Michael Vaughan Gets Riddle Running
No pain no gain as our writer signs up for a breezy 20 miler. However, his plan for a change of diet runs to sight difficulties…
Article by Sam Clark
As Michael Vaughan and I cycled up the side of a mountain last month with Etape Suisse, idly passing the time chatting about this and that whilst gasping for air and cursing the idyllic Swiss gradient, Michael graciously suggested that on our return to England, I would be welcome to pop down to his gym. A month later, I find myself preparing for a 20 mile run in aid of The Laureus Foundation, a charity helping children around the world improve their lives through sport. How did I get here?
Most of us give bags of cash to gyms never to set foot in them again. However, when Michael Vaughan joined Born2move (soon to be renamed) he was so impressed he became a shareholder. I can see why. I don’t like gyms (I didn’t mention this to Michael as we toiled up Mount Toblerone) but the warm welcome I received from Matt Kay immediately put me at ease. Matt, a former GB Triathlete, started giving training sessions in the noble setting of Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire. Originally housed in one of the estate’s grand sandstone buildings and running boot-camps around the Duke’s deer and pheasants.
Matt outgrew the country estate and moved into the nearby market town of Bakewell. The smart new premises are next door to the Thornbridge brewery and a stone’s throw from the home of the magnificent Original Bakewell Pudding shop. This is not going to be easy!
Chatting over a glass of something green and full of vitamins, I was immediately infected by Matt’s infectious passion for life. He has created a gym with an easy, friendly atmosphere more akin to a boutique coffee shop than an iron pumping, sweat box. But Matt is very serious about health. Professional sports people train here. Footballers come here to regain match fitness after a summer of over exuberant leisure. Film and TV stars are sent by production companies to shape up the bodies they need for the next muscle bound role.
They come, Matt says, because no one knows they come. Everyone, be it Olympic athlete or pie eating writer, starts with a chat so Matt can assess their goals. Biometric tests are offered should you wish to know more of your body’s secrets. Apparently, I carry most of my weight around the middle. That said, I could have saved Matt some time and told him that without the tests…
The exercise starts with a series of basic fitness tests to make sure the body is working correctly and ready to start training towards the individual objectives. Some get through this quicker than others but it does give a feeling, sort of, of a level playing field. We are all working towards something. This may be an Olympic gold or a couple of inches off the waist but Matt and his team approach everyone with the same respect, attention and generous encouragement. You can’t just drop in and watch MTV on a running machine and no one is strutting around flashing their guns in the mirrors. Everything and everyone runs to Matt’s carefully tailored, personal plans. It’s like stepping into a healthier version of you!
Matt’s eagerness to change your life for the better doesn’t stop with a few press-ups and a star jump. He’s after your fridge too! With out a seconds hesitation, I sign straight up for the “losing-20%-body-fat-film-star” plan and drove home through the rolling Derbyshire hills with visions of other hills supporting large white letters dancing in front of my eyes.
Back home, I cheerily passed the, unread, important details of my plan to my wife. Matt’s food plan was not a diet, but a change in diet – actually what would be quite a severe change in my diet. You’d be surprised at just what is bad for you. My wife carefully read through the lists and wiped a tear of hilarity from her eye at my latest over optimistic, midlife crisis plan to prove my body was still a temple. She then flatly informed me it was out of the question. Especially as we were just about to start the school holidays and she wasn’t about to put up with an overgrown child, hungrily moping around the house. And even more so because we had a family holiday booked in Italy with my Italian In-laws, and their Italian food. Simply put, I would lose my wife quicker than I would loose any weight.
So, as Hollywood and a part in Rocky VIII was off limits I have opted to focus on a more old fashioned, sweat and pain challenge. With slightly less glamour and a bit more mud. Matt is now preparing my body to run 20 miles around Ladybower Reservoir. Home of The Dam Buster training flights. Without any hesitation, he put together an exercise plan that I can fit in around my existing life and encouraged me to eat what I can on the good list! Every little good thing is a good step closer to 20 miles.
As Michael Vaughan got me into this I thought it was only fair I repay the favour, of sorts. So I am running in aid of The Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, the great charity which Michael is an ambassador for. The Laureus Foundation works to help and support children and young people all over the world to overcome problems such as poverty, homelessness, war, disease, drug abuse, discrimination and violence. They do this by supporting and assisting a world-wide program of sports related community projects.
If you would like to show your generous support, we have created a justgiving secure sponsorship site for the run, www.justgiving.com/Samuel-Clark-Riddle/
The Laureus Sport For Good Foundation: www.laureus.com