Just over two years ago I recall a day at boot camp where I first met Richard Funnell. Clearly older than most and looking slightly terrified though undeterred he gave 100% into his first session – fully encouraged by myself and other members. Rather red and sweating by the end – I did not expect we would see him again. But low and behold, he returned the next day and the next day after that.
Richard quickly became friends with many of the existing members. His comradery and the ability to not take himself seriously made him an easy to love character – he simply fitted in. So much so that he soon became the boot camp “Dad” and took no offence to others even calling him “old Git.” He embraced every challenge and every session – encouraging every member no matter how long they had been at Regiment Fitness.
When I first set my eyes on Richard, I would never imagine he would have been able to achieve such amazing goals. Not only has he managed to improve his fitness, but he is running round with people half his age whilst completing numerous events.
I have lost count of the number of early mornings we have had travelling to sessions or races. This year alone we have completed the London Winter Run, Hackney Half Marathon, Mission 24, Commando Series – to name a few. And it doesn’t stop at that – he even does the unthinkable, completing challenges alone. With several 100km solo walks under his belt his first challenge of 2017 is Fan Dance – a gruelling 24km non-navigational race over two sides of Pen-Y-Fan, a route that has been used by the SAS and SBS selction programme – something I said a “hell no” to.
Richard’s passion and determination to complete event after event is so inspiring to see. He refuses to see age as a barrier, fully embracing his inner Peter Pan he is happy to continue running around, playing in the mud and throwing himself at obstacles with the rest of us.
A true inspiration. He is not only a fellow member, but also an amazing friend; lending an ear, giving me a hug or a much needed kick up the arse.
Therefore on his on this 59th birthday I wanted to dedicate my weekly post to him. Happy Birthday “Dad”!
Here’s to another year completing things we never dreamed we would be doing.