Last month, Sailors’ Society trustee, Jon Holloway, started training for the 2018 London Marathon. Jon is taking part in the event in aid of Sailors’ Society and in his latest blog, talks about his personal connection with the charity.
In June 1993, the British Trent was hit by a containership, which resulted in the total loss of the vessel and the deaths of the nine British and Sierra Leonean officers and crew.
I was fortunate enough to not be onboard, but a great shipmate and friend of mine died in disaster; he was trying to reinstate the emergency fire pump when he was overcome by smoke and forced to jump into the sea where he perished.
The British and International Sailors’ Society (as Sailors’ Society was then known), provided direct support to the families and friends of those who perished; making a real difference to their lives and helping them to come to terms with their grief.
Memories like those stick with you and I am proud to say I have been a supporter of the charity’s work for nearly a quarter of a century.
Returning to my London Marathon challenge, events fundraiser Sophie Bridge emailed me a reminder of an earlier conversation we’d had about me getting involved and attached the sign up link, which I dutifully completed.
When the reality of what I had signed up for hit home it took a few days for the initially surge of excitement to morph into abject fear.
It was time to take stock and put some thought into the task ahead of me.
I’m not what you call traditionally fit, I’ve spent a good few years pretending that a hard life in the engine room provided me with an underlying strength that would see me through into my dotage.
Medical examinations a couple of years ago suggested things were heading in the wrong directions. A stern word from the doctor, coupled with the realisation that most high street stores no longer catered for my fashion needs gave me the hard nudge to pay attention and do something about it.
The idea of running a marathon has always been skulking in the background but I had learned the hard way that training did not come naturally to me.
I had previously struggled my way around the Richmond half-marathon with no real clue of what I was doing. Painfully, I paid for it, which resulted in a much diminished desire to ever run again.
Thankfully, a couple of good friends shook me up and dragged me back out into the park.
Then came my breakthrough, something I genuinely enjoyed and could get to grips with, Obstacle Course Races, commonly know as OCRs.
In next month's blog, read how Jon has taken on numerous OCRs and pushed his physical, mental and emotional boundaries to their limits.
Jon Holloway is Executive Director at L&R Midland (UK) Ltd. He was an Engineer Cadet with BP Shipping, sailing with BP up to the rank of Chief Engineer. Jon came ashore in 2001 and has worked in various shipping roles for BP Shipping, INTERTANKO and BG Group before taking on his current position. He has been an Ambassador for Sailors’ Society since 2007 and became a Trustee of the Society in 2014. He is fundraising on behalf of Sailors’ Society.