This one isn’t about running. It’s about why we’re running. Three years ago today, Zoe and I lived through the hardest day of our life; our father’s funeral. He was only 55 years old, and looked ten years younger. He was dynamic, funny, stubborn, loyal, kind and thoughtful. He lived in a tiny village in Lincolnshire which he happily referred to as ‘the arsehole of nowhere’, having escaped London ten years before. The last thing he did was typical of him: he’d just taken on some new employees and he took them out for a meal, because he was worried they’d be lonely and bored, having just moved to the area. That night he went home, felt ill, and died of a heart attack before the ambulance arrived.
It was impossible for anyone to believe – my dad was tall, strong, fit enough to beat the younger men at work in their occasional after-work sprint, played the odd game of football, ate a reasonably healthy diet, very rarely drank alcohol and had never smoked in his life. Everyone agreed that yes, he was a couple of stone overweight, but ‘he carried it well’, so it didn’t matter. Only of course, it does matter. His diet wasn’t really perfect (too many stops at service stations for a Ginsters pasty and a Mars bar in lieu of lunch on the way to see his beloved Falkirk FC) and in reality he was probably four stone overweight, but at 6’3″ nobody really noticed.
Heart Research work in the community to encourage lifestyle choices for a healthier heart. In other words, they get out there and tell people what they should and shouldn’t be doing. They help perfectionists like me, who would rather do nothing than not give it 100%, to realise that every positive step helps. Because I’m overweight, because I’m in a high risk category, because of my family history, because my cholesterol levels were raised at my last blood test – their amazing work makes me realise that even my pathetic attempts at training for the marathon are helping to make my heart strong. And when the time comes and I start begging you all for sponsorship (don’t worry, I’m not hinting…yet!) remember it’s not for me, it’s for the amazing work that they do and for the lives they save.