Hi, I’m Simon Parkinson and I’m a runner, I don’t jog, I run! and trust me there is a vast difference. I didn’t start off a runner, or a jogger for that matter, I was rather more lazy and preferred to enjoy the good life, or so I thought. I did all the normal sport at school, was pretty good at swimming and water polo, athletics was not my favourite and running cross-country I actually hated. In my late teens and early 20s I found the art of partying, staying up late, doing absolutely no exercise whatsoever a perfect way to live life. Of course it was cool to smoke, so I threw in 20 a day for good measure, and continued to concentrate on my career, love life, and ever expanding waistline. Unfortunately, I was to find out only later in life that I am one of those type of guys who ends up being three of four meals ahead and five or six xxxxxx behind. Now I never got to the proportions of our dear Brad Brown, but 96 KG’s and a height of 1.8 m is not exactly what Discovery is looking for in the perfect client.
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My career in the radio had begun and I was waking up at 4 AM Monday to Friday to present the National breakfast on a radio station called 3FM in Zimbabwe. I was always surprised when the various triathletes came in for interviews on the odd occasion and complain about the smoke-filled studio which had no Windows & nine times out of 10 broken air-conditioner. I moved to South Africa in 1999 and joined 94.7 Highveld Stereo, the world was changing, smoking in studios was not allowed for a start, but my life was also changing. My wife Caren was pregnant with our first child, and she was going through the stage where she could smell a cigarette from a couple of miles away, clearly this was becoming a problem for us, so I gave up! I’d wanted to give up anyway, but of course that didn’t help the weight – I was on the up and I had to do something about it. In short it wasn’t running, I went to Weight Watchers lost 12 KG’s in five months and then felt that maybe I should run in order to keep the weight off.
So I gave up one addiction and found another one! I wasn’t great runner, but I did enjoy the social and still do enjoy the social, in fact the best part of the run is afterwards having a beer with your mates on a school field at 8 AM. My first ever 21km was the 2006 Dischem in Bedfordview Johannesburg, and since then I’ve done numerous 21’s, 6 Two Ocean Ultra marathons and Three Comrades, I never dreamt of doing all of this and am still shocked when I think about it. I have made loads of mates, I’ve solved a million things in my head on training runs, sometimes by myself, other times not, but I’ve had a balance in life. The best part is I’ve never had to go on diet, I maintain my weight, and I live a relatively healthy lifestyle – yes the parties still creep in, but balance is the key. Running is part of my life and it can be part of yours to.