from trot, to canter, to gallop

The following is a VERY true story!

It began as a scene from Chariots of Fire: The Sequel .

For this time of year, it was a warm morning and the sun was waking up directly in front of me. I was about 7 miles into my run when I turned a corner at the bottom of the hill and made my way onto a dirt path. There was a dry stone wall directly to my left and a small hill beside the wall that was part of a large open field.

I heard a thundering sound and looked up to my left. Three beautiful horses were trotting freely, about 5 feet above me and 10 feet to my left . There was no one else in sight…

One was white, two were brown and all three looked very fit!

They didn’t say anything to each other but like runners, they instinctively knew what the presence of someone running faster than them meant: it was time to acknowledge the new pace.

Effortlessly they moved from a trot to a brisk canter.

Soon the elevated surface they were running on merged with my trail. The dry stone wall vanished: in the face of the sun, I was running and they were cantering!

With them 5 feet beside me we ran together for about 30 seconds.

I was smiling the entire time.

I knew they weren’t working very hard so I put my head down and picked up the pace.

They remained composed and stayed at their own pace until I decided to surge again.

That was The Mistake.

I put in a big surge (probably running just over 4 minute mile pace) and began sprinting down the trail.

I opened up a 20 metre lead on these 3 magnificent creatures and with a huge smile I looked back. My smile was soon replaced with complete fear.

I thought we had all silently agreed that this was just for fun. I quickly learned that they didn’t liked me playing games…

What began as a trot and moved to a canter quickly turned into an all-out gallop: I looked back and they were veering straight for me!

I have never been more scared in my life. The dry stone wall was now on my right. I made a sharp turn and hurdled the 5 foot wall just in time to get out of their way! They blew past me so fast, but close enough that I could touch their tails! One more second and I would have been trampled…

What began as the most majestic moment of my trip quickly ended with a lesson I’ll never forget:
Don’t ever push the pace on someone faster than you!

Categories: Running, story


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9 Comments on “from trot, to canter, to gallop”

  1. Uncle Mike
    October 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    Great story. Hope all is well. Look forward to seeing you at


    • October 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      Can’t wait to see you uncle mike!

  2. Luch
    October 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    nice mikey. Scared the ‘h’ out of me. Glad you survived this amazing and scary experience.

  3. gtown
    October 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Mikey you almost died!

    • October 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      It was literally the first time in my life that I actually thought I was going to die…

  4. Rose
    October 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    wonderful Mikey–you thought you were going to die?? What every mother loves to hear. Michael, when we were in Shipley last week and I saw those horses in the pasture next your home did you know that something crossed my mind to say something to you about horses and that the strength in their legs could actually kill you. A mother’s intuition perhaps but now that you tell this story, I find my intuition even more interesting. You should check with someone who trains horses on whether they would have actually trampled you or just moved out of the way. Either way, I am glad you are all-right and much more learned.

  5. Rose
    October 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Mikey, you should see if Runner’s World would be interested in this funny human interest story about running. It will be a smile on alot of runners’ faces.

  6. Mario
    November 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    Great story Mike! That’s why when you make a move, you better make a move for home. No looking back or your doomed! lol

  7. Mick
    November 26, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Hi Michael,

    Sorry I couldn’t get to the pub. And the footie was awful!
    Hope to see you before you return home.
    Many thanks for your efforts, you have inspired me and many of my friends.

    Kind Regards,
    Mick B.

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