How running changed my life

Brendon Rendall.jpeg

#Run1000Miles ambassador Brendan Rendall shows why anyone should consider the challenge in 2018 - no matter what your background

I left school with two GCSEs, failed my driving test and theory test twice, and failed my maths again at 28. I have a battle with my weight and I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. I felt I wasn't good at anything.

However, running has given my life so much positivity, I started running in 2006 after a drunken bet to run a half-marathon. With no running experience, I had three months to prepare for the Wilmslow Half-marathon. I was 28 then and had spent 10 years partying, living unhealthily and battled with weight. I had a 42in waist at my biggest. I really was the least active person. 

Three stone lighter and three months on, I completed my first half-marathon in 1 hour 24 minutes. This was the start of an incredible 10 years of adventures, self-discovery and a healthier lifestyle. Running had given me a focus and a discipline that my life had been missing. 

Over the next two years I went on to race distances between 10km and 20 miles, running my second 10k in 37:31. 

It was a trip to Malawi in 2008, however, that transformed and inspired me even more. Witnessing extreme poverty was extremely emotional and I decided that I could use my running to raise money for FOMO (Friends of Mulanje Orphans), an orphan care programme that supports 3500 orphans. 

In 2016 I became the first person to run the length of Malawi, completing 708 miles in 27 days. Raising £35,354, it funded the art and science block for FOMO school. This run threw everything at me - heat, wild animals, sickness and injury - but the determination to succeed pulled me through. On my return to the UK, I ran from John O'Groats to Land's End, raising another £5000. 

This has given me the confidence and drive to prepare for my next FOMO fund-raising challenge in June - to run coast to coast in Africa - 4000km from Namibia to Mozambique. 

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed being a Trail Running #Run1000Miles ambassador. Following everyone's journey was extremely inspiring and the Facebook group was full of inspiration.

I have had a tough year. I battled with weight again, gaining three stone through comfort-eating. It was a struggle to get fit for the Ultra Great Britain 200 Mile race in August but I would manage to complete it in 80hrs. 

This next year will be exciting and I'm honoured to be returning as an ambassador.