In July 1958, having just reached the age of 7, I ran in Selkirk Schools Sports which was held as part of the Common Riding celebrations. Little did I know, when I was sprinting towards the finish line, that when reaching 70, I would be the owner of a Guide Dog, Spencer, and would be a aiming to run for Guide Dogs, in a Virtual London Marathon.
Although my mother was a Londoner, London seemed very far away and I could not have imagined living anywhere but Selkirk! I did not do very well in primary school but I excelled in running. At secondary school, I enjoyed rugby (in the second row) and cross-country running, up the hills and down again through wet, muddy paths and soggy fields.
When I was in the third year of secondary school, my younger brother was in his first year for our first cross- country run together. Thinking that I must be a better runner than he was, I suggested that I should run ahead and he should go at his own pace. At the end of the run, one of our teachers said “shame on you David, you let your younger brother beat you”. How could that have happened I asked myself and why did he not say hello when passing? Maybe, I was looking the other way!
The next photo shows me in one of the Selkirk scout troupes when I enjoyed camping and taking part in the scouts County flag competition, which included walking and running around in the hillside as part of a team. Although I appear to be cooking, my ability to cook never improved ha, ha!
Later in 1981 when I was working in a children’s centre in Dumfries, Scotland, I felt that I needed to keep myself fit for running so that I could keep up with the teenagers in my care. I could not do that now – being 40 years later! The running challenge currently feels immense but it is worth doing my best to benefit others experiencing visual impairment!