It really is a great feeling to say I’ve been able to run 1000 miles in a calendar year and all for a great charity. And to now be able to say I’m a 5-time marathoner feels good. This is only just the beginning for me.
As long as I live, I’ve decided that every year from now I will be doing some form of fundraising for a number of different charities. This is the life I’m going to live and I really want to help make a difference to improve the lives of those who are less fortunate than me in life.
This is my time and my time has come.
Time for reflection
2 January 2017 was the day I kicked off my #1000milesin2017 challenge and that day only feels like yesterday. This year has flown big time but I can look back on 2017 with so many fond memories.
Running 1000 miles in one year was always going to be tough and I knew I was in for a big challenge. But it was a challenge I knew I could complete. I wouldn’t have set myself the 1,000 miles target if I didn’t think it was achievable. What is the point of living if you don’t challenge yourself in life?
Knowing that I was going to run four marathons in 2017 was again always going to be a tough ask. But I knew I could do it. I also knew that if I could average 19-25 miles per week, I would complete my challenge. And I managed it.
I’m not going to lie when I say there were times throughout the year where I felt like giving up. Not every run went to plan and there were for sure runs where I struggled. But yet I was able to complete those runs. Simply because I never gave up and had the courage to keep going.
There is no way I would have completed my challenge without your super support. I have to start with my family. They put in the miles to take me to races and be with me on race day to show their support/backing. I can’t begin to thank them enough for their support not just in 2017 but throughout my whole life. They have supported me through the good times and the bad times in life. The nutrition advice from my family was bang on as well and throughout 2017 I was able to eat/drink well thanks to them.
Second shout to my extended family, friends and the running community whom I received so many positive messages from. The fact people were sending me messages saying ‘I’m inspiring people’ meant a lot. It’s the little things in life that can make a big difference and reading so many positive messages really did motivate me to go on and complete my challenge. Even the small things like fellow runners, celebrities and friends retweeting my fundraising page to help raise awareness of my challenge was appreciated and would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Third thank you goes to Children in Need. To be invited to the Appeal Night was such an honour and I was so proud to be part of an emotional/special night. Seeing so many stories featured on the night really did put into perspective the difference people’s donations can make to help young/disadvantaged children in the UK build better lives. It has been such a privilege to fundraise for Children in Need the last couple of years and to be able to raise over £2,500 for the charity.
And the final thank you has to go to everyone who has donated. Thank you so much for your donations and they will help make a difference to change the lives of young/disadvantaged children in the UK. Once again thank you so much.
So I mentioned four marathons earlier. The first of those four marathons was Manchester and I have to say the atmosphere was quite something. From the very first mile to the final mile, there was support everywhere you looked. I can honestly say it was a fantastic day and it was great to see so many people running for a number of charities/great causes. It’s just amazing what having support can do for you. Just gives you that extra incentive to do well and extra oomph.
Talking of support, the atmosphere at both the Liverpool and Birmingham Marathons I completed this year was unbelievable. Out of all the marathons I ran this year, I felt a tad nervous at the start of the Liverpool Marathon. Mainly because of what happened in Manchester in the lead up to the Liverpool Marathon.
A minute’s applause took place before the marathon got underway at Liverpool to remember the victims of the horrific and tragic events in Manchester. My thoughts and heartfelt feelings are with families and friends who lost loved ones on that tragic night. Once I started running and began to get the miles under my belt, I felt more at ease and it was great talking to fellow runners not just about running but life in general. And the support from fellow runners and the crowd helped me get through to completing the marathon.
The Birmingham Marathon. Well what can I say? Again the atmosphere was incredible and to be able to run a marathon in your home city was such a special feeling. Am hoping the Birmingham Marathon is here to stay for many years to come. Starting at the Alexander Stadium and finishing in the City Centre was brilliant and will be a day I never forget.
The toughest marathon of 2017 was definitely Wolverhampton. Come the end of that marathon I was totally shattered. So many hills were part of the course and it was a two-lapped course. The weather was actually perfect for running on a dull, overcast but mild day. But the hills did take its toll on me and come the 17th/18th mile I was struggling. But at the end of the day, I completed it and that’s what mattered.
To be able to complete my challenge by running a 10k alongside one of my running heroes Blind Dave Heeley and his running partner Garry Wells was a special moment as well. In that short time, I got to spend time and get to know two inspirational and down to earth guys. Really was a great way to finish my challenge.
I’ve learnt an awful lot about myself this year. Even if I have had bad runs this year, there were also plenty of positive runs. There are so many positives I can take from 2017 and if you said to me at the start of the year I would record three marathon personal best times, I would have snatched your hand off for sure.
I had to show plenty of resilience, courage but I also needed to be physically and mentally strong. Yes I had my struggles, but I had the courage/motivation to go on and never give up. I’ve always believed in working hard and being rewarded. I’ve trained hard in 2017 and I’ve reaped the benefits. I’ve only just gone and ran 1,000 miles in 2017. So proud of what I have been able to achieve this year.
So what is next for me? It is a case of not how many miles I run per year, but how many marathons I run every year. I have marathons planned for 2018 and fingers crossed it will be another great year of running.
I do have a challenge in mind but will reveal all in January 2018. Right now, I’m giving my body a well-earned rest and not overdoing it even if I’m doing light training during the Christmas break to keep in shape.
I’d love to take part in Park Runs next year. If you have taken part in Park Runs, I would love to hear from you. What are the benefits in participating in Park Runs?
I’m hoping to also join a running club in 2018. Again if you are part of a running club, what are the benefits of being part of a running club?
Once again thank you so much for your support through 2017. You can still donate at: www.justgiving.com/Manish-Patel1000. If you want to look back at my challenge, follow me on Twitter: @Baggies20 and on Instagram: manishpatel89.
Happy New Year to you all and have a great 2018!