Paul Relf

As I mosey in to Perth, I look back at my Run The World rollercoaster over the last 13 months. Firstly, I’m a runner – I’m definitely not fast, but I’m not too slow – just average, and I can run far! I love to run – it’s my escape, it’s my calm place.

January 2021 I was riding high – I’d just set a new 50km PB at the GC50, and was back under 2 hours for my 21.1km. I was doing some big km and feeling great. Then twist and snap – multiple bi-directional tears to the meniscus. I thought that would be the low point, little did I know that was just the beginning of the slide down. Fortunately they operated on my knee three weeks later to repair the damage. Time to start the long slow rehab process – I just didn’t realise how slow it would be.

Fast forward about 6-8 weeks – I was building up on small amounts of walking and riding but still absolutely no running. That’s about when I hit rock bottom – while I felt I’d progressed well enough to run, my physio hadn’t released the reins! So at 3 am one morning as I spiralled into that dark place, I typed him a fairly detailed message detailing my thoughts! I did wait until 6am before I hit send – after stewing on it further for that 3 hours. He replied fairly quickly that my running would start the following week with a 1 minute on 5 off set over parkrun. The switch was flicked and I was now happy that I could see running at the end of the tunnel! (Initially he was only giving me a week’s plan at a time so I didn’t get to far ahead of myself in the rehab process).

So where did Run The World fit in with all this? Since I started, I like to keep a rough track of my overall position in RTW. As soon as I did my injury I recorded my overall position. With no running and little walking – I watched my position slide down the charts. Once I was allowed to start to run/walk, I was able to stabilise my overall position. I knew once my physio let the reins off, my goal for Run The World would have to be to reclaim both my pre injury –

  1. a) position and 
  2. b) finish date.

Fast forward to today, as I mosey into Perth – I can say my overall RTW position is just a little better than 13 months ago, and my anticipated finish date is substantially better. (And on a side I am now running quicker than I have for years).

While there were a lot of people that helped get me back to where I am today, I want a put out a big thankyou to all those that wear their RTW shirts/caps out on the path and wave or smile as we pass, while you might never realise, but that little bit of encouragement has kept me going over my long rehab process. I really appreciate it. And thanks to those supporters in the RTW tent at the GC50 last year – were I crossed only a few minutes off my PB time the previous year.

Hope see you all out there on the pavement soon as we keep moving around our relative maps (if not, I’m already signed up for this year’s GC50 in December!).