“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work”Tim Notke
Running is a sport where there is nowhere to hide. In a team sport if you are playing badly the rest of the team can carry you through (thanks Kings’ hockey team 2008-13). But, if you have a bad race the blame lies on you. It is a sport where your work, and your determination will pay off in the end. It takes a special kind of person to take that on and rise to the challenge… this is why I want to write about my brother.
If you looked at 16 year old Ollie you wouldn’t automatically think, “he’s a runner”. He doesn’t have the classic chiseled/malnourished look about him. He’s 6ft 3″ and was probably around 90 – 100kg. In fact his nickname is “Boris” which for visual reasons should be clear. So, when he was bumming about after smashing his GCSE’s I knew how to challenge him.
The boy was sporty, playing hockey a few times a week and doing the odd parkrun. Back in July he ran a flat parkrun in a tad over 30 mins. It was a starting point, the game was on…
*POP* bugger, that’s another ovary gone.
Overton 5 Miles
With some minor negotiating I got Ollie entered into Overton 5 miles. This gave us two months to knuckle down, get training in and make it happen. The original goal: 45 mins. We put our heads together and sorted out a schedule that was going to fit in around his lifestyle. We built the foundations early getting him out there 3 times a week and then he grew.
One easy run, one long run and two sessions a week was the prescription. Boris quickly made his target look… pathetic. I had him doing a steady runs to build the aerobic base and during a 45 min effort he ran 5 miles flat. I know he was putting the work in and it was paying off, some sessions I did with him and he was pushing the limit.
By the time race day rolled around he was mentally a different boy. He was hungry to race and to show himself and everyone else what he could do. And he did. Final time: 41:50. Outrageous. That’s a 26 flat 5K average pace…. with 3K extra. 4 whole minutes quicker than the starting point only 2 months previous.
Even Ollie was unsure how he was running so quick.
Victory 5 Miles
We regrouped, neither of us had truly expected him to run that time. I wanted him to get back on the horse as quickly as possible, I didn’t want him to lose focus, I needed to keep him motivated and keep him going. Victory 5 Miles worked out exactly 3 months away from Overton. Perfect. It’s a quicker course so a new PB was very doable. A new plan was formulated. The new target: sub 37 mins.
The first 8 weeks of the plan were dedicated to building mileage and strengthening the aerobic base. Mile after mile he ran on his own. His 5K PB’s were tumbling too, by mid-October he’d shaved it down to a mere 22:58. Epico.
This 3 month training block was a long old time. He won’t mind me saying that at times he lost focus but when he ran he gave it 110%. We ended the plan with shorter intervals, sharpening the spear he had created. He was now a weapon. I’ll let his final time do the rest…
His official time is the one on the right.
Could I be prouder? No. I hope this has proven to him that he is capable when he puts his mind to work. I have never bought into the whole “i Am n0T BuIlt t0 bE a rUNneR” mindset. Talent is all too often given credit for people’s achievement, creditors are people who don’t appreciate all the behind the scenes. I hope this isn’t the end of Boris’ running career.
Let me know in the comments if you have a similar motivational story either about yourself or to shoutout others who deserve it! 🙂
Lots of love,