A little bit about myself and my reasons for the 40@40 challenge for the NSPCC and how running and charity fundraising has transformed my life and given me back my health.
Health Issues, Lack of belief and confidence.
My name is Lee currently aged 39, my health issues began when I was 25 because I suffered a back injury while playing 11 aside football, for the next 12 years I experienced episodes of chronic back pain, muscle spasms, weight gain and periods of sick leave from work. Although I tried to get myself fit and healthy through some light jogging, swimming, Pilates and visits to the gym I lacked the confidence and belief to really push and challenge myself due to my back pain.
4 years ago in 2015 after having yet another back spasm and spending time off work again I underwent a MRI scan to fully diagnose my problem. When my results were processed I was told by a back specialist that I had a prolapsed disc and 1 bulging disc in my back and that if I didn't become fit and healthy through exercise I would continue to suffer back pain and Back spasms for the rest of my life.
This really was the turning point for me as I was struggling to function at work and with my daily life and having 2 young children to think about was my core motivation to become healthier. I decided that my health had to become my number 1 priority. To action this and improve my work life balance I dropped down to a 4 day working week, I was now starting to really think about a challenge/goal/dream that would motivate me to change and become a healthier and fitter person.
The dream challenge
If we rewind 10 years back to 2009 I visiting London for the weekend to celebrate my 30th birthday, during this visit I watched the London Marathon and was in awe of the event, the crowd, the atmosphere was electric and I felt inspired by all the runners taking part. I remember saying to myself that 1 day I would definitely love to do this event for a Charity. The dream was planted but I never believed I could do it or train for it effectively due to my back issues and low fitness levels, I watched it on TV every year onwards and I considering entering it most years but I never did.
Due to my meeting with the back specialist in 2015 I finally took the plunge and In June 2016 I entered the 2017 London Marathon running for a charity called back care, this charity had helped me with my back pain issues previously.
I started to train for the London marathon under the guidance of a physio because I still had back pain, I trained at 12 minute mile pace and lost approx. 3 stone in weight moving from 15 stone 9 to 12 stone 9 IB. During my training I ran a half marathon in 2 hours 37 minutes, I never got above this distance in training due to an IT band injury but I was determined to start and finish this race and honour those sponsorship pledges that totalled £1300 for the charity Back care.
On April the 23rd 2017 now aged 37 I started and finished the 2017 London Marathon in a time of 6 hours 19 minutes. When I crossed the finishing line I knew that I had fallen in love with running, with charity fundraising and I wanted to and needed to face the Marathon challenge again for sure.
In 2018 I ran another 2 full Marathons and my 1st great north race, raising £650 for the charity Guide dogs. I finished the Manchester Marathon in 5 hours 7 minutes, the Leicester marathon in 4 hours 48 minutes and ran my 1st great north run in 2 hours 13 minutes.
During this 2 year period of regular running I engaged with the running community via Twitter, I watched, listened and learnt from all runners and felt inspired by runners achievement’s and stories. It’s from twitter that I saw a 50@50 challenge; this inspired me to take on my own age related challenge in 2019.
So here we are in 2019 and I have started my 40@40 running challenge this will involve 20 Half marathons, 10 x 10k runs and 10 x 5k runs I will be doing this for the charity NSPCC in their fight to create a society where we have no more child abuse and every child can be free from harm. This is something that I am so passionate about due to the work with young people as a careers advisor and being a parent to 2 young girls.
In brief I am now pain free and 3 stone lighter, I have fell in love with running and charity fundraising for causes that I believe in.
As part of the 40@40 challenge I will also be invited friends, family, work colleagues, members from my running club which I have joined a few days ago and other runners from the twitter community to join me on a run during the 40@40 challenge.
Please see my just giving for an updated list of races completed so far and further races entered for 2019.
Twitter link is @lgroucutt