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My Marathon

by Tony Draper, President of NAHT

At no point in my life would I ever, ever have thought that at the end of April 2016 I'd be running the London Marathon. Even though I have a background in sport and even when I was at my most active, I always hated running, running was for donkeys, going nowhere and with no purpose. The whole point of exercise to me was to be involved in team games with your mates, enjoying yourself and having the opportunity to kick someone up in the air just for the fun of it.

When we were forced into cross country at school, my mates and I would cut off to the railway, and have a couple of fags before joining the back of the idiots who'd been stupid enough to run 5 miles round the Yorkshire moors.

It was more of a surprise to me than anyone when at a meeting with the Youth Sport Trust, Ali Oliver, the Chief Executive asked "Why don't you run the marathon?"  Of course I came back with the swift and witty riposte, "Because I'm fat, old, knackered, and would never complete it alive!"

However, Ali was persistent; she said they'd provide a training schedule and ensure I was well supported. It got me thinking.

I went home and at the dinner table that night I told my family. After they'd picked themselves up off the floor laughing, I thought, I should do this just to prove I can.

So I decided I would do it, I'd show 'em! My early runs were hard, but I have lost weight and I really enjoy pounding the streets and cutting down my minutes per mile.The support of family, friends and staff has been overwhelming. 

I've always been determined to do my utmost to support the professional development of teachers in PE and sport and if I can raise funds to do this through busting myself in this endeavour then I'm happy to do so.

Just before Christmas, having pulled out my fastest mile yet, I felt something in my hip - a pain that I knew I couldn't run off. It impacted on my hamstring and left me in recuperation and unable to train.  Recovering from this has been extremely difficult at my age.  The accompanying lack of sympathy from my children who sadly share my warped sense of humour didn’t help!

I have now restarted training and am aiming to complete the marathon in about 4 hours 50 minutes - hopefully faster if it all comes together. Please support me and my running mate Paul Whiteman in raising funds for the Youth Sport Trust. Others may not care about developing your staff to deliver high quality PE but we do. 

If you would like to donate, you can do so here, justgiving.com/NAHT-TonyandPaul.

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