Did anyone watch the Olympics ?? After seeing those guys run I am wondering if it’s about time to hang up my running spikes! However seeing they have about 30 years on me, and that they probably can’t put out a fire on a warship, I may keep going for a few more years! Anyway, I’ve got to keep going till the Autumn, coz I’ve got a race to run. In the last couple of years something has changed for me in my running training. Hills. When I open the front door, I now see hills everywhere. But that should help, because the next race I’ve entered is a 10k trail race in North Wales. And I entered this of my own free will! Plonker. But life is like that sometimes isn’t it? Everything’s going along nicely and all of a sudden circumstances change and you are sat at the bottom of a hill, wondering how you got there! As I said in my previous post I developed this passion for running whilst in the Royal Navy, and thinking about hills reminds me of one of the best, yet somehow worst, but certainly funniest, running ‘dits’ (or stories) … It was during the Balkans conflict, 6 months of joyous ‘defence watches’ (heightened state of readiness) and very few ‘runs ashore’. On the way back to the UK we stopped off at Naples for a few days to give the lads a chance to sink a few tins and maybe enjoy the culture of Pompeii (note the spelling is ‘eii’ NOT ‘ey’ .. but then again I did say culture … culture and Pompey (Portsmouth ..) … hmmm). Three of us decided that we wanted to run up Mount Vesuvius, so we agreed that we would go for it as soon as ‘secure’ was piped on the first day in (in fact it was 1200 … a hard life but someone had to do it!). So we worked out how to get the few miles from the dockyard down to Mount Vesuvius using public transport. However a young Petty Officer had just joined, and had spent 2 years drafted to Naples. He said that he would get hold of the ships transport and drop us off at the base and collect us afterwards and bring us back to the ship. Great stuff! No need to worry about buses or trains.
So we were dropped off and began to run up the hill. He had told us that it was an easy route, straight up the road. After about 20 minutes the road became a track and when it became a pathway we knew we had gone wrong. So we started to retrace our steps. We were nearly back down at the bottom, when we saw some locals sat on a wall. In his best pigeon Italian one of the other guys (in fact he was my boss) said ‘How do you get to the top?’ ‘Que?’ ‘Top – how do we get to the top of Mount Vesuvius?’ ‘Mount Vesuvius???’ ‘Yes’ at which point the local man pointed at another mountain in the middle distance ….. our PO had dropped us off at the base of the wrong hill ….
How did we miss a volcano I hear you ask? Well, we trusted someone we didn’t know well, who had no known track record and in fact made a cock-up (and boy did we let him know he had made a cock-up when we got back on board, having run the few miles back, as we had no money for a bus or even water!!!!)! And that is a great life lesson isn’t it? Who do we trust to lead us … to give us advice on this journey of life? I trusted God with my life over 30 years ago, and can honestly say that He has never dropped me off at the base of the wrong hill! I have had loads of hills to climb but they have always been for a purpose, never the wrong hill! So if you are facing a hill at the moment spend a few minutes asking God if its one he wants you to climb, or whether you have been dropped off at the wrong hill by someone else who thinks they know best. If you are facing the wrong hill its not too late to change direction, and if you sense you are half way up the wrong one then ask a trusted friend for some help and guidance. It may involve retracing your steps and taking a different path – one where God is leading you.