Neil Featherby: What happens when the talking stops and it’s time to deliver?

The leading pack at the Lord Mayor's 5K City Centre Classic. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The leading pack at the Lord Mayor's 5K City Centre Classic. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

When the green flag drops, the talking stops or words perhaps a little stronger than that was put to me when out running last Sunday morning with my good friend Jason Wright who is a former World Mini Stock Car Racing Champion.

I was telling him all about the many differing conversations I had with runners last Saturday in the build up to the Lord Mayor's 5K and how it was quite clear that whilst they all wanted so very much to do well, they varied in the way they were focusing their thoughts towards the race.

The problem with races late in the day is that it does then allow for athletes to keep going over it in their minds for several hours as opposed to when it is a morning race and it is just a case of getting out of bed, having a light breakfast and then getting on with it two to three hours later.

Some athletes and sportspersons are as cool as a cucumber and are so very relaxed and zoned in prior to a competition, whereas there are others who perhaps are still learning or indeed a little more fragile where they can tend to over think it and by the time they get to the race or event, they are already so very mentally drained.

Jason is a very decent runner and can run 5K in 18 minutes for which I also asked him why he preferred to be a spectator as opposed to taking part himself.

He said it was more to do with his work commitments what with running his own business which prevents him from being able to commit to any such races when looking too far ahead whilst at the same time he just enjoys training hard and testing himself without perhaps the same competitive pressure of his stock car racing days.

He does also come along to my weekly Ghost Hill Running Group sessions for which he is always there or thereabouts when it comes to being one of the quicker runners at the front of the group. He also completed running the full length of Hadrian's Wall with me and Chas Allen last September despite not having ran further than 10 miles six weeks prior to doing so.

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Anyway and just going a little further off tangent here, there is a point to where I am now going with this.

Earlier this week, I was also asked to be a guest on Phil Daley's BBC Radio Norfolk "The Game" sports show whereby the first question put to me what with my background in sport, was how would I describe myself?

My response after a little thought was by saying that perhaps the best way would be to call me a Jack of all trades, but not quite a master of any of them.

On the back of that I also said I had always had a drive inside me to have a go and be the best I could personally be even though I may have also been a little scared at the same time whilst also knowing deep down that I lacked the natural ability to be up there with the elite.

However, if I was inspired by it and of course lucky enough for an opportunity to be put my way then it was always a case of grabbing it with both hands.

Opportunities at some point come to all of us during our lives and it really does not matter if we aren't necessarily blessed with an abundance of natural talent to meet the challenge.

What is important is that if you really want to do something bad enough, then you should go for it.

Providing you are prepared to work hard and keep going particularly when having to deal with what will be some inevitable setbacks along the way and you keep believing in yourself, then I am convinced that we can all achieve even more than we may have set out to do in the first place.

A winning mind never fails and when I say winning, I mean achieving our own personal goals.

I have worked with lots of people in sport. Some very naturally gifted, but also with others who whilst not having the same natural talent of a thoroughbred, what they may have lacked in genetic make-up they more than made up for with a sheer determination and drive to be the very best they could be.

Commitment and drive is such a major component to have for which in many cases I have seen the grafter come out on top of the more naturally talented just due to their never-give-up attitude.

It is he or she who believes that when the pressure is on, a track is a track, a football pitch is a football pitch and of course a boxing ring is just a boxing ring.

Irrespective of whether you will be performing in a major stadium in front of thousands of people or just a lonely park with one man and his dog, providing you are fully revved up and ready to go, then just as Jason said, 'when the green flag drops or of course when the tapes go up, the bell ring, the whistle blows and of course in my number one sport the starters pistol fire, that's when the talking really does stop'.

Needless to say I am aware that there are times when there might be some differences, i.e. size of a speedway track or football pitch and of course some running courses are tougher than others, but at the end of the day, a winning mind is always ready and prepared.