Allister Macgregor - New York Marathon 2011

I was diagnosed with a very rare malignant tumour of the throat  a couple of years back and so doctors predicted the worst. When I got the news, as a person in a position of leadership and responsibility, I knew I had to do the right thing by my people; it was not all about me, not about self-pity, so I bought a bottle of bourbon and went down to the beach went into the sand hills and got absolutely mothered and eventually fell asleep. Nobody could find me and they knew I was getting the news, good or bad, that day; even worse it was a beautiful sunny day and I had my shorts in the car so I took off my business suit and left it in the back seat in the car parked beside the beach. When they found my car, but couldn’t find me, they immediately thought I’d done a Reginald Perrin... Anyway I finally got back to the house at 1.00 am and stayed in bed for two days not talking to anybody as I was going to die then two of my management team, both woman, gave me a round up and told me to get back on the horse as they needed me. I told them I couldn’t as I was going to die. I asked them what happened to compassion and sympathy. They said that only lasted for a maximum of two days and this was now day three and they were over it and it was back to being all about them. So I did that got myself out of bed and my self-pity and got back on the horse and got back into my glass half full mode and have been ever since.

When I was lying in the hospital bed after my operation, still with the risk of dying, but in glass full mode, my daughters Libby and Alice bought me your first book to read as I couldn’t talk (which didn't worry them as they are particularly good at it). I started reading your book, couldn’t put it down, and it completely inspired me and I’m sure helped me recover! I thought if I ever get out of here one day I will run the New York City Marathon just like Kerre did; if she can by god maybe, just maybe, I can – mind you I struggled to run down to the corner shop at that stage. Anyway to cut a long story short after getting the worst possible news every news I got from then on was the best possible news and with great doctors the days of ill health are well gone and I am completely cleared; the only downside is I now can’t sing; mind you I couldn’t sing before.  So I did survive and true to my word, thanks to you, I ran the New York City Marathon last year with some friends. I cried when I crossed the finish line as you can imagine I had gone from ‘I’m going to die’ to ‘f*%$&&! I have just run the New York City Marathon’ in a short space of time and not bad at 4:48 for an old bugger and first timer.  Then I came back and did a completely stupid male bulletproof thing (we never learn) straight after the marathon and run a very slow Kepler Challenge – 62 km of hell in Te Anau with a bloody great mountain in the middle - and I got a famous last of those who finished – but I didn’t care as it was just a wee bit too soon after the marathon and I finished, which is what any running is about – you must finish (bugger the time) and got my photo in the paper as last man standing. Full of confidence I ran the Gold Coast marathon this July and…… completely crashed! A guy with a large heavy musical instrument strapped around his waist dressed as a cow passed me at the 35 km mark and that hurt. I finished demoralised a long way behind the heavy musical instrument dressed as a cow guy. Not a good look! even worse my friends that were there supporting me (two woman) when I crossed the finish line, absolutely shagged, as Richie would say, ran up to me and gave me a bollocking ‘I can’t believe you wore that colour top they said  - you look pale and your grey top doesn’t suit that - your outfit is pathetic!’ Right.

So I came home and decided to run the New York City Marathon again as I had to rid myself of that nightmare, which was the heavy musical instrument dressed as a cow guy, but would need some help. I knew now to wear better colours to look good but I needed much more and I knew about Gaz and GetRunning from reading your book but I thought he was trainer to the stars and I was just a plonker so I never contacted him. I went into Les Mills and asked if they had any trainers that knew anything about running and they referred me to this bloke who turned out to be Gaz. Gaz basically taught me to do the opposite of everything I was doing and he made me run in a training group which I knew I would hate – only it’s been the opposite. I have bonded with my group and now we can’t train without each other. Gaz and GetRunning have been a revelation and we have become new best friends. With my business background I can help him a wee bit and he will always helps me a lot.


So it was all down to you and your bloody book. From time to time things come into one’s life for a reason; your book and Gaz were two of those things for which I will be forever grateful. So I’m about to board the plane to go to New York and run the New York City Marathon again this Sunday only I’m much lighter and fitter thanks to Gaz than I was last time. However I know when I get to the 35 km mark I will hate you both - intensely. You will be on my most horrible persons list. But by the time I do the last 7 km and I cross the finish line you will again be miraculously elevated to the best people ever list. I will have the support of my daughter one flying in from London and the other from LA with her partner but what they call support means them visiting all the great NY pubs around the course and tracking me by GPS on their iPhones. When they know I’m getting near they rush out and push through the huge crowds and I get a faint ‘go Dad’ and then they rush off to the next pub and settle in to again wait my arrival and Wisk out for a 30 sec ‘go Dad!

Allister Macgregor