“I was in floods of tears, as far as I was concerned it was a death sentence”. It’s May 2017 and Tony Collier had just been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. Just days earlier, Tony – approaching 60 but fitter than ever and with all six Marathon Majors recently behind him – had been training for the Comrades Ultra. Cancer changed Tony’s life, his running times fell through the floor, his weight ballooned as he undertook chemical castration, and he suffered such heavy fatigue he could barely get up. But he stared that cancer down, with running becoming his purpose, his challenge and his friend.
Since that dreadful diagnosis, Tony has run thousands of miles, raised at least as high a number of pounds for charity, and campaigned to raise awareness of the early warning signs of cancer. His story is just one of more than 100 told by the Running Tales Podcast, which attempts to tell the stories of everyday runners who achieve extraordinary things.
My wife, Michelle, and I came up with the idea for Running Tales back in March 2020. We wanted to provide some insight into those runners who weren’t always at the front of the pack or getting widespread recognition, but were achieving their own incredible goals and had a love of running which extended beyond winning events or talking for hours on end about whatconstituted the best trainers or when to run which splits.
Our first episodes unintentionally coincided with the unwanted and unexpected arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, when life outside of our homes was limited to one excursion per day – a ration many of us used to get our much-needed running fix.The inner strength people collectively demonstrated to get through those dark days is reflected in the guests we have spoken to on the podcast in the years since then.
We have helped tell the stories of everyone from parkrunners to Olympians, featuring runners who have raised thousands of pounds for charity and those who have used running to help them take on take on challenges such as mental health issues, cancer, Parkinson’s, addiction, or the loss of a child.
Our podcast is now accompanied by a written website and newsletter, telling those same inspiring stories as well as articles looking at some of the big issues in the running world. Our aim at Running Tales continues to be to bring attention to peoplelike Tony Collier, to celebrate their achievements and to inspire others in their running lives. We’d love you to join us on our journey. The Running Tales team: Michelle is a qualified fitness instructor and running coach, whose running club – Step Forward With Lewis – morphed into a business during the pandemic. She is a run director at Northampton parkrun and has run 18 marathons – with her latest being the London Marathon this year. You can read more about her story on the Step Forward With Lewis website. Her ‘Socials’ are: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube
Craig is a former local newspaper and BBC journalist who has done a couple of ropey marathons and is responsible for any dodgy editing and sound quality issues on the podcast. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
here: Discover Running Tales:Running Tales Podcast: or wherever you listen to podcasts including on Apple, Spotify and Google PodcastsRunning Tales on Substack: Twitter: @RunningTalesPod Facebook: Running Tales Instagram: @runningtalespodRunning Tales and Virtual Runner UK: Michelle discovered Virtual Runner UK back when she started marathon training. The virtual runs provided much needed targets and inspiration for her as she chased her goals – just as they do for thousands of people every month. We were proud to feature Susan’s story on the podcast back in April 2020. You can listen to that episode