River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Mystery Runner

March 2020

For those of you out and about early mornings and those out walking your dogs, you may have seen a man of a certain age, huffing and puffing his way around the roads and occasional bridleways of Wretton, Stoke Ferry and Wereham. Car drivers may have also seen a running man raising his right hand laboriously whilst gasping for breath and trying to look as if it is completely natural to be that tired, sore and screaming internally to catch you’re breathe. That person is me. As I turned a significant age at the beginning of the year, I decided to start running, initially to see if I could and secondly to support Mind’s Red January’s campaign and keep connected to my ex-CITB collages who like me, were made redundant at the end of last year. Actually, it started on my birthday, when I woke up and wondered “Can I run 5K?” There’s that NHS thing Coach to 5K, I’ll see how far I get, and I can follow that as necessary. It turned out, I could! I tried again a couple of days later to see if it was a fluke…and discovered it wasn’t. A couple of days after that I got to thinking, people say 10K is a challenge, so wondering if I could do that I gave it a go and managed to do it. Albeit with tears in my eyes and causing people to stop and ask “Are you OK?” But I did it. So, I started setting myself some targets. For January I set out to run 100K in total, mixing the distances between 5K and 10K…I managed 106K overall. I also ran enough to justify buying some proper trainers, though I've made do without other investment in kit, which is a change for me as an avid “all the gear, no idea” kinda guy. In February I decided I would try to run an average of 5K per day (145K in total) and try some longer distances. I covered 165K in total, starting with a 15K run on 1st February and finishing with a 21K (half marathon distance) on 28th February (during which my wife called to ask “Where on earth are you? You’ve been out hours?”) To keep my momentum I have signed up to the Asda Foundation Great East Anglia Run (aka GEAR) a 10K race around King’s Lynn, and to maintain motivation signed up to raise funds for the East Anglia’s Children's Hospices (EACH). EACH offer care and support tailored to the needs of the individual child and family members where the family wish - at home, at hospital in the community or at one of their three hospices at Framingham Earl, Milton and Ipswich. The support they provide includes specialist nursing care, symptom management therapies, counselling, wellbeing activities and short breaks meeting the individual needs of the child and whole family. EACH currently care for nearly 370 children with life-limiting conditions. As I now know I can do the distance I am targeting trying to complete the distance in a “quick" time. This is a relative statement, and I should caveat with a quick time for a fifty year old beginner who will have been running for 17 weeks by the time of the race, and has done his knees playing football, back playing rugby and shoulder playing cricket, though other than that I’m doing alright. My target time is 44m 30s which would mean I could be roughly finish in the top 200 which I figured would not be bad for a first attempt. For context my first 10K round the village took just under 61 minutes, so I have some work to do. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to the drivers who give me a wide berth, to those I see out and about I hope the heavy breathing and scent of Vick as I approach is not too unnerving, and thanks the dog walkers who hold their charges to heel to let me pass. To sponsor me and support the work of EACH you can find my JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gordon-mitcheson-smithgear10k For more info about EACH and the work they do visit: https://www.each.org.uk Gordon Mitcheson-Smith Wretton

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