Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Runners World Asics Target 26.2 - Vote now!!

As you will have read from my previous blogs and a lot of frenzied activity on twitter I was lucky enough to be selected from over 3,000 runners to be shortlisted in the final 50 for the bootcamp stage of the competition. The competition is most easily summarized as an Xfactor for runners with only 5 winners places up for grabs. 

You can read about my bootcamp experience here.

Unfortunately lady luck was not on my side and I was not selected to go forward to the public vote stage. Unlike the real Xfactor rather than falling down into a heap of tears or crying on Cheryl's shoulder I have dusted myself off and will be supporting the other competitors. 

In the First Timers category a friend I made on the day Anthony McNeill has made it through to the public vote, here is what he has to say about his running history, why he got into running and what the competition means to him. 

OK, a bit about me and my history as a runner. I'm one of those MAMLs (middle-aged men in lycra) who discovered running ridiculously late in life and who now has the bug. I took up running nearly 4 years ago after seeing myself in a photo looking overweight and on my way to an early heart attack. This would be a very Bad Thing as I've three kids (aged 6, 9 and 15) who I want to run, skate, play footie with etc. for a long time to come.

I bought a pair of cheap trainers (from M&S would you believe) and went running in the local park. It was all I could do to run a length of it - only about 200 metres - before having to walk the width. I'd suffer about 20 minutes of this pantomime of half-walking, half-jogging before limping home, my cotton Tshirt drenched in sweat (I hadn't discovered the joys of technical tees). After a week or so though, I was running a lap. After a few more weeks, consecutive laps. Finally, after a few months I felt like I could run forever and decided to get myself some proper kit. 

I went to my local branch of Sweatshop - a big shout out to the Teddington SRC! - where they not only recommended a pair of Asics GT1000s (I've been wearing this model ever since) but signed me up to the Sunday morning run. Since about September 2011, I've been a regular Sunday morning 10km runner, often adding another 10km running from home and back and sometimes bringing my oldest son along with me. 

I really enjoy the social side of the running and it's no coincidence that my PBs have been running alongside others. I've enjoyed helping others hit a new PB too. It's also become a family thing for me: Gabriel (15) is now a really fast runner and did the Pine Ridge 10km last October (finishing well before me) and my daughter Eve (9) has done a few fun runs and completed a couple of junior triathlons. I really like the fact that this is something we can all do together (whilst also secretly enjoying when I can get away from them now and again!).

Getting into the top 5 means taking the ASICS Target 26.2 challenge to its ultimate and thrilling conclusion. It means new challenges and sacrifices but new friendships and shared achievements too. I feel I've already made a few already. What I think I can bring to the team is experience (age?), grey hair and a few too many kilos but but determination, humour and spirit.

Please vote - early and often;-) - and follow @anthonymcneill on Twitter.

So there we go! Someone with a real dedication and passion for running and someone who is really determined to proceed further in the competition. Not only an enthusiastic runner but a funny and entertaining guy as well who is well deserving of your vote. 

Please vote for him here: