We often don’t get the opportunity to give credit where it’s due… particularly for the really simple stuff in life!
So this is a really quick thank you, in no particular order, to a few of the people who have encouraged me to run over the years.
My dearly departed friend Mike Spencer and the rest of the PE department at Falmer, who forced us to go out cross country running through the winters 1976 to 82.
John Burke, sadly also departed, who was a Scout leader at the 19th Brighton and as a Police Diver was the first to explain to me how to breathe efficiently whilst running.
Scott Desborough who circa 1994/5, prompted me to go out and buy a new pair of trainers to run around Kensington Gardens after work in the evenings and later joined me each morning on the running machines at the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick.
Barnett Fletcher (strange as it is for me to mention his name) whose work ethic inspired me and a whole generation of his employees, later to become the bosses of a large number of Brand Experience agencies, to spend time in the gym as part of their working day.
Grant Finney, who in addition to being my gym-buddy for several years, famously goaded me into running the Berlin Marathon with him in 2004 before pulling a sickie to get out of it! I really do hope that you manage to shake that thing sometime soon Grant!
Dai Thomas, who cajoled me into leaving the safety of the London sidewalks for the beauty (and the mud) of the Downs and was also highly instrumental in the foundation of the Foster Runs blog site. And also for introducing me to Tom, Kurt & Fred at The Run Shop (see below).
Kim Storey for being constantly supportive in so many, many ways, but in this context as the person who pushed me to run on the Downs each week through the Spring of 2004, patiently dragging me along in the early weeks and then being magnanimous once I finally gained enough stamina to run on ahead. Also, more recently, for investing in a running machine that allowed me to train right through our last snowy, icy winter in the comfort of our own home and for generally pushing me to run even when my inclination is otherwise!
Andrea Wright, my amazing physiotherapist, who sorted out my aches and pains and also showed me how to run efficiently and to stretch properly. If ever there was a case of teaching a man to fish…
Cliff Dargonne for, well it’s difficult to know where to start, but let’s say a constant source of inspiration and a valuable grounding influence. We’ve run so many miles together and I hope that we’ll run many more… and if you ever need someone to pull you up a steep hill with icy wind driven hail in your face, I guess I owe you one!
Kurt and Fred at Run in Hove (and Tom who is now one of the organisers at the Brighton Marathon) who have faithfully supplied Kim and I with our running gear for the last six years. You have a brilliant business there guys and it’s a REAL pleasure to shop with you!
Nick Broom, the Bok himself, who forced me to run outside at 7am every week through an entire winter (and more) and drove me to be faster… and more sadistic: On the few occasions when his heart rate monitor beeped to indicate that he was overdoing it, I would gently up the pace to see how many more times I could get it to beep!
Daren Packham, who kindly introduced me to Nick and whose own adventures have driven me to push myself to the limits on more than one occasion (for example, the Sussex Grouse Grind). I love running with you man!
My Mum and Dad, again for many, many, MANY reasons, but most recently for allowing me to use their place as a training base and thus allowing my smelly, sweaty body back in through their front door after my numerous 14-23 mile training runs! You are both totally FAB!
Andy Swan, the Remedial and Sports Massage Therapist, who has patiently worked over my legs (and my psyche) in the last couple of weeks to get me ready for the big day.
Mark Johnson for being the most engaging of all the folk I have bumped into on the Downs over the years and for hopefully dragging me around sub 3.45 today!
There are many many more, for example the irrepressible Pete Brett (where do you get all your energy man?), Andy Pumphrey and the other runners from Martlet Kayak (soon to be Running?) Club, Phil Stupples (who I’m also grateful for selling me 31 Valebridge Drive in 1990), the people (from here and around the world) who have given me a constant buzz over the last two and a half years by spending time reading my musings on FosterRuns, and so on.
And if there is one person to thank for my baring my soul to the world in this way, it is my dear friend Richard Marsh who died tragically on the 22nd April 2009. I grew up with Richard from day one and shared many formative adventures which became a joyous thread of folklore through our lives. More recently I toast him, with a glass of Hepworth’s Old Ale and a tear in my eye, whenever I make Spaghetti Bolognese… don’t know why, it just seems appropriate. Long may he remain in my thoughts!
May we each have the opportunity to thank the people who cajole, support and inspire us, while they can still derive a quiet pleasure and sense of satisfaction from knowing what they have done!
And as far as my running is concerned and all the fun that surrounds this aspect of my life, I really do thank each and every one of you!