Jethro Offemaria, 26, who has been a member of St Albans Striders since August 2016 shares his story and his running targets for 2017...
|Wearing my Striders vest with pride|
I took up running in 2007 at the age of 17 during my time at Grateley House, a specialist school for people like me with Asperger's Syndrome and other associated conditions. I took part in the Salisbury Journal Mini-Marathon and went on to finish the adults and parents' race. After the race it was inspiring to meet Sydney 2000 Olympian Katharine Merry and the then Salisbury football coach and member of the 1976 Southampton FA Cup winning team, Nick Holmes.
A year later in 2008, I ran the St Albans 10K and finished in what was then a PB of 1:07:04. I was delighted as it was the first 10K run of my life. A few months later, I did a ten miler in Welwyn Garden City but I got my only DNF as I had to stop after four miles due to glute pain.
A few weeks later, I participated in the 2008 Great South Run in aid of Marie Curie and ran my 10 mile PB of 1:56:16. Prior to the race, I even had a chance to meet Cavegirl and Mile High actress Stacey Cadman and Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe who was taking part in the elite race!
In 2009, I set myself the hard challenge of running a half marathon by entering the Great North Run. I went on to finish in 2:55:01 and raised £800 for the National Autistic Society, who do lots of good work to help people with autism like me.
|Taking part in the St Albans 10K|
Then in 2010, I got a 10km PB in the Hertford Charity 10K with a time of 01:01:59. I was delighted I was able to finish this race by running continuously without having to stop and walk. In the same year, I also took part in the St Albans Half Marathon and broke my 2009 Great North Run PB by more than 11 minutes, finishing in 2:43:59 which I was happy with.
I then had to go into hospital so before I was admitted, I ran the 2010 Great South Run in aid of the Stroke Association, in memory of my late Grandad Max who passed away from a stroke in 2009. I finished in 1:58:42.
|Finishing the Great South Run|
After leaving hospital, I wanted to start running again and do some more races for charity. I joined St Albans Striders as I wanted to lose weight, make new friends and train hard in preparation for the Great South 5K and other 10K races.
Training has been steady so far and I have set myself the goal to run the following races in 2017...
- Vitality London 10km (29 May)
- Great Newham Run (02 July)
- Supersonic 10km (07 October)
- Great South 5km Run (21 October)
In all of these races, I will raise funds for the National Autistic Society - plus race for the Striders!
If you would like to sponsor me, please visit my Just Giving page
Thanks for reading and I will do my best!