Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Crossroads

I’m in bed sniffing and spluttering today. Actually I’m grateful because it’s given me time to sit in the silence and think a bit.

I’ve been feeling a bit cross-roadsy lately you see. There are lots of opportunities in the pipeline, lots of things to do, huge potential, all of which will mean wonderfully exciting hard work and adventure. It thrills me to the core.

It’s just that I frequently doubt, and I wonder if I’m really up to the task.

I found myself accidently watching a clip from Chariots of Fire and then looked up a few quotes from Eric Liddell. Here’s one of his most famous.

"God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure."

I’m not so fast but I do believe that I (and you!) have been given a purpose. And when I run, or when I take people running, I definitely feel His pleasure.

But here’s the quote that really caught my attention.

“If, in the quiet of your heart, you feel something should be done, stop and consider whether it is in line with the character and teaching of Jesus. If so, obey that impulse to do it, and in doing so you will find it was God guiding you.” 

Am I up to the Walk2Run task? Am I up to seeing the Walk2Run Vision become a reality, the vision to see every life lived in all it’s fullness and not one be lost to suicide? Will I trust God and honour Him like Eric Liddell did?

Here’s one more quote for the (cross) road….


“No man who really is a man ever cared for the easy task. There is no enjoyment in the game that is easily won. It is that in which you have to strain every muscle and sinew to achieve victory that provides real joy.”

This one brought tears to my eyes, and I’m back to feeling thrilled to the core. So. I’m still at the crossroads, but I’m standing up, fixing my eyes on the road ahead, toeing the line, and getting ready to run my freaking socks off  - to achieve the victory that provides real joy.

Click here for the film clip

Come and run with us, it might just change your life. 



Thursday, 16 November 2017

USP

I’ve been asked several times what makes Walk2Run different from a regular running club. It’s a good question that I ask myself often. I must admit that when I was challenged on it this week, I went for a bit of a mental wobble. IS there really anything different? And if so, what?

Trollied
The answer sometimes comes from the most unlikely of places. Today it came from the sign inside the back of a trolly, saying “Our values make us different” (Sainsbury’s).
And that’s it in a nutshell. It’s Walk2Run’s values that make us different and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about some of them.

Life in All it’s fullness
Walk2Run started out to beat suicide. True story. But honestly, that word is not a great selling point is it? Initially I found it difficult to talk about and to make any connection between running and suicide prevention. But it came to me one day that rather that ‘selling’ suicide, Walk2Run is in the business of LIFE, and not only that, but LIFE in all its fullness. Of course that’s going to take a LIFEtime of unpacking, but I believe that it’s the right response to suicide. We will Walk2Run for life in all its fullness.

Go low, go slow, and stop for the one
Whilst this phrase is not unique to me or to Walk2Run (it was said by Heidi Baker, Iris Ministries, I believe), someone spoke it to me and it became personal. Since then I’ve adopted it as a value for Walk2Run. It means Stay low: stay humble, think servant-like. Go Slow: take your time, don’t rush on to the next thing or person. Stop for the one: stop for the one right in front of you.
This is radical in business terms when of course, numbers matter, and increasing numbers matter even more. But lest I get anxious when ‘only’ two show up for a session, it does me good to remember to stay low, go slow, and to stop for the one in front of me. 

We can afford 10%
As many of you know, of every £3 paid in runner fees, 30p is donated to Out Of The Blue fundraising. OOTB supports 4 front line charities working to prevent and raise awareness of suicide, and to support survivors. If I gave 10p for every £1 for every time I’ve been ‘advised’ that that’s too much money, or that businesses generally stick with 2 or 3%, OOTB would be so loaded right now! This is a non-negotiable at Walk2Run, and a tangible way of investing in the area of life we care so passionately about.

Shoulder to Shoulder
When you train to be a coach with Run England, you’re taught to observe, and rightly so. It’s important to look at your athletes, to watch them run and then make adjustments. At Walk2Run we totally take that on board, and if you need to lift your feet, knees, eyes, or left arm, trust me, we’ll let you know!
However, at Walk2Run we just love to run shoulder-to-shoulder with people.

