People have often asked me: How did the stubborn old Scotsman get to meet the crazy old Englishman?
Well, if at that split second in time, somewhere along the route of the 2019 London Marathon, a fellow runner hadn’t shouted across to me, “hey, you talk a lot – ever fancied being a guide runner”, then I guess this crazy old Englishman would never have got to know the stubborn old Scotsman! The amazing David Edwards.
Three days after the London Marathon (and I had started to get feelings back in my muscles again), I thought about that moment on the course and the whole guide running thing. I called The Dorset Blind Association and they informed me that a visually impaired runner called David Edwards was thinking about giving up the sport because he needed to find a regular guide at parkruns – would I like to meet him, he only lives just a mile from you? Fate or timing?
So David, Spencer (his guide dog), Moira from DBA and I met for a coffee in the Castle Point Costa Coffee and that was that. We started running as a pair that very next weekend and apart from a gap for Covid, have run regularly together ever since. We were of course running together on that fateful October 9th, 2022 day, a day that neither I nor my good friend and fellow guide runner, John Baker, are ever likely to forget.
I should not have been competing in the Run Bournemouth 10k that day. I had been working out of the country and as David and I were in training for the Wimborne 10 mile Road Race on November 20th, I thought it would be good for him to run in an organised event so I asked John Baker to guide him. I felt good that weekend and decided quite late on to join them both in the race and to run together. I had previously briefed John to keep to our hoped for 10 mile completion pace. Was it timing or fate that put all three of us on Bournemouth Pier at 10.10 that Sunday morning? We were just a few hundred yards from the finish when our partnership came to such a tragic end.
Tomorrow we say our final farewell to David Edwards, the braveheart Scotsman and cherished friend. You were a true inspiration David and I am going to miss you mate. Your legacy is already cemented in the hearts and minds of so many people and rest assured we will continue to support everything that was important to you. Every time I put on a running vest, lace a trainer or guide a visually impaired runner, you will be with me for sure.
Safe journey my friend – make plenty of PBs at parkruns on the other side – and do not worry – I will not get anywhere near your time of 26.40 – not in this lifetime anyway!