A big thank-you to Luke who is our first guest blogger! We feel privileged that Luke would like to share his story with you all... give him a follow on Twitter and let him know what you think! @Compo_7
A little about Luke:
So, I'm Luke, I live in a beautiful little town in the middle of the Devonshire countryside called North Tawton. Running has become a massive part of my life over the past 18 months. My story centres around a little boy who I'm proud to call my son. Kaleb was born on 12th November 2013 & the rollercoaster began. Over the next few months, life changed forever. Kaleb had a life-limited rare chromosome disorder & spent weeks in Exeter hospital after his birth followed by months & months in either Bristol Children's Hospital or the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital. Kaleb battled for 18 months but sadly on the morning of 7th June 2015 Kaleb past away. During Kalebs life & also after his death running was my best friend, it was honest with me, it pushed me, it kept me focused & gave me a way out for a short period of time.
POW: Thank you for sharing your story with us Luke, you're a prime example of how running can change a persons life. Thank you for sharing you answers to our questions!
So, When and why did you start running?
I started running in January 2015 as a way to cope with having a child with a life limiting rare chromosome disorder. I wanted to be in the best possible position in my own head to deal with the massive decisions that had to be made on a daily basis. I would sit for hours on end at his hospital bed getting frustrated I couldn't do anything to help so I channelled this into my running & fundraising.
What motivates you to get out the door on days you really don’t feel like it...
A mixture of being driven, focused & disciplined with myself but also having the amazing UKRunChat community supporting & encouraging you to get out & run. To enjoy the rewards of running you have to put in the training hours. Sometimes you find out more about yourself & your character when you don't want to run but still do it.
Do you have a favourite distance to run and why?
I've been asked this question a few times the answer I still don't know, I always say a Half Marathon is more for the mind, obviously the distance is more then a 5k or 10k so you have to battle with your mind & get a pace to suit you. On the other hand I like 10k races because you can let go & enjoy running as fast as possible for a shorter distance. Over the past few months I've started to go to Exeter Riverside ParkRun & 5k are also very enjoyable. I would love to comment on a Marathon but as yet I've not done one but here's to hoping for 2017 & a charity place for Children's Hospice South West. If I was pushed to pick a distances it would be a Half Marathon purely on the feeling of achieving something pretty cool over 13.1 miles.
What is your biggest running achievement to date?
At the end of 2015, I wrote down my targets for 2016 which were to do a 10k in 40 minutes & a Half Marathon in 1 hour 30 minutes. Fast forward to the middle of 2016 & I've always hit both targets. The biggest achievement was finishing the Liverpool Rock N Roll Half Marathon in 1 hour 28 minutes. The hard work, the hours training were so worth the feeling of seeing the clock on the finishing straight. A moment I won't forget in a hurry.
I bet! What past event has been your favourite and why?
I loved the Liverpool Rock N Roll weekend, one of the most enjoyable weekends I've had running. A brilliantly planned event, with a 5k on the Saturday followed by either the Half or Full on the Sunday & if that wasn't enough an extra mile later on the Sunday, it's a medal fest. I did the 5k, Half & also the mile & left Liverpool with 4 medals as you receive a 'Remix Medal' for doing more then one race. The event had a music concert on the Sunday evening, everybody was well catered for & it was just a fun filled weekend from start to finish. I would highly recommend it to any runner.
They have some awesome bing don't they! Do you support a charityWhy is this charity important to you?
In 2015 I supported Ronald McDonald House Bristol, who provides home from home accommodation, free of charge, to the families of critically ill children receiving care at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, I raised £2018. They housed me for 9 weeks in 2015, totally free of charge & I wanted to pay back as much as possible to cover my stay & hope to help others in need.
In 2016 & 2017 I'm supporting the Children's Hospice South West (CHSW). After Kaleb past away he stayed at CHSW for a period of time in a special room called 'StarBorn'. The way CHSW took me under their wing, supported me & continue to support me to this day has just been amazing. In 2017 I hope to run the London Marathon for CHSW & I would be so very proud. Unfortunately I won't know if I have a charity or ballot place until the end of the year so I've decided to have a 'Plan B' which is to run from Lands End to CHSW Little Bridge house which is over 150miles, the planning is at an early stage but I plan to do this over 5-7 days. I hope to be able to get a Marathon place but have had to have a plan B for the fundraising page so please if possible donate as much or as little as you can, every penny helps life-limited children & their families.
