Hi, my name is Pete Clark and I grew up in Keynsham. I now live in Kingswood but may as well still live in Keynsham as my job with Bath & North East Somerset Council means that I still spend a lot of time in the town.
Over the years I’ve said many times that all I have is all I’ve worked for…. I’m the wrong side of forty, an ex-smoker, an ex-heavy drinker, an ex-overweight couch potato, a serial divorcee and not a natural runner.
I start jogging many moons ago, just to try and get a bit fitter, but back then 3 miles would have had me sweating for England and looking a wonderful shade of burgundy. If I did run then I would have to have the rest of the day off. The pinnacle of my running year was to complete the Bath Half, followed a couple of months later by the Keynsham 10K. Then do nothing until the following Spring.
When I left my second wife, and moved, pennyless and possessionless, into a one bedroom flat in Bristol, I started to use jogging as a way to explore the neighbourhood. This coincided with an speculative entry into the London Marathon coming up trumps and, although woefully pitiful as it was, my ‘training’ continued to be a plod around the streets of Bristol. I think my longest training run was 15 miles and I had to take the next couple of days off work to recover… After I finished that marathon in 4:57:48, I vowed “never again”.
That ‘never again’ lasted about three years, before, somewhere around my 40th birthday, I had a mid-life crisis/running epiphany. I joined the beginners group at Bitton Road Runners and, basically, just kept plugging away at this running lark. A little by little I got fitter, lost weight, improved my running and moved up out of the beginners group. I would be a liar if I said that my running journey had been easy. I only gave up smoking 4 years ago & I’m still a bit of a loon when I’ve been drinking, but if you change the little things in your life then it is possible to change the bigger picture. If I met the person I was 15-25 years ago then I would probably think him a Neanderthal idiot and have nothing further to do with him…
Running with Bitton Road Runners literally changed my life. To me, the Club is an extension of my own family. Somebody once said to me that ‘when you wear a club vest then you are never alone’ and that is such a true thing. I’ve met people & made firm friendships that have helped me through the years, not just from Bitton but from many other clubs as well; but Bitton has always been there to offer me support & advice, to urge me on when things got tough, and helped me celebrate my successes. .
Fast forward a few short years, and eight more marathons, and I’m still not a natural runner, although these days I would call myself a ‘decent club runner’. Everything I’ve achieved, in life as well as in running, can be put down as a stubborn refusal to let my body or brain tell me when I’m beaten.
And every day I look forward to that point in the day when I can lace up my shoes and go out for a run…