You started running at around the same time as me. Every evening, you’d embark on a short powerwalk to clear your head after the day’s work. I was living at home and joined you on occasion. One evening, we decided to break into a gentle run. That was where it all started.
When I moved out, I fell in and out of running. I entered the occasional race and trained sporadically. But, living in a flat with other twenty-something year olds, the lure of London’s nightlife was stronger than my desire to run, I suppose.
But you persisted. Undeterred by others around you that didn’t share your love for running, you gradually built up the distance. You weren’t in such a rush to enter races, preferring to gain confidence before diving into this new and unfamiliar world. But I guess you didn’t feel the need to prove yourself just yet. Your time would come.
When you entered your first half marathon, we ran together. We were at similar levels of fitness and your goal was to break two hours. We crossed the finish line in 1 hour 57 minutes, hand in hand. This photo makes me smile every time I look at it. It captures the bond we share through running.
It was the first of many races we would enter and run together. At some point along the way I became faster and, when racing together, you expressed that you didn’t want to hold me back. But it’s been an honour to be able to use this speed to pace you and help you to meet some of your race goals. That sub 50 minute 10k we ran recently? Although you modestly tried to apportion credit to me, it was your legs and dedicated training regime that got you round.
On Sunday, we ran another half marathon together. You wanted to run under 1 hour and 50 minutes and I agreed to pace you. I knew you could do this, but after losing your footing and tripping at mile eight, your rhythm and confidence were shaken. I knew you still had it in you to fight on and meet your target. I suppose I felt frustrated with myself for not being able to convince you of this at the time. But there will be other opportunities and other races.
Six years on, as your first marathon draws closer, I wish I could be there to share your big moment. But I respect your wish to complete this out of the spotlight, under as little pressure as possible. Hopefully the time will come when we can run 26.2 miles together. But until then, I am grateful for the shared hobby we have and I am extremely proud of you, Dad.
Yesterday, Dad and I ran the Purple Patch Down Tow Up Flow half marathon, which was a very well organised, scenic route that I/we can highly recommend.