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:: Personal Best

If someone had said to me 5 years ago that one day I would entering the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam to the cheers of the crowd on the way to setting a new record for the marathon, I’d have been inclined to think of them as a little crazy! Amazingly though this is what actually happened last Sunday. I wasn’t winning the race and it wasn’t a new course record I was setting as I crossed the finish in 2726th place, but I was achieving my personal best and learning a few more lessons in the process.

The week before it was different scenario as I stood at the start line of a 3km fun run on an Industrial Estate in Mold, however, it was a run that brought me just as much enjoyment and satisfaction as the 42km’s meandering through the streets and canals of Amsterdam. There are lots of reasons I run and there a lots of things I think about when I do, but the two things that keep me motivated to move more than anything are my inspirational boys. They had been wanting to claim some medals of their own after decorating themselves in some of mine in recent months, so it only seemed fair to make the last training run a team effort and a family affair.

Although it was their maiden race, the boys both ran the whole way at brisk pace with smiles adorning their faces between paces. The finish line beckoning Iestyn turned to me and said “Daddy it’s hurting now can we stop?”. With a sympathetic smile I put some of my running experience into action and replied “It does sometimes in life Iestyn, but you should never give up. Think of something nice like ice cream!”. With a quick response of “Ok Daddy” he released his grip on my hand and lengthened his stride to chase his brother, crossing the line at a canter and filling me with pride. Whilst not realising the significance of this little fun run at the time, it was to be this moment that kept me going in the closing stages of my marathon, as thoughts of giving up entered my own head. Whilst I’d be lying if I said thinking of ice cream helped in any way, the determination of my boys left me with enough kick in my legs to knock 5 minutes of my personal best and finish my race.

When you think you have nothing left to give, you are normally able to give a bit more and when you don’t expect something, sometimes your expectations get met. For that very reason I’ll always be on the run and trying to be my personal best!

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