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Running on Gratitude - Michael Harper

Camino has gone on an extraordinary journey with Michael these past six months.

Michael and Amanda have been friends for a few years as we have both been crewing at Spartathlon in Greece.

Not for the first time, we have witnessed the glint in the eye when someone is inspired by what they see their runner achieve and pose the obvious question as to whether they could follow in their runners 'footsteps'.

Over the past few years Michael has been stepping up his running in small increments but now he was looking at going 'all in' with a place in the 145 Mile Grand Union Canal Race (held 27/28th May 2023).

Michael completed both the impressive Peddars Ultra in January and Camino's Lea Valley 50KM in March as lead up events to GUCR. Michael has one of the busiest work roles of anyone we coach and his dedication to getting a strong platform of miles in was legendary. We love that through their company Avani Solutions Michael and Amanda have been raising funds for the 'Only a Pavement Away' charity as well as championing the journey through a 'Run Grateful' lens.

We are mightily impressed with Michael and with Endure 24 lined up and crewing Stevie Gordon back in Spartathlon this journey is only warming up x Thank you for sharing your GUCR race thoughts and the 'whys' and 'power of gratitude.

"I am going to start my race report with a few pictures that paint the picture of a race that focussed on People and Gratitude.

I set off at 6am from Little Venice London with the aim of running the 145 miles to Gas St Birmingham.

And we were and still will be raising awareness for people like Barry, though Only A Pavement Away. Our charity partner for 2023.

First half Marathon I felt strong and was about 20 mins up of GOAL pace, eating well and drinking well.

We were being efficient and on track.

Coming into CP2 was about the same, so the pace was being maintained and I felt good. The wobbles started to come between CP2 and CP3 and I had lost time, so much so that I had to push on to beat the cut off. Prior to this I had taken a tumble and hurt my right rib (think I fell on a root or something) and this was hampering my breathing which in turn stopped me in my tracks in terms of steady pace and alot of time was lost. I had a strong conversation with the crew and we put a plan in place and we made the cut off.

But this along with the heat of the day and lack of drinking and eating because I was focussed on my goal depleted me and came into CP3 pretty knackered. So basically CP3 to CP4 was me feeling pretty sorry for myself and focussing on all the wrong things, but somehow kept it steady enough to make CP4. at 20:54 (6 mins before cut off) I sat in the chair and declared that I am DONE.

And I really felt I was. I really was. I was.

Amanda looked at me and said. Is this how you want the story to end. Is this the story you want to tell every one that has supported you. So, I got up and went back out. Went back out for another marathon. Through CP5 and stomped, It was pretty ugly but 24:27 hrs 85.37 miles in and I really was done. We had crunched the numbers and there was no way I would make CP6 so we decided to retire.

I didn't really get too emotional (as I thought I would) until I saw the support that came over our WhatsApp group and on the course.

On reflection it hit me just how this group of incredible human beings managed to coexist for a warm weekend in May to support a bunch of people just trying to do the very best they could.

This is something that will stay with me for some time.

If I am truly grateful to someone, someone who isn't just something - she is everything."

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