#WHYIRUNLDN: Who’s Your Inspiration?
Mine is my Dad, hands down, every time.
My childhood was nothing like most of my friends’: evenings and weekends were spent rock climbing (terrifying), caving (dark and terrifying), gorge walking (wet and terrifying) or abseiling (high and terrifying).
When I hit about 17 and all my friends had an intimate knowledge of the local cinema, shopping malls and could sniff out a McDonalds at 200 paces, I felt a bit left out. If you’d asked me the best way to climb a tree or how to abseil down an 80ft drop without having a panic attack, I could tell you in graphic detail. Normal teenage stuff though? Not exactly my area of expertise, to put it mildly.
At that age I had no idea just how grateful I’d be for this style of upbringing. It was this ingrained love for weightlifting (my Dad was a powerlifter in his younger years, and still lifts every day now he’s retired), adventure and general improvement through hard work and physical activity that brought me out of my anorexia (full blog on that here). Now it forms such a huge part of my life that my perfect day basically involves a lot of training, talking about training…and then writing about it for good measure. You could say it’s the healthiest obsession I’ve ever had.
Obviously my Dad didn’t just get into fitness for my benefit. I’m pretty sure that if CrossFit had existed during his youth he would’ve been WOD’ing every day (and probably beating me). Instead he mixed everyday weights and conditioning with real life adventures and functionality. He cycled or ran to work every day (an 18-mile round trip) and was the 329th person ever to finish the notorious 66 mile Bob Graham Round, which covers 42 gruelling peaks in the Lake District and must be completed inside 24 hours.
Around the same time, he also took on two marathons after just three months of training, with sub-3:30 finishes in both. With all this activity, he was in quite good shape: looking after his health has always been a priority for my Dad, and he’s instilled the discipline and love for fitness and challenge in me, too.
My Dad has achieved some truly incredible things over the years: not least demonstrating the importance of taking the time to look after your body, and that if there’s something you want to do, to get on and do it – and not to wait for some indeterminate ‘later date’. If you’re passionate about something, don’t put it off! Whether it's new places, challenges or sports: don’t let the daily grind of work, commitments or money worries create excuses for you. Think about whether you’ll regret having taken the opportunity – or, more likely, if you’ll wish it was something you’d shouted ‘YES!’ to at the top of your lungs, and given it all your love, fear, energy and determination.
This is exactly why I’m doing the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday. It scares and excites me in equal measure, and training for such an incredible experience has made me feel so alive. I can’t wait to get over that start line in my Adidas UltraBOOSTs and my Lucozade Sport gels tucked safely in my pocket – and to cross the finish line with a huge smile on my face.
You can track me on the VMLM app using runner number 53377, or alternatively visit the VMLM website where the Tracker will appear on Sunday April 24th.
I am running for Lucozade Sport and am raising funds for Helen’s Trust – you can donate here on JustGiving.