Fitness

‘You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.’

This blog reproduces an interview in the January 2017 edition of The Methodist Newsletter with Anne Hailes.

Anne blogs regularly on life, media & NI culture here.

When I read Anne's piece before it went to press, it was a delightful surprise to discover that Anne actually knows the man whose support triggered this #TimPageFitForLife project.


 

 

“In summer 2013, we were planning a five-year survival bar-be-cue.  

Unfortunately, one month short of this cancer-free milestone, I was more seriously ill than ever before – tumours through my body, jaundiced, unable to sleep & hallucinating.  

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was back with a vengeance.”

Tim acknowledges that we all face challenges yet he has had more than his share.  Despite this he is an example of a man who just keeps on being positive and depending on his faith and the doctors to get through.  He has been treated for aggressive blood cancer four times since September 1984, when, as a 20-year-old BT placement student, he had a routine chest X-ray.  

“Within hours, I was in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Five months of chemotherapy and a month of radiotherapy followed.  The treatment was severe, my dad was dying at the same time and, some days, I felt the bottom had fallen out of my world.”

On one of those days he had to escape the demons in his head and he turned to John Frost, his old headmaster at Sullivan Upper School in Holywood. 

“I landed at Mr. Frost’s front door and he immediately recognised a level of distress beyond words, I just broke down, I couldn’t say anything.  He and Mrs. Frost sat me down with a cup of tea.  I thought ‘my cup runneth over’ – a cup of tea goes a long way to help!  The Frosts showed me kindness and understanding.”

Tim was getting back into the swing of life when he was dealt another blow. Two years later he was told the cancer had returned and what should have been a red-letter day turned into anything but.   

“I’d just completed computing science at the Ulster Polytechnic as it was then.   On the same day I was told the cancer is back, the job offer I’d been promised was withdrawn because of my health problems.   The world fell apart.  The most helpful person was an atheist friend who said

"You've got to look at it this way, Tim.  As one door closes another one shuts!"

I actually derived lots of laughter at that.”  

But it wasn’t over.  May 2008 brought the shock news that a large lump in his neck was due to aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Blood cancer treatment had progressed dramatically which meant chemotherapy could be administered as an outpatient and it killed the cancer in 12 weeks.  

However, Tim, his wife Ruth and twin sons Downey and Chris, then 19 years of age, were to be tested again.  In summer 2013, the family were planning a five-year survival bar-be-cue, when one month short of this cancer-free milestone, Tim became more seriously ill than ever with tumours throughout his body, jaundiced, hallucinating and unable to sleep. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was back with a vengeance.   

Family
The Page family

“I was close to death and there were groans beyond words going Heavenwards about myself and my family; there’s a comforting aspect as God can draw near and hear but there’s also the Psalmist’s spirituality of lament and Jesus saying ‘Let this cup pass from me’.  I think a big thing for me is to know that you can shout at God and cry and sometimes just whinge because we are His little children.”

It was their 'Year of Hell', in hospital for five months, with a 50/50 chance of survival, he was planning his 50th birthday party and funeral service at the same time.  

Thankfully, it was the birthday party that people ended up attending!

“Since then my motto is,

If there’s something in life to celebrate, then celebrate

because there’s enough difficult stuff going on.  A couple of months ago, I appreciated walking down the road and looking at one falling leaf as it fell to the ground.  As well as the challenges of work, paying the mortgage, there are moments of beauty all around.”   

As he regained fitness this special man turned to running.  He uses it to release stress, get fresh air, keep endorphins flowing, for company or solitude. 

“Sometimes I’m thinking about everyday life and pressures, other times it’s a time of internal reflection, zoning out at a spiritual level.  There’s a phrase that I love in the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

'The Silence of Eternity'

Something of this can happen when I’m running or on a retreat, an experience that I don’t understand but one that I treasure. 

At work a couple of days ago, a Director asked me how I was, I think he was surprised with my answer.  I told him - I’m alive, I have a family and they are well, I’m mobile, I have a sane mind, I’m doing work that matters, I look back at the running project that succeeded so I’m grateful for every day.” Having been in hospital six months, seven pumps keeping him going, being in isolation and not being able to move out of bed it might be surprising that, in September three years later, walking into work to lead the stem cell Donor Drive with Ruth, he told God he had no complaints about his journey.  

