If you haven’t followed the story via social media, Colin McCourt’s story it is well worth a browse and a scroll.
The former GB 1500m international runner had ballooned to nearly 15 stone since retiring after failing to make the London Olympics.
After seeing an old picture of himself as a former athlete, sleek in his international vest, he couldn’t believe how much he had changed. It prompted discussion with some of his old running buddies and he took a bet earlier this year that he could run under 16 minutes for 5k this year.
The forfeit would be to tattoo the names of his 17 friends who laid the bet on his body. Or if he accomplished the feat he would collect a tidy £100 from each. This was no easy feat. His last recorded run had been a 24 minute parkrun in early 2016.
With the added pressure of his journey being documented through social media and an on-line blog, there was no escape. Yet, on Saturday 18 November, Colin McCourt did it. He clocked 15:38 at a race in Burnley to bring a happy ending to the tale.
After reaching his goal, he told Athletics Weekly: “In eight months I’ve gone from a 24-minute 5km runner to a 15:38 5km runner. It has been a mental year. It just shows that if you can just run and do little sessions and tempos, you can take it to the next level if you want to. It’s just believing in yourself and doing it.”
For McCourt, the main driver of his inspiring story was having a goal. Goal-setting is a highly effective motivational tool for runners at all levels. In order to reach long-term goals, it’s important to set short-term goals as markers towards the bigger achievement.
These can be set every week, fortnightly or monthly and help to keep you enthused. For all goals, ensure you SMART test them. Are they Specific? Measurable? Achievable? Realistic? Time-Based? McCourt’s were all of the above. They were ambitious, but for a former international runner, the also proved achievable.
Tell us what your running goals are…