Grant Huddleston, a Virtual Runner from Birmingham has joined our races to help with race logistics, improve his time and loose weight, here’s what he has to say about his journey:
In 2016 I entered a small number of running events and I was hooked. Exercise isn’t something new to me; I’m a senior lecturer in physical education at a University in Birmingham and I have grown up participating and teaching several different sports. However team games and weight training has dominated my time and I’ve never quite understood why somebody would want to run for a long period of time! After running those events in 2016, I wanted more. However getting to some of the events was proving a bit of a logistical nightmare, what with two small children. It was then that a friend told me that there are “virtual” races out there. So I looked up a few and decided on joining the Virtual Runner UK community.
The first event I entered was the 1000 mile running challenge, starting in January 2017 and then the New Year’s Day 5k. Inspired by a local charity, I decided to enter several more races throughout the year – a mixture of virtual runs and “venue” runs, with the last event (at the moment) the Birmingham International Marathon in October. To date I’ve ran in 16 different races this year, ranging from 5Ks to a 20 mile race. My PBs have dropped throughout the year across all the different race distances, with my 5k currently standing at 21 minutes, 10k at 43 minutes and Half Marathon at 1hour 41 minutes, but I want to improve them further! Before 2017, I had never run a half marathon – I’ve now ran in 10.
Since starting my running lifestyle, I have lost 2 stone in weight (a certain amount of this will also be muscle mass) and I have actually taken 4 inches from my waistline – meaning a whole new wardrobe needed! My diet hasn’t particularly changed – it never was very bad anyway – but the number of calories I am now burning has vastly increased. I have made new friends and raced and trained amongst some beautiful scenery. It’s fair to say I’ve become hooked on running and I look forward to entering new races, running in new places and meeting new people. I know I’m not the fastest in each race I enter, but I love the competition against myself and trying to better my performance each time. Virtual Runner’s races has helped my hunger to do this.