My name is Steve Claringbold and I’d like you to join me on my running journey and hopefully raise some awareness of the charities I’m currently supporting.
Before 2009 I’d never really considered running, I’d tried it got bored and out of breath and quickly gave up saying to myself that I’d never be a distance runner.
However, when my son was born in October of 2008 like most recent fathers it made me sit down and evaluate my life. It was during this period that I realised I’d never achieved anything in any sport or suchlike. I’d never received a medal or a trophy or even a certificate. It was also during this time that I noticed that I was rapidly ballooning weight wise, I’d gone from 11 stone 3 pounds to 13 stone 5 pounds in next to no time, I was feeling this weight gain in all walks of life. My asthma was flaring up badly, I was constantly ill, it was a struggle to get up the stairs and a struggle to get up in the middle of the night to feed my son. Something had to be done, but what?
It was during those wee small hours of bottle feeding that I decided that I would buy myself an Ipod, this promptly arrived two days later and really did revolutionise my life. I put a lot of my favourite music on it and also found the joy of podcasts, suddenly I was immersed in a world of like minded people talking about wrestling, football and Dr. Who.
I decided that it was time to get fit and this Ipod thingy was going to get me through it. But how to get fit was going to be the biggest hurdle, I already played football on a Monday night and it almost seemed impossible to fit any other aspect of fitness into my life what with work and family. What I needed was a goal and that goal was ultimately decided when, on a whim, I signed myself up for the Carlisle 10k that was taking place in September 2009.
This was a new event to Carlisle that year and luckily for me it was advertised everywhere, subliminally I think that I may have been brainwashed into entering by the amount of advertising around the city. So the place in the run was booked, the Ipod was ready and my brother was roped in to race alongside me. Now all I needed to do was train.
I knew from past experience that I couldn’t just go out and run, if I was going to do this I would have to do it properly. It was at this time that a selection of books arrived for sale at my workplace and this little beauty was among them.
I knew as soon as I saw it that this would be what would pull me through my training. It is essentially set up into sections of exercise moves, technique, stretching, warming up/cooling down and training levels. Level One started me off slow with a gentle run on the first day, rest the next day, core work after that and so on and every week it was a case of building up the training until I was essentially running for forty minutes without thinking about it. The weight started to drop off pretty quickly as I was now eating a lot better as well and I went into the Carlisle 10k nervous but hopeful of finishing, I also went into it at a weight of 12 stone 5 pounds. My initial goal was making 4 mile, it was my intention that if I could run 4 miles then I could take a rest around that marker. Within 2 mile I realised that I was struggling, I had a stitch and my breathing was erratic, I started to panic a lot which only made my breathing worse. Luckily for me that my brother was along for the ride and he calmed me down by helping me slow the pace and regulate my breathing. Once we got to the 4 mile marker I decided that I just wanted to finish, I needed this over and done with. We rounded the corner at The Sands Centre towards Bitts Park and it was at this point that we knew we were nearing the end. I’d saved a little something to push on and as we arrived at the sheepmount towards the finish line we kicked on and upped the pace a bit. Crossing the finish line in my first race was a great feeling of achievement but the fact that I ran the whole race without stopping gave me a sense of the internal battle that I needed to have with myself if I wanted to carry on with this. My mind wants to give up at every opportunity but I realised that my body is capable of much more than my mind would have me believe. The next day the results were posted and, being a complete novice, I was oblivious to what time I’d posted I was more than happy with the end result:
1100 302 61:00:00 Claringbold Steven
To take part in my first race and post a time just over the hour was pretty good in my opinion. Out of 382 competitors I’d placed 302, essentially I’d beaten 80 other people (some whom were members of running/athletics clubs) despite thinking I was going to come last. This was it, I had the bug and I needed that buzz again…..This was the beginning of the journey, one that will get more painful but provide me with so much happiness, the ability to raise funds for charity and, more importantly, a sense of worth.