TARPLEY! Several Road Runners travelled over the border to Suffolk this morning, despite predictions of 45mph winds and heavy rain at the Tarpley 10 mile and 20 mile races. 20 milers had it particularly tough with the rain (and headwinds for the final 7 miles!) while those of us who sensibly chose a 10 mile distance had a sunny and dry sky to start under. Both courses were undulating - so ‘undulating’ that this word is written 10 times on the souvenir t-shirt...
10 MILE REPORT
5 NRRs competing: myself, Trevor Kuhrt, Kierstan Foreman, Deborah English, Anna Wright and we’re hoping to adopt Jasmin Honour (2nd claim) who finished first U21 lady today! Congrats also to Debs who finished 2nd lady overall and 1st in her age category
20 MILE REPORT
A brilliant 9 NRRs in a very competitive field (it was a Suffolk Champs race): Simon English, Jon Shorten, Jessica B Running, Kevin James Rowe, Gary Grand, Andrew Leggett, Dios Fernandez, Bryn Mainwaring, Kelly Simmonds. Also Darren Honour (2nd claim). Simon English finished 2nd in age category. Jess also 2nd in age category!
My running journey started back in early 2018, at the age of 34. A close friend was running the Norwich half marathon for a motoneuron disease on behalf of her godfather had asked if I would join her.
What I didn’t realise back on the start line in 2018, was that running would come to save my life.
After the Norwich half, I would go out and do the odd run here and there. I did the Trowse 10k in the autumn but nothing that i stuck with - until the new year when I came across Poringland Running Club. This wasn’t an affiliated club or anything official, it was group of running enthusiasts that wanted to share the love for running and help people locally take it up.
I started running with the Poringland runners on a weekly basis, and I absolutely loved it, it was the highlight of my week and I started to see a real improvement almost immediately. Before I knew it spring had arrived and it was time for the Norwich half again. I stood on that cold wet start line chomping at the bit for the off, eagerly anticipating that I would better my time from the year before, but little did I know that this would be my the last race event for six months.
A week later I went out for an easy 5K, and I really struggled I could barely breathe. My legs felt like lead and my pace had deserted me - I put this down to my race the week before. I kept on going out thinking I would get better, that it was just a blip. However I continue to struggle with my breathing, I could never catch my breath, I was feeling that I could never fully fill my lungs, and my pace was consistently slower - in fact, it was going backwards.
I spoke with my fellow runners and we all agreed that due to the time of year it was most likely hay-fever, as most of our routes were in the countryside. However, I have never suffered from hay-fever in my life, but it did make some kind of sense. I went away that night thinking we’d cracked it, and I’d be back to normal before long. I took some over-the-counter medicine but over the next two weeks nothing seemed to change. My pace had gone further backwards and the hay-fever tablets hadn’t worked.
Worried and not knowing what to do, I made an appointment at my local doctor to get to the bottom of it. The first doctor was nothing more than a disappointment, he claimed it must be hay-fever and prescribed me a strong hay-fever tablet. I left feeling deflated, upset and still with no clue of what was wrong.
Not happy with the doctors opinion, I scheduled a second appointment with a different doctor. Although this doctor did not know what was the problem was, on this occasion I felt listened to and she made a plan to resolve the issue through process of elimination. The first option to rule out was exercise induced asthma, I was prescribed an inhaler and I did a park run the following day. However, having used the inhaler as prescribed, I still struggled all the way round. By this point walking upstairs was causing me the same breathlessness as running. I would get to the top of the stairs and have to rest to catch my breath.
On the Tuesday, four days after my second doctor’s appointment I woke up with chest pain. I went off to work as normal and rang the doctor asking for them for a call back. I explained my symptoms and asked could this be a side-effect of the asthma inhaler? The doctor informed me that under no circumstance could this be a side effect and would it be possible for me to come back and see them that very afternoon.. I was still not thinking what I had was life threatening. I explained that unfortunately I had to work, however I could come and see them in the morning. They made me an emergency appointment. I attended the surgery where a doctor immediately referred me to the hospital. She called ahead as she was unsure what the problem might be however she explained she wasn’t taking any risks.
