This weekend has been pretty epic, I’ll be writing my race reviews shortly, but first I wanted to talk about two men that have inspired me. There were many amazing moments with incredible people over the last three days but two people stand out by a marathon amount of miles, Terry Forrest and Eamonn Brady.
Firstly Eamonn, I can’t sum him up any better than how my good pal Kenny Worral did;
“There are special people that you meet in droves as a runner…….and then there’s Eamonn. Simply the best!
He truly is a hero. He could run pretty damn fast if he wanted to and sometimes he does but the rest of the time he runs for fun and helping others (Which I think he views as one and the same). On Saturday I watched as he and a guy called Chris helped a blind runner across the rocks. It has to be one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and I’m so glad I had my phone to get photos of it because I don’t think words alone would have been able to convey what these two men did. Eamonn calmly talked Ben through every step of the way and as soon as he got Ben to safety he came back to check on us. These extraordinary acts of kindness are just ordinary to him, I don’t even think he considered that there was any alternative and he had everyone laughing and enjoying themselves whilst he did it. You can’t run with Eamonn and not have fun because he just embodies enjoyment in the love of running, regardless of how fast you’re going, and it’s contagious.
Terry Forrest is very similar to Eamonn in that he runs because he loves it. Fellow tourists will know him as that fast bloke that starts at the back. I asked him why he did it once (some weren’t sure if it was an ego thing or not, like look I can beat you even though I started after you type thing so I wanted to ask the man himself). His answer was pretty much something to the effect that running is something that comes naturally to him that he loves but he does it because it’s fun. He doesn’t view himself as an athlete and so that’s why he doesn’t start with the others on the front line. Ed Beattie (who is the source of all crazy ideas and lego people) pretty much blackmailed Terry into starting on the front line in all the Whistlestop races by offering money to the the BTR charities started from the front. We, being the funny evil people that we are, all joined in and Terry took it like a champ. I heard that he looked nervous standing at the start line at Arrowe Park but he raised over £250 for charity (he topped it up himself with some of his prize money). When Terry found out that a very mental small group of us were going to run the 10k backwards (from the finish to the start, not actually running backwards) before the half marathon on Sunday he loved the idea and joined us. I’m not sure how many people who have a very strong position and a very good chance of being in the top 2 of the overall tour would have made the same decision to run an extra 10k before their final race but I’, glad Terry did because it was so much fun to run with him (and the rest of the Eccentric Eight, love you all).
Both of these men made me question why I run and I was inspired by the enjoyment they take in every race. For months now I’ve been telling myself and others how rubbish I am because I’m not running as fast as I know I can. Like it’s the end of the world if I’m 5 minutes slower in a 10k than my PB time but seriously, it’s five minutes so why should I care about it? I could run 50 half marathons and never get under two hours so why can’t I just be happy with being two minutes slower than two hours and just have fun in those 50 races rather than feeling like a failure over 120 seconds. All of my best races are when I just turn pace off on my watch and run for fun, and some of these are my fastest times. So from now on I’m treating each race as a new experience, no more race strategies or target times, I’m just going to see where the race takes me and not care what time is on the clock when I cross the finish line. If it’s a fast time then bonus but that’s not my reason for running and time won’t define me as a runner. I’ve left my first claim running club because I don’t want to care about championships, standards or be compared to other runners any more and I don’t want to run for anything or anyone but myself. I already feel a hundred stone lighter because no one is going to be looking at my times. If my condition gets to the point where I can’t race in a few years time I don’t want to look back and wish that I’d taken the time to enjoy it more. My goal is to get to a point where I don’t even check what my time is when I cross the finish because life is too short to waste time on time. I can’t wait for the next race adventure.