Twelve years ago I travelled to Durham for the National Cross County Championships with my dear friend Sam Haughian. At that time Sam was new to the senior ranks, having been an outstanding junior. Unfortunately I was injured again and was unable to race but watched as Sam surprised many with a fine podium place. My best years as a runner were a few years earlier in the mid nighties and Sam had never witnessed me running well, I vowed that day to get back to top form so he could see me at my best. He went on to win the title the following year, and perform amazingly at the world cross, Commonwealth games and European track championships. Sadly Sam died in 2004, he was just 24.
In a chilly park just north of Bradford city centre last Saturday I gazed out over the surrounding area, I had wandered a few hundred yards away from the busy cyclocross event, I needed a brief chat with Sam. After the frenzy of the previous hour, it was quiet and peaceful. I had just made the podium at the national veteran championships, I needed to tell him, ''there you go mate, I can be good, hope you're proud of me". Some say that motivation and drive can only come from within, I think it comes from the loved ones who support you and those special friends you meet along the way.