2014 to 2015

New Year’s Day a time for reflection upon the previous year and a time to look forward to the next. Last year for me was very different, and very life-changing. Going through major surgery, then chemotherapy for cancer took over the first half of the year, and then the second was full of fundraising activities and running. In all of my forty five years, last year was by far the most different!

During last year I found many people supported me, and I am grateful for this. Thank you to everyone who came along to the events, and to those who helped make them happen. For the Neil4BC campaign last year we had:

A Bar night (with raffle) at The Three Carrots Pub,
A quiz night, organised by the Belgrade Foreign Visitor’s Club at Le Teniza restaurant,
A stall at the St Mary’s Church Book Sale,
An evening of entertainment at Restoran Vulin, with James Randell from Blazing to Serbia singing, an art auction and dinner all rolled into one night,
A charity dinner at Restoran Vizantia, organised by the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, hosted by Sir Paul Judge and with the Crown Prince and Princess of Serbia as Guests of Honour,
A table-top sale  at the British International Primary School.

All were arranged in order to benefit bowel cancer charities in Serbia (Udruženje pacijenata obolelih od raka debelog creva i jetre), in the UK (Bowel Cancer UK) and across Europe (EuropaColon). By the end of the year around 550.000 RSD / £3,700 / €4,650 had been raised to help the work of these charities.

Looking forward to this year the focus for me will be on April 26 and the London Marathon. It is now 13 years since I last ran this race, my last marathon, and I am acutely aware that I have not been doing enough training thus far. I did manage to have a great weekend in Ljubljana and run their Half-Marathon at the end of October, and though finishing the race it did highlight the need for, and importance of training. There are a couple of Half-Marathon races I plan to take part in as training runs before London, and with an increase in training I aim to find it easier to get around them. Hopefully many in Belgrade will come along on Saturday 18 March, the weekend before London, and show their support by taking part in the 5 km Fun Run that is organised on  the same day as the Belgrade Marathon – more to follow.

The other focus will be on staying fit and well. In late February I will have a series of tests to check that whether cancerous cells are still present. The findings of these tests will determine what happens and/or any further treatment.

Yesterday I watched the YouTube video below, “Spirit of the Marathon” (ignore its cover picture below!). It shows the two types of runners in a marathon, the elite and those praying they get to the end in one piece. It’s worth a watch, just to learn some of the reasons why people want to run 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km), as well as some excellent historical images.


I also spent last year reading, given the time I had to spend recovering from cancer. In meeting my Goodreads Challenge of 75 books I read many non-fiction books about running, or runners. There  are some amazing stories out there. I compiled my list on one of the blog pages – https://neil4bc.wordpress.com/books/

So, what will I do today, New Years Day. Eat a traditional British family meal, play Lego, watch a family film and run 10 km as I now have many people who will cheer me on and want to see me finish in April.

Happy New Year – I wish you all the best for 2015 🙂

Happy New Year

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