|Photo by Kangsoon Park|
He also told me he was not a runner; he had struggled to cover 9K the other day. "Anyway I love taking photos of people running and the determination of the runners is very inspiring, especially the ones who run the full marathon."
I really appreciated his effort and, hoping to encourage him in his own running, sent him an email and a copy of my book A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km (you can read the full emails here.)
He responded a couple of days later saying he had just registered for his first running race ever, a 10K the following month. I asked him to keep me posted.
Six weeks later, on June 17, he emailed me:
As I told you earlier and thanks to you, I ran my first 10K race last Friday. It was a bit weird to run in the evening (especially after a rather long week at work); I was a bit worried though I had run 11k in the previous weekend to earn some confidence.
The run was great and surprisingly I made it in 51 minutes! I managed to keep my pace steady and didn't feel exhausted after the run. Thank you very much for the inspiration!
I have no plans for [races] any time soon but I set my goal to run a half next year.
A fantastic result indeed, and I was thrilled for him. Just recently, I received another email from him, with even more exciting news:
As today is my 43rd birthday, I was thinking of the past year of my life and realized that running was the most exciting achievement.
Thanks to you, I started to run and joined races.
This summer I ran another 10k -- with a bit over 47 minutes but my biggest achievement came at the end of last month [September] in Surrey. I did my first half marathon (with a proud speed of 1 hour 43 minutes 27 seconds) and most of all I enjoyed the run.
I am going to sign up for two half-marathon races next year and see how it goes.
Anyway thank you very much for inspiring me to run.
Congratulations Kangsoon -- a 1:43 half marathon is an accomplishment every runner would be very proud of, and to run that in your first one is even more impressive!
I am not interested in trying to convince people who do not want to run that they should; but when someone does show an interest and appears to be looking for a little encouragement, it never ceases to amaze me what novice runners (even those who would not yet dare to call themselves a runner) find they can do.
You are inspiring Kangsoon, and I wish you an even more exciting 2013 season.