Tuesday 18 December 2012

Race year

Simon, me, Nikki, Alison and Matt before the off
The dawn of 2012 brought about a major shift in my thinking.....running was no longer for other people......it was for me!  This wasn't a small change.  As I'm sure most of my friends will tell you, I was never one to miss out on a nights drinking, yet in April 2012, I did just that. I decided that my half marathon goal was more important than a night on the booze and skipped my friends wedding reception in order to get a good nights sleep before my first ever 13.1 miler.

But before we get to the Bracknell Half Marathon, we had the Northampton Running Festival 10km to get out of the way.  I was looking forward to running this and meeting my original goal of a sub 55 minute 10km.  My brother Simon and I completed most of the race together, surprisingly I pulled away from him during the last lap of the course and completed the race in 52 minutes 21 seconds, 28th overall and 15th in my age group.  Not a bad result for me but an even better one for Nikki, she completed it in 58:22, 51st overall but 2nd in her age group - an excellent result.  Simon wasn't far off and finished in a very respectable 54:49, 35th overall and 20th in age group.  Matt and Alison completed the race in unbelievable times, so I'm not even going to list them here, the full results are available online.

Nikki powering through the 13.1 miles
2012 also brought with it some fantastic news for some dear friends of ours.  On the 26th March, Sophia Lily Hyde was born and Chris & Lisa became parents for the first time.  This wonderful news was bittersweet since Sophia was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Sophia and family spent ages at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, where we visited and first met this wonderful little girl.  The services offered by this great hospital were second to none.  Not only did they look after Sophia but they also provided accommodation for Lisa. They do such an amazing job and need public support every year to maintain this level of support for sick children and their families.  And so, it felt right that we try and spend the next month trying to raise as much money as possible for GOSH under Sophia's name.  We setup a Just Giving page and targeted our Bracknell Half Marathon as the event we'd ask people to sponsor us for.

Sarah, Chris, Nikki & myself after the Bracknell Half
Race day came around very quickly and it couldn't have been any worse in terms of the weather.  We had so much rain and wind all night on the eve of the race hammering the house, not my idea of fun.  Anyway, Nikki, Sarah Moore, Chris Hyde and myself left our house and headed for the start line and prepared to get soaked......and soaked we got!  The race was well attended considering the weather, we even had a few mad people out watching, although nothing in comparison to the crowds at the big events you see on TV.  What mattered most was that we finished the race and we managed to raise an amazing £2,222 for GOSH!  Thank you everybody for your efforts, it's much appreciated!

Towards the end of race
Sarah finished first out of our group, Chris & I crossed the line 3 minutes under the 2 hour goal and Nikki came in not long afterwards (full results).  All of us were thrilled to get over the line, although we didn't hang about as we were completely soaked by this stage and in much need of a shower. 

Misson accomplished and as quickly as it had come around, it was over!  My goal to undertake my first half marathon was complete.  There was now a void that needed filling and a new goal had to be set.....perhaps it was time to quit smoking for good.....and so on the last day of April after completing the 13.1 mile challenge, I smoked my last cigarette........

The joy of setting a goal and achieving it is amazing and something I can't say I'd really ever thought about quite so much.  Sure I've set my mind to attaining things in the past but never have I set a goal so far in to the future and worked to make it happen.  I couldn't have done it without the support of my wife and my friends, who have all been very supportive of the new "Millsy".  On race day I also need to specifically thank Chris Hyde who helped drag me around and get my first finisher medal....the rest of 2012 would hopefully net a few more of them.