Category Archives: BTR Liverpool

What Have I Learned from Running?

Back in December 2014, when I took part in the Liverpool Santa Dash 5k, I thought running would be a one-off experience. Looking back now in hindsight, this was the beginning of something new and fulfilling, that would become a major part of my life.

It was not until January 2016, that I took up running as a hobby. This was because I wanted to do something different for a New Year’s resolution, and to improve my fitness.

Initially I would go for a run once a week. However, I was quickly bitten by the running bug, and was soon covering longer distances, as I was consumed by my growing enthusiasm for running. This led to me to running the 2016 Scouse 5k for charity, where I raised £980 for Maghull Young Adults Social Club, for young adults with autism like myself. I have since gone further by running in longer events in Liverpool, Port Sunlight, Hoylake, and Southport, culminating in running the 2018 BTR Liverpool Half-Marathon for the first time, which was a great experience, despite completing the race with an injury. In simple terms, outdoor running has forced me to push myself out of my comfort zone and has also taught me more about myself, than I could possibly have imagined previously.

My life has changed considerably since taking up running. Apart from getting physically fitter and stronger, it has given me plenty of self-confidence, in addition to having something in common with other enthusiasts, and it gets me outdoors and into the fresh air.

Running outdoors has also allowed me to explore my surroundings. From the streets of Liverpool, to country lanes and coastal areas, I have been able to take in sights of pure natural beauty and picturesque landmarks, some of which have been memorable. One example is running along Otterspool Promenade with the wind blowing in from the River Mersey, whilst another is running from Ormskirk to Kirkby on a glorious October morning with blue skies, little cloud, surrounded by peaceful countryside. However, my personal favourite was on holiday in Paphos, where I would run from my hotel to the town and back, complete with spectacular views of the early-morning sun, rising over the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the most spectacular views I have come across when running. An early-morning run from the town on Paphos to my nearby hotel, when on holiday in 2019.

I have found running to be an ideal way of relieving stress after a hard-working day. Running allows me to clear my head of mental strains, anxieties, and other negative thoughts, as endorphins are released in the brain, making me feel good afterwards. This makes running beneficial to good mental health and well-being, and it can be meditative and helps to get the creative juices going too!

Apart from what I have mentioned already, there are other benefits associated with running. These include the following below:

  1. Anyone can take up running.
  2. Running is a cheap way to exercise.
  3. It helps with getting a good night’s sleep.
  4. When running in sunlight, it is a good source of Vitamin D.
  5. Running also boosts creativity and can improve your memory.
  6. It also helps in strengthening your joints and bones.
  7. Running also improves your cardio-vascular health.

Of course, there are other things that I have learned from my running experiences, including the following:

  1. Always listen to your body.
  2. Strains and injuries can be picked up if you are not careful (yes this has happened to me).
  3. Ensure you take a bottle of water for hydration (this is especially important when running in warm weather).
  4. In warm weather, wear light clothing i.e. shorts and T-shirt, along with a cap and put sunblock on.
  5. Run at a pace that you are comfortable with.
  6. When running outdoors, be mindful of your surroundings.
  7. If taking part in a race, put in as much practice and preparation as you can.

Looking back on my running journey, I can say that taking it up was one the best decisions I ever made. Running has given me structure, discipline, fitness, and it has proven to be extremely valuable in coping with the daily stresses, strains, and anxieties of modern life, and I also enjoy it very much. In addition, running has given me plenty of moments, for myself and my family to be proud about. There are also millions of others like myself, who have changed their lives through running, and have proudly felt the same passion and pride as I have done.

In conclusion, I hope you have enjoyed reading about and understanding how much I have learned from running, and why it has become a passion of mine. I can guarantee you, that I shall be keeping the running habit going.

Thanks for reading!

My Year of Running

Running has taken over my life this year. From taking part in 10 races in 2018, including the Liverpool Half-Marathon, Southport 10k, Run for Rhys 5k and the Liverpool Santa Dash, I have lost over 2 stone in weight since January. In addition, my year in running has given me some proud memories, which I would like to share with you as 2018 draws to a close.

