Rick’s Month in Running – September ’23
I didn’t have a time in mind. The aim was to survive.
After three years, I returned to racing this September at the New Forest 10K. Last year I had an osteotomy, which is where the surgeons cut your tibia in two and regrow your bone. My surgeon is called David Houllihan-Burne and he’s a genius. I’ve got to know David quite well and have taken his advice on what’s possible in life. He often tells me almost anything is possible, if you’ve trained your body for it. So there I was on the start line.
Race conditions change preparation. You’re running with a pack of people, you don’t know the course well, you can’t time the weather and the adrenaline is pumping. Adding all this in, I found it brutal. There were times I simply thought I wouldn’t finish, in the exhaustion of the moment. I had those initial consultations with surgeons, before I met David, in my mind. They were always clear that my running days were over. In fact, there were times when my walking days were considered at risk too. I really felt grateful to be running and in that situation again.
The kilometres on the course signs didn’t match the kilometres on my watch, making each one feel a touch longer. Reaching the finish line in driving rain and wind, despite being 25 degrees celsius, was pure exhilaration. I feel beyond proud to have made it and am grateful to David and to Andrew Goodall for his tough, but tender, physio approach.
James from The Running Channel was there too, going for a new PB. He actually passed me around the 8km mark, but started further behind me – some smooth work from him. I was simply happy to finish a race again and 55 minutes was fine for me.
The messages that we’ve been getting on the videos have been magnificent. Seriously, my wife was reading through them on holiday and asking who they were about? Just to confirm I was on holiday with her. The ones that say it’s given people hope to run again blow my mind. Thank you. I honestly never thought this day would come, so I cherish every step, despite the pain.
What’s next? Do you like the Chris Rea song ‘Driving Home for Christmas’? The Running Channel has adapted it to create something new. I grew up on The Wirral in the North West of England and, with the help of some friends, in the cold winter we’ll be running home for Christmas. What on earth have I agreed to?!
I’m going to do it to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a cause close to my heart and one that I cycled across Wales for in May. We’ll do it in legs, but it still seems like a tall order. I feel that I always agree to these things before thinking the training through. Oh well. Onwards!