In 2001 I went to watch my mother run the Great North Run, by then she had already run six full marathons, several half marathons, and a 10km, and watching her inspired me to participate the following year. From that point on I caught the running bug! After completing four Great North Runs, the Brighton Half Marathon, and a few 10km runs I was finally able to complete my first full marathon when I competed in Edinburgh last year. I certainly intend to run that distance again. In fact, I've entered the ballot for the London Marathon next year and hope to find out if I'm successful in October 2012! My next immediate challenge is a twenty mile "Pink Ribbon walk" in London on 16th June, in aid of Breast Cancer Care (a charity I hold dear and have raised money for several times).
I've always tried to look after myself and have led a pretty active life (I was in the army in my early twenties, for instance). Now, finding myself in my mid 40's and with a growing family, I feel it more important than ever to keep myself in as good a shape and condition as possible. I want to grow old gracefully and be in the best physical shape I can be, and to be active for my young daughter for as long as is possible. Through my pursuit and my enthusiasm I have been able to participate in a number of Tesco's Race for Life events and I've encouraged family and friends to join me; people who would never normally want to walk or jog but who've said they've felt comfortable to try, in part due to my enthusiasm. With this is in mind, and after years of doing a job that I found increasingly unfulfilling, I decided to take a leap of faith and train as a Personal Trainer in the fitness industry (with the invaluable and loving support of family and friends).
I came to the course highly motivated but had little or no experience in a gym setting. The task seemed daunting from day one but with a lot of encouragement from the course tutor, Dan Reilly, it has been rewarding. His genuine enthusiasm for teaching and his love of trying to help us all become the best we can be kept us all on track. I always felt supported, even when my performance may have been just below par, as his criticism was never judgmental but was made to enhance your performance and experience. As such you felt like you were not only letting yourself down but you also felt as if you were letting him down. He is not only a great teacher but a great motivator. He was always available if you had a question or query. You wanted to perform to the best of your ability as you felt that your journey to becoming a personal trainer was not only your job but his passion! Needless to say I am happy I passed the course but am very happy that there are tutors like Dan Reilly around, with him on your side how can you fail?
Though it has often seemed daunting, and been very hard work at times, I am enjoying the challenge and am looking forward to helping people in any way I can. For it is not only going to be my journey, but a shared one; it will take a partnership, communication and trust to help others realise their dreams, and we will all learn from it. Nothing could mean more to me than to have someone say "thank you" for helping them become healthier and happier.