RUNNING is more than a way of life for Brighouse businessman Martin Haigh - it is his life.
Now in training for his 17th marathon and with ten consecutive Three Peaks Races to his name, Martin knows more than most people about staying motivated and achieving personal goals.
Which is just as well because his business, Lattitude7, set up in September 2010, is all about training, coaching and mentoring others.
Martin, aged 58, of Hove Edge, Brighouse, started running as a teenager after an ankle injury forced him to give up playing football. Today, 39 years later, he cannot imagine a life without running.
“Running defines me, I just love it,” he said. “It’s never a chore or a bore for me to put my kit on and go out for a run, in any weather.”
Martin is vice-president of Halifax Harriers - the club that helped him take his first steps into serious running in 1973 - and is also chairman of the race committee.
“The Harriers had quite a reputation and I joined with some trepidation but I took to running straight away.
“They were looking for people to participate in the Three Peaks race and I foolishly said yes. But I loved it so much that I went on to run nine more of them consecutively, five of them in under three hours 30 minutes.”
Martin, who is also a triathlete, is now in training for his 17th marathon. He is running the London Marathon in April in aid of the Whizz-Kidz charity, which helps provides wheelchairs for disabled children.
“I’m doing around 20 miles a week at the moment and I know that I will have to increase that to around 45 miles a week nearer April. I have learnt from experience how to prepare myself and how to cope with the distance.
“My first marathon was in Barnsley in 1981 and I had no experience. I shot round the first 20 miles in about two hours eight minutes and then I hit the wall. I managed to finish but it wasn’t easy. I’m better at pacing myself now!”
With a new business to run and family commitments, Martin admits it isn’t always easy to find time for training - but find time he does.
“Sometimes if I get a bit stuck on some aspect of the business, I’ll put my kit on and go for a run - I find it clears my head and helps me concentrate.
“I’m a very motivated person and my job is about inspiring and motivating others. My running complements my business perfectly. I’m looking forward to running the London Marathon and I’m hungry for the challenge.”
Martin is married to Melanie, a dance teacher at Dorothy Stevens’ School and teaching assistant at Bailiff Bridge Primary School. The couple’s daughter Sophie, aged 19, has just started Edge Hill University.
An engineer by training who studied at Leeds University, Martin was given the opportunity to move into training and personal coaching in 2001, gaining a trainer licence with the Dale Carnegie Corporation.
Recently he has been working on a mentoring and leadership programme in Romania but, closer to home, he is delighted to have won a training contract with Calderdale Council.
Having helped a variety of charities through sponsorship on his previous marathons, he is looking forward to supporting Whizz-Kidz - a cause close to his heart - in April.
“There are 70,000 disabled children in the UK who are desperate for a wheelchair to help them get out and about,” he said.
To sponsor Martin visit www.justgiving.com/Martin-Haigh7 or contact 07801 030 004. Business sponsors are welcome.