“I am thankful to be alive today; you know, you can maybe understand life looking backwards but you have to live it looking forwards, in the moment we don’t see the big picture.  I did despair at times, not surprising when your blood count and your energy is low and the doctor says it’s 50/50 so you're writing your funeral service and you feel awful; then you realise despair is OK, it’s not the final word and it doesn’t apply to your whole life.  I thought about my sons and my wife, their concern and what would they do without me being there.  When you’re a young man in your early 20s it’s rough but probably you don’t have dependents, when you do have loved ones who are dependent then that’s a different level of concern.”

During these toughest of months, Tim says he gained an acute appreciation of the precariousness and preciousness of life.  He came to see profound significance in small acts of kindness, for example the offer of midnight tea, hot toast and a chat with one of the exceptional nursing assistants.  He also had a renewed appreciation of research and was determined to do something practical to help. He knows that prayer is important but the drugs and the treatments are just as essential, as he says God is present in all things including research.

Along with this renewed sense of positivity came a sense of responsibility to build his fitness. So, he now has a personal trainer and attends the gym every week and is training to be a coaching psychologist.

“Early last year I discovered parkrun where, every Saturday morning, in 24 public parks across NI, people come along to do a timed run.  I ran my first parkrun at Victoria Park last November, finishing in 162nd place out of 162!  I found myself overwhelmed by uncontainable emotion on achieving an objective that would have seemed unimaginable when I was ill.  82-year-old Gerry Ward was the sole remaining volunteer waiting for this straggler.  Looking back, I now see that his presence, encouragement and positive words were the key link in the chain that led to a seven month ‘#TimPageFitForLife’ running project.”

Gerry and Tim
Tim with Gerry Ward, Victoria parkrun Volunteer

Gerry Ward remembers that day too.  “We were just clearing up the finish area after the run and I became aware of this chap sitting and to all appearances crying. I toddled over to ask if he was ok thinking he might have fallen during the run but in the course of conversation I found out that the tears originated from his satisfaction of completing the run. He indicated that during his periods of therapy his main ambition, when fit enough, was to undertake the 5k run.  You talk about uncontainable – well, I certainly felt similar after my chat with him and to some extent felt a bit inferior.   I’m fortunate in so many ways to be an integral part of the core volunteer group of our Saturday run, made all the more special by people like Tim who inspires all around him.”

Within months the objectives of this project were in place.  To run all the Northern Ireland parkruns in aid of Lymphoma and Leukaemia NI at Queen’s University.  He has raised £15,253 for LLNI and signed up 197 prospective stem cell donors with charity DKMS.  He’s proud that lives will be saved in years ahead when someone receives a stem cell donation.  

 

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2016-12-23/9160afce-182b-4458-b77f-db27de357d19.png
BT colleagues at Tim's final run, 24-Sep-2016, 32 years to the day after he first went into hospital

Tim himself has increased his fitness getting through all the runs, bringing down his time from 40 minutes to under 35 minute and, he laughs, even when running in the rain the sense of achievement is great.

But it’s not only fundraising, spreading the word about blood cancer and treatment is vitally important to this brave man.  He has published six video interviews about blood cancer treatment, research and the important role of fitness in staying well: “And thank God I am fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been.” 

He’s surprised and thankful for the sheer goodwill of so many people in funding his project and giving their support.  Indeed, Tim is clear that ‘through the years, the support received along the journey from Ruth, family, friends, colleagues, professionals and so many others has helped get me through.’

“On the way back from Cookstown parkrun, I had a conversation with a friend David Quinney Mee.  His daughter, Lucia, had just been on Radio Ulster promoting organ donation. Lucia, age 17, has had three liver transplants, and great success at the UK Transplant Games.  David said to me:

‘You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.’

In other words, in the great scheme of things, never discount the power of the small to inspire, to sustain and to give hope, whether it’s planting a tree, sharing five loaves and two fishes or encouraging someone struggling in their own race through your words, your support and your presence.”

More information at

www.timpagefitforlife.com
www.leukaemiaandlymphomani.org 


First published in Methodist Newsletter, January 2017 edition


#TimPageFitForLife Interview III, Michael McAuley - Benefits of Physical Fitness

"We should be preparing our bodies for what life throws at you."

  ~ Mike McAuley

This third #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Michael McAuley.

