THE RELUCTANT RUNNER: Another John, another reluctant runner

John Allanach
John Allanach

Not me, another John and another Reluctant Runner.

One of the best things about doing this column is that complete strangers have been asking me about the idea of the Reluctant Runners or in John Allanach’s case, emailing me out of the blue.

John Allanach

John Allanach

He told me about his story.

“I was technically obese, or very overweight, having worked in fast food for nearly a decade.

“During a period of being lost in myself, I was invited to run by my little brother, not anything far. We only probably managed a mile that first time, and it took 20 minutes, along the beach at low tide, in October 2014.

“Running gave me something to hold on to, it made the world make sense again, gave me time to think.

“It took me about two months to realise I wanted to set myself a goal with this new thing I’d found. My New Year’s resolution, my goal for before my 30th year, was to run a marathon.

“After seven months I was at the start line of the Sheffield Half, and booked to run the Bridlington Half the following October, both of which I completed.

“I’m still running and I have to say I enjoy every minute, that is, apart from the chafing, the bleeding, aching, and occasional bouts of running from over-enthusiastic dogs.

“I just want you to know you’re not alone in it. The running community is one of the most friendly I’ve ever been a part of, the Parkrun crowd at Sewerby are a great group of people, and reading your page has helped me realise that even more.”

I phoned John to find out a bit more about how he had got started.

“My front window looks on to the beach. I had a direct view on to a ready-made racetrack,” he told me.

“My lifestyle has gone from playing computer games, watching TV and being quite sedentary to wanting to do things like rock climbing, mountain biking and running.”

He has lost almost two stones and kept it off, and is honest about the challenge I face. “Don’t push too far, too fast or too hard. And setting off too quickly is a killer,” he said.