I did it!

After 9 months of training, completely upending my life in London and altering my lifestyle irrevocably – I’ve completed what I set out to do.

When I first arrived here in Padstow I was a wreck. My life in London as a jobbing chef and daily drinker was unsustainable, to say the least. At the age of 34, I should have been in the prime of my life, but I couldn’t have been further from that. With my hand clutching my chest, I’d cut a sad and desperate figure, collapsed on the floor of my local pub with my drunk friends trying to help me up. I’d almost died that day, it could have been my last – but, it wasn’t.

Moving down to Cornwall was the inciting incident in my story. Thanks to my Aunt Berol, I had the opportunity to stay somewhere free of alcohol, where I could eat healthy meals every day and where my only friend would be a septuagenarian with a slight addiction to vaping. It might sound like a strange plan for a man in his 3os, but without the help of Berol and the simple comforts of her home, I wouldn’t have been able to complete the race that seemed like an impossible task back in October.

For those of you interested, I completed the 10 kilometres in 82 minutes 23 seconds.

This was well under my target of 90 minutes, which I was pleasantly surprised with. What I was even more surprised with was the support I received from my fellow runners and their supporters. Of course, Aunt Berol was waiting on the finish line for me with a big smile on her face, but for the rest of the race I had assumed that I’d be alone.

It was a dark and foreboding drive to Trethewey.

Although Aunt Berol had done a good job of containing her excitement for the last few weeks, she was positively bubbling with energy on the drive over. I could tell that for her this was a big moment, she’d welcomed me into her home, a few weeks after a serious health incident and watched me recover, bit by bit, all so that I could push myself to the limit on this misty morning.

After I collected my bib and left Berol at the finish line with a cup of tea, I made my way to the start line. It was a strange feeling, stepping into a crowd of people who all looked so different from me. I might have lost a few stone since coming down here, but I was still far and away the biggest runner in the lineup. I don’t know why I’d assumed that I’d be ridiculed, the reality was a lot different. As soon as I took my place, dressed in my unflattering running gear, surrounded by my fellow competitors, I received smiles and nods of recognition.

When the starting pistol sounded, I took my time and kept my own pace, letting the faster runners filter through. I had thought that I’d be left in the dust, but it turned out there were a few other runners who, like me, had challenged themselves to lose weight and get fit.

We all struggled, we all persevered, we all completed.

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