Neil Featherby: Running dominates my life – despite what my teachers told me!
So here we are at the end of another year – or should I say, running year?
Whilst my life does not entirely revolve around running, I think it’s fair to say a big part of it does. Just about everything I have ever done or been involved with directly or indirectly would not have happened without some reference to it.
Needless to say, Sportlink Running & Fitness is at the forefront of my daily life. However, I am also very lucky to have some brilliant members of staff (including one of my sons), along with some very good friends who are partners within the business too.
Away from Sportlink, my many years involved in other sports such as football and boxing all came about due to my background as a runner and whilst those days are now gone, I have some brilliant memories.
When I was a kid at school, I was constantly told I should stop day dreaming about sport and focus on my education, as sport was never going to get me anywhere. That advice went over my head and the only thing which basically held my attention during those years were the PE lessons. However, when the time came for me to walk through the school gates for the last time and into the big wide world, I admit it really was a case of thinking, now what? The next few years were a little up and down to say the very least and then one day and just by chance I discovered running again and life had a new purpose.
Running has given me so many opportunities: I have travelled to many places around the world, met some amazing people and represented my country.
Therefore, and in a nutshell, never give up. Always believe in yourself and don’t be put off at having a go at something if you really want to do it, especially for all those who are goal setting for the New Year.
This time of year for me, also means The Felthorpe Hare & Hounds Boxing Day Charity Run. This event has to be the craziest race in the Norfolk athletics calendar whereby the hare (me) sets off ahead of the pack of runners whilst laying a trail for them to follow. However, the pack are in teams and all dressed in the craziest of fancy dress outfits. I lead them through streams, ditches, the roughest of undergrowth and mud which really is chest deep over a course of about eight miles.
Those who live in the village wake up each Boxing Day morning having to rub their eyes in disbelief, as do any dog walkers out and about around the surrounding trails and woodland, despite the event now being in its 16th year. Apart from having lots of fun and of course blowing the Christmas cobwebs out, we also raise lots of money for several nominated local causes and the animal charities which I have supported for a number of years.
With this being my last column of the year, I would just like to say that I have really enjoyed being involved with Mark Armstrong’s “On The Run” features this year and look forward to many more in 2018. Happy New Year to everyone.