Michael graduated from the University of Ulster in Sports Coaching.  A creative and effective entrepreneur, he is Owner of EXSTO Fitness & Fitness Trainer at EXSTO Gym.

Michael, Fitness Trainer to Ruth and myself for 18 months, talks about the 'massive' health benefits of fitness including the physical, mental, emotional and occupational aspects of our lives.

Michael sees one of his aims as to "try and just get people moving", citing the American Heart Association as one of thousands of resources available on the web.

 

Thank you to Michael for getting me moving.  After 18 months, I'm the strongest and fittest that I've ever been ... I can recommend him as a Fitness Trainer who can help prepare his clients for what life may throw at them.  Thanks also to Andy Magowan, cameraman for this interview, who's up next in our fourth interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed them, previous interviews were with

  • Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist - Overview of Blood Cancers
  • Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Physical Fitness for Patients

Next week, a further three interviews will be posted:

  • Andy Magowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


#TimPageFitForLife Interview II, Laura Croan - Physical Fitness for Patients

The second #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma, based in Belfast City Hospital.

Laura's post is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre, doing great work - caring for patients, providing various resources for the Cancer Centre and also funding research.

I received help from 'Friends' in 2008 & 2013.  Also, in 1985, during a month of radiotherapy at Belvoir Park Hospital, I recall the kindness of the "Friends of Montgomery House" volunteers.  The charity changed its name in 2006 when services moved to the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Here's a Belfast Live article on the occasion of Laura's appointment.

Laura speaks about the benefits of physical fitness for patients.  If the patient's condition permits, quality of life can be improved with potential benefits of increased muscle strength, energy, sleep & self-esteem - potentially resulting in less fatigue from both disease and treatment.

The academic papers that Laura mentions are listed here.

Thanks to Laura for providing these references and also for being camerawoman during the interview with Dr. Drake.  And thank you to David Speers, BT Apprentice, for being cameraman for this interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed it, the previous interview with Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist is here

In the next interview, to be published on Friday, Michael McAuley, Owner of Exsto Fitness & Personal Trainer discusses the many benefits of fitness for life.

Next week, the remaining interviews will be posted:

  • Andy MaGowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


Larne - 10 Sep - 21 of 22

With only Stormont to go, Larne parkun may prove to be the day with the bluest sky - a glorious drive up from Holywood, and a great day for the first Larne 10k event.  I will aim to do this next year.

Larne-AB

Chris McGonagle gets the prize for furthest-travelled supporter.  Chris, formerly a BT colleague, has been encouraging me from Austin USA for months.  Back home in Banbridge for a few days, Chris drove to Larne to run his first parkrun.  I really appreciated Chris' presence - it was good to swap notes on running, IT, recovery from injury and resilience.  We were pleased to meet up with Phil McIlwrath and Rosy Ryan so soon after Rosy's Lagan10k run last week for Pancreatic Cancer UK.  And great to see regular co-runner Heather Chestnutt again.

Larne-D

Dom Dorris, Run Director, gave a warm welcome to everyone, introducing Larne as one of the tougher parkruns.  I like quotes, and, talking about the hills at Carnfunnock Park, something Dom said rang true:

"The hills are your friend."

 ~ Dom Dorris

For me, this relates to another philosopher's quote which can be true.  Sometimes.

Larne-G

The run was certainly tough, at 44:01 one of my slowest.  I put this down to the repeated circuits up the hills... however, after the race, Dom explained that the heat of the day is not necessarily the runner's friend, and I can see this is true.  Photos from the day show a lot of perspiration on a lot of people!  Great to have BT colleagues Mark Crothers, Michael Fulton, John Kelly and Laurence O'Hagan running alongside. 

Larne-P

And so, at last, I got to meet Gillian Craig, regular runner at Larne parkrun.  Gillian has an enviable PB of 31:27, and her story, including aspects of living with cerebral palsy, was recently on the parkrun weekly newsletter.  Thanks to Gillian for encouragement and support.

"Because of parkrun, and in particular the volunteers at Larne parkrun, I don’t just watch sport from the sidelines anymore. I take part. And I don’t just cheer. I get cheered on. From my family and from the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank the parkrun community enough for your support and encouragement."

