If you run, you are a runner. No matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day, or if you 've been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run!

This is part of a challenge to myself to start writing 500 words every day… this is day 11. The idea for today’s post is to write about the slaying of a dragon…

Once upon a time I used to be quite fit, not super fit but quite fit. At school when I used to row, before I started smoking I even enjoyed things like running!

Afterwards I went to a military training college. I was already fat,but by the end of the course, despite being a fairly heavy smoker I had begun to get quite fit…

I chose not to join the army and so real life intervened. Any fitness I had soon went and despite several attempts over the years to stop smoking I kept getting fatter….and fatter…. and fatter!

And then I found myself in March or so of 2013 skiing and half way down a slope I was so out of breath I had to take a break!

And it finally hit home to me quite how unfit I actually was… I had however still managed to persuade myself I wasn’t really that fat… although my brother did say something to me that made me think I was perhaps fatter than I thought I was!

Anyway after that it took some time, but eventually at the beginning of September, just over a year ago I decided enough was enough… and I started a running training program called Couch to 5K.

When I started I was practically chain smoking at approximately 50 cigarettes a day, and I weighed over 18 stone or 253 lbs.

The first day of my couch to 5K I managed to cover a distance of 1.28 miles at an average pace of 14.24 minutes/mile…. and the fastest I managed to go was 1/10th of a mile in 10.31 min/mile and I thought that was pretty good!

I managed 5 days of this training before I successfully injured myself and so started again about 6 weeks later in October.

Shortly after this I had come back from a run, went to the shop bought some cigarettes and got into the shower and started smoking! I suddenly thought to myself what the hell am I doing… and stopped smoking that cigarette and haven’t smoked since. It amazes me thinking back on it how easy it actually was!

Anyway I completed the C25K on the 6th December with an average pace of 11.13 min/mile for a run of 5KM.

Since then I have done a 5K to 10K training program, an improve your 10K training program and a half marathon training program.

Now a year later I am running 5 days a week, generally running sub 10 minute miles, although I recently did a 10K run where every mile was run under 9 minute miles. I am now training for a marathon and am hoping to do it in under 4 hours.

And I am coming up to the one year anniversary of stopping smoking!

Below is a recent before and after photo…


I still have a way to go with my fitness, but Couch to 5K started it all off for me, and I am forever grateful… I suspect it has quite possibly added 7 years + to my life.