I'm a poor runner. I'm 6ft5, and I’m 17-and-a-half stone, so when I run, and especially when I run at a decent pace, I find it horrendously difficult. I talk to myself a lot when I'm running – mostly asking myself ‘Why are you doing this? Are you mad?’ But even when I’m saying that, I’m also thinking how good is this for you? Think about the size of you, and you're out doing this while others aren't. Keep going. When it gets really tough, I always say to myself, ‘This is x minutes of your life. Come on.’ If I've got 1k left, I'll be saying to myself, this is five minutes of your life, that's it. Five minutes of work, it's not that difficult.
The reason I’m talking to you about running is because even though I’m a strength-training convert these days, I still run at least twice, if not three times a week. For years now, it’s been a standard part of my life, and every week you’ll find me out on a run plotting events, plotting life and plotting my schedule.
When I was growing up, my dad was running marathons. He ran nine or 10 of them and did one in 3hr19. Unbelievable. He would go running with his trainer, Sandy, and they would run for 20 miles – doing 40, 50 miles a week. Sometimes I would go with my mum to collect him from his run. I would also go down to the gym in the house, and he would be on a running machine for two hours. I would just sit there and watch him. As you get older, you start to realise why you run. I run because as a kid, all I saw was my Dad running. And that’s something I’ve tried to pass onto my kids.
For as long as I can remember, the day of a fight for me goes like this: wake up, run, have breakfast, have a nap for an hour in the afternoon, have an ice bath, get ready for the show and then head down. That's my day. I started running with four or five Matchroom employees on the day of a fight. Over time that group of four or five became eight or nine people. Then, in the hotel, there would always be a fighter or a fan or a contractor, so it became 10 or 11 people.
We had this small but consistent group, but then last June, I put a Tweet out that said, ‘If anyone fancies a 5k tomorrow meet at the Statue of John Batchelor in Cardiff, and we'll get it done.’ About 40 or 50 people turned up, and I thought, wow, this is really cool.
Since that day, at every event, our Fight Day 5k runners will get together on a Saturday. We get about 100 people every time. It’s a mixture of fight fans and a lot of our fighters will turn up to do the runs too.
Just finished a nice little 5k in Cardiff. If anyone fancies a run tomorrow morning with us and a few of the @MatchroomBoxing fighters I will post later re the meet 🏃
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) June 3, 2022
On a selfish level, having the Fight Day 5k means I have to get my run done. I'm also trying to run it pretty fast because there's a lot of people there, so I want to try and run well and beat this guy and beat that guy. Ultimately though, I know it’s about feeling good and setting me up for the day.
If you’re thinking of coming down to a Fight Day 5k, I’d say do it. All the routes are mapped out, so anyone can come and just have an experience. But I would also say if you're a complete beginner, just take baby steps and start running and walking. That’s fantastic for you. Even if all you're doing is one minute of running, throw it in and then have a five-minute walk followed by another minute of running. Just make sure you’re taking yourself to a place of discomfort, even slight discomfort. That's actually how I started. I would do five minutes of running then five minutes of walking. Next thing you're doing 10 or 20 minutes of running, and you’re away.
I know there will be some people reading this who say running isn’t that good for you, but trust me, come to one of our runs and see what you think. For me, I think for the value that it gives my heart and my head, I'll take the damage on my knees and hips.
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