Over the last few years i have decreased the amount of running races i have taken part in dramatically. Especially road running. I don’t entertain the thought one bit.
My life and priorities have changed. Spinning the plates of daily work and life and getting the balance correct is an ongoing battle. Not enough time in the day ring any bells folks?
Roughly a year ago i started to volunteer at the Anthony Seddon fund in Ashton, Manchester.
The fund and charity, was set up in June 2014 by Donna Thomas and her husband Brian after the death of their son, Anthony, to offer support for those with mental health issues in Tameside, Manchester. A hub of dedicated supportive volunteers who will listen, empathise and provide pragmatic steps towards getting yourself or a peer back on the right track.
The small part i play for the charity demonstrates how my life has changed in recent years. No more climbing HVS’s on Stanage or the Roaches.
I was asked by Brian and Harry of the Anthony Seddon fund if i would run a race in the Tour of Tameside calendar of events to raise awareness of the charity. Hmmm… I haven’t raced in years, i am not favourable of road running, but it is raising awareness for a great cause.
Brian knows i am a Mountain Guide and my UK Athletics history. He suggested the Hell on the Fell race starting in Copley, Staylebridge. 300 metres of ascent over six miles to raise awareness for the Anthony Seddon fund. That’s the easy part…
Unknown to myself Brian had been planning. He had arranged for me to take part in a short radio interview highlighting the mental health support provided by the Anthony Seddon fund.
Ask me to climb, fell run, walk or scramble in summer or winter conditions i will snatch your hand off. That’s my bread and butter. To confidently talk on Tameside radio about a cause i am passionate about without making a boo boo? That’s a different matter.
Despite my reservations the Tameside radio interview passed without incident and provided good exposure for the Anthony Seddon fund. The more people know about the support available to them in the local community the better.
That’s the hardest part completed. A few hours later it was time for the race.
Although i am officially retired from racing on road or fell (mountains), i still harbour the anticipation and anxiety about performing to the best of my abilities in a competition.
That will never change.
I spoke to a friend (big Chris) who had run the race in previous years and he suggested running the race in road shoes. The race is predominantly ran on road surface with a short downhill section off road. With this in mind i left my fell shoes at home.
Five minutes before the race it started to rain. This will make the off road decent “interesting” to say the least.
Time for the race. The road section was fine. All going well. The wet decent on rocky terrain in road shoes was a bit spicy and fear of consequence of time if a fall occurred forced me to slow down considerably. The views of the surrounding hills were gorgeous though.
I finished in a time of 46 minutes. Positioned 49th out of 500 runners. I can live with that considering my self imposed retirement.
The main elements to emphasis here is that despite my fear of the unknown (the Tameside radio interview), the road running event (with mass participation compared to much smaller fell running races) and not wanting to embarrass the Anthony Seddon fund, all went well.
By accepting and adapting you can surprise yourself. You may even have a good time to boot. Why not give it a go?
Trekking Skills provides:
A range of private guided walking in summer and winter throughout the UK
Trail and off road running guidance
Map and Compass navigation training
The Anthony Seddon fund offers:
A daily drop in centre for peer support or just a chat.
A range of activity groups from sewing, reiki, art and music classes.
A support group for the LGBT community and much more.
0161 376 4439
Or pop into us at:
12 George street,
Ashton under lyne