Like many runners in London, I returned to running inspired by the London Marathon. I ran as a teenager for Wirral AC with some success (see team photograph below) however I then didn't run for many years until I had the opportunity to run the Flora London Marathon in 2008, completing it in just under 3 hours.
Subsequently, I started working with my excellent coach David Chalfen and my running improved - initially lowering my marathon time at a soggy Berlin Marathon to 2.32. I made further progression, with Amsterdam being my fastest marathon to date in 2.28.22, Finchley 20 in 1.50.47, a half-marathon PB of 68.58 at Cardiff and 10km in 31.17 at Leeds Abbey Dash. I achieved the times at Cardiff and Leeds just before my 40th birthday under David's guidance.
It was not all smooth progression from London 2008 to Leeds Abbey Dash in 2014 - like many athletes, I have had my fair share of injuries (at times it feels like slightly more than my fair share!) and have seen numerous physios, osteopaths, consultants (and a good surgeon) in trying to address them.
My injuries came to a head late February 2015, with a recurrent achilles problem that stopped me running for almost 12 months, of which I spent nearly 4 months in an air cast. My "comeback" was thwarted by a sacral stress fracture that meant it was another 4 months before I could put my running shoes on in the Summer of 2016, some 16 months after I felt the original problem in my achilles.
Learning to swim properly and learning to love the watt bike (and then progressing on to road cycling) helped me back to fitness. Nearly two years from my PBs in Cardiff and Leeds, I finished third in the Southern Cross Country Masters (V40) Championship and went on to lower my 10 mile PB (to 52.28 at Maidenhead), and achieved my 10,000m (31.35) and 5,000m (15.20) PBs - all at the age of 42.
I was also lucky enough to be part of the Serpentine Team that came second in the Southern Twelve Stage Road Relays - one of my most enjoyable club experiences and adding to the first place in the London Men's Marathon team event in 2012 and team bronze in the Southern Cross Country Championships over a typically gluey Hampstead Heath (I have very few cross-country high points - struggling on mud and hills!).
Aside from the PBs, I have enjoyed any number of races - however amongst these my first London Marathon still stands out as particularly memorable - I was at the front of pen 1, it was a beautiful Spring day, my first marathon and great excitement at standing at the front of a wonderful race, with tens of thousand of people behind me all ready to run