Nicholas Cranfield runs Paris Marathon for Team Verrico

Just Keep Running

It started way back in 2001 when my then girlfriend bet me that I couldn’t run a marathon with no training. She was a PE teacher and was convinced that my “lifestyle” was not conducive to successful marathon running. To be fair she had some valid points, I mean you don’t often find 20 B&H, 10 pints of lager and a donner kebab on nutritional marathon training planners. On the other hand, and as I explained to her, I thought it was all about mental fortitude and the power of positive thinking. Essentially when the going gets tough just think “what would Steven Gerrard do now?”, the answer in this context is almost certainly just keep running.

And so it was that I found myself running the London Marathon in April 2002 physically out of shape but in peak mental condition (sort of). Actually it wasn’t so bad; I managed to finish in 4 hours 17 minutes and quite enjoyed it. This lead on to a few more marathons and by about 2005 I had decided I would try and complete 50 marathons before I was 50. I trotted around European cities over the next few years adding to my list of completed marathons, never going faster than 4 hours and never much slower than 5 hours. Each time I would send out an email requesting sponsorship for one charity or another and my long suffering friends and family would oblige. I never did any training, sticking to my unique “nutritional” approach and it just worked (sort of).

Anyway, I’ll get to the point now. Anna had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had then gone through her treatment and looked like she would make a recovery. I was planning on running the Paris Marathon in April 2013 so I told Paul I would like to use that as an opportunity to raise money for a charity that Anna should pick. Anna chose to support research that was being carried out the University of Sheffield. Inspired by Anna’s courage and because I had to shift some weight before getting married I thought I might do a spot of training and try for a sub-4hour personal best. The result; I lost 3 stone and finished in 3 hours 26 minutes….that is how inspiring Anna is!

Since you’ve visited this website you will already know that the autumn of 2013 brought terrible news for Anna and Paul and that in November 2013 Anna died. TeamVerrico was born in Anna’s memory to raise funds for further research and help those dealing with the impact of cancer. I will be running the streets of Paris again on 6 April 2014 for TeamVerrico and with a bit of luck I might even manage another personal best. I will certainly be giving it a good go because, after all, this one’s for Anna.

The Paris Marathon 2014 will be my 17th marathon, so I’ll have 15 years and another 33 marathons to go for my 50 by 50 target. However, I’ve realised that I’ve become a bit of a one trick pony. How many times can I ask the same people to sponsor me for doing the same thing? It’s all becoming a bit humdrum and common place.  I need to do something a little bit different. That’s why to spice up marathon number 18 I’m going to do a 3.8km swim and a 180km bike ride as a warm up. Yep, on 14 September 2014 I will be attempting to complete the Welsh Iron Man. I’ve even cut back on the B&H, lager and kebabs so you can tell I’m taking it seriously.

I will be providing regular updates on here, and hopefully some photos, so you can track my progress as I head towards September. And, of course, it would be fantastic if you could make a donation to TeamVerrico.