~ Gillian Craig

Larne-V

Many Larne volunteers had to leave on time for the Larne 10k, but Ruth was still able to secure a very upbeat photo!

Larne-W

After tea and biscuits in the Sea Cadets' Hall, we drove up the hill to the Parklands Cafe for coffee with Rosy & Phil and David & Fiona Robinson.  On a day as good as this, this was a great place to enjoy the view.

Larne-Y

Larne photo album is here.

And now, one single parkrun remaining - Stormont on 24 September, the 32nd year to the day that, as BT Industrial Placement student, I went into Ward 22, Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital very ill with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Before then, it's a full week for #TimPageFitForLife:

Tuesday, in BT Riverside, there's a DKMS stem cell Donor Drive, hoping to reach our target of 100 prospective donors

On Friday, we attend the launch of LLNI's #ImStill campaign

And - keep an eye open for a series of six video interviews with people from the domains of medicine, fitness training and LLNI's research.

Come along to Stormont parkrunon the 24th if you can.

"The hills are your friend."

Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,846

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 27

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%

21

10 Sep

Larne

34.04%


Restore Enniskillen parkrun to the National Trust property at Castle Coole

I'm running all of Northern Ireland's 22 parkruns for a local charity.  With 18 venues run - 4 to go - it is a terrific experience!

Each course has its own characteristics;  all have a powerful sense of achievement, community and encouraging support.

My 6th run was Enniskillen parkrun at Castle Coole, a strikingly beautiful place. 

Enniskillen-U

The blog for that day is here.

Recently Enniskillen parkrun and the National Trust decided to part ways, with Enniskillen parkrun seemingly required to relocate.  I think that development is regrettable - not just for local parkrun regulars, but also for the National Trust and the town of Enniskillen.

Heather Harper, National Trust member and parkrun regular, recently set up this change.org petition

I don't really 'do' petitions, but I am signing this one, for several reasons

  1. Welcoming
    As a National Trust member (we signed up on 14th May when we visited Castlecoole parkrun, impressed by the collaboration) I want the "Welcome to Castle Coole" sign to signify an open, progressive National Trust that strives to be inclusive and engaged with its community
    Enniskillen-A
  2. Generative
    parkrun embodies the sort of society I want to see for future generations - people taking responsibility for their well-being + opportunity for regular volunteering + positive cross-community encounter.

    The National Trust in GB promotes this positive ethos (on the NT website).  So, surely, can the local NI National Trust.

  3. Wellness-Enabling
    Research is emerging that regular exercise can help prevent some cancers, ease the path through treatment for people who get sick, and promote rehabilitation and return to work afterwards.

    As a four-time survivor of aggressive blood cancer, I am fitter and stronger than ever before.  The regional parkrun community, including the strikingly beautiful Castlecoole venue, have played a part in that.  I hope that future visitors to Enniskillen can have the same amazing running experience at Castlecoole that we enjoyed.
     

Hopefully, the National Trust and parkrun can revisit this decision - the life-affirming benefits to local people of this healthy and community-focused weekly initiative should not be discarded but, rather, treasured.

If interested, have a read of the press article above and, if supportive of retaining Castle Coole as a parkrun venue - the petition is here.


Colin Glen - 13 August - 17 of 22

 

I had been anticipating Colin Glen as one of the more hilly courses on my tour of NI's parkruns.  With injury behind me, my physio recommended a conservative approach to running - "don't over-extend your stride" - both up- and down-hill.

Colin Glen will always be a memorable run - not due to its difficulty - but because I was fortunate to have two experienced runners at my side on this steepest run of my life to date.  Linda Harley Gillespie had offered to run with me, keeping time.  Linda is the first woman to have completed every local parkrun; she also has a great blog here.  I was also permitted to accompany Cracker in his traditional photo call! ...

Colin-Glen-B

Also, "parkrun Jim" offered to run alongside us. Jim Clinton was the first person in Ireland to complete 250 parkruns; our run together was his 275th.  Jim now has #500 in his sights. 

Colin-Glen-I

The initial 2km climb was not as tough as I had feared.  I was guided well.  The beauty at the top, running around the Lake twice with the Belfast Hills looming down on us, means that Ruth and I will be back to Colin Glen for a walk soon.

Colin-Glen-N

The Volunteer team was very friendly, with a warm welcome from Jim Bradley and Team to everyone including a group of "Steps To Health" graduates.  A number of people kindly donated to LLNI - with £111 transfer recorded here.

