I said at the end of my last post that, on day two of the National Running Show, I’d be giving the Saucony Treadmill Challenge a go and partaking in a couple of free exercise sessions on offer at the run clinic.
Unfortunately that didn’t quite go to plan. I could feel a cold working on me all weekend but, come Sunday morning, it had developed into the fully blown lurgy. I felt spaced out, my hearing was muffled, everything hurt.
How I felt wasn’t helped by a restless, sleepless night caused by the noise levels from outside my hotel.
Seriously, people of Birmingham, why do you insist on honking your horns continuously at 4am? Boy racers in the carpark below, why? What are you compensating for? Women, why did you have to shriek at the top of your voices? Hell, you couldn’t even walk quietly! Bear in mind I was on the seventh floor too … dear help those poor sods lower down.
Anyway, we still got to the show just after 9am. Thankfully the crowds weren’t at the levels they were on Saturday although that’s not to say the event still wasn’t well attended.
I still went to the Saucony stand to contemplate the Treadmill Challenge but knew in my heart and head that I couldn’t do it. I feared that after ten seconds or so the contents of my stomach could very easily be introduced to their lovely and expensive looking treadmill and, let’s face it, no-one wanted that!
Instead we took another tour of the stands, going down my list of items and kit I had wanted to buy whilst Dawn had a demonstration of some massage mitts from Soma Therapies on her left calf which impressed her enough to make a purchase.
The folks manning the stand were lovely, and didn’t indulge in the hard sell at all. In fact, they encouraged her to take a walk around the show to have a think before deciding to buy or not. A quite refreshing approach I thought.
After that we went for a look at the exercise sessions again but, having seen the shapes we would have to twist ourselves into, we decided to pass. Again, my stomach most definitely wouldn’t have been too keen!
The business of the day done we decided to stay on for what was for me one of the highlights of the entire weekend, listening to Lisa Jackson’s talk.
Lisa is the author of ‘Your Pace Or Mine’, a book which the blurb describes as “What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter and Coming Last”.
I had bought this book upon its release a couple of years ago just before completing my first London marathon because I knew I’d find it highly relatable. Lisa has come last in 25 (or 24!) of her 100+ marathons but has an amazing attitude towards her running, coming last and her speed (or lack thereof).
I found her speech quite inspirational and littered with loads of ‘me too’ moments. As you might know I finished last (for the first time) in my most recent race and, still to my surprise, I haven’t beaten myself up over it … perhaps that’s in part because of this book and the little fragments of stories that stuck in my head.
Lisa also spoke about the running community, about the amazing characters she has met and the friends made. I know exactly what she means.
After her talk I knew I had to speak to her. To her credit, she took the time to have a decent chat with everyone in the queue. I was conscious I was the only man waiting to see her but I didn’t really care. Perhaps that speaks volumes about the impact her story has had on me, perhaps it says a lot about my own inner strength. Who knows? She was lovely and really took the time to listen and to exchange experiences. A definite highlight for me.
So that was the first ever National Running Show.
I’m proud to have been an ambassador for the show. I really enjoyed myself. I was impressed by the numbers attending, especially on the Saturday.
I had heard some grumbles about the size of the hall and the lack of a lot of the big names in the running world not being there.
To be fair, no-one knew quite what to expect, but I think the organisers got it pretty much spot on. I fully expect it to be in a bigger hall next year and for the major brands to come running looking for their spot in the show. It’s their own loss for missing out this time.
What a lovely blog post Martin! And I have to say that a highlight for me was meeting you and your friend – and not just because you were the ONLY man in the queue. It’s wonderful that you inspire so many people to run and I love your motto: running for people who think they can’t. I meet so many people like that and it’s our job to let them know one thing: they can!