It was back in January when I set myself the goal of running the BTR Liverpool Half-Marathon. By running that race for the first time ever, I was out of my comfort zone, but at the same time relishing and energised by the challenge of pushing myself. Looking back, it was a proud and rewarding experience for me, even if I had to perform through the pain barrier, and I would gladly repeat the experience again. I say this because crossing that finishing line in under 3 hours was a great feeling, and I am convinced this was when I knew I had caught the running bug.

Another pleasure was the opportunity of experiencing such delightful scenery. This is because running has allowed me to take in some picturesque views of the River Mersey, the lush outdoors of Croxteth Park, and the Three Graces of Liverpool. As I have pounded the pavements and off-road tracks, seeing such fine sights through my own eyes has been a lovely treat.

Through the races and training, I have also learned about running in different weather conditions. This year, I have run in conditions where the weather has been either very hot or cold. When I ran the Southport 10k in July, the weather was very hot, meaning I had to adjust my running style to suit the conditions, by pacing myself and keeping hydrated.

In comparison, the Run for Rhys 5k was on a day of torrential rain and winds. This meant the course in Croxteth Park was full of mud, fallen leaves and big puddles, making it extremely difficult. On reflection, I was glad to have done the run, if only to experience the feeling of running when it is very wet and windy.

In addition to the races, I have done plenty of running in the countryside as part of my training, which has been extremely enjoyable. An example was back in October, when I ran 7 miles from Ormskirk all the way back to my house. This was on a cool Saturday morning, and my route took me past Edge Hill University, through the village of Bickerstaffe, and all the way back home. I also vividly remember being surrounded by blue skies, hanging clouds and being surrounded by peaceful countryside. Running along the pavements and open roads surrounded by silence, I can honestly say it was pure bliss!

There has been plenty that I have learned from my year of running. I have learned that anything is possible when you put your mind to something you want to achieve. Secondly I have also learned that training and preparation is important, and that you need to be courageous and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Finally I have also learned is that running is not just good for losing weight, but it is useful for relieving stress. This is because after a hectic day, I enjoy going for a quick run, as it helps me to mentally clear my head of stress and doubts, and allows me to calmly think more clearly with perspective, and it makes me feel good about myself. I also find running outdoors to be rather meditative.

And that’s all I have to say about my year of running. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences and also what I have learned from them. Rest assured that I will be keeping up the habit, and will be looking forward to more running exploits in 2019.

In the meantime, I would like to wish all you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thanks for reading!

BTR Liverpool Run for Rhys 5k – My Recollections

Last month over the Bank Holiday weekend, I took part in the BTR Liverpool Run for Rhys 5k event. Held in the lush surroundings of Croxteth Park, the purpose of this was to support the Rhys Jones Community Centre in Croxteth, setup to celebrate and honour Rhys’s memory after his tragic murder eleven years ago, which shocked Liverpool and the whole nation.

This was the first time I had taken part in the run, and I enjoyed it despite the heavy rainfall. Arriving at the start outside Croxteth Hall, there was a good crowd of runners taking part, along with representatives from Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Radio City, and Everton in the Community, all giving their support. The weather certainly didn’t affect the positivity and feel good atmosphere, although there were a good number huddling inside the hall foyer to keep dry before the start. Who could blame them?

For me personally, the run was memorable for several reasons. From standing in the pouring rain in a sea of blue at the start, passing a loud mooing cow (no seriously!), stepping in a big puddle twice, to crossing the finishing line, my memories of the day were plentiful. In addition, I also remember the course being tougher then I anticipated, due to the rain, wind, mud, puddles and leaf stained track making this 5k run, the toughest I have ever done. This is because I had to concentrate and stay mentally sharp throughout, which as a runner was a useful and valuable experience.

Previously I had never completed a run in such conditions, so this was a new challenge I faced head-on. I was never dazed by this, and I managed to overcome the difficulties posed by the weather and complete the run in 34 minutes, which I was delighted to challenge and conquer. Despite being completely soaked to the skin, I really enjoyed the run, with the warm support and camaraderie among the runners and local crowds certainly gaving a warm buzz, to a wet Sunday morning in Croxteth. I would certainly do it all again whatever the weather brings.

I would like to thank BTR Liverpool, Rhys Jones Community Centre, Croxteth Park and to everyone else involved, including to Rhys’s family for organising and supporting the event. It was a very special day for the city of Liverpool, in not only supporting the centre, but also to honour and celebrate Rhys’s life.

