By Mark Roberts, Data Analyst Manager, Transform

Two years ago something dramatic happened; I took the decision to uproot myself from my spiritual home on the banks of the Mersey, to be closer to work in Manchester. Spiraling travel costs and spending almost ¼ of a waking work day travelling prompted this.

Weeks, months and more than a year passed with little or no exercise – friends and colleagues remarked on a sluggish and lethargic analyst during the day. Things were worse at night; a previously solid seven hours sleep a night, was replaced by a fragmented restless sleep (regular exercise has been proven to aid restful sleep). Even worse an already considerable frame was suffering from the lack of strenuous exercise. Something had to change. In September 2013 I became a runner. “So what, lots of people run” I hear you say - I’d never been a runner and never saw myself becoming one. Close friends of mine have been running for years. Completing 10km, half marathons, marathons and other ridiculous distances – it always seemed something “other people” did.

At first it wasn’t really running, it was walking interspersed with something that resembled a light jog.  Over time, my body became accustomed to things it had never known; continuous running for longer time periods, alarms being set for 6am and experiencing the variety of Manchester’s weather conditions (rain, light rain, heavy rain and a little bit of drizzle) in t-shirt and shorts. Eventually running for 30 minutes without stopping and covering 5km wasn’t a problem – it wasn’t just something “other people” did, it was something I did. And it was enjoyable.

Pretty soon 5km wasn’t a challenge; the next target was to build up to 10km. Then something disturbing occurred, my brain took a holiday for a few minutes and my hands signed up for the Bupa Great Edinburgh run. Ten miles, through the streets of Edinburgh. Which as it happens is a bit hilly. Brilliant.

 For extra motivation, raising money for charity made sense (not that sense had much to do with my decisions thus far). Back in 2008, hurling myself off a perfectly good platform 164ft above Cairns and jumping from a plane at 14,000ft, meant over £1,000 went to The Christie Hospital. And in all honesty it stopped me from bottling it on that bungy platform and in the plane.

 MR - Bungee

MR - Skydive

Most, if not all of us know someone who’s been affected by cancer. It’s a subject close to most of our hearts. And given that Cancer Research UK put funding towards all types of Cancer, it seemed the most appropriate choice. They do fantastic work supporting the work of more than 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.

The Bupa Great Edinburgh run was on the 27th April and as strange as this feels typing this – it was an enjoyable day from start to finish and I was more than happy with a time of 1 hour 26 minutes and 20 seconds. Friends, family and work colleagues came out to support me, raising over £600 for Cancer Research UK. Additionally, Transform donated £225 raised from various charity events over the last six months for my run.

Already the thought of what my next goal should be has been floating around in my brain. Did someone mention a marathon? In all honesty it’s doubtful whether I’d finish a full one. They always seem to have too much nougat and not enough peanuts. That’ll be lost on you if you were born after 1990.....I’ll get my trainers.