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Paul MortonBy Paul Morton - Creator of The Morton Gym Challenge

I've been wanting to put a competition on at my gym now for quite a while but never really quite got round to it. When I heard that Bannatynes were supporting a charity called look good feel better I thought. What a great time to put a comp on. Everybody pay a fiver to enter and all proceeds to go to that charity.

I was a little bit concerned to the fact that we'd only get a handful of competitors, but thought. Let's just give it a go. I couldn't believe it when just over 50 people had put their name down for the challenge. I was over the moon. It was only open to members of our gym alone. We advertised it some 8 weeks before the date of the comp, to give people time to train and prepare for the event. I was amazed at the amount of people who came up to me asking what was the best way to train for it. We had special classes laid on to aid people with their training and before you know it. Every time I went to the gym it seemed like everybody was training for THE MORTON. I loved seeing all these people training. Pushing themselves harder. Striving to get better times.  Although it was a fun event for charity, you can't help but being competitive.

Many thanks has to go to Mark Reynolds. Sutton Coldfield's general manager who supported this event whole heartedly. My other rock was Katie Allen who helped me so so much in getting this event on the agenda. She was brilliant. Encouraging people to enter. Doing all the admin stuff which you need. Gym deputy manager Helen Talbot for juggling classes around in order for us to use the studio. Not only for race day, but for training sessions too. Finally. To all of the other guys who helped me to set up. Judge. Timekeep and to make sure it all went well On to race day.

Women's Novice. 10 ladies entering this category, which really pleased me.  Libby Lawerence ending up the winner with a fantastic time of 11.37.

Men's Novice was competed by 2 men only. Nick Horton narrowly beating Mick Fallon.  Also. A special mention to Mick for then doing all the photographs for us for the rest of the day.  A massive thank you goes to him.

Women's Intermediate. I've never known such a competitive catergory. I think they all got their claws out for this one lol. Dee Ann Gray eventually winning with a time of 14.55. Sarah Hussain 2nd. Sophie Morton was leading all the way up to the run and just blew up in the run. She had been feeling ill all week, so it was a tremendous effort for a 17 year old.

Men's Intermediate was won by the experienced Steve Bailey. Narrowly beating his good pal Simon Stafford by 21 seconds. These pair picked themselves up and then prepared themselves to race again in the advanced.

Womens's Advanced Only 4 competitors. Helen Talbot in 4th with a very good time of 27.14. Ress Langlands 3rd 23.00 in her first advanced comp. The next 2 was the race of the day. The atmosphere when Daniela Varley and Dal Dhillow were racing was electrifying. What a fantastic race. Daniela pipping Dal by just 5 seconds. A truely wonderful race.

Men's Advanced. 9 guys took part in the final event. Scott Edmonds ending up winning with a fantastic time of 17.23. Followed by his training partner Paul Morton in 17.53 and only 8 seconds adrift in 3rd place Ben Cornwell.

I want to mention 3 people who come to mind.

Diana Boeteng. She turned up on the day. Paid her money to charity. Never had a clue what to expect. She went down the ladies novice course in 20.44. Plodding her way through the course. Sticking at it and not once giving up. She turned round to me at the end of her race and said. I loved that. Everybody was cheering her on and supporting her. To me. This is what it's all about. The togetherness. The willingness Secondly.

Sophie Morton. Who was ill all week with some kind of virus. She picked herself up and at 17 years old took on the fittest of the girls at our gym. Finally blowing out on the run. Lastly. I have to give a special mention to

Dal Dhillow. Who. Not only has been nursing a shoulder injury for 12 months or so, but also had a virus and was on antibiotics. She said to me. I'm doing this comp. no matter what. And to only lose by 5 seconds in the ladies advanced. Was amazing.

To summarise. It was a truely fantastic day. Everybody loved it and we all went out together on the evening. Many people making new friends. Asking already. When's the next comp. What pleases me now. Is that. 4 weeks on people have now changed the way they are training. They are all hooked. Training harder. Training smarter. It makes me so happy when I see this. Me and Scott have trained on a Thursday together now for many years. Notoriously called The Thursday Club. Now we get anything from 4, 5 maybe 6 or 7 training with us. It's brilliant. Bannatynes Sutton Coldfield should feel very proud that they have so many enthusiastic and generally nice members. And indeed Bannatynes deserve such credit for letting this comp going ahead. Supporting it all the way. Massive thank you's to Mark Reynolds and Katie Allen. Here's to the next one.