When Jason Albrecht joined us in 2020 we knew he was a keen athlete but we’d no idea the extent of his achievements, he shares some of his personal milestones here.

I’d started running back in 2016 although I’d describe myself as a bit of a ‘binge runner’ back then, upping the training for the odd charity race but that’s it.

2019 was the year it got serious. I had the chance to take part in the London Marathon on behalf of the club I belonged to. This gave me a definite goal and I started to take a more structured approach to training, increasing my weekly milage in preparation as well as entering other events.

One of the really useful training strategies was to be a pacer for the York and Leeds 10k events. I paced the 55 minute time, which is helpful to runners who are pushing their own personal best times and want to complete in under an hour. I loved these sessions, not just for the training it afforded me but for motivating people with their own challenges and hearing their own reasons for taking part.

In March 2020 Covid meant that I was furloughed and, while it also meant disruption to planned races, including the London Marathon, it gave me the opportunity to get some really serious training in.

The London Marathon was delayed a couple of times, finally being rearranged for October 2021 and by then I had other challenges in my sights.

After finally completing the London Marathon in 3 hours, 53 minutes and raising some cash for Prostrate Cancer, I decided to push on and I took part in the Manchester Marathon, just a week after, finishing in 4 hours, 22 minutes.

Considered to be one of the toughest races, the Wooler marathon is a 29 mile trail over rough terrain and the day that took place we had 50mph winds so I was glad to finish in 6 hours, 23 minutes and end 2021 on a high.

This sense of achievement, in terms of personal fitness and raising funds made me want to raise the bar so I signed up for a Half Iron Man. I’d applied to do this in November 2020, due to a lot of Marathons being cancelled but ended up completing it in June 2021.

The preparation for a Half Iron Man is on another level! It involves cycling and swimming so the training now includes plenty of both disciplines. So far, I’ve taken part in the Leeds Go Tri at Roundhay park: a ‘toe in the water’ so to speak, as I’m pretty new to cycling and open water swimming.

I’ve also started cycling regularly with friend who got me involved in a coast to coast cycle between  Whitehaven and Robin Hoods bay on behalf of the Lewy Body Society – it’s always an added bonus to raise funds as well as getting experience. It took 2 days and we covered the 96 miles of day one’s difficult route in 8 hours, 37 minutes, which included a climb of 8980ft. On day 2 we had a less challenging climb of 4173ft and completed the 69 miles in 5 hours, 15 mins, raising £2,510 for the charity.

The Half Iron Man event itself was a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and 13.1 mile run. It was a great day and I’m please to say that I finished in a credible 6 hours, 34 minutes and raised £1,022 for Cancer Research.

An event that was a bit more personal for me was the Great North Run. I did this in aid of Pancreatic Cancer and in honour of a legendary runner, Terry Midgley who died of the disease. He holds 3 world records for running the London in fancy dress as: a life guard (2.33 hrs); a pan-carrying chef (3.22hrs) and a rugby player, complete with ball (3.20hrs). He’s an inspiration and with his achievements in mind, my finishing time was 1 hour, 39 minutes and donated £610, raised from my generous sponsors.

I’m hoping to take part in many more events in 2022 and raise more cash for charities, including Baile Home’s partner, Cycle Sheffield. It’s great to be part of an organisation that has so many like minded colleagues who are supportive and always ready to cheer each other on. Bring on the 2022 challenges!