BTR Liverpool Half Marathon 2018 – My Recollections

Have you ever felt the urge to do something you have never done before?

Something that challenges and pushes you out of your comfort zone?

Last month, I did exactly the above, when I ran the BTR Liverpool Half-Marathon for the first time. Whilst I have previously taken part in the Santa Dash and Scouse 5k for charity, my reasons for doing the Liverpool Half-Marathon were different. As well as to lose a few pounds, I had also set myself a personal challenge of running a half-marathon, so this forced me to step out of my comfort zone.

In order to take the half-marathon seriously, I trained hard over a period of 12 weeks. This was to ensure I was physically and mentally prepared, although I must confess there were occasions when I wondered what I had let myself in for. However I was excited and looking forward to tackling the half-marathon, and as race day approached, the hardest part was keeping focused, whilst trying to remain calm on the surface.  Indeed the night before, I barely managed to grab any sleep, as I was pumped up, full of adrenaline and raring to go!

On the morning of the half-marathon, I arrived at the Pier Head feeling relaxed, calm, and yet keeping my mind solely on the challenge that lay ahead. Taking up position at the start, I was surrounded by blue skies, beautiful sunshine, and a carnival-like atmosphere, with plenty of colourful sights, sounds of music and joyous excitement. There were thousands of runners taking part, with lots running for charity, including several dressed in superhero outfits and funny costumes. I even recall noticing a runner dressed up as Captain America, and another as a bumblebee, which certainly added to the fun-filled mood.

Soon the run started, and everything that I had prepared and trained for, came together instantly. It struck me that I was now entering the unknown, like Christopher Columbus sailing and discovering America.

The route itself was demanding, yet also picturesque. From Mann Island, the route passed along Upper Parliament Street, Park Lane, Sefton Park, through Otterspool Park and back along Otterspool Promenade, to the finishing line at the Three Graces. Running along the route, taking in the sights was a delight for me, and along with the cheers and encouragement of fellow runners and passers-by, certainly kept my spirits up.

I realised the half-marathon was always going to be a physically draining effort. However I learned it also required a great amount of mental strength, to persevere to the finish. I discovered this when I felt a sharp pain in my right leg, about halfway through the race, which prevented me from running at my best, meaning I had to power walk the remaining distance. Rather than damaging my confidence, this setback only served to spur me on to keep going, despite the pain. This was rewarded when I eventually completed the half-marathon in a time of 2 hours and 51 minutes, of which I was delighted and ecstatic.

As I crossed the finished line, the reality of what I had achieved sunk in, and I felt extremely proud, even I was feeling numb and in pain, whilst walking like John Wayne!

Looking back, I feel great pride in succeeding and meeting my goal of completing the half-marathon. Of course, there are aspects of the training, preparation and running I would have done differently in hindsight, but what I achieved in completing the half-marathon though my hard-work and determined efforts, shows that anyone can achieve anything.

To conclude, if what I have achieved inspires other disabled people like myself, then I am proud to have helped in blazing the trail.

Thanks for reading!

Santa Dashing for Charity

As people, I believe in giving something back to others. On Sunday 7th December, I recently took part in the 10th anniversary BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, to raise money for the chosen charities of Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL). These charities were The Walton Centre and Ronald McDonald House.

I wanted to do this, because I had never took part in anything like it before, and I thought it would be a rather fun way to give back to the community, with the added bonus of trying to get fit at the same time!

From the start at the Pier Head, to the finish line at Liverpool Town Hall, I powered along the 5K route. This was through my determination, strength, and the enthusiasm, humour and cheering of the crowd and my fellow Santas, despite the cold and blustery weather, which never deterred me. A lovely memory that sticks in my mind was of my mum and dad, waving proudly to me outside Moorfields Station, as I ran past, waving back to them. My mum told me later, they arrived two minutes previously, so my timing was spot on!

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014 was a tremendous success, with around 8,500 Santas taking part, raising money for many wonderful causes. We even managed to take the World Santa Dash title back from Las Vegas.

Personally, I am proud to say that I completed the Santa Dash in 39 minutes, and raised £242 for LDL’s chosen charities. I would like to thank my LDL colleagues, and my family for all their wonderful support, encouragement and kindness in sponsoring me throughout.

It was a fantastic experience.