Some time ago I was talking with an old friend of mine about running. It was a beautiful summer’s evening as we relaxed against a fence on Ballybrit racecourse to shoot the breeze. We talked of races both in the past and the future. I asked him how his training was going. He gazed off into the middle distance and, with a genuinely regretful look on his face, lamented the fact that he just couldn’t find the time to train as much as he’d really like to. By way of explanation, he told me that by the time he got home from work, had a meal and then watched some television with his girlfriend, that the evening was almost gone. I can’t remember whether or not he was offended when I allowed myself a little smile, but I just couldn’t help myself. Finding time to train can be difficult, even for the best organised and most dedicated amongst us, but I believe that there’s almost always a way if you look hard enough to find one. If we manage to convince ourselves that there isn’t time to run then we’re probably right – whilst of course, the exact opposite is true as well.
At the moment my head is swimming with ideas about potential projects for next year. I think it’s a very creative and positive time for Irish running. With so many new races cropping up around the place and so many good people involved in race organisation, it seems like almost anything is possible. Of course, not all of the new races will survive the test of time but many will. I’m also a firm believer that races are not the only chance we have to shine. Many of the adventures that are tumbling around half-conceived in my head are running dreams rather than racing dreams. Whilst I enjoy both training and racing some of the most remarkable and memorable running moments I’ve been a part of over the last couple of years have, strictly speaking, been neither one nor the other. Sometimes the best days are the days when you run because you want to run. I remember the mid-week summer night in 2009 when a few of us decided to run the Connemara Marathon route – finishing up the famous ‘Hell of the West’ with head torches in complete darkness. What a night! I’ll always remember the weekend that a group of us flew over to London to run a twenty-miler on a section of the Thames Tow Path and then hit the town afterwards – another fantastic day. It turns out that it’s not hard to make the magic happen.
If you have the chance next year, make your own magic. All you need to do is to decide that your ambition is possible and then go ahead and make it happen.
To make it extra special, share it with someone else.