There have been a few truly great athletic moments that have motivated me over the years. The Moscow Olympics, with the Coe Ovett rivalry, more importantly the Coe comeback after the whole world wrote him off, Seeing Steve Cram getting a Championship qualifying time at a local Tyneside track league, myself and about 100 other local young athletes did a lap of honor with him. Seeing Steve Cram breaking world records on the track.
The other great inspiration to motivate me for years was my Dad’s 3 wins and course record of the Chevy Chase B race in the early 80’s. I was only young at the time but seeing my Dad leading the field off the top of Langlee crags on his way to a new record was a real hair on the back of my neck, lump in my throat, life changing moment. After seeing that it was something I had to do myself.
take much to get back into it. I had no plans on joining a running club, but had every intention at some point to give the Chevy a crack.
After two second placings I eventually won the race, it was my proudest moment and probably my best ever race, all those years of thinking about it, training for it, getting over my two 2nd places made it all the more important and meaningful to me.
I was about nine at the time and was well used to walking in the hill’s, in fact as soon as my sister was born I was kicked out of the papoose and had to walk everywhere, so at 5 I had already bagged Helvelyn. I started running at eight and joined the poly at nine, so I was now used to running too, it was only natural what happened next, fell running!
I remember it so clearly now, my Dad turned to my Mam and said that he was going to take me for a run to the Mine and back (a mile and a half, tops!). It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny and a light breeze, perfect for running.
Our run back to the cottage went ok, we had a fantastic time and loved every minute of it, however my Dad might not have forgotten but I was totally unaware of how long we’d been out. As we opened the cottage door we were greeted by my Mam With a fully packed rucksack with dry warm clothes, food, drinks and first aid kit all packed. Of course we’d told my Mam that we were only going to the Mine and back, but we must have been out for hours, she must have been at her witts end. My Mam was relived to see us back in one piece, today had been a great adventure and was only the start of more great fell running adventures, my parents both got to know and accept that when I’d go for a fell run I would be ok and I’d be back at some point, I think they learnt not to stress about the time I was out.
I very rarely go fell running now as Im very focused on running fast times over the roads and mixing the training necessary for this and fell running really doesn’t mix, but at times after week and week, month after month, tearing round the track and hammering the roads I often think what’s the point, there’s not much pleasure in that and I run because I love it. So whenever I’m feeling a bit demotivated I take time out and head for the hills.
I love the feeling of freedom I get on the Fell’s, to me this is what running is all about. No Garmins, no stopwatches, no time restrictions, I just head off and see where I end up. I usually pick an area to run get up high and then follow the ridges and link as many summits as I can.
Although I’ve been Fell running just about all my life, I’ve actually only raced on the Fells a few times. The main reason for this is that I like to save my Fell running as a treat, something to look forward to, I feel that if I was to train on the Fells like I do on the road it would ruin it for me.