I signed up to run the 2016 London Marathon for Sense in memory of my dad. He was registered blind in his final years, and it had a big impact both on his life and ours.
I wanted to make a difference (and raise some money) by competing in what is probably the ultimate long distance running event. What I didn’t realise at the time, though, was that London was just the start of my challenge.
I took up running about five years ago, when I was 42, and I love it. I’m lucky to live in Sherwood Forest so I have running trails and pathways literally on my doorstep. It’s so quiet and peaceful, and a great way to de-stress after a crazy day at work.
The London Marathon was something I’d thought about doing for a while. I said to my dad that I would complete it one day. It certainly lived up to expectations – and I’d recommend it to anyone. I had a full posse of about 12 family and friends cheering me on, and the support on the day from Sense was brilliant.
It was hard work, though. The build-up, the training – it’s not something that can be taken lightly. I had to miss a few runs towards the end of my training plan, which definitely impacted on race day, but you have to adapt to how you are feeling. I still managed a personal best (by over two minutes) but setbacks in the last few weeks meant that I missed out on my sub-3 hours 30 minutes target. The rewards far outweighed the challenges, though.
After I’d recovered I had a feeling of ‘so, what now?’ I needed a new goal. So I made a commitment to run 18 (at the last count…!) races in 2016 – all to raise money for Sense. I’d already run the Sheffield Half Marathon a couple of weeks before London, as a pre-marathon prep, so the challenge felt achievable.
A month after London I ran my third race: the Clumber 10k. Next up was the Donnington 10k, then the Hull 10k (both in June), followed by the York 10k in August. September was really busy, as I stepped back up in distance to tackle two half marathons, including the Great North Run. That was a fantastic day which will last long in the memory – not least because of how hot it was!
I ran four more races last month, including two half marathons and a 10k alongside my son’s dog, Dexter, and have five to go before Christmas. I’m particularly looking forward to racing in Benidorm (and having a bit of a holiday) at the end of November.
The fact I am running to help others keeps me motivated, particularly during a race. The crowd cheering the name written on the front of your vest gives you an extra spring in your step, too.
The difficult thing will be finding another goal to aim for when this is all over!
If you would like to sponsor Nick please visit his Just Giving page.