This week, I'm going to dedicate my blog to those people who have paved the way for us runners, making it possible for men and women to participate freely in our beloved sport.
If it wasn't for the likes of Roger Bannister, and the wonderful Katherine Switzer, where would we be? We owe these groundbreakers everything.
Lets take the latter, then. Katherine Switzer. What an amazing woman. In 1967 (the year of my birth, in fact) this lady was the first female to ever run the Boston Marathon. Her determination was stoic, and despite being physically attacked by a race official, managed successfully to complete the race. Even her coach said to her days before “no dame ever ran a marathon”. How wrong he was. It was not until 1972 that women were allowed to run the Boston Marathon officially. Us lady runners owe so much to this brave determined woman, who at 69 still runs for an hour every day.
Sir Roger Bannister CBE, the first man to run a sub four minute mile, now aged 87. Not so sure whether he is still running, but a true legend all the same.
Our modern day athletes are also to be revered, my personal favourite being the wonderful Jessica Ennis Hill, three time world champion. Of course Mo Farah and Usain Bolt are incredible runners and right up there with the greatest of all time.
I remember watching the London marathon one year before my Mum took ill. As we watched the professional runners complete their 26.2 gruelling miles, she remarked that “she'd seen more fat on a chip”. Bless her, but I did say that they needed to be lean in order to run that distance, really. She was the mistress of the one liner, my Mother.
Even now, I always make a point of watching the London marathon. It fascinates me, and I am glued to the TV from beginning to end, only pausing to go and make myself a quick cuppa and then its straight back to it. My fascination with it is not only the professionals, but all the runners, from all walks of life, all ages, all abilities.
There will always be the famous professionals, who we look up to and admire, the groundbreakers, and I wish I could give each and every one of them a special mention here. But, as I have now been at this wonderful sport 5 years, I know who I admire the most. Each and every one of you, out there, who physically get up of your backsides and hit those hills, trails and roads. You are all running heroes.