On April 28 I will run the London Marathon in aid of Bristol Drugs Project’s Youth Groups. These groups support children whose parents have problems with drugs or alcohol. You can read more here, or sponsor me here.

Anyone running in Bristol has to learn to run hills in the end. You can’t get that far without them, unless you only ever run round and round the docks.

Even before becoming a runner, my constitutional walk had always been up hill, down dale and along converted former railway track and yonder to the mighty Purdown transmitter. That has helped keep my spirits and energy levels above rock-bottom even in the most difficult times.

But a few years back whilst yomping up Pen-Y-Fan in my favourite countryside, the Brecon Beacons, I was entranced at the sight of someone galloping down the slope, and last year when I walked part of the Wye Valley Ultra Challenge I saw someone people running away from the start line and realised to my shock that I wanted to do what they were doing – running up and down steep hills!

A few weeks after the Wye Valley Challenge I was staying with my parents in Todmorden on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, and went out for my run, knowing that Todmorden is even more hill-tastic than Bristol. There is a beautiful wood on their doorstep, with some old cobbled paths through it built originally for the wool-farmers who lived up on the moors to traipse down to the town to deliver their wares. Running up these paths was a shock, but strangely enjoyable.

I’d done my first proper race, a 10k in London, in May. I struggled but was glad I had done it. So I signed up for two more hilly races in November, a country road race in Wiltshire and a trail race round the village of Trellech in Monmouthshire, near the Wye Valley.

After these steeper circuits, a flat route was a doddle. I decided to up my distance.

This brings me to a few weeks ago, when I ran the Forest of Dean Half Marathon. I surprised myself by feeling not completely terrible afterwards. It took me 2 hours 40 – not bad on hills – and certainly good preparation to run twice the distance in the London Marathon, now less than two weeks away.

Please sponsor me, and help support the excellent work that BDP does to support children living in very difficult situations.


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