Colin-Glen-W

Today's album is here.

We drove home to join friends Linda & Derek Bell who were having a coffee morning in support of LLNI.  This was very well supported - photos & amount raised are on the blog and Facebook.

Next week, we're into the 'Final Five' ...

  • Falls
  • Derry
  • Ecos
  • Larne
       then  a contingency week, before...
  • Stormont, final run, on 24 Sep

Thanks to everyone for the support which has been, and continues to be, powerful.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £11,424

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £600

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%


MUSA Cookstown - 6 August - 16 of 22

Beacons of Hope

A special day today at Cookstown, the 16th #TimPageFitForLife parkrun; Ruth and I encountered some very special people today.

Ailis Corey has faced treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  This included an 'allogenic' stem cell transplant.  In December 2013, I had an autologous transplant - my own stem cells - whereas allogenic is a tougher and riskier procedure, where you receive a donor's stem cells.

Happily, Ailis' sister Brenda was a match and the transplant has been a success.  So much of a success that Ailis has just returned from the British Transplant Games with a Silver in the 3k Walk and Bronze in the 10k Road Race Cycle.

Cookstown_G

Ailis, family and friends have travelled a tough road at times. Part of the battle was to campaign for funding within NI of the drug Brentuximab. More details are at Ailis' Support Fund Facebook page which includes a photo montage of Liverpool successes.

The word 'Inspiring' simply doesn't do justice to the resilience & spirit lived out by Ailis and family & friends.

An audio interview with Ailis by journalist Gillian McDade is here

Arriving at MUSA, we met Julie Kelly.  Tragically, Julie's sister Lynne died of cancer.  Julie and some running friends have established Seapark Charity Runners to support two charities - Macmillan and Brainwaves NI.    

Julie explained that, as well as running her way around all Northern Ireland parkruns, she has also just completed 10 x 10k runs.  It was good to swap notes with Julie about NI's parkruns - we were both impressed by the beauty of the Enniskillen course.  Again today, here was human resilience and an outward-looking generative response to aftermath of a horrible disease.

Cookstown_E

Julie and team's JustGiving page is here.

Run Director Irwin Spiers gave a very warm welcome today, inviting me to say a few words to the runners and volunteers.  Er, next time, I'll need to remember to click the mega-phone trigger button - but I'm learning and won't make that mistake again.

The regular physio and rehab exercises after recent injury are doing the job of keeping my running condition ok.  I'm grateful for the encouragement of colleagues John Purvis, Cathal O'Neill and Phil Lockett  - the BT posse - who ran with me today.  With Cathal timing, I got a 30 second walk-break every four minutes and still came in under 40 minutes... Good to be getting back on form.  

Cookstown_D

We're now into a #TimPageFitForLife pattern of asking parkrun Volunteers to join in a group photo before/after the race, to recognise the fact that 

"No volunteers... No parkrun!"

Cookstown_S

Thanks to the MUSA Cookstown team for the warm welcome today. 

We got in the car and headed home to Holywood, listening to Radio Ulster.  

On the same day that we met Ailis and heard about her success at the Transplant Games, serendipity struck.

We were delighted to hear Lucia Quinney Mee speaking.  The Quinney Mees are family friends and they, also, have faced a challenging road at times. Lucia, who has endured and come through three liver transplants, was also at the Transplant Games.  Lucia won seven medals!   

Lucia's interview is on BBC iPlayer until 3-Sep, here, and her 6 minute story is worth listening to.

Lucia has also recently created a blog, live-loudly-donate-proudly.org - I can recommend this excellent post.

Live-Loudly-Donate-Proudly

What a day... running performance regained, another friendly parkrun community, stories of resilience & support through adversity  and a timely reminder of the vital benefit of transplants - a spur to renew our #TimPageFitForLife effort to give people an opportunity to sign up as stem cell donors.

Thank you for support.

Today's album is here and next week I'll be at Colin Glen.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £10,151

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%


Ormeau - 18 June - 11 of 22

With BT Riverside Tower a mile and a half away, Ormeau was, as David Mark said the "BT home match".  I really appreciated the great support this week from many colleagues at this beautiful course on a midsummer day.  Thanks, also, to Sue from RQIA who came and ran alongside me.

