As the title suggests, I’m going to take you into a negative mindset to begin, but hold on! Please, bear with me, I managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel to make it a positive and transform the rest of my life. In February 2014 my dad had a stroke, he actually recovered well from the stroke, however after undergoing scans and tests he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The ongoing struggles were tough, not just for my dad, although insignificant when compared with the thought of living with cancer I went through all the emotions, how do you deal with this? Is there a ‘right’ way? What can I do? Sadly my father passed away towards the end of 2014.
At such a difficult time there were a few things which really helped me. Once my dad had been diagnosed he said he wanted to live his days as well as he possibly could. Quite often a fuss is made around birthdays and seasonal celebrations, well how about you go and live life with an attitude that everyday can be ‘your’ day. Life and the world is about ‘give and take’. This attitude to life is how I’ve been brought up; I feel that by remembering and to the best of my capabilities living by them has made 2015 the year it was.
2014 and 2015 couldn’t have been more different for me personally, physically, socially, pretty much everything imaginable was poles apart. After going on a much needed and beneficial ‘Exploring Mindset’ journey in December 2014 I had belief I could run 15 marathons in 2015, my ambitions became reality. That said, 2015 was so much more than 15 marathons, the endless support, the constant of new friends, the idea I could be inspiring others, cycling Britain and a lifelong project are all unexpected but truly appreciated parts of this journey. The unforeseen aspects are just as special and an important part of the journey, this could have only happened by me putting myself out there, taking risks and stepping into the unknown.
End of 2014, what’s next? I’ve always tried to maintain a positive outlook on life, see the colours of the rainbow overcoming the storm, my glass half full. What’s done is done. I need a focus, I need a challenge, I need to say thank you to the team of nurses, information and support staff and volunteers who did all they could to assist in such a difficult year.
Why 15 marathons? People raise money by running one. I had already run a marathon and I was aware people knew this and also I enjoy running. I began researching various possibilities and once the idea of #15in15 had popped into my head I just couldn’t get away from it. Hopefully this is ambitious/crazy/incredible/silly/inspiring/stupid/injury bound/exhausting/impossible (delete as appropriate) to perk some interest among friends and strangers I was yet to meet on this journey. So much so that they might, just might part with some well earned money and make a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. Alas, if no fundraising happened then it would have still given me a focus, a challenge. Fuelled by my increasing interest of the Say Yes More movement.
Did I inspire others to run? People like to have FUN. People like to laugh. People CAN do this when running. You might not break a PB time wise, but as proved you will break a PB distance wise. I created the London ‘FUN-RUN’ Series, this was a challenge within the challenge. I had never organised any formal event, never had any formal coaching or teaching
experience and yet there I was stood in front of a crowd in the Olympic Park asking for a donation for me getting them through a FUN 10Km. As for any coach, teacher, leader getting people to reach their potential and beyond is the proudest of moments, I certainly experienced this. This earned me belief, a close supportive group rooting for me, donations for my cause and an appreciation myself for the social side of what many consider an introverted sport.
LifeYears. What? LifeYears is a supportive community of achievers challenging their personal physical, mental and social limits. This is the vision I I have. It was around April, maybe the increased awareness of marathons due to the London Marathon, I was getting asked at least daily, ‘are you running 16 in 2016?’. Really? 15 in a year isn’t good enough for you!? When you get asked something so often it gets you thinking, yes if I ran 15 in a year then surely 16 is possible, but it won’t be as special and potentially make me hate running. Then it clicked, something new, something different, make it a unique year, yes #16in16 is on! By summer, I had decided my #16in16 LifeYears will be to cycle 100 miles or more in a day. Then I really got excited. I’ve had such a prosperous year and crucial to this has been the people I’ve met along the way, I want to build a LifeYears community, I want to give the year I’ve just had to everyone. Join me on with your #16in16 at yourLIFEYEARS on Facebook.
#15in15? From the outset I planned to run half road/half trail and half in the UK/half abroad. There’s been highs and lows. All 15 different, growing with each. Encouraging others to join me, all the time maintaining fun as my priority. I’m proud of this achievement but it simply started with a desire to say thank you.
LEJOG? Land’s End to John o’ Groats, SW England to NE Scotland, cycling Britain solo and unsupported. I had an idea at the start of the year, I wanted to go on my own adventure, I wasn’t sure where nor how. I made sure I had two weeks free in August, hopeful sunshine would enhance whatever I chose. After receiving some awful news of a friend being involved in a tragic cycling accident I set about bringing some positivity to cycling, fulfilling my adventure plans and trying out this cycle touring world which so many of my new friends were raving about. The adventure had everything, a chance to explore and appreciate Britain, test myself physically, mentally and socially and the greatest feeling of navigating with paper maps!
More is in you, say yes when an opportunity arises. I didn’t know if I was capable of running 15 marathons in a year, there was only one way to find out. Now go set yourself a challenge for 2016 and beyond!