One day I’ll write a post unpacking this one a little more. But for now, just know that we coaches at Walk2Run are prepared to run shoulder-to-shoulder beside you when you need it, because sometimes in life and in running, we all need a little company.

Please return me when you’ve finished
This is not a Walk2Run value! But it was the other thing that was written on the trolly, and it made me col (chuckle out loud). I think it will become my daily prayer 😉


Many thanks for reading, and if you get time, please do get inspired by reading Kevin or Sam’s stories.


Come and run with us, it might just change your life.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Our very own Mr Strong

To Sam from his mum
On Saturday 28th October 26 year old Sam Brown from Sidley, Bexhill completed the Beachy Head Marathon, 26.2 miles of gruelling but beautiful off road running. So did 2157 others and of course everyone that crossed that finish line is to be admired. But Sam’s achievement is particularly remarkable because in May this year he tried to end his own life.

Sam’s story starts 12 years ago on what should have been a normal bank holiday Monday afternoon in Eastbourne. He was attacked by some young people who assaulted him and photographed the incident.

This horrific attack deeply affected Sam and his mental health. He recounts that he felt unable to leave the house for several years afterwards, and found it difficult to trust people. He suffered feelings of anger and fear, and not surprisingly perhaps, became very depressed.

Walk2Run
But in 2015 Sam’s life began to take a more positive turn. With support from family and friends he started volunteering at the Pelham in Sidley, working in the new kitchen washing up and preparing delicious food for customers. It was here at the Pelham that I first met Sam. I run an organisation called Walk2Run based at The Pelham, which teaches people how to run to support their mental, physical and social wellbeing. Encouraged by friends Sam came out for his first Walk2Run session.

This is Sam in the grey t-shirt at Walk2Run at The Pelham back in September 2016.

Image may contain: 13 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

I’d like to write, ‘the rest is history’, because Sam basically became an unstoppable running force. He came to Walk2Run every single Friday morning, taking to running like a duck to water, and it wasn’t long before he started entering local races.

However, in the spring of 2017, illness and the anniversary of the attack triggered suicidal feelings in Sam and he made several attempts to take his own life. Thankfully he was helped by his dog Crystal who alerted passers-by. Sam remembers too the kindness of strangers who heard Crystal barking and contacted the police, and Sam was then able to get the help and support that he so desperately needed.

And he kept running. He also joined a local fitness class called Total Nutrition where he regularly breaks his own plank record, currently standing at longer than 16 minutes!

On 1st October he ran the Eastbourne 10k, which meant returning to the place of the attack. In Sam’s own words before the race, “I’m feeling really nervous and excited now and I can't wait to race and I ain't been to Eastbourne for 7 years now cos to much bad stuff happened to me there so I'm really going out my comfort zone.” He crossed the line in 46 minutes. “I'm really proud of myself and it was amazing feeling when I crossed the finishing line and thank you everyone today for the nice messages”.

4 weeks later Sam was back in Eastbourne toeing the line of the Beachy Head marathon. Friend and training buddy Rob Thomas joined him for the event and comments “I am very proud of Sam. Beachy Head is no easy option for a first marathon. Sam has shown remarkable mental and physical strength with both his planning and performance on the day, I am sure he will be even quicker at his next running event!”

  
Shame replaced by pride
As for Sam, he says that running and fitness have had a massive impact on his life. He’s made new friends, he’s lost over 4 stone in weight, his confidence has grown so much that he recently lead a fitness class on World Mental Health Day raising £220 for Together Wellbeing. And these days, rather than being too ashamed to leave his house, Sam is now proud of himself.

His motto for life is now proudly tattoed on his arm. It says “Keep going, you can do it, believe in yourself, never give up.”

Sam, you’re an inspiration. Keep running, you’ve not given up yet, proving to us all that every step counts.



Come and run with us, it might just save your life.