RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Beginning of (another) Great Adventure…

Life is an adventure.

I believe this quite firmly.  I think that we can either get on with life or it can just fly past us.

I didn’t always think this way. Once I was quite happy to potter on and let life happen around me.  It wasn’t an adventure, it was a meander. A gentle sway through the world.

And this is ok.  If that is you, then fine! That is what you want – good for you.  But (and this is getting a bit needlessly ‘Trainspotting-esque’ here) I chose not to think that way. I choose to live life to the full.  To do as much as possible.  To get a lot of ‘experiences’ in my bag so that (a) I can bore my grand-children to death about it and (b) hope that it might make me as better and as good a ‘me’ as I can be.

That was why I chose to go to Afghan last year.  It was a year long marathon that took me well outside my comfort zone.  It pushed me to the edge of me physically – and one rainy night on the Training Land just behind Corunna Barracks it pushed me to the edge of me mentally.  I was close to quitting that night. But I got a lot of support from the lads and lasses I was with and I had a sleep and a laugh at the situation I had gotten myself into and realised…THIS was living.  I realised that in the long run I wanted to go to Afghan to prove to help the people over there.  And if that meant it tested me to the limit, so be it.

Me Versus Afghan.  Me Versus IEDs, being shot at, living in the back of beyond with few comforts.  Me seeing things and doing things that would scare my mum (if she’d have been around to see it) and me testing myself against myself to see if I can measure up. Sort of Me  Versus Me.

And I did all that.  I found that at times I didn’t measure up to what I wanted to be, but HEY! Life is an adventure and it takes you to places. That means it’s also a bit of a journey (oh God, this is getting all ‘X-factor’ now!) and we learn things on the way. I am not at the end of my my adventure (life) and so I still have things to learn about myself…so I can do more stuff and learn more about me and embody my maxim that ‘Experience isn’t something you have – it’s something you use’.

I want to keep pushing myself and keep testing myself. And that is why I have just started another adventure.

I am running the 2012 Virgin London Marathon.  In April. The 22nd. That’s just 107 days away.

Now I am not a very fit guy. I am not a fast guy, but I like to think I have stamina.  I don’t go fast, but I plod and I get there.  And I need something to drive me – to push me on.  So running a marathon is not too crazy an idea for me.  I might not do it fast, and it might hurt me to do it, but I think it is – like going to Afghan was – an achievable aim.  It holds risks (not life-threatening obviously) and challenges, and it needs me to become more focussed, more determined, more dedicated – AND THIS IS A GOOD THING FOR ME.

And I am doing it for a charity too of course.  I am doing it for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund – who’s aim is to support the RAF family whenever and wherever it is needed. My family has a bit of history with the RAFBF – my father received help from them in the past when he needed it.  He was still serving at the time and a family tragedy meant that he needed help and support. The RAFBF provided that help and support. So I feel we sort of owe them.

And if I can help them and that help is by running a marathon…then I will! And of course this means that you can too.  When I was in Afghan, blog readers and Twitter followers were very kind, generous and supportive.  From messages of goodwill through to sending me out ‘welfare’ and ‘goodie’ boxes (which I enjoyed eating and sharing around with my fellows at the Check Point) you all helped and supported me out there.

And once again I ask you to help and support me.  You can of course provide me with encouragement and support – and call me out when I don’t want to go for a run on a wet and windy Sunday morning – but you can also support me AND the RAF Benevolent Fund by sponsoring me to complete the run.  You can visit my charity donations web-page here – www.virginmoneygiving.com/RAFairman Please, anything that you can give would be amazing and will go a long way to help those people who are part of the RAF family who require a little help in their time of need.

And of course, as I undertake this adventure – this journey – I will be keeping you informed on here with tales of my training, and if possible stories of how the RAFBF has helped and continues to help those Airmen and Airwomen who need it.


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11 thoughts on “Beginning of (another) Great Adventure…

  1. Good for you. I’ve done four marathons, the last one was London 2011 and I wanted to do it again in 2012 but couldn’t get a place.

    I know you’ve been at the edge through your time in Afghanistan but I suspect you’ll find out more about yourself by taking on the 26.2 miles.

    My only advice is to respect the distance. There are two halves to a marathon – the first goes to 20 miles and the second is the final 6.2.

    Oh, and enjoy yourself!

    • Thanks Mark. All advice is gratefully accepted. I’ve done a half marathon, and I know the pain that THAT can cause…so I have the utmost respect for a full 26.2…

  2. KevinL on said:

    Yikes! 20 miles. My idea of an adventure is going to a different pub now and again. Best of luck! Its a worthy cause.

  3. Good luck! I’m training for my first one too – Brighton, on the same day. Like you, I have done halfs but that doesn’t mean I can turn around and run the same distance again! The training gets quite scary in the next few weeks….

  4. Hi Alex – we’re really proud that you’re running the marathon for the RAF Benevolent Fund, good luck with the training, and keep us posted!

  5. Kathleen Taylor on said:

    Once again, this is great. And I love your suggestion that we, your followers, should attempt to motivate you for running etc. I think it’s awesome that you didn’t give up, even in the midst of such physical, spiritual and emotional trauma. I don’t think your stories will bore your grandchildren-not by a longshot! X

  6. I might not be the ultimate guru on running. But I went from 0km on hypertension meds to half marathoner last year. You may want to check out the running guides on my blog for some tips.

    Do remember you need to be prepared for marathon running, or it could be potentially dangerous. You will need to increase your mileage time safely.

    Here are the link to my running guides:

  7. i have been reading your blog over the past few months. you have given me a great insight as to how my friends and colleagues are living out there. thanks.

    good luck for the day. give it your best shot. don’t be afraid to walk a bit!

    all the best from raf sealand

  8. Sarahleigh on said:

    Good luck for Running the Marthon My dad has help from the RAFBF so thank you for doing for the best chrairty

  9. Susan Harley on said:

    Good Luck with the Marathon, I know you will finish it, even through the pain barrier, Such a worthy cause. My husband was in the RAF at Coltishall, and RAF Brawdy Haverfordwest, South Wales. When he left the Air force we were helped by RAFBF, and Ive never forgot the help they gave us.

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