the end for my knee.
Saturday morning parkrun, stunning sunshine in Llanberis for a fell race in the afternoon. Jujitsu finished off the knee for good. At an EVEN BIGGER Realbuzz party in Snowdonia, best I could do was walk to half way.
Then this year, 2017, and the story still goes on.
Personal life has been the biggest thing. Realbuzz, you have come with me through 3 different blogging monikers, 138 races or events of different sorts, and several attempts at different writing styles. You were with me while my nana had pioneering surgery on her heart, while I’ve opened up about my heartaches, and while my brother has had new batteries (sort of) put in his. You were with me when I joined my running club. You were with me when my sister found me earlier this year. Some of you have become my greatest of friends, and you’ve been with me as old friendships have been rekindled and new, important friendships made.
You’ve been with me through the best of times and the worst of times. You’ve let me vent at times and you’ve never given me anything but support. You’ve been with me through divorce and you’ve stayed with me as I have fallen in love again. Some of you have indeed met my love and proud to introduce you to her and her to you I was ‘n’ all. That woman is one mighty incredible woman and I don’t know what on Earth it is she sees in me, but I am grateful that she does. There’s definitely a book to write about our story. It goes right back to when we were still at school.
Congleton parkrun. Wilmslow parkrun. The Helena Tipping 10k. I’m not running on my own anymore. I’m running these races with Clair. Chester Marathon. Her time to shine, and shine like Venus in a starry sky she absolutely did.
Thank you Realbuzz for coming with me on my journey. Thank you for the honour of adding me to your Wall Of Fame.
This is the spot where it all started. Where Hope Mountain Runner was born. It isn’t on Hope Mountain. It happened years before I moved over to Wales, and even more years before I started to run.
I am divorced now and starting a new life. It is my old life and my ex wife over on Hope Mountain. That chapter is closed. It is time to start a new chapter in my life. A new life with my Clair. I reckon I’ll keep on blogging, but likely under another new name.
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