Ormeau_A5
Our BT posse included Gavin Raby (technology consultant), Gavin "Head Up" McBride, Raymond "Who's under 25 or 30 minutes?" Fullerton, Mark "I've just run 10 miles" Crothers and PB-seeker John Purvis.

In 52 years, I don't recall being in Ormeau Park.  It's another beautiful place - recommended for a walk or run.

Ormeau_A2

From the first of the 22 parkruns, my target has simply been less than 40 minutes. However, I mentioned to Gavin and Mark that this time - with a flat course and unprecedented support - I had the PB from Limavady 35:42 in my sights.

Run Director Gerard Walls gave everyone a warm welcome.  We chatted briefly before the run and it became clear that here was someone promoting health and well-being locally. Gerard agreed to a video interview after the run before he moved on to guiding the Couch 2 5K participants arriving at Ormeau later that morning. 

Once again, I struggled to keep my head up as the run proceeded.  I seriously need to keep working at the conditioning training, including a specific focus on strengthening my trapezius muscle.  

Thanks to the Ormeau Volunteers and the posse running with me for encouragement around the course.  I was pleased, after some exertion, to have knocked 29 seconds off my PB, now down to 35:13.

After the run, with Ruth as camerawoman, we recorded this video interview.  

As a Health Promotion Specialist, Gerard works within the community, including with people facing challenging circumstances at home, work and/or some sort of trauma.  

Gerard encourages people to look at health in a holistic way - including mental, physical, emotional and environmental angles.  "It's down to resilience" and "taking life by the horns" to live life in ways that promote happiness and well-being.

Considering the demands of life and work Gerard asks "are you taking time out?"

For people in the Ormeau area, here's information on resources.  Zooming out, there is also the wider Jog Belfast initiative including Couch 2 5K and Beyond 5K. Information at UK national level is here.

The Ormeau photo album is here.

Looking forward to Antrim next week!

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £8816

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 19

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Time

Position

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

36:22

177/209

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

37:05

222/237

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

42:10

386/390

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

40:22

140/155

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

38:10

162/167

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

39:18

136/145

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

37:56

94/103

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

35:42

32/37

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

39:03

181/265

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

37:37

183/191

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

35:13

328/352

42.55%


Valley - 4 June - 9 of 22

(Run report late this week due to various commitments...)

Another week; another full-on parkrun experience at a great course on a beautiful day.

Valley was, by some way, the most demanding run yet - the sustained incline on each of the two laps was not easy.

This was the graduation of over 80 "Run Newtownabbey" Couch-to-5k graduates - a nine week programme organised by Mallusk Harriers

5k Graduates

Several people said they'd had a sleepless night anticipating their first 5k - this was a Big Day.

It was a Big Day for Valley parkrun too, with 254 people running.  Having run 9 of 22 NI parkruns to date, in terms of numbers, this was second only to Bangor's 358 runners on 16th April.

The event was well organised - lots of Volunteers, clear directions for people, administration, sponsors supplying refreshments & T-shirts.

After giving the pre-race briefing, Alex Davidson invited me to start the run, counting down to zero.  I felt honoured and without a doubt, this is a personal highlight of this six month #TimPageFitForLife project. 

Valley-B5


Valley-RKSon Downey ran alongside me - his first parkrun.  

My time was up significantly, to 39:03, partly due to the incline.

Without Downey's encouragement, I might have been over my 40 minute threshold. 

 


The Couch-to-5k graduation was marked by people receiving their certificates, along with a very generous spread laid on by the Harriers.

Before leaving, I waved cheerio to Alex who was speaking to the 5k graduates and their supporters.  Alex pulled me up onto the stage to say something.  The media had earlier reported the death of Muhammad Ali.  Being a collector of quotes, one was in my hand as I stood on the stage.

Ali-Champions
At Valley I saw 80+ people run their first 5k.

Guided through their preparation, they achieved something significant and beneficial within the context of lively community and a spirit of encouragement.

These people, with basic running skills, had determined to push through physical discomfort, and any doubts about their capacity, to achieve their 5k goal.

Recalling the words of Champion Ali, the 5k Graduates' 'will was stronger than their skill'.  It was a privilege to acknowledge the Valley runners' personal achievement in front of their supporting family and friends.

