Monday, 20 May 2019

Move Mountains - Jesus Jones

Or in this case ‘Move Mountains’ inspired by the amazing Jesus Jones and the first track from their 1989 debut album, ‘Liquidizer’. Yes, it really was 30 years ago, and yes it does feel like only yesterday - but it wasn’t was it, it’s a mere dot in the rear-view mirror of life. Things feel like they’ve moved at warp-speed since those analogue-pre-internet-google-filled-electromagnetic-spectrum days but maybe we haven’t.

Following a week of ‘Mental Health Awareness’, during which many people (especially Men) have discovered that it’s good to talk about their issues (without embarrassment), and that the recipe for happiness isn’t or status, possessions or wealth - I feel personally very happy about how the many folk I’ve helped reached a new level of happiness in their worlds.

A happiness that lies out there for you in one form or another. And all you need to do is reach out…

1,037 Marathons, 250 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records and 15 Marathon des Sables

Thursday, 9 May 2019

One Small Day - Ultravox

'And live a life the way it's meant to be' - URE

Things will change when you change. Sounds kinda corny doesn’t it? But it’s true. You see, I believe folk expect the world around them to magically change for the better of its own doing - like some kind of magical lottery win where suddenly everything is perfect, all the planets are lined up and the hurty-pain of life disappears and forever.

‘Dream on’, I say as it will never happen - especially if YOU are not prepared to change.

How do YOU go about making the changes that will ease the pressure and lighten your load? Well that’s not so easy - and if it was, life would already be rosy wouldn’t it? If you are in a dark place right now and think that the world is against you, why not take a more pragmatic view of where you find yourself and how you are perceived as it’s easy to say that it’s not your fault and that you are a mere victim of circumstances. Are you blinkered like that?

Let’s break it into three parts. Honesty, De-Cluttering and Direction.

I mean, are you really being honest to yourself? Being self-critical at a time when others are criticizing you might be the last thing you want to take on-board but do the people you’ve surrounded yourself have a point when they highlight your failings. Do you still feel as driven in the career you once loved, since a fresh hierarchy has invaded your work-domain and dented your pride - maybe they have a point? They are probably being Honest. Everyone will say they want ‘Feedback’ but in reality, we all prefer ‘Praise’. I know it’s hard, been there - taken ‘Feedback’ on the chin – softened my message and got the T-Shirt. Take a long hard look, what do you really see?


That’s what I see in other peoples’ worlds - and I see more worlds than most I believe. So much clutter in fact that it suffocates all the good that lies beneath. You see, we are a nation of hoarders both mental and physical. For instance, I’m just as bad as the next man as I’m not sure if I’ll ever wear my school cap I had when I was 11 again. It lives on in my wardrobe having escaped a trip to the tip on numerous occasions most recently when we moved.  It’s been there for shelf for 45 years’ hoping for an outing but in truth never will - it’s just baggage. Why do we hold onto so many things that are simply useless? Why do we hold onto so many thoughts that are just as useless? Take a trip to the tip - the Memory Tip. Get rid of things that just don’t matter anymore. Move on.

And only when you’ve been honest and de-cluttered, real changes - the changes you are so desperate to make, will start to happen. Success isn’t measured by possessions or wealth; it’s measured by happiness - becoming and being the person that you know is within you, surrounded by the people you really want to be with.

In my own experience, the journey was possibly the most enjoyable part of my life-change. De-cluttering the present and mapping out a fresh and brighter future is amazingly empowering. I felt euphoric and finally back in control of my own destiny. How are you on  Honesty, De-Cluttering and Direction right now? 

1,036 Marathons, 250 ULTRAS, 9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables

Friday, 3 May 2019

One Slip - The Pink Floyd

I just hate it when people give up, especially when just the tiniest of things go wrong and cloud the day – it’s something that really upsets me. I hope the folk chasing their goals that ‘give up’ find it just as upsetting. You see, it’s been a right dichotomy of a week. I found Sunday’s London Marathon totally uplifting. The whole experience boosted my thoughts on being the best version of oneself. 

Seeing so many of my clients’ surpass their race-predictions underlined what can be achieved with hard work and devotion to task. Tuesday’s ULTRAdieters results added more faith as I added more names to my ‘Two Stones+ Lost Club’ – it made me feel super-proud.

Sadly though, it’s not a perfect world and however heartening all the above is – it’s the folk that I see ‘give up’ that I want to help the most. If you’ve been following my daily ‘Quote Boxes’ you will have probably noticed the theme.

‘One slip and down the hole we fall’… my favourite. In fact, the 1987 ‘One Slip’ track by The Pink Floyd, has some brilliant lyrics that underline how I feel about one tiny upset ruining the ‘Big Picture’ journey. A bit like how I am with the folk I work with that momentarily lose their way.

I can think of many instances in my life where it would have been far too easy to have given up when faced with both major and minor obstacles either to circumnavigate or simply take on the chin. I can also think about the times I have ‘given up’ and the common theme perhaps is that I just wasn’t committed enough in the first place or had the required appetite for success.

