Monday, June 15, 2020


COVID 19 has undoubtedly had an enormous negative impact upon all of our lives and continues to do so. Over the past few months, we have stayed at home, protected the NHS and saved lives. Now we are alert... We have learned new phrases - imagine a time when we didn't use the phrase social distancing! Whilst easing the lockdown is now a priority for the Government, The Great North Run has been (using the words of the organisers) CANCELLED...

The first I heard of this was when I got an e-mail from the charity I am supporting, Shelter. They e-mailed to say that more information would follow but my entry would be rolled over to 2021 should I wish to do this. I had been anticipating this eventuality, but when the news was confirmed, I did feel really deflated. Deflated, not upset, not angry, not frustrated, annoyed or anything else, just deflated. As I type, I can now put this down to two main issues:

1) Personal sense of achievement. For the past three months, I have gone from being a complete novice, a non-runner, to where I am now, which is that of an ok-ish runner who was on target to complete his first ever half marathon in a semi-reasonable time. From the first 5k, when I only just made it home and failed to hit my 30:00 target to Saturday - 16 k in 1:22. This has been 3 months where I have worked hard,  gone out training when I really didn't want to do so and put myself through the mill. Why? Simple - to make a difference. So many people making so many kind donations to the cause, positive words. Advice and support from people who have done what I am doing themselves. All of those things and more meant I have been incredibly well-motivated and was really building towards a sense of personal achievement. Like most people, I work hardest and most positively when there is a clear goal in mind.

2)  More importantly - I chose to run to support Shelter - I have done this for reasons outlined elsewhere in the blog and this is a charity that really needs our support. As the country begins to recover from the COVID Outbreak, this will be a key time for organisations like Shelter to provide the care and support for families, especially those who are at risk. Given that we know the economy will take an enormous hit, we are looking at entering a deep recession, Shelter will be needed more than ever. My aim is to carry on running for Shelter - regardless of the Great North Run taking place or not. If you can spare a small amount of money, please consider making a donation through my giving page:

So what now?

Hippo time has gone and we're back onto a positive mindset now.

Firstly - the race has not been cancelled - merely postponed by a year! I will be 48 by then, not why can I not stay motivated for another 15 months. I am led to believe that my charity place will remain open for 2021, so mind and body willing, aim to compete in this.

Secondly - I have a 20k run that I do round here that I could easily extend to a full half marathon...a couple of extra turns and I am there. It is steep, hilly and hellish...but therein lies a challenge. On the day when the GNR should have taken place, it is my intention to go out and run an alternative version, 'The Ribble Valley Run' - not quite as snappy...but that's life!  As a bit of an afterthought, maybe instead of a known route, I should work out a brand new run, one I have never run before to try and recreate the unknown aspect of doing the GNR. Not sure I will be able to recreate streets lined with support, people cheering and a nice silver blanket thrown over me at the end but... who knows? All I will say now is WATCH THIS SPACE... Suggestions are always welcomed -   I want to start (and preferably finish) at home so please... could any suggested routes could start in the Whalley area? Thanks.

This isn't the end of the running, isn't the end of the adventure...just means I have longer to wait - and in the grand scheme of things, there are more pressing issues than whether I can run 13.1 miles with 50,000 other people. In the words of Johnny Logan, what's another year? (Slightly obscure Eurovision Song Contest music reference for the pleasure of Simon Ditchfield - and before you ask, Simon...1980)

Thanks once more for all the support I have had so far and hope to continue to have. I will keep working hard and doing all I can. #Togetherwecanmakeadifference

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