An Open Letter

For every gold post box, there are a thousand more like this.

For every gold post box commemorating Olympic triumph, there are a thousand more like this one - tired, flaky paint, with a weed growing up the side. This is the one nearest my house, and although I’ll never be responsible for having it painted gold, I can remember a time when I probably couldn’t have run to it, and more tellingly, couldn’t imagine wanting to.

The sporting achievements this summer are channelled into a bold call – to inspire a generation. It works for me. I remember watching Seoul 1988 as a 12-year-old boy, and writing down each of the world records, and then writing down my own goals right next to them. There’s something beautifully simple about running to the best of your ability, and about the dedication involved, that makes it such a thrilling mistress.

Now I’m trying to play my part – to encourage you all to be courageous, and to see what you can achieve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the front of the field, or still sitting on your sofa. It’s time to see what you can do. Like most of you, I’m never going to win a gold medal, but my local post box will forever be there to remind me that it’s down to me to reach my full potential.

Some of you may think that the post box is an out-dated idea, that it’s time to let old technology pass into the past – and that’s how you may feel about your running too. But to paraphrase Sir Ludwig Guttmann, founder of the Paralympic Games: “Whilst you are waiting for the Good Lord to take you, why don’t you see what you can do?”.

And if you don’t need inspiration yourself, think about who you can give it to. My father took up running at the age of 60 - fed up perhaps of hearing me talk about how much fun I was having. He used the benches at the local lake, run-walking from one to the next until one day he was doing laps.

So why don’t you start by taking a run out to your local post box – and better still, take someone with you. And when they can run there, help them find the next one. You may never change the appearance of that post box – but you may change yourself in the process.

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  • I can remember I used to run to one tree and then walk gradually increasing the distance and I well remember the joy I felt when I ran 2 whole miles without stopping I was elated! Now I can run 26.2 and I owe a lot of thanks to fellow fetchies for helping me achieve my goals. Thanks Guys! :-)
  • My very first run was 1 mile then I had to sit down on a step to get my breath back..looked down the road and wondered where it would take meIve never stopped wondering....16 years on!!!: )
  • amazing inspirational story
  • Love this Fetch brilliant article :)
  • 20 seconds was all i could manage in 2002

    I actually take photos of postboxes litterbins and phone boxes when out running
  • I saw lots of older and fatter people than me running the london marathon and thought "If they can do it so can I"
    When i started I could only run for 30sec and made sure it was done in the DARK so no one would see me. With the help of this site and the great people who I know through here I can now call myself a runner and be proud :-)
  • FB-ed it nice opening article.
  • Like the idea post box sprints.... or LSRs..... you chose...
  • Great article
  • I few years back I could barely run for 30 seconds! One of my goals this year was to run a 5k without stopping - I achieved it at parkrun two weeks ago and again yesterday on the second half of a 10k run I did just for fun! ......... next goal 10k non-stop! :)
  • Great article - post boxes are pretty inspirational but not as inspirational as the folk of Fetch :-)
  • A good read now shared on FB.
  • Great read mate!! Now shared on twitter :)
  • Great stuff - have shared on FB and will put a link on club website :-)
  • what have people done on the top of that post box
  • Simply. A wonderful article.
  • yup how I started and how my Grandson is starting too. :):)
  • Shared a very good article!
  • Great artical Fetch I may yet take up running again never say never :-)
  • I dragged my Mum round Beachy Head marathon for her 50th birthday. She had never run a race before and she completed quite easily with in the 6hr cut off.
  • My first run was a 1 mile fun-run with my son at the local park. I was exhilarated afterwards just to finish. The next day I could hardly walk downstairs. The same day as the fun run there was a 10k the Hilly challenge!! I looked at all the people running and never thought I could run it. The next year just by making each run a little bit longer I ran the 10k Hilly challenge too!

    Inspirational article Fetch :)
  • Great article...I used a friend as a guinea pig for running training several years ago and she is still running!:):)
  • Love this story very inspirational amazing what we can do when we put our legs to it miles do really turn into smiles every time I run :-)
  • love this too when i 1st started running i walked for a minute and run for a minute and repeated it and often had tears in eyes in pain BUT it paid off in the end well in my eyes anyhoo
  • The beauty and simplicity is lost on so many. They compare our humble efforts with the elite then ask why do it you wont win They then shuffle off and play football against another pub side not Barca. There is so much to our sport different focuses through the year and year on year depending on improvement or aging. We dont have a specific close season just a different competition or training mind set. Of course the real simplicity is just doing it for the sake of a run. I could go on :)
  • Shared happily.
  • Lovely
  • Shared by Postie Pete
  • Happy to have shared on FB.
  • My first run was a long a 1/2 mile path.We would run to the first lampost then stop then go back then run to the second lampost and so on until we were doing the length of the path.Eventually we would do the full path both ways and then the rest is history lol:)
  • Posted this article on my club forum
  • shared on fb and linkedIn - now to work out how to get it on my clubs website...
  • This is spot on my post box is 3 miles from my house I remember the first time i ran to it after weeks of run/walk run/walk. It stood proud to welcome me it is now a big part of my weekly training and never fails me come rain hail snow and even in the sunshine. It welcomes me back from my summer holidays or the rest periods after marathons or injury. It sits on the top road just outside Green Island it will never have to glory of being painted gold but to me it's my post box and I love it the way it is RED.
  • FB'd ..... nice article
  • Hardly done any mileage for months and months due to pressure at work. Motivation disappeared. Jess and Mo have motivated me to get up and have a go. Soon be 60 and age group wins to aim for! Thanks.
  • If you're a Fetchpoint player you can now put post boxes on your map:
  • Brilliant article
  • great to my post box now
  • postbox to postbox all mapped together we can link up everybody in a giant relay :-)
  • I started when I was 61 with the 'couch potato to 5k' plan got hooked and am now training for my fourth marathon passing the gold postbox dedicated to Ben Ainslie on my usual route. The next generation is not the only one to be inspired by our Olympic successes oldies like me have been moved to tears too. 'If I can ...' - you know the rest but it's true of me and thousands like me.
  • great article - going to go for a post box run today! shared on FB. Yeah Fetch! :)
  • My nearest post box is actually gold - thanks to Greg Rutherford
  • Genius. Again.
  • :-)
  • Beautifully put. I was planning to 'Well-up' again until the Paralympics started but I came close to a rehearsal.
  • Oh forgot to say. Back in 2005 I went into the office one day excited because I had managed 2 miles on a treadmill the previous day in 14 minutes. Both a distance and a speed record at the time.
  • I love you. And a quarter.
  • Love it. Also love how runners are never happy just getting to the first postbox - there's always another to aim for!
  • Great Fetch brilliant note the Government should take it up and challenge the nation to get fit and be able to run to their nearest post box. As mail decreases taken over by the electronic age they can become the new runners markers as we use them to collect Fetcpoints!!
  • Great Fetch brilliant note the Government should take it up and challenge the nation to get fit and be able to run to their nearest post box. As mail decreases taken over by the electronic age they can become the new runners markers as we use them to collect Fetcpoints!!
  • Love the article Fetch cheers. We've run to both of Mo's gold postboxes - and done a Mo-Bot in hommage when we got there. Just seen the postboxes on Fetchpoint it's going to be fun adding them. Can we have some that are gold
  • Really beautifully put. Getting others into running has been as big a thrill as taking it up myself two years ago. Watching others make the same little stepwise discoveries of a capability they never knew they had is a privilige to share. Likewise putting my trust in others bolder and more experienced than I am has been wonderful and a great way to meet some very special folk.
  • Trying commas.
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