The Spark that (Re)Ignited My Running

In 1993 I ran the Great North Run and damaged my knee to the extent that to all intents and purposes I did not run again for almost 20 years.

I tried a few gentle jogs every now and again but within a mile the pain was unbearable and I eventually decided to not push it in case I extended the problem to other sports that I was currently still able to do … squash, cycling, football, skiing to name a few.

And then Thunder Thursday happened. 28 June 2012.

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I’d love to say it was the lightning bolt that provided the spark but the truth is it was the rain that did it … someone put their all into that rain dance!

The metro was off, the city in chaos and the traffic was literally grid-locked everywhere. I was stuck on a bus, I’d moved about 20m in an hour and I was a long way from home.

More importantly though I was a long way from my son’s nursery. He was safe of course and the normal 6pm pick-up rule was long since abandoned I’m sure but my wife was also stuck on the Coast Road so she couldn’t get to him either.

So I took the decision to get off the bus and run the 5 miles to nursery. I’d been playing squash that day so changed into my squash shoes, slung my bag awkwardly over my shoulder and set off running. It was more of a walk/jog … I was semi-fit but not “run fit”.

The rest of that day is largely irrelevant. Ultimately a friend got to the nursery before I did and my wife got to me before I got home but in the meantime I’d jogged 4 miles.

The next day was when it got interesting as it suddenly occurred to me that my knee was not sore, and nor had it been the previous day either.

So I went for a tentative run, and then another one, and another .. and there it was … I was a runner again.

My theory is that because I had been playing a lot of squash at the time that will have strengthened the muscles and ligaments around my knee and that was all it needed. A course of strengthening exercises before any one of my test runs and perhaps everything would have been different … but that’s hindsight for you … or common sense, one or the other.

A few weeks later I pulled a calf muscle 🤣 …

… but I recovered, trained hard and on 15 September 2013 I ran the Great North Run again. A year and a half ago I would never have believed this possible. Not a PB but a pretty decent stab at it. I’ll be back!

About Ivor Potter

Ivor is a keen amateur photographer. Having completed a project called 100 Strangers, Ivor now finds himself spending much of his time approaching people going about their daily lives to photograph them and find out a little about what makes them tick.
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