Ray Samuels had everything. He was 28 years old, blond hair, blue eyes, fit, strong, good looking. A fantastic job with IBM as a computer analyst. Company Car, BMW of course, top of the range. Nice 3 bedroom house in a posh part of Essex. Married for the past 5 years to the beautiful Laura and they had the most gorgeous 3 year old daughter called Stacey. Oh yes, and a golden retriever puppy called Sandy. Yes he had everything.
It was Saturday 6th March 1982 and Ray was looking forward to the next morning. He was training for the London Marathon, according to his training manual; this was the best time to do his longest run yet before the big day.
He had watched it on television the year before and it had now become an obsession. He watched people of all ages running 26 miles and thought "I could do that".
The farthest he had run so far was 14 miles. Tomorrow he was planning to run 18 miles. He had measured the route exactly in his car earlier that day. From his house he would run up into the countryside along a main road which was always deserted at the weekends. After 9 miles there was a red pillar box. He would turn round at the pillar box and do the same route back. That would be exactly 18 miles.
His training had gone well so far, he knew his pace was around the six minute mile rate. So 18 miles would take him around 1hr 50 minutes. If he could maintain that rate for 18 miles he was sure he could do the marathon at the same pace. He was hoping to just break 3 hours for the Marathon. This would be a great achievement for a novice runner! But once he set his mind on something there was no stopping him, he was the same at work. That’s why he was the youngest, and best, analyst IBM had.
He also wanted to break in his new running shoes. These were the best money could buy. New Balance. British made and were supposed to be the best road running shoe available. He’d also bought himself a new Nike vest and Shorts. Not only was he going to run 18 miles at a cracking pace, he would also look good while doing it!
He went to bed early on that Saturday night, just after 9 o’clock. He kissed his wife goodnight and fell asleep straightaway, he couldn’t wait to get on the road the next morning.
The alarm woke him at 05.30am. He turned it off quickly, didn’t want to wake up the whole bloody household. He got dressed in all his running gear and whispered to his wife.
“I’m off darling, be back around eight, go back to sleep, love you”
He closed the bedroom door, had a quick look in on Stacey. God she was perfect!
Opened the front door and began his run. It had just started to rain, not heavy, but just a bit of drizzle. Perfect running weather he thought.
February 15th 2007, Sergeant Tom Lucas was on night duty at Buxton Police Station in Derbyshire. It was 03.15am and minus 6 degrees outside, it had just started to snow. He was on his own in the station, not much happened in Buxton on a Thursday night. The odd drunk maybe but that’s about it. He was at the front desk shuffling papers. He liked to shuffle papers; it made him feel important, he’d shuffled them about twelve times tonight! God he was bored!
Suddenly the door opened and a familiar face appeared. It was Doctor Simon Steele, local man in his fifties. He looked froze.
“Tom, quick give me a hand, I’ve just picked up some nutter out running at this time of the morning and in this weather, I think he’s got hypothermia, he’s rambling a load of nonsense”
Tom went outside to Simon’s car. The two of them helped a man into the station.
They sat him on a chair and Tom went and got a blanket from the store cupboard.
The stranger was a young man, late twenties, blond hair, wearing a vest, Nike shorts and running shoes. He was shaking from the cold.
“Put that blanket around you son, I’ll make you a hot drink, soon get you warmed up, what’s your name?”
“Ray….. Ray Samuels”