A Grand Don’t Come For Free


In the last couple of years I have come quite close to running 1,000 miles for the year but fell short each time. Last year I ran 954 and barely tried to reach the milestone of 1,000 towards the end of the year. I didn’t believe in myself and subsequently failed. That negative lifestyle grew more and more into the early part of the 2013 and made my life stale and stagnant. I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I barely ran more than 2 times a week at the start of the year, gained weight and wasn’t fast anymore. I felt like a shadow of the man that ran the London Marathon the year before.

In the summer I decided that I needed change. I needed a goal, a boost, I needed to be happy. With that, I began training for the Bournemouth Marathon. I logged just over 450 miles in 4 months and was feeling ok. There was a lot of ups and down in my life at the time and running helped keep me grounded and feel somewhat normal. I had 3:30 on my mind and passed the halfway point of my 3rd marathon bang on pace. After that it all went downhill and the race didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. In the hours after the race I had come to the realisation that the race meant so much more than a time on my watch.


The caption to this picture reads:

Not the time I wanted. Tears keep on falling down my face. The experience has been immense. The support was second to none. Thank you everybody. I am lucky to have all of you around me. Big. BIG love. Thank you x

After the 13th mile my left calf went and I couldn’t find my stride. I never normally run with my phone but that day I did and quite frankly, it’s what got me through the race. I would look at my phone when I was walking on the pier in the heat and look through good luck messages from my friends and family. Then I would start to run again for a few more minutes. The last 13 miles of the race were pretty much like that. If I didn’t take my phone then I wouldn’t have finished the race. I would have stopped but I didn’t because of my friends.

Bournemouth breathed new life and determination into me. If I wanted to be better, I would have to train to be better and more importantly believe that I could be better. I needed to surround myself with positive people and only look forward. I ran more often and it put a smile back on my face. I left my job in search of more fulfilling experiences and I’m happy with how it’s turned out. In the last run of the year with Run Dem Crew, my hard work paid off as I ran with the Elites, the fastest group in the crew.



When I joined the crew 2 and a half years ago I never thought that I would run with the elites. They always seemed so much faster. But with positive thought and hard work I got myself to that level – all with a smile on my face.

There was still work to be done though, I was only 70 miles off that coveted 1,000. I could do it, it was possible! So I headed out on Wednesday evening in the pouring rain with 2 friends for a 5 mile recovery run. This run turned out to be my last one of 2013. I twisted and sprained my ankle 2 miles into my run. As soon as it happened I could feel my personal target getting away from me. I iced it and took all the painkillers I could to reduce the swelling, still with some hope that I could run again soon. Unfortunately my ankle didn’t get better as fast as I hoped and I’m still recovering.


What’s important is that I tried and believed in myself though. I know running 1,000 miles in a year is an achievable target that I will do in 2014. For that reason, I’ve set myself a new goal for the new year which is to run 1,500 miles in 2014. It won’t be easy but as long as I run with a smile on my face then there’s nothing that I can’t do.

Happy New Year!

  1 comment for “A Grand Don’t Come For Free

  1. December 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Natty, in the time I’ve known you I have learnt that you can accomplish anything. Your positivity and willingness to do is infectious and your passion for running equally so. You’re a big factor in me continuing to run because you’ve shown me how it can spread into other areas of your life and benefit your body and more importantly your mind. Your patience, encouragement and verve every Wednesday when we meet spurs me on and I am thankful to join you as we explore the streets of East London at night. That’s why I know big things and achievable goals are well within your reach. You’re always striving for something, never loose that! 1500 and more miles in 2014 Natty because you can do it. ;)

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