‘Do you know Tom?’ My friend Vicky asked.
I didn’t know Tom but my ears had perked up with the words running and endurance challenge that had come before his name.
‘I’d like to meet Tom!’ I said. And I did on one of the strangest Friday afternoons of my life. I say strange because after searching for Tom like the FBI agent I am (on Facebook) I’d already had to cancel our first arrangement because the clutch had gone on my beloved car Shirley and then on said Friday I had blown the tyre out on Abraham the Clio which resulted in myself and B being hawked into the back of a police car whilst the force sorted my spare out!
So, by the time I managed to screech into Tredegar leisure centre I was in somewhat of a flap.
Tom, looks like Ronaldo. Vicky had said this but despite warning I hadn’t quite been prepared for the similarity. Thank god Tom has a proper cool Blaenau Gwent accent or I’d have been severely confused and flapping because of the tyre.
‘Sorry I’m late!’ I said actually wondering whether I’d been transported to Brazil or Madrid or wherever Christiano is based.
By the time I calmed down, sat down, explained to Tom that this would be the last time he ever saw me because Scotty Boy was sure to kill me regarding the tyre and his daughter and air being transported in a cop car, I remembered why I’d arranged to meet Tom.
‘So, Tom, tell me about your challenge?’ I got my notebook out partly to look professional but mainly because I wanted to get tips on endurance challenges.
Tom explained that him and his team, who are, Aneurian Bevan leisure, and Ashley Owen and Dai Williams, plan to run 30 miles around Blaenau Gwent for Comic relief on 23rd of March.
‘But why?’ I’d asked and Tom laughed and in a roundabout way said why not? He also mentioned that they did a huge bike ride last year and had to beat it somehow.
‘Do you like running?’ I asked him and he laughed again.
‘Not really, I get bored!’ he said and I laughed wondering what it is with these boys that take on these running challenges when they don’t like running! ‘I’m a sprinter by trade,’ he continued. ‘I competed for Britain in the 100 and 200 meters, but long distance, that’s another thing!’
We got talking about pace.
‘We’ll be doing around an 8.30/9 minute mile pace on the day, in small sections.’ He told me to which I replied with that wow face I pull sometimes.
‘That’s pretty pacey?’ I said.
‘I know.’ He laughed again.
Tom then told me about his training and how tough going it’s been with a six month old baby in the house. He said how supportive his wife had been and we talked about how important it is to have that support network that think you are completely bonkers but are 100% behind you.
Tom’s training is pretty gruelling alongside his work and the fitness classes he takes. He does speed work, cross training and then a long run of between 12 and 18 miles.
‘I just want to get through the training.’ He told me. ‘If I fall apart on the day, I’m willing to do that.’
‘Ok, I’m going to run some of it with you.’ I told Tom, high on the enthusiasm of his challenge. ‘But it won’t be at that pace!’
‘I want to show people that anyone can run.’ He said. ‘At any pace.’
A man after my own heart!
If you’re interested in joining Tom and the team for any part of the challenge, or sponsoring him to show your support have a look at the BG Life Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bglifecard/ or look out for my tweets on the day!