Kielder 10K Ambassador – David Jukes

Why do we run? It’s the question a runner is asked the most. Why do you run? I always get asked it.

We all have our reasons for running, some of us do it for the keep fit/weight loss side, others do it for the mental wellbeing and a lot of us do it for the social aspect. It could be you do it for a couple of those reasons, maybe all three.

I got into running in January 2012 and at the time it was for the keep fit/weight loss aspect. I’d recently just lost my mother in the August 2011 and was experiencing the most difficult time of my life, I was struggling to come to terms with her loss and turned to binge eating (I was already on the tubby side to begin with). Tipping the scales at just over 16 stones I was fat, unfit and miserable. I wanted to lose the weight and get fit, not just for me but for my family too.

I joined weight watchers (only bloke there by the way) and bought a cheap pair of running trainers. I signed up for two races that year the Middlesbrough 5k in May and the Middlesbrough 10k in September. Just to give myself something to aim for and work towards, Id contacted the British Lung Foundation for some charity fundraising material as I wanted to run those races in memory of my Mam and away I went.

I remember those first 20 yards or so of my first run and my lungs feeling like they were going to collapse on me, I was ready to quit. I continued on and completed a mile in 15 minutes. I felt like Id ran a marathon, I was sweating buckets and was seriously considering purchasing a sports bra (it was the moobs!). 

I carried on with my training the next few months just extending the distance slightly. That hatred of running gradually started to disappear each time that I went out. It wasn’t just benefitting me physically but also mentally. As bizarre as it sounds it was a chance to talk to Mam, I knew it was a one-way conversation but I knew that wherever she was she would be listening (I still do that to this day with certain races I take part in, particularly the tough runs). 

For something that was once a chore it was now becoming a source of enjoyment for me. I got up to the three miles in time for the 5k in May. Sporting the red vest of BLF I ran my first 5k in just under 35 minutes.

The buzz of finishing that race motivated me to push on for the 10k in September. My training runs became more frequent, the distances getting longer and the times getting quicker. September came around and I was about three stone lighter and feeling fit.

Stupidly though self-doubt started to kick in and the day before the Boro 10k I ran the full course just so I knew I could do it. This would come back to haunt me 24 hours later. Barely half way through my thighs were on fire, my left calf was ceasing up and I was convinced I was having an asthma attack (I didn’t even have asthma!) I crawled those last 6/7k home finishing it in 1-hour 14mins. I’d done what Id set out to do 9 months earlier which was to get a fitter, lose a bit of weight and run those races for my Mam.

I remember vowing after that race never to run again and I didn’t for a good few months. But I felt something was missing. I invested in a decent pair of trainers, signed up for parkrun and the rest as they say is history.


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