The rise of the angry joggerMonday 26 November 2012
I've never been in danger of being an athlete.
Even in school I was rubbish at sports. I attended a Grammar School so I was forced into playing Rugby in Games lessons. For a stocky 6 foot man I was woeful at it.
Such was my level of ineptitude, the school invented a team I could be part of at an away fixture. We had the ‘A’ team, the ‘B’ team and the ‘C’ team. There was the ‘C Reserves’.
I was the ‘C Reserves’.
I grew up thinking that sports weren't for me.
From fat to fitFrom the ages of 18 to 25, I drank and ate too much. I wasted those years being angry at the world but not knowing exactly why. I turned into a Goth and started wearing PVC jeans and pirate shirts around town. Given that I live just outside Belfast, this era should have marked the beginning of a remarkable running career.
But it didn't. By January 2010 I was 20 stone and feeling hopeless.
I had a wake-up call when my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in April 2010. For the first time in my life I was aware of my own mortality. I knew that I had to get my act together.
I lost a stone in the 3 months up to July 2010. Frustrated by my lack of progress, I resolved to run the Belfast Marathon in 2011 for Macmillan Cancer on a drunken night out in Prague.
Surely that would prompt me to lose the weight and get fit?
It was now December 2010 and the furthest I'd ran up until that point was a measly mile on the treadmill.
That was to change on a fateful winter’s day 2 weeks before Christmas.
We were let out of work early as the heating system in the University had broken down. I decided that I was going to run home.
Back then I was even more clueless about running attire than I am now. I was wearing Primark jeans, a ‘The Clash’ t-shirt, a pair of DC shoes and a leather jacket.
I grew weary of the passing motorists who must have been struck by the sight of my unorthodox running apparel.
All I could see in their eyes was 'Jesus, Jarvis Cocker's let himself go!'
I ran 4.2 miles in 48 minutes without stopping. That one run gave me the confidence to go on and finish the Larne Half Marathon and Belfast Marathon in 2011.
Since then, running has changed my life for the better in many, many ways. I am fitter than I have ever been.
I use jogging as a way to travel to new cities and to meet new people by entering half marathons.
If you’re interested in running but can’t run the length of yourself like me 2 years ago, start tomorrow. If I can do it, then you can too!
Any distance traveled counts and puts a gap between yourself and your past.