|Born to Run
A Trip Down Memory Lane
It’s 1965 and as a 15 year old I was in my pomp as a reasonably decent school cross country runner. Okay I was no Alex Adams but I often competed with and against runners older than myself. I was also a pretty useful miler.
To misquote The Beatles, who in ’65 recorded In My Life – “there are races I’ll remember al my life.”
This is some of what I remember.
Going to a school that didn’t have a football team and with me not exactly being built for rugby, cross country running was my chosen sport in the winter months and as I was no cricketer, it was athletics in the summer
Living in Hall Green – Birmingham, I wasn’t aware of a club like ours, where a Paul Bearman or a Paul Hawkins might have taken me under their wing and nurtured any modicum of talent I might have possessed. Were there even clubs that 14 or 15 year olds could join ? I really don’t know.
After leaving school, I briefly joined Sparkhill Harriers. This would have been late 1966 or early ’67 – 1967, The Summer of Love – not for me I hasten to add.
Early on at Sparkhill Harriers I was selected to run an 800m. I’m not an 800m runner I protested. Of course as a 16 year old I knew it all. With the sounds of toys being thrown out of the pram I left them. I was wrong. I was totally wrong. Sometimes coaches really do know what they are talking about.
I find it somewhat ironic that having been a decent miler and being selected as an 800m runner 55 years ago, 1500m and 800m running is what I do now.
They say what goes around comes around.
Fast forward 40 years, during which time I did not run. I played squash, badminton, went to the gym but absolutely no running.
It’s 2007 and fellow club member and mate Matt Sims, who I had met at Healthworks Fitness Studio in Western Road, suggested I join him and a few other members for a Saturday morning run.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I remember clearly him taking me out for my first two hour run. He hadn’t warned me of his plans. It took me a long time to forgive him.
In April 2008 I ran my first marathon, with another friend I had met at the gym. It was round Lake Annecy in France. A glorious course in glorious weather but it nearly killed me. I was totally ga ga and close to hallucinating at the end but I was chuffed with my time of 3:56.
I then didn’t do a great deal of running until another club member and very dear friend Kate Sergent suggested I join SAC. This I did on 20th January 2010. To say it transformed my life would be something of an understatement.
The race I’ll remember all my life ? That’s easy. My 3:37 Manchester Marathon aged 65. A time that was cruelly taken from me because the course was a couple of hundred metres short. Mind you, my 1500m at Lee Valley Stadium a couple of weeks ago might run it close.
My most memorable live event. That’s pretty easy as well. It was watching Andrew Pozzi become World Indoor Champion in Birmingham a couple of years ago, along with my wife together with Archie and Daisy Musk.
Needless to say there was quite a vocal contingent of SAC members in attendance. The whole arena seemed to be chanting ” Pozzi, Pozzi, Pozzi “. It was a photo finish and waiting for the result, which went on far longer than the race itself, was pure agony.
To try and list my memories and experiences since becoming a member of this wonderful club of ours would take forever. Suffice to say, joining was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.