 

I left Valley pondering what one word could capture the experience.

Saturday at Valley was "Dynamic"...

  • Valley parkrun and local running groups are introducing people to new experience, enabling personal achievement
  • There is collaboration with the Council & the Valley Park, e.g. signage and the Leisure Centre, e.g. promoting Couch-to-5k
  • There is engagement with, and support from, business sponsors and the local press
  • There was a strong Community spirit of volunteering and mutual encouragement

This was another parkrun Saturday event when I experienced that parkrun is about more than running.

Photos from Valley are here and here's a good list of Muhammad Ali quotes.

Thanks to everyone for the welcome, hospitality and interest in this project supporting Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI - a good local charity,

My 10th run is at Wallace on Saturday 11 June, Wallace venue details here.

Best wishes,

Tim.

 

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £8632

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £400

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 11

 

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Time

Position

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

36:22

177/209

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks 

37:05

222/237

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

42:10

386/390

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

40:22

140/155

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

38:10

162/167

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

39:18

136/145

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

37:56

94/103

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

35:42

32/37

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

39:03

181/265

38.37%


My Story for God's Glory - Carnalea Methodist Family Service 30-May-2016

Carnalea Methodist Church 29-May-2016 – Family Service

Perseverance – “Keep on keeping on”

Readings

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

“My Story for God’s Glory” – Tim Page

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about “running the race”, he was talking about the “Isthmian Games”.  From 582 BC to about 400 AD, these games happened every two years at Corinth, on the land bridge – or isthmus – in Greece where Corinth is located.   Events included chariot racing, wrestling, music & poetry – which women were allowed to compete in, and running.  The prize for each winner was a crown, of pine leaves or ivy, and massive prestige.

Entering the games was a big commitment – ten months training and then, maybe, you’d get selected to play.

At Sullivan school in Holywood, around 1980, I was the least sporty Sixth Former in my year.  Computers were just appearing in schools and I was abIe to dodge rugby, hockey and athletics by helpfully offering to support teachers learn about the computers arriving in their classrooms.  Looking back, this was a mistake since I stayed unfit.  I’ve done some sport on-and-off since.  However, after serious illness and a stem cell transplant in 2013, and months in a hospital bed, I deeply appreciated regaining the mobility and freedom that rehabilitation brought.  I now see that I have a responsibility to do what I can to stay well.  So I decided to do a 5k run, and achieved this goal at Victoria parkrun last November.  This personal breakthrough was such a positive experience that I then decided to run all of Northern Ireland’s 22 Saturday morning parkruns in support of two charities… 

  • Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI that does cellular-level research at Queen’s
    and also
  • Global charity DKMS, which signs up prospective stem cell donors, potentially a life-saving act

So far, we have promoted both charities, raised £8800, signed up 62 people as potential stem cell donors, and encouraged 10 people to run their first parkrun.

I have learnt some lessons about striving for a specific aim.   On this running project, I have to:

  1. Keep my aim in mind, organising my life around where I want to get to
  2. Train and strengthen my self – body and mind – to be able to succeed
  3. Be connected to a network of people for mutual encouragement and support

Reaching my goal of running 22 parkruns this year means saying ‘Yes’ to a few things and saying ‘No’ to lots of things.  As Gandalf says to Frodo,

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I made another decision when I was 12 years old, choosing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And, I have a very, very long way to go.  Right now, in fact, my running life is better organised than my faith life!  What I can offer, though, is a question arising from our Corinthians reading that I’m currently asking myself –

“How can I live my life so that I’m not running aimlessly but, rather, walking through life with Jesus Christ, living in the world as He wants?”

Paul talks about competitors being in ‘strict training’.  As a regular runner, I have committed to a regime of conditioning training – to get fitter, stronger, leaner and faster while avoiding injury and improving my 5k PB – Personal Best.

Leading up to each week’s Saturday run, this involves two 1:1 training sessions with my personal trainer, two conditioning runs, and a somewhat painful sports massage to unknot my muscles.  If you’re curious – you can see some videos of this training on the TimPageFitForLife blog.  There’s a particularly entertaining clip where I use ‘Battle ropes’ to drag a heavy metal “Prowler” device around the gym.  Tough stuff.

