Missing out on Glasgow 2014….is it all over?
A couple of people asked me earlier this year if because I didn’t qualify for Glasgow 2014 would it mean I would give up athletics, or train a bit less, or start going on more nights out. Is it all over now?
No….this is just the beginning. Ask me the same questions when I’m 80 years old and I’ll say the same thing.
I got into athletics at a very young age because I loved the sport and wanted to do my dad proud. Nothing has changed in that respect. Every year there are new goals but the same target is always there – to improve. Even if it is by 0.12 seconds like last year, it shows things are going in the right direction. The 2 main things for me are that I am enjoying what I do and that I’m improving.
As many of you reading this will know, we lost a very special person in tragic circumstances just over 5 weeks ago. Neil Jaffrey meant so much to hundreds of people and his death is still very hard to accept. I know he would be very proud of the way his family, friends and the running community have rallied round in his memory and this will never stop. I will really miss his texts before and after races and also his messages after each blog I posted. Since Runnerslife.co.uk closed down I haven’t posted a blog but Neil has inspired me to start again and stop being so lazy when it comes to writing. I know I’m not the only one who thinks of him daily and on every run. I have found myself in many situations thinking ‘what would Jaffers want me to do here?’ Whether it is in training, a race, work or in my personal life the answer is always either PUSH HARDER or GO FOR IT. I am never going to wait for things to happen. His enthusiasm, determination and interest in others was second to none and massively infectious. I don’t know why but he had a never ending belief in what I could achieve and because of that I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to fulfil my potential as a runner, person and with the Gathimba Edwards Foundation work in his honour. For his family to have donated the donations at his funeral to the kids we are helping in Kenya really is the biggest honour myself and the foundation will ever receive. Neil will have played a huge role in everything I achieve and I’m sure that is the same for so many others who miss him so much.
I turn 26 in a couple of week’s time and I’m more determined than ever before to achieve my goals. Flights are now booked for 6 weeks in Kenya, before flying back in time for Xmas. This trip is going to be really exciting for me because it will be the first time there since I started working full time for the charity thanks to prosource.it paying my salary. I’ll be visiting all of the children we are currently supporting as well as various others who we hope to be able to help in the near future. I’ll be meeting up with 10 families in Kitale who have 83 kids between them and through our Bulls for Schools initiative we hope to be able buy each family a cow which will enable them to them to fund their children’s education. A cow costs £340 but generates £1,500 in the first year so it can make a big difference to many lives. I’ll also visit a family in Iten who’s house was accidentally burned down. Since the fire the children have been separated and unable to attend school. Our aim is to build them a house and return the children to school. None of this would be possible without the incredible support the Gathimba Edwards Foundation has received from so many of you and for that I am extremely grateful and humbled.
If I can shake off an achilles injury then I plan to race the Scottish National Cross Country Relays on 25th October, the Dash to the Finish Line 5k in New York on 2nd November and then the Scottish National 4k Cross Country Championships on 9th November. There are lots of events and initiatives through the foundation planned for 2015 which I am really looking forward to and I am excited to be focusing more on 1,500m racing. I can’t wait to get back over to Iten to hang on for dear life to Jake Robertson in track sessions and on long forest runs at 8,000 feet above sea level.
Bring on the next 26 years and beyond!