What a year!

Twelve months ago I would not have been able to predict that I’d be writing a blog on 31 December 2011.  I wouldn’t have thought I’d be hooked on Twitter.  And I would have laughed if you’d said I’d be running 2 or 3 times a week.  I started 2011 with little intention of running regularly.  A little bit of friendly family rivalry meant I had an eye on running the Thame 10k in June with some of The Wife’s family who have a bit of running pedigree, but that was it.

In preparation for Thame I decided to take part in the Carterton 10k – my most local 10k and a course I’d completed before so knew it was relatively kind.  Little did I know at the time that this would be the start of something big.

Shortly after the Carterton 10k, which I completed in a respectable but somewhat slower-than-PB time, the company I work for announced that Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres would be our charity of the year which got me thinking.

I have friends who’d caught the running bug. Could I?

I’d definitely need some additional motivation as I knew my will power alone would not be enough, so what better way than setting myself a charity challenge.  I needed it to be big to keep me going.  I took inspiration from Maggie’s;  I would run the distance between the two proposed centres closest to the offices I work from: Oxford to Aberdeen, 500 miles, in 12 months.

With the goal of fundraising in mind I decided to switch to metric! £1 for each of the 800 kilometres would set a bigger target than £500 for the imperial version.

With just under 3 months of my challenge remaining I’m pleased to say that I’m already through those initial targets with 834 kilometres covered and £858 raised. I’m now heading for four figures: £1,000 for 1,000km. Or, as I like to think of it, the race to a million metres!

On my journey to 800km & £800 I’ve achieved more than just hitting those goals.

My 10k race PB is now 51:46 (shaved down from 51:47) after a warm and very congested British 10k in London.  Most disappointing however, as it transpires the race organisers had not spent the money on getting an official race licence so it isn’t recognised by Power of 10 or RunBritain.  Fortunately, it now looks set to be smashed in 2012 after a couple of sub-50 minute training runs!

I have completed a couple of 18km training runs – the furthest I’ve run since the 2006 Great North Run.

I completed some exercise on every day in June, as part of Juneathon – 27 runs, 3 swims.

I joined Twitter and have gained over 580 followers, mostly fellow runners, providing a fantastic support network to motivate further running.

I started this blog, https://runningdanw.wordpress.com, again thanks to Juneathon, recounting my running journeys.

One blog post, “Being Thankful”, was spotted by Breast Cancer Care and is to be published in the next edition of their Vita magazine.

Another post, the imaginatively titled “Running App Review”, got noticed by The Running Bug who invited me to join their team of contributors meaning you can some of my blog posts on their website too.

I’ve also run with my 3 biggest personal running inspirations – Steve Naylor, Pat Hudson & Stephen Wright.

Whilst most of my running has been in Witney and the surrounding villages I also ran in stunning places like Alicante & Orcera in Spain, St Ives in Cornwall and the amazing Central Park in New York City!

After such an unexpectedly amazing year I wonder what 2012 will bring?

Thank you for reading my blog this year.  Please take a look back over my posts and let me know which is your favourite – it’s great to hear what you think.  And please continue to read in 2012 and pass it on to any one else you think would be interested.

Happy New Year!

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