My race to the Emirates Stadium City Run

06 October 2021

On Sunday 10th October Jack will be taking on Adidas' Islington 1 Hour City Run to raise vital funds. This event challenges people to run a one mile route around the home of Arsenal Football Club, completing it as many times as possible in one hour.

We caught up with Jack to find out what led him to this point and how he's feeling about the big day.

Just before my 17th birthday I was diagnosed with Colitis.

Living with Colitis

Before this I never even knew that the disease existed, despite various members of my family suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s. I won’t lie, it was hard to get to grips with.

At school, before this diagnosis, I was a sporty guy. I was on the football team, cricket team and in the athletics group. I played basketball (albeit badly!) and loved golf too.

My whole life revolved around sports and, specifically, making it as a professional footballer.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to regret that focus. I had the ability and the dedication, but I missed out on so many things as a young lad because of my commitment to succeeding at the highest level I could. This caused me a lot of stress and the game became less about enjoyment, which is the whole point of it in the first place.

As mental wellbeing is so important in the management of Crohn’s and Colitis, I believe that my decision to put myself under so much pressure played a part in the severity of my symptoms.

Despite my illness I still managed to play football, although not to the level I wanted, but it caused me a lot of grief with other players. I would often argue with teammates over how good I was versus what my body was able to demonstrate.

I felt powerless to prove them wrong.

To have people doubt you, especially friends and teammates, was awful.

I think that is one of the worst parts of being ill, the lack of control. I changed a lot. I became depressed, anxious, withdrawn. Even now most of my time is spent behind a screen on video games.

I decided to do the upcoming Adidas City Run for two reasons.

One: I wanted a goal. I recently started working with a personal trainer and it felt weird training with no purpose other than how I look.

Two: The run finishes at the Emirates stadium. I’m a huge Arsenal fan so it will be amazing to run around a stadium I love. I want to look up and see the legends of the club I love dotted around the external walls of the ground as I run.

A few people have asked me why I decided to use the run as a fundraiser.

It’s an excellent incentive to keep me training and eating healthy because I struggle when I don’t have a purpose. Also, I’m in the position I’m in because of Crohn’s & Colitis UK so if I can help in any way then I’m happy to. I will give my all to do it.

I won’t lie, I'm nervous. It’s been a while since I ran anything further than up my parents’ stairs and there's always the whole Colitis thing which might make an appearance as he tends to like the limelight!

But, I have no doubts I’ll complete it and I haven’t set myself a distance goal for the one hour challenge. I may do nearer the time, but I’m not overly concerned with that. I just want to get round and raise some money for this horrible illness that so many are fighting against.

donate to Jack's challenge