Run Robla Run!

I am writing this article just after the Christmas break. We had the honour of hosting Annelise’s parents and while on a Christmas day walk, my mother in law made the observation that I was looking particularly “well”. Knowing her as I do, she was not referring to the fact that my electrolyte or mineral levels were in perfect harmony but more that I had been experiencing too much of the “bon viveur” lifestyle in recent weeks. It was hard to deny that the old waistline had expanded, so when she had left (after a celebratory glass of port and some cheese), I resolved to try and do something about it.

The next day I hit the running machine. I’ll be honest and say I have never enjoyed running for the pure purpose of exercise. I know there are many, many people who will not understand my point of view, but I am like a dog – give me a ball to chase and I’ll run around after it not thinking about the fact that I am being healthy, getting fitter and burning calories – it’s all incidental! This is not the case with a running machine. For me, the treadmill is the epitome of my dislike of running – you don’t see anything, you don’t go anywhere, you just count every tiresome minute and every gruelling kilometre wondering how long to can endure it for. However, as with all exercise, at least you have the solace of knowing that you have achieved something and you have a general feeling of satisfaction having completed your personal challenge.

 In my case having got my heart rate up to 500 and with my lungs burning and my legs aching I picked myself up off the floor where I had been ejected by the stupid machine, massaged the rubber burn on my chin and the sweat from my eyes and surveyed the display to see how many mars bars I could now eat for the rest of the day. Apparently, I had burned 126 calories…. 126 calories – that’s only half a mars bar! If I wasn’t so dehydrated, I think I would have cried…

 What this emphasis on exercise has bought into focus for me is the achievements of a veterinary  friend of mine who I went to the Royal Veterinary College with. His name is Rob Pope and he was always a keen runner back in the day. He has completed several London Marathons, the New York Marathon and even won the Australian marathon in 2015. There’s no denying he has a good running pedigree. However, in the past 15 months or so, he has been embarking on a challenge which makes a marathon quite literally look like a walk in the park. In September 2016 he decided to become a real life “Forrest Gump” and run across America. This sounds like a feat in itself, however, in the film, Gump crossed America 5 times…. Currently Rob has just completed is fourth Crossing of the continent and has run over 13,000 miles. He averages around 40miles per day and is aiming to complete the 5th crossing before his first child is born in March.

 Rob has taken on the challenge in order to raise money for 2 very worthwhile charities – WWF and Peace Direct. He is doing well, but his achievements have not received anywhere near as much of the recognition that they deserve which is why I thought I would be good to give him some publicity! If you would like to support Rob, then you can help by “liking” his facebook page and spreading the word. If he can get to 10,000 likes then he will receive much more attention from major sponsors. He’s not far off, so every “like” helps. Of course, he would also be grateful for any donations to the two charities as well.

 Rob’s facebook page is You can also visit his website if you are not on facebook -

 Phew, writing that was tiring work – think I need a glass of wine and a piece of cake to revive myself!