I arrived at the hospital and was seen straight away and to be honest with you, at 35 I was expecting them say you’re fine and give me some medication. However as the day unfolded, I was being passed around different departments and I started to get the feeling that something might be a little more serious. Around 5 o’clock I was informed that I had multiple blood clots all over my lungs and around my heart, otherwise known as Pulmonary Embolism.
I hear you asking, did running save my life? Well I can tell you, if it hadn’t been for running, I would never have noticed my difficulty in breathing so quickly. My diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism could have gone undetected for a lot longer and my doctor and the hospital may not have caught the condition in time, meaning that one of the clots could have moved in to my heart or brain, causing a massive heart attack or stroke with no warning.
On July 4 2019 running did save my life. Since that date, I have been on blood thinners and the blood clots have dispersed. I wasn’t allowed to run or do any physical exercise for three months, but since I was given the all clear I found myself with a new lease of life and purpose. I’ve been asked, why do you still run? My answer is why wouldn’t I?
Why wouldn’t I do something that save my life, and that now love?
I joined Norwich Road Runners at the beginning of November 2019, as I wanted to be around like-minded people. I have met some fantastic people and I am taking my running to a new level. Having completed three events under their name - Wymondham 10k, Freethorpe 10 Mile and the Valentines 10k, with many more events schedule for this year.
I hope my story will raise awareness of the condition and spread knowledge and any future charity races I compete in will be in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
This year I am to compete in my 7th marathon - my 6th major marathon. It all began in 2008 when I ran my first marathon, in London. I’d always wanted to run 26.2 miles and had applied for 5 consecutive years since the age of 18 - to no avail. Following the birth of our 2nd and 3rd daughters (identical twins) - who arrived into the world no less than 8 weeks early - I decided I wanted to run for charity, to pay back even just a little of our gratitude for the care our daughters received in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in the N&N hospital. I raised over £1500 for BLISS the premature baby charity.
It’s now 2020 - almost 12 years later and just 66 days until the big day in Boston and I am already overwhelmed with feelings of excitement and trepidation, all rolled into one! This time I have chosen to raise money for the EACH charity - I wanted to return to the theme of ‘children’ and to support something closer to home - the East Anglian Children’s Hospice - it feels right to match my first ever major fundraiser - for premature babies, to a fundraiser for a children’s hospice. I’m hoping that the money I raise this time will take my overall total monies raised to over £10 000.
In Boston, I am excited about completing a race which is recognised around the world as the most historic and biggest marathons of them all. I’m looking forward to bringing the 6 majors medal home - and most of all, I’m hoping to exceed my fundraising target of £10 000!
Check out my JustGiving Page for East Anglia's Children's Hospices. Help me raise more! http://www.justgiving.com/Nicola-Hill2020?utm_id=27
Thank you to my incredible husband for enabling me to travel all around the world to fulfil these dreams and to my children for tolerating my obsession and desire to train so much and also to each and every person who has inspired me, supported me, sponsored me, picked me up after a bad run, listened to me over and over again tell the story of a good run and most of all, been a part of this amazing journey - my road to Boston!
Congratulations to Colin Weller for finishing the gruelling Arc of Attrition 2020
"The Arc is a point-to-point extreme coastal race from Coverack to Porthtowan taking in 100miles of stunning and dramatic Cornish Coastpath with competitors running in challenging winter conditions. Runners will complete an Arc around the entire south west foot of Cornwall. The race has a strict 36 hour cut-off with additional checkpoint and safety cut-offs on route. With checkpoints approximately 20 miles apart, competitors will need the ability to be self-sufficient for long periods of time."http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-arc-of-attrition/
Colin came home in 31:54:52.