Guest Blog- Ben Blowes

I am fortunate to know some pretty spectacular (and quite honestly crazy) people! I can`t actually remember when I first met Ben, he`s been around on the running circuit since I joined Newmarket Joggers but I can definitely remember the first (and only) time I saw him in a race. It was the Cambridge Half Marathon and he came casually jogging past with a  tumble dryer attached to his back……..first thought…….I am not being beaten by a man carrying a tumble dryer even if he is a running machine!! Followed by awe at what he was trying to achieve. I asked Ben to write a guest blog not only because he has achieved some simply flabbergasting goals but because I admire and respect his attitude towards challenges. If you are local to me head over to the Vivo Fitness website, I can`t recommend him enough, he has helped so many people realise their goals whether it has been a first 10K or first marathon. If I could afford it I would 100% be a member.

What was your first challenge and how did it come about?

My first sporting challenge was training for and competing in an amateur boxing contest, way back in 1991. I hadn’t done much in the way of sports at school and decided at 18 that I wanted to box. It took 18 months to prepare for that contest, from the day I walked into the boxing club to the day of the bout.

What’s been some of your favorite challenges to date?

One my favorite challenges has to be running a marathon with a tumble dryer strapped to my back and getting my picture in the Guinness book of records. Although it was a tough day and a brutal experience, the exposure and support I received for it was staggering. I never realised at the time that there would be so much interest in the story. I was featured on local news stories, radio stations, TV programs etc. and this was before I’d even ran the race. There was a real sense of excitement and a big buzz building before the race and it just went crazy after I had completed it and still is really.

Applying for and earning a place on the BBC2 TV program SPECIAL FORCES: ULTIMATE HELL WEEK was also one of best experiences of my life and I’ll never forget my time in South Africa filming that. I’ve completed over 30 marathons and ran 9 of those under 3 hours and those races are all special to me.

I also recently broke a few 24hr world records on the Concept2 indoor Ski-Erg machine (with a broken foot) and again, this was a very positive experience.

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What’s been the most challenging and why?

Running the South Downs 100 mile race. This was a tough, tough day. 100 miles is a long way to drive, let alone run. The training for this event was arduous also and I was out running for 8/9 hours most Sundays in preparation. The race itself went pretty well and I honestly felt good for the first 70 miles or so. The last 30 odd miles were physically the toughest moments of my life. It was nighttime, I’d been running for 15 hours already and I went to some dark places in my mind that night. Thankfully I had a great crew with me who are experienced runners and they get you through this and also navigate for you. You just focus on putting one foot in front of another. I don’t think I’ve ever been in as much pain as I was in that night and it’s also why I have the upmost respect for anyone who completes a 100 mile race.

How have you stayed motivated for some of the harder challenges?

If I say I’m going to do something then I’m going to do everything in my power to either see it through, or try my hardest to get as far as a I can in that challenge. The saying ‘hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard’ really resonates with me. I am nothing special, I don’t have a superior genetic makeup and I didn’t take up sport until almost 20 years old. But I’m prepared to put the hours into training to get the results I want. We are only here once and I believe everyone can achieve far more than they give themselves credit for. For most people they’ll never know and this is my message to anyone reading this-what do you want written in your obituary? You can’t change it when you’re gone but you can change it today. Just start small and who knows what you can achieve. You just have to start.

What made you ditch roofing and set up Vivo?

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible coaches and athletes over the last 30 years or so and I like to think I’ve learnt a little from each one. I’ve coached at the weekends and evenings for the last 15 years or so and around 18 months ago we made the decision to launch Vivo. Since our launch in January this year our growth has been remarkable and our numbers are growing weekly. We are huge believers in movement standards and quality over quantity. We want our members to move efficiently and safely, not just at Vivo but in their everyday lives and some of the results we have seen in 10 months are truly remarkable. I have never been so busy in my life but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be doing what I’m doing. I wake up every morning (at 04:10) with passion to get out and coach my clients.

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What advice would you give to me for my challenge next year?

Prioritise your time. I hear too many times that people haven’t got time to do this or that but if this challenge means anything to you then you make time. This may mean going to bed early to enable you to get up early to get your training in. Once you make this a priority then it all falls into place. Keep in mind why you want to do this, how you’ll be able to proudly tell Jude how you did it and didn’t give up and be the example you want your kids to be. Eat train sleep repeat. Smash it.

Karen Lodge