You really are an inspiration Luke! You can visit Luke's Just giving page at:
Do you have a medal that is your favourite or means a lot to you?
I have lots of medals that mean a lot to me for different reasons, my first ever race was Plymouth Half Marathon, to finish & see Kaleb at the end was very special but I never realised that would be the only time ever he would greet me after a race, so knowing he has touched, held & worn that medal it means a lot.
My Liverpool Rock N Roll medal has a special place in my heart as it was my PB run.
Finally a medal I look at & smile is the POW! Virtual Winter Run medal, I ran the Virtual Run on Christmas Day 2015, I started at 7am, got myself ready & went for a 10k run. Running so early on Christmas morning was something I will never forget. It was cold & dark but still very magical, I remember passing so many houses with the lights on & I thinking to myself 'all those happy, excited, loved children, all waking up on Christmas morning to see if Santa had been.' It was a special moment, it was certainly the highlight of my Christmas.
Wow! Thats dedication for you! When is your favourite time of day to run and why?
If life & work didn't always get in the way then I would be a morning runner. I find a run in the morning sets you up for the rest of the day. I'm a different person after a run, I can leave the house in one mood & return in a totally different mood. I've run early in the morning, middle of the day & also late in the evening they all have their bonuses.
Do you have a favourite running or training route?
I have a 2 mile route which I started to run when I first got into running & I used to run it 3-4 times a week & 2 miles were a long way. Over time I've started doing different routes which were longer. Still to this day after a race, doesn't matter if it's a 10k or a Half Marathon the following day I will do the 2 mile route as a recovery run. I find it helps me mentally to debrief the previous race & move forward to the next training plan & race. I also like to revisit the route as much as possible to remind myself how far I've come since I started to run. It's like going home, feels comfortable & I have a lot of history with the 2 miles around the lanes with nothing but Dartmoor for company.
Looks Beautiful! Do you belong to a running group or do you run alone/with friends/family?
I've always run alone, it was for my own benefit to be able to just put a pair of trainers on & be able to feel free & run. I got heavily involved with UKRunChat & now I Co-Run the UKRunChat South West & now I'm the run leader of 'UKRunChat RunClub Exeter.' We are aiming this at Couch to 5k to begin with & then moving through all abilities. I also have a LiRF (Leadership in Running Fitness) so I've been working 1to1 with a client on a couch to 5k plan.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice on your first ever run/race, what would it be?
I would tell myself to live in the moment, take it all in, embrace the feeling of everybody cheering you on, people you know people you don't know.
What are your future running aims?
In the future my main personal target is to run the London Marathon. I would love to be able to travel to Paris, Berlin or New York to do the Marathons there as well.
On a non personal level, I cant wait to get the RunClub Exeter more known & as big as possible. I enjoy being able to give some of my knowledge I've learnt & start other people on their very own running journey.
And finally! Do you have a favourite running track that motivates you that you would like added to our upcoming POW! Playlist?
I always used to listen to music when I ran but it suddenly stopped when I focused more on my pace. The one song that always got me feeling great & I would love to add it to the POW! playlist is Mr BrightSide by The Killers.
A note from Luke:
I would just like to take this moment to say what a great idea POW! virtual running is. It's so simple but also so effective. I've done many virtual runs, every runner loves a medal. Training for a race can become hard work & having a reason to get out & train by doing a POW! virtual run is a brilliant pick up.
I would recommend to everybody to enter, I personally try to enter a race to mark a special moment, for example, a birthday run, a Christmas day run, a leap year etc.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this & thank you for listening to my story.
Thank you so much for being our first guest Blogger Luke! Your story has really inspired us and we look froward to seeing your running group grow...and hopefully news that you've got into the London Marathon!
Follow Luke on Twitter (@Compo_7) and don't forget to visit his Just Giving page at: www.JustGiving.com/LComptonCHSW