Marathon training to help others
We speak to Rob Chaffe about his journey to running the London Marathon and how he’s inspiring others in the profession to get fitter and healthier.
Rob Chaffe has been waiting a long time to run the London Marathon. He’s a seasoned runner and applied way back in 2019 to run in April 2020. But COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the London Marathon, not just once, but twice in that year.
‘It was disappointing not to run the marathon in 2020, as part of a live event. But they did put on a virtual event so participants could make use of all the training.
‘I did the virtual event in around three hours 30 minutes. I would quite like to get a personal best on 3 October 2021. But to be honest, I’m just really looking forward to being involved in a large-scale event in London. Albeit under different circumstances to how they did it in the past.’
Rob has been training for such an extended period of time, that it has now become more of a way of life.
‘Running for me, is a way of de-stressing. COVID completely changed my outlook on life, as it did for many people. It was an incentive to get as fit as possible.
‘I didn’t want to catch the train or tube to work anymore and took up cycling. Many of my colleagues and friends have done the same and incorporated fitness into their everyday activities too.
‘I really feel like the fitter you are, the more able you are to cope with whatever life brings your way.’
Rob shares his activities on his social media channels, and receives many messages from followers explaining they are also getting fitter as a result.
He is an ambassador for promoting the benefits of talking about mental health and, in particular, encourages men around him to have conversations about it.
‘I wrote an article about my experience of mental ill health and it featured in Dentistry. It seemed to help people open up.’
Clearing the mind
Dentistry has been a tough industry to be in through the COVID pandemic. Shift patterns changed; dentists have lockdowns, fallow patches and then longer shifts to catch up with back logs; many have been through financial difficulties. Particularly if they are self-employed and weren’t able to take advantage of the furlough scheme.
Rob recognises it’s been particularly hard. He is honoured therefore to raise money for the BDA Benevolent Fund. This way the charity can offer more help to those in the profession that need it.
‘I love my work. I knew I wanted to go into dentistry as a profession because I wanted to work in healthcare. There was a much greater appeal of looking into people’s mouths than, well, other areas a GP might look!
‘It has its stressful moments but I’m lucky enough to live near Richmond Park and work near Clapham Common. When I put on my Brooks trainers and have an early morning or lunchtime run, it helps clear the mind.’
Rob listens to music while running, or sometimes audio books for variation. But when he’s on an early morning run, he turns down the volume to listen to the birds and appreciate the nature around him.