All about me

Image by Nong Vang

My story

I'm first and foremost...erm...me. Let's start that again.  Hello!  My name is Neil and I run.  Phew!  Finally got that off my chest.

I've run for decades.  Not always well.  Not always well disciplined. With plenty of ups and downs.  Plenty of learning. and of course plenty of laughs and yes one or two tears too.

I ran for my school, and once for my college.  Since then I ran because it helped my mental health before mental health was even spoken about.  It's only recently that I realised because I've been running for so long, made so many running mistakes, had so many mini-triumphs, along with adventures that it might help others, like you dear reader, by sharing them.

After a single cross country run for my college; yes single (I was the running team, and we didn't even count in the ranks since there wasn't enough of me to count!) I didn't run another formal race for years.  I simply ran to explore my surroundings, and to leave the stresses of the day behind.

Then I took the plunge and signed up for the 1995 London Marathon, an experience everyone should have.  This was a turning point for me and I discovered the joys of running with cheering crowds, woohoo.

After that, I don't even know what got me on the start line, I discovered obstacle racing (picture running 5-10km+ with obstacles such as walls, crawls, mud, pond wades, ropes etc).  A frozen shoulder put pay to those for a while at which point, in my madness, I explored ultra-distance running.  And that as they say is that.  Daft distances and crazy places.

Now then, if you've read this far you might be thinking, "So what Bailey, it's obviously easy for you since you run so much.  I'll never race like that."

My first reply is, of course you can should you wish to.  But that's not what I'm about. I don't find running easy.  Yes I know that might sound odd, bearing in mind I do it.  It is however true.  I'm not someone who's ever been able to go out and flow through a run and find it effortless.  Yes I enjoy many of my runs, the fresh air and the views, but many are a real struggle.  I was diagnosed with M.E. (Chronic Fatigue) 16 years ago.  The first few years I was walking with two sticks, and on longer runs I still use sticks to prevent slips, trips and falls.  I am often dealing with injuries, and through the M.E. I am constantly in pain.  I don't say this to get a "poor me" response, simply to explain that I'm certainly no natural athlete.  My fitness has been and is still hard earned, but oh my goodness it's so worth it.

It then seemed a natural step to want to share this with others by coaching individuals who either want to learn to run to improve their fitness and wellbeing or want to improve their running.  I've been developing the thinking around the packages I offer for many years building up the knowledge and experience until I felt I could offer clients a proper, full service.  For example I have paid for the services of two virtual running coaches in the past, and although they were indeed knowledgeable and experienced athletics coaches, the programmes they produced for me were most definitely not bespoke to my needs, for example not taking in to account my chronic fatigue.  On both occasions I eventually crashed energy-wise and picked up injuries.  This is why I've taken the time to gain qualifications and experience in life/wellness coaching (18 years) and personal training along with my wider running experience and study.  It's only now that I feel I can at last offer clients a full life enhancing running and life fitness coaching package that I myself have been looking for.  As someone who's lived through plenty, I specialise ib running injury rehab.

So welcome to my website.  I truly hope you find the content interesting and fun; and more importantly that it perhaps inspires you to get outside and run or walk, get your blood flowing and fresh air in your lungs.

As an aside I also do poetry, mostly inspired by my time outdoors but anything can spark some verse.  I publish these on my  www.therunningpoet.co.uk site.