I mean, why say you are going to do something, if you don’t even believe you will yourself.

Okay, there are many people who start full of good intentions and It made me wonder for instance how many ‘Only went once’ gym memberships there have ever been or alternatively how many running careers have lasted just one ‘Park-Run’. It’s such a shame when success and happiness is only a matter of weeks away for most. 

In 12-weeks, it’s possible to lose a lot of weight and take 30-minutes off your marathon PB – To change one’s whole outlook on life.

 ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ is all it takes to make it turn to dust – However ‘A Moment of Reason’ is all it takes to make it happen. Start making it happen today.

1,036 Marathons, 250 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Friday, 26 April 2019

London Calling - The Clash

I ran my first London Marathon in 1995 and if you said I’d be running my 1,036th Marathon at the ‘2019 Virgin Money London Marathon’ this Sunday, back then, I’d have said ‘you’d lost your marbles’. 

But then we never know what life has in store for us do we?

I remember that marathon so well; I’d trained SO hard for it. I might have only been running for a year or so, but having already conquered the half-marathon, it seemed a natural progression to accomplish a life’s ambition of running ‘The London’. Up to then I’d been a keen spectator each April to watch the race unfold on the BBC, and see the crowds take on the streets of the capital.

Being a keen drinker and smoker made it seem rather an impossible task ‘Pre-Coleman-Personal-Revolution’ but ‘Never-Say-Never’ (it’s one of my most used phrases nowadays as we simply don’t know what we will think or what we will want to do in the future. We can only surmise) and so it came to pass.

I’d enjoyed investing my time and energy into the training, the planning, the race itself and on the day, I jogged round in a very respectable 3.54.43, a time I’d be most happy with nowadays and I even featured on the BBC race highlights that evening coming over the finishing line hands aloft.

You see, that day, I felt like a WINNER.

And I’ve felt like a WINNER every time I’ve run 26.2 miles. And yes I’ve won a couple of them here and there and have the trophies to prove it but they’re only a reflection of who else took part really.

The satisfaction has come from taking part in all of them and enjoying every single step of all of them no matter how hard, easy, hot, wet, cold, well or poorly organised they’ve been. Not many people can say that about their marathon running career.

I’m speaking at the VM London Marathon Expo today and my key message to everyone taking part on Sunday is to ENJOY the 26.2 miles as you never know where the road will take you as it’s taken me a lot further than I thought it would back in 1995.

It seems like yesterday...

Read my story in my book ‘A Rebel and a Runner’ - just email me and I can post you a signed copy for £15 inc P&P.

1,035 Marathons, 250 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Hard Times - Human League

Chopper knew...
I was asked this morning, ‘What made me as hard as nails?’ - it’s an interesting one to try and answer, especially as I was being asked by someone only just setting out on their adult life, looking for inspiration and an insight into the magical ‘Ingredient X’ in life.

‘Ingredient X’ - The Secret Potion of Life that brings success, respect and happiness in one easy-to-take tonic.

If only it existed - but then perhaps it does. It’s in all of us - it’s just that we choose to ignore it. I won’t expand about making the most of your time on this planet of ours, as I feel I write far too much about that in my other blogs. But what I will say is that the answer lies within - you just need challenging and time to make adjustments to your ‘Life-Recipe’, that will deliver the success, respect and happiness that we all desire in one form or another.

But where do you start? And that’s really what I was asked this morning as being ‘as hard as nails’ or ‘resilient’ as I’d prefer to call it, is a key factor of future success. As I set out on my adult-life back in 1980, I certainly wasn’t ‘as hard as nails’ - I was most na├»ve. I discovered how to become ‘as hard as nails’ or ‘resilient’ when I turned away from ‘Alcohol, Nicotine and the People’ I’d surrounded my life with’.

Trying to fit into a world that I simply didn’t fit into, nearly killed me. 

Now I see it killing a lot of people that I meet or work with and it’s amazing how much good work can go to waste in the blink of an eye when things don’t go quite to plan. Being ‘Focused’, 100% Tuned in, Never giving up - those are all part of it but being able to be ‘Resilient’ makes you ‘as hard as nails’.

Be Different, Be Strong, Be Happy, Become As-Hard-As-Nails, Succeed.

1,035 Marathons and 25 Years' of Marathon Running in 2019 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Heroes - Sir David of Bowie

Few people would describe themselves as being a ‘Hero’ - A ‘Hero’ to me is a Neil Armstrong or a Sir Ranulph Fiennes, even a John Noakes you might say if you were my age, but inside all of us, I believe, there’s a ‘Hero’ waiting to be unlocked and unleashed upon your world. 

Where’s the Hero in you I ask? Well, you’ll find it deep down, suppressed and hidden in the darkest part of your consciousness only to be awoken in times of danger, stress or conflict.

There are stories of Heroism in the media, very often, where ‘Person Ordinary’ steps out of their comfort zone, saves lives, fights off danger and becomes ‘Person Extraordinary’. Stepping in when danger is all around or standing up for what’s right takes nerve - it also takes great Strength and Energy. Strength and Energy, that we’d rather save for ourselves in our modern selfish touch-screen world of perhaps.

