You can follow Luke on twitter @Compo_7
What made you get into running?
In 2013 my little boy Kaleb was born & my world turned upside down. Kaleb was born with an XQ28 duplication which meant a lot of problems were to follow such as struggling to breath, feeding difficultly, develop mental delay, hypotonia…so you can start to see the world I have landed in. Kaleb spent months & months of his life between Exeter Hospital & Bristol Children’s Hospital. I had no experience with how to deal with my feelings, stress & worry that came with a poorly baby so in 2015 I turned to run. I started off with just a few slow miles around the lanes in Devon to clear my head & have some time to think. After a few weeks I started to feel better in my own head & more focused to dealing with the problems that waited ahead, I decided to give something back & challenged myself to run 4 Half Marathons in 6 Months for Ronald McDonald House in Bristol, which gives all parents to poorly children in the hospital a room for as long as needed for free. Running became my escape, my running trainers became my best friends & I will forever be grateful I found running.
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
So after deciding to challenge myself to what felt like a big task back then I started to train & my 1st Half Marathon was in sight, it was Plymouth & I had set myself a 2 hours 15 minute target. It pains me to say this as an Exeter City fan but running up to the Hoe in Plymouth with hundreds of people cheering you was very special. Completing the Plymouth Half Marathon, my 1st ever half at sub 2 hours & finding my little lad at the finish line was my proudest running moment.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
I’ve had to deal with the biggest challenge any person & parent will ever have to deal with, losing a child. Sadly Kaleb past away in June only 18 months old & only managed to see me complete 1 of my 4 Half Marathons. The pain of losing a child is something I won’t ever be able to explain but it gave me a drive, a focus & a reason to complete what I had promise to do & I did raising £2018 in the process. I think about him everyday & I carry a picture with me when I run every race to keep him close to me & hope to make him proud. I want to use my experiences to help other people & give them as much support as I’ve had from running.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
My inspiration was of course Kaleb, sitting watching everything he had to go through in his short life, different tests, operations, just struggling to breath everyday & he still never got upset or was never an unhappy baby, that inspired me. He was always my main driving force but with all the months spent in hospital I took the time to read other people’s stories & also take advice from others on UKRunChat & be inspired by them, the likes of Shell Mortimer, Richard Hayes, Emma Holmes & Joe Williams to name a few.
What are your future goals?
I’m very excited for the future, with the help of Matt Upston who has kindly let me get on board with the UKRunChatSouthWest Twitter account. I’ve recently sat my LiRF course with the plans of being part of a UKRunChatExeter running group. So the big plan is to get as many people as active as possible, feeling healthier physically & also mentally. On a personal note, I have now run 6 Half Marathons & 5 10k to date with a target of 1hour 30minute for Half Marathon & 40minutes for a 10k for 2016. I also have a Marathon in mind for 2016, aiming for Bristol to Bath at the end of the year & of course I have many Halves & 10k booked this year.
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start running?
Firstly I would advise anybody to get involved with UKRunChat, make friends, take advice from anyone willing to give any & have the support of the community. I can’t not mention Team Blue, come join us. I would also advise not to judge yourself on anybody else, everybody has to start somewhere, it doesn’t matter if you are running 10minute miles or 6minute miles it’s still a mile. I used virtual runs as a way to keep my training interesting, it’s all about work & reward, I highly recommend them to all because every runner loves bling. Finally & the main advice is to have fun, enjoy running & be Team Blue. Running is the best thing ever. I believe ‘The body achieves what the mind believes’.
What is your favourite piece of kit?
No doubt what so ever, I love my Fitbit Surge, anybody that follows me on Twitter will know. Charly Brown & myself have a Fitbit TagTeam rule where we always recommend Fitbit to new runners & link each other into the conversation. My Fitbit rules my life, whether it’s steps, GPRS routes, heart rate, sleep monitor I’m always checking my Fitbit & it pushes me to do more. It was the best purchase I’ve ever made & it’s helped my running & given me an understanding of my pace.
And finally, what’s your favourite thing about running?
Running has changed my life, running has become my life. I owe so much to UKRunChat & I have found some amazing, kind & inspiring people along the way. I’ve made some new friends all around the country who I’m looking forward to finally getting to meet up with through the year, the likes of Katie Mawdsley, Carl White, Emma Morgan & Jamie Fittock. Between being able to go to a race anywhere in the UK & know somebody through UKRunChat or being able to put my running trainers on at anytime & have some time to myself, stress free & enjoy the Devonshire countryside is my favourite things about running. If I can inspire just one person to start running or help them with a problem or a question my job is done.
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