If a pattern of behaviours is necessary to build physical condition, then there will be some areas we can work at in our faith life.  In our Carnalea Family Services, we try to offer something to everyone, whatever milestone you’re at as you run the race.  So, in a few minutes, we’ll sing a beautiful hymn, know to the older generations represented today, “May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day.”

First, though, as a computing enthusiast and electronically well-connected guy!, some practical ideas to young people starting the race – for your own pattern of personal training … your practice of spirituality through your life to keep fit for the race you’re on.

Using words from the hymn,

“May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day”
A phone app like PrayerMate can be helpful in organising people and topics to pray about

“May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour”
The Bible App is great.  It includes audio readings of The Message, and reading plans where you tick off each day.  Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s 'Bible-In-One-Year' is a helpful resource.

“May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea”
Of course, developing a lifelong spiritual practice is not merely about apps.

In 2008 Elizabeth Porter took me to a Service of Healing led by Rev David Jardine.  Each time I have gone to this service over the years, it has been helpful.  He spoke about how we respond to the poor, including the person that we see sitting on the street.  He said that to ignore people made in God’s image wasn’t good.  So, be open to the prompting of God’s Spirit about responding to poor people you come across throughout your life – a £1 coin, or a sandwich & drink from a shop, or a smile and ‘Hello’ are some options.

One other thing – Jesus built into his life times of getting away from the crowd to be still and listen to God.  Wherever you are on your race, consider planning in time to get away from the crowd, and away from the Internet, to 'Be still' and know that God is God.

So. As you work out your Spiritual Practice,

“May the love of Jesus fill you.”

Focus on your aim – following Jesus Christ – and organise your life around that aim

 

Finally, I have learnt the importance of the gift of encouragement in being able to persevere and keep running.

I wasn’t looking forward to Saturday’s run at Limavady.

I didn’t know anyone at Limavady.

Also, the Limavady parkrun website showed the slowest runner’s time as under 34 minutes, whereas I average in the high thirties.

Further, we were having some press coverage for World Blood Cancer Day.

And, while Ruth comes with me to all the parkruns as “Professional Supporter”, this week she had to pick up our son from the airport instead.

I set out alone and, overall, felt a bit exposed.

At every race I’ve had an experienced runner to set the pace – it was great to have BT colleague John Kelly running alongside me.   I tend to drop my head as I run, which restricts breathing but John kept encouraging me ... “Head up!”

Limavady is a beautiful course of 3 laps.  Finishing my second lap, most of the runners had already finished the race, and were getting ready to head to the nearby Leisure Centre for coffee.

One parkrun volunteer said “Do you mind if they run with you?”

“No problem – please do.”, I said.

Immediately, behind me, materialised a posse of experienced runners, encouraging with their good humour.

Heading up the final incline, my legs really wanted to stop.  I would have stopped for a few seconds, as in previous races, but the encouragement, energy, positivity, momentum and sheer human goodness behind me powered me on.  Without a break, I finished the course.

Limavady parkrun volunteers 28-May-2016

My phone battery died before the results were available, so I left Limavady not knowing my run time.  When I got home, Ruth met me at the door.  “Fastest run yet!” Ruth said – a new Personal Best of 35 minutes, 42 seconds.  I got a kiss!

The guidance and support of people around me, combined with my own focus and training, enabled that personal best.  I have learnt that encouragement can improve physiological and psychological performance.

As you run through this life, be mindful of the example of those who have run the race already.  And remain open to support offered from the people running alongside you.  Recently, Ruth and I thought of the influence on our lives of the late Reverend Cecil Newell, formerly here at Carnalea.  We fondly remember Cecil’s support and visits when I was ill in 2008 - his character, his teaching and example.  When life is otherwise discouraging, such a man’s witness helps us both think “yes, there is something to all of this”.  

I can nearly hear Cecil saying

“Head up!”

 To conclude.  

We get one go at this race. 

Focus on Jesus Christ – consider Him.  He is our Friend and Brother, alongside us for the race.

Work at your Spiritual Practice – your conditioning training for the race you’re on.

And, in following Him through your life, go after your Personal Best, supporting others along their way with words of encouragement, and showing up practically for people when you can.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”

 

Hymn

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and power controlling

All I do and say.

 

May the Word of God dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His power.

 

May the peace of God my Father

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.

 

May the love of Jesus fill me

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.

 

May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.

 

Author: Kate B. Wilkinson