Thanks guys for the messages of concern over these past few days. Marlborough got off pretty lightly in the scheme of things, but we’re really feeling for the people of Kaikoura. We know they’ll get through, but we also know they’ve got a tough journey ahead.
And Christchurch, those aftershocks, OMG … now we get it … awful, just awful!
Here’s the story of someone we love here at the Saint Clair Vineyard Half, and how the Christchurch Earthquakes brought out the runner in him:
Ian Morgan, a.k.a, the “Bearded Runner”, became a social media sensation almost overnight when he began taking his cellphone with him on runs around the numerous tracks of New Zealand.
He was just your everyday bloke sitting on the couch at home when he began running, and he now has 13.8 thousand followers on Instagram.
“I have absolutely no idea [how that happened] I really don’t. There’s no formula, it’s just very random indeed; I just go out running each day”, he says.
Looking at the pictures, it would be easy to think the Cantabrian has always been a runner, but he only put his running shoes back on a few years ago, after about 20 years off the road.
“I was [a runner] in my teens, I ran school cross country and from my late teens until after the [Christchurch] quakes I didn’t run at all, and I got quite fat and unfit actually.
“I was about 102 – 103kgs which wasn’t the best, but the quakes sort of triggered something, whether it was stress or something, I realised I needed to do something about my health.”
Ian started with running around the block, before joining a Christchurch running group and entering some races they were participating in.
Before he knew it he was completing 10km races, half marathons and marathons, and this month set out to run the length of the South Island as part of a fundraiser with Kaece Wright.
Ian began taking his running seriously after collapsing at the Queenstown Marathon last year, and being diagnosed with heart disease.
“I thought ‘right, you’re time is limited, you’ve either got to go and do what you want to do or not’, and I just decided I was going to go for it.”
Ian’s heart issue was also what got him using Instagram, after his doctor advised him he needed to carry his cell phone with him, in turn giving the Instagram world some insight into his runs, his beard, and his legs, which he says started as a bit of a joke, after being told he had “awesome legs”.
“Someone from group of women from a book club or something said ‘oh we have started a fan club of your legs’, so I just started taking wee clips of them and it just went silly,” Ian says.
Despite training hard, Ian says he doesn’t take himself too seriously, running for the love of it.
“Runners are runners no matter what their legs look like … I’m out there to have fun and enjoy it.”
He is most inspired by everyday people who are out there giving it a go.
“There’s a lot of great athletes out there and they work hard but they also have a lot of support, like gyms, trainers and dieticians; the people that really inspire me are the ones that have none of that but still get out of bed at five or six in the morning and just work hard,” he says.
Next year, Ian will be ticking a major item off his bucket list, after qualifying for the Boston Marathon, something he has wanted to do since he was a kid.
After Boston, Ian will be joining us with a group of friends to run the Saint Clair Vineyard Half, which will be his first race back in New Zealand. We can’t wait to have him!