No longer a fair weather runner

I’ve added 31 kilometres to my running total (excuse the pun) since my last blog entry which takes me to 477km covered since 27 March this year.  I’m managing to cover an average of 25km a week at the moment so progress towards my goal of 800km is good.  The donations have slowed somewhat, although the total stands at a superb £603 – over 75% of my target of a pound for every kilometre of the challenge.

Thirteen of my recent kilometres were in aid of another good cause and formed another interesting running experience.

Who would have thought a couple of years ago back on a stag do in Newcastle that I would be running the streets of London with someone I’d not met before that weekend – certainly not me, but last weekend that’s exactly what happened.

I met Stephen Wright on our mutual friend, Paul Riding’s stag do.  Despite our mutual connection we’d never met before but got on well and remained in contact through Facebook and at the odd shindig of other mutual friends in Witney.  Stephen is a much more accomplished runner than I am, having completed multiple marathons and he even did the Olympic-distance triathlon in Hyde Park a few weeks ago.  He has also been running a fundraising challenge and is one of my 3 personal running inspirations.

Over the last 9 months Stephen has been running between every station of every line (including the DLR) on the London Underground network (over 400 miles!) and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to join him and some of his other running friends on his last leg from Earl’s Court to Monument.

I rarely run with anyone except my iPod so it was a great experience to have an added distraction of chatting with like-minded people whilst dodging the London traffic (pedestrian and vehicular!).  A group of 9 of us dodged and weaved our way across town being introduced and sharing stories.  Please visit Stephen’s blog to hear more details about that and the other 35 runs.  Because of the point to point nature of the run (a photograph is taken at each station to mark the journey) it was completely different to anything I had ever done but I enjoyed it immensely.

As with most of us charity runners, Stephen had a special reason for raising money.  SANDS (Stillbirth & neonatal death charity), was the natural choice for he and his wife Zoe.  The donations keep rolling in, even after the finish, and he has now raised nearly £5,500 for them.  An awesome achievement both in terms of the fundraising and also to be the first person to have run between every station on every line of the London Underground.

It was fantastic for me to show support to Stephen whilst at the same time securing my own hat trick – I’ve now run with my 3 biggest running inspirations: Pat Hudson, Steve Naylor and now Stephen Wright.

Having now completed a run with all three of my running mentors I, this morning, set out on my own again accompanied solely by the torrential rain of a lovely Summer morning!  I have now also firmly shed any remains of Fair Weather Running Syndrome!

Having not run last night after a late finish at work due to a stock take I knew I needed to run today to keep my 25km a week average in tact.  Having a day off today meant I had the luxury of lay in whilst waiting to see if the weather cleared up.  Turned out that the rain wasn’t going anywhere so I donned my normal running gear, along with the addition of a baseball cap and my adidias ClimaProof jacket.

I will point out that I have no idea whether the ClimaProof jacket was ever intended to be a waterproof jacket but I found out today that it is somewhat shy of being a waterproof jacket!

I needed to cover 7km to clock up self-imposed weekly distance and as I set off I was unsure whether the weather would defeat me.  A rather strange feeling permeated through my body as I took to a route around Witney that I’d not covered before (mainly to dry to take my mind of the driving rain) – I was actually enjoying the run.

I know;  It sounds crazy – and maybe I am.  Maybe the 22 weeks and 477km has had a detrimental effect on my mental health.  Or maybe, just maybe I have graduated into the realms of the real runner.  Who knows.

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