By Richard Hayes[mk_social_networks size=”large” style=”rounded” margin=”4″ border_color=”#cccccc” bg_hover_color=”#232323″ icon_color=”#1e73be” icon_hover_color=”#1e73be” align=”center” twitter=”https://twitter.com/mohicanrunner”]
I’m Richard Hayes a 34 year old club runner based in North Sheffield. I currently run for Steel City Striders RC, However I’m better known as the Mohican Runner due to my very distinctive hair style. So the question you all want to know is why am I named the Mohican Runner? Well throughout my challenges I have wanted to stand out from the crowd, I’m not a big fan of fancy dress but wearing a green vest for the NSPCC just wasn’t enough to get me noticed during my early challenges. Just after Christmas 2013 I decided to re-grow my hair with a mohican, it was small at first but it soon grew. My wife is my hair stylist and we have tried many methods over the years to get it to where we wanted it. I tried to go green but it just wasn’t for me so we opted for black and at each race I was not only getting noticed for my awesome hair but people were really interested in my charity challenge, which for me is excellent. Yes I get lots of funny looks, children pointing at me in the street, adults almost walking into lampposts but most importantly media attention.
I’ve been running since September 2012. Having only found my passion for the sport after losing 4 stone. In April 2012 I clocked 20 stone and my 3 year old told me I was big so I did something about. I hired a personal trainer and dropped 4 stones between April and August of that year. I wanted a goal to keep the pounds off and entered the 2012 Great Yorkshire Run in my home town of Sheffield. While I didn’t set any records that day (finishing in a time of 57:54) I became hooked. I did two more races in that year the TenTenTen and Percy Pud, I also managed to get quicker at both these races.
After doing my 3 races back in 2012, I then came up with the charity challenge 13 in Thirteen where I would complete 13 x 10km races in 2013 and set a new PB at each. The reason for this challenge was to raise money for Childline/NSPCC, as I used the childline service as a child. You can ready my personal story (under the name of Craig) connected with Childline here –> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2843963/Boy-mother-burnt-iron-threw-stairs-broke-fingers-hammer-shares-harrowing-story.html
In 2013 my running improved and my times tumbled as I managed to complete the challenge at the start of December at the Percy Pud. During 2013 I joined Sheffield Running Club, through them I managed to take my leader in running fitness course as well as learn more about different types of races and distances. Over the course of 2013 I raced 40+ times over various distances from 1 mile up to half marathon distance. By the end of 2013, I had a 5:54 1 mile PB, a 20:19 5km/parkrun PB, a 41:38 10km and a 1:41:42 half marathon PB. I also raised over £2,000 for the NSPCC, this inspired me to do more, go further and up the distance.
In 2014 I began my 2nd challenge this time the aim was to complete 1 half marathon a month over 13 months starting in January 2014, the aim was also to break sub 90 for the half marathon (I achieved this back in October 2014). Also I switched running clubs to Steel City Striders at the start of 2014 and discovered running isn’t about running as hard as possible every time you put on a pair of trainers.
My weakness is my fondness for racing and being told I race too much, if you include parkruns I raced every week in 2014. My goals when I started running was to break 20 minutes for 5km, sub 40 for 10km and sub 90 for half marathon, I managed to achieve all 3 in 2014 and finished the year with the following personal best times; 5:29 1 mile, 18:38 5km/parkrun, 33:25 5 mile, 37:47 10km, 69:55 10 mile and a 1:26:03 half marathon.
I then completed my 2nd charity challenge at the Brass Monkey HM Jan 2015 lowering my HM time down to 83:17. By the end of my 2nd challenge I had help raise over £1.3 million for charity this was down to the NSPCC also using my story as their Xmas campaign. I then switched my focus to making my marathon debut at London, this made up one of my goals for 2015, along with the goals to break 18 minutes at 5k, sub 37 for 10k and sub 83 at half marathon. In early 2015 I made the decision to switch to Hallamshire Harriers so could take my running further and to do some track and field events, however this turned out to be a decision I regretted. In April 2015 I made my marathon debut at London where I posted a respectable time of 3:08:24.
For the 2nd part of 2015 I started my third and final charity challenge this time for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. This challenge sees me race at least once a week for 52 weeks straight, with the aim to do 100 races in that time. By the end of 2015 I had completed a staggering 29 races in 22 weeks. In November 2015, I won my first race at the Power Surge 10k near Retford, also setting a course record at the same time, the previous week I got my first podium by finishing 3rd at the Holmfirth 10k. I won a second race in December by winning the Barnsley Hospice Santa Dash to round off a very successful year.
At the start of 2016, I took the hard decision to stop and re-evaluate my running, this resulted in the premature end to my third challenge after breaking myself to race 3 times in 3 days. The second decision was to go back to the club close to my heart in the form of Steel City Striders. 2016 promises to be a year of self discovery and hopefully I will take my running to new heights.
My first challenge was for the NSPCC and over 2013 I raised a total of £2,444.50. A lot of people sponsored me per PB and with me getting a PB every race people had to dig deep into their pockets. With fundraising you have to think outside the box, so I did sweepstakes and guess me times throughout the year. It also helped I had a personal connection to the charity. But I wasn’t done and wanted to raise more so I set off on my second challenge with 13 months of half marathon racing. This was much harder getting people to sponsor me for a second time. This resulted in me using twitter a lot more so more donations came from strangers then people I knew. The second challenge raised another £2,500 pound. However the NSPCC used my personal story to front their Xmas campaign for 2014, it was every where, media, social media, posters you name it but thanks to my story touching the hearts of so many I helped raised over £1.3 million for the charity on top of my two running challenges.
I also wanted to give thanks to the local hospital in Sheffield who looked after me so much as a child and it was the reason for my final challenge and I raised over £1,300 for the charity in just 6 months. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and honoured to have been able to help those less fortunate than me.