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.
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!