Yet if you search, there are Heroes all around us whom have found the key or combination to ‘Extraordinary’. Unlocking the Hero is easy, finding the right key or combination, well that’s another matter. Helping someone find their keys, well that’s harder than unravelling a strand of DNA with the world’s most powerful computer at times as doubt and fear of failure cloud the escape – it’s the uncertainty of the unknown that builds the barricade to success and destroys what I call ‘The Belief Principle’.

Add in wasted time procrastinating and the negative projections from those that surround and it’s now wonder that we look for the Hero in others rather than in ourselves.

Well here’s a few Heroes that I’ve been working with over the past few months who wouldn’t see themselves as being a ‘Hero’ as I see them but have become the extraordinary person that lay within. Right now, Trevor Binch is taking part in the 34thMarathon des Sables - a complete ‘180’ for a 131.5kgs overweight Estate Agent preferring to spend his time on ‘all-you-can-eat-and-drink-luxury-ocean-cruises’ rather than roughing it in the scorching midday heat of the Western Sahara. He’s already smashed out the first two days of the race and is in 227th going into Day Three, a million miles from where he was less than two years ago. 

I’m also extremely impressed with the latest 3:33 Marathon PB from Emma Bird, who last August had a very impressive 22 hour, 100-mile race performance in the bag, mismatched with a 4:01 PB at the time. From our first conversation I knew there was a dynamic, classy ULTRA-Heroine laying within, just needing the confidence to match her drive to succeed. 

Faster times lay ahead for Emma, and hers is just one example of how unlocking the Hero (Heroine in her case) within can take over 30 minutes off your marathon PB in just a few short months.

Running Heroes aside, my work sees many other kinds of Heroes. I hear from them on a daily basis as they soldier on beating depression, excessive weight and addiction. Recent Alcohol-Free Birthdays from Quentin Somerset and Dylan Evans are just as rewarding as the extreme weightloss of Jeremy Howarth, now some 60lbs (27.4kgs) lighter than he was on January 1stthis year.

Ordinary People? Yes - Extraordinary. Heroes? Of Course, and an example of what anyone is capable if they have the drive and ambition to try. It doesn’t have to be an Everest, a South Pole or an Ocean Row it can be whatever makes you happy and proud about yourself.

Those of you that know me, know that anything is possible if you become your own Hero for once - Go on give it a GO.

1,034 Lifetime Marathons, 250 ULTRA-marathons9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables & 25 Years' Dry

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Shine On You Crazy Diamond - The Pink Floyd

Middlekerke Marathon 16.8.98 (103rd)  - 3hrs 38mins 
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. ‘Young’ in my case is a long time ago now but, I remember ‘Younger’ more clearly especially the heady days of running sub 3.30 marathons and the 55-mile London-to-Brighton Road Race in less than 9 hours. Okay it some twenty-odd years ago, 1996 to be exact, I remember at the time saying that if I ever ran over four-hours for a marathon, that I’d hang up my trainers. How mad was that?

Shine on you crazy diamond… 

Well the years took their toll and I’ve slowed down considerably. Well, perhaps a combination of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome that I had three years ago, and Father Time combined with a ‘Self-initiated-self-preservation-valve’ has taken a 3:37 Abingdon Marathon in 2013 to a just under 5-hour completer nowadays.

I’m not moaning - I’m just saying. It’s been a tricky rehab process and it’s taken being a pacer at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to get my arse into gear and start getting some serious mileage and direction happening.

Now there’s a look in your eyes…

You see post GBS, it’s tricky trying to up your mileage when your quads simply don’t recover for days. Every fast training session takes over a week to recover from but in your mind, you are still young and shining like the sun.

You seer of visions…

And of course, if this were your predicament, I’d be saying ‘Get yourself some MTFU tablets. Stop moaning and get running.’ So that’s what I’m going to do – but I’m going to give it a twist and try my hardest to get a last sub-4 marathon in before I’m definitely well and truly over the hill.

Come on you prisoner, and shine!

Being trapped in body that simply doesn’t move as quickly as it used to comes to us all eventually – that’s life. Having a mind that simply doesn’t except that, well that’s different – that non-acceptance makes me different. I’ve got something to prove, not to anyone else – just me. Right now, it’s early days. I’m 26 minutes 5km - Sub 60 10km fast so there’s a long way to go to get me where I want to be. It’s not impossible though and I reckon a flattish October Marathon could provide the right platform for my attempt.

It won’t be easy as I’ve got to get 48 minutes to claw back to break four hours – lightyears for someone whose leg muscles are shot. But it’s time to break the chains and see just what I’m capable of achieving.

And before you say, ‘Oh go easy!’ – ‘Remember how ill you were!’ – Well, I will never forget, I just need to overcome the symptoms of mediocrity that GBS delivers and Shine On…

1,034 Lifetime Marathons, 250 ULTRA-marathons9 Guinness World Records, 15 Marathon des Sables & 25 Years' Dry