It's been far too long since I sat down to Blog, but now is the time to put that right.
It has been a long and, at times, hard year of running and competing with lots of lessons learned and some real development in both running pace and style as I developed better technique. Still lots to do. This year included two run streaks of 179 and 107 days, split by a bout of illness. The second streak was ended as focus turned to the challenges of 2015. All was going well until I lost my Dad.
After 94 years of a great life doing so much to help others, being a Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather, a production director in a car parts business and 5 year PoW veteran of Stalag 8B from 1940-1945 who escaped three times and eventually fought with the Czech partisans he died in early November. Dad never wanted to go into a home and it is fantastic that he stayed in his own bungalow until the day he died, organising things and living life his way. A way I thoroughly approved of. The honour of being with him alone in his hospital room overnight for his final night will stay with me forever and was a small thing, last thing I could do for him. George, Dad, you have and always will be my inspiration in life...very much always will be. RIP GEB.
And, oh, will I need inspiration next year?! People keep saying things like "you're going to have a big year next year" and I think they are right. A big year where I will absolutely need every bit of inspiration from Dad, and every bit of support from Debs.
You may recall that although I didn't get a ballot place in the London Marathon 2015 I am fortunate enough, to have one of Sherfield Park Runner's two UK Athletics club place. So, I am in and preparing now, a week into the 20 week training plan. My brother, Chris, died of Leukaemia at the age of 51 and, in memory of Chris, I asked the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Trust if I could fund raise and run for them. They said yes, and like another 174 runners I will be fund raising for the L&LRT, and getting their full aid and support up to, during and after the VMLM2015 with great support on the day. Through them comes coaching/ training support from Ben and Richard at Full Potential, and we had had really practical on-track and in classroom training day yesterday. What has to be done over the next 19 weeks is clear...and now has to be delivered with many hard miles of effort in the cold of the coming Winter months. I can't wait! I seriously and positively can't wait!
But this is just the first of many big running events in 2015. On a whim, and thanks to the light night power of Facebook, I signed up for the public ballot for the Berlin Marathon in September, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn't get in. Oh wait! I have an e-mail in German, scroll down to the translation, and "Congratulations You Are In! You must now start preparing for the 2015 BMW Berlin Marathon"! Wow!!! Hmmm, I hadn't really said to Debs that I'd entered as she'd just think I was/ am bonkers, expecting to not be successful, but here I am now with a place, hotel booked and all set for a marathon expo at the very famous Templehof airfield, and a marathon threading its way through both (as was) West and East Berlin. It is flat too so, yeah, time to pick the pace up! Oh, and she does think I am bonkers!
And in between? June sees my first Ultra, running Endure 24 (24 hours around a 5 mile, woodland, trail lap) as a solo runner, rather than the team of eight that I ran for this year. Plus, a new challenge...a self designed/ planned approx. 63-65 one day Ultra leaving our development north of Basingstoke ("B") and running with the equally bonkers Ben Eason (SPR's Training Sec and all round awesome bloke / runner) across Hampshire to finish on Bournemouth ("B") pier followed by fish and chips at Harry Ramsden's. Hmm, there are no official aid stations so the plan is to map out big supermarkets and make use of all their facilities. This is The B2B, and is scheduled for early August...and, with the holiday traffic, we'll probably get to Bournemouth faster than the holiday makers.
Can't wait for all that next year but first comes Xmas and the New Year with family, friends and my cadre of running shoes, on road training and off road doing trails and cross country races for SPR (Southern Cross Country League) and others like today's Muddy Welly 10k Trail and January's Cliveden 6m XC with its infamous set of steps. Bring it all on! UltraBonkers to the max! :)