How did you get into running and why?
I used to enjoy playing 5 a-side football until a broken ankle and six weeks in plaster prompted a re-think, one of the first races I remember doing was the 10 mile Cummins Football Section Fun Run way back in 1981, I followed this up with the Northern Life / Green Howards Assault Course Run which I seem to recall involved a 5k run followed by a full assault course, rope swings / monkey bars / water etc. great fun!
What kept you going when you first started running?
In 1988, a friend at work talked me in to entering the Great North Run, it was held in July back then and was known as ‘the peoples race’ that was where my running career truly started, well sort of! I trained for the three months leading up to it, ran it, and then had nine months recovery!! And year on year for many years that was it, a yearly half marathon with the occasional Darlington 10k thrown in for good measure.
How much training do you typically do?
If I’m honest probably not enough! It really depends on what my plans are and the races that I’m aiming for. Marathons have occupied a lot of my time in recent years so the weekly mileage can get quite high (I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve said “never again” then signed up for another one a week later…..well! nobody believes me now anyway!) last year I tried to concentrate a bit more on shorter races and got by on club sessions with a couple of runs in the region of five or six miles during the week and around a 10 to 15 miler on a weekend.
Be honest, do you enjoy training?
Does anyone?? Marathon training can become particularly tedious, knowing that when you get home from work that you have to go out and do yet another training run, it’s all too easy to get bored (especially if training alone) but I really do enjoy the camaraderie found at the club on training nights, working with the rest of the guys to get the most that we can out of the training sessions.
How does it feel to have (jointly) won the club Championship this year?
Obviously I’m really pleased for both myself and Brian, he’s had a tremendous year. It’s been a fantastic championship in 2009 with individuals battling for positions not just at the top of the table but from the top all the way down to the bottom and respect to everyone that played a part. Overall though I think the real winner has been the club; the numbers we’ve had turning out at races has been brilliant to see and really got Quakers noticed wherever we went.
What’s your aim for 2010?
The Edinburgh Marathon in May will be my last chance to have a go at the O/45’s club record (2:52:24) I’d like to get in to the best shape possible to give it one last shot before moving in to a new age group in June.
What is your favourite race/distance/terrain?
I have to admit that for me there is something very special about the London Marathon and although Amsterdam’s marathon didn’t go quite according to plan, I really enjoyed the course, starting and finishing in the Olympic Stadium certainly added to the event.
What’s your idea of running heaven?
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and you’re in that groove where you feel like you could run all day (I just wish I could remember the last time it happened!)
What’s your idea of running hell?
Trying to keep up with Dawn Richardson on a 20 mile training run! (Only kidding Dawn, honest!!)
Any advice to newcomers?
“Be patient” it doesn’t happen over night, you have to work at it, we’ve all been there so don’t get disheartened and improvement will come with time, try to find a training partner and remember that “hard work + rest = success!! hard work + hard work = breakdown!!” Dawn R lent me a book on motivation recently and this one stuck in my mind “Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both right”
How do you prepare for a race?
I usually have everything sorted the night before, Number pinned to vest and kit all laid out ready for the next morning, there’s nothing worse than getting a couple of miles down the road and suddenly thinking “where’s???”
Best way to relax/reward yourself after a race?
Usually a nice hot bath (to feel human again) followed by the odd beer or two (I’m easily pleased!)
How did you end up doing so much for the club?
That’s a good question! I joined Quakers in 1998 when it was still a relatively small club, I knew Keven and Keith Shevels (two of our founder members) from Harriers days and I suppose I got involved right from the start by negotiating a move from Cleveland Bridge’s ground where Quakers was based to Hummersknott School; the rest is history as they say. From the work done on a daily basis for the club through to ‘Race for Life’ I get a lot of satisfaction from ‘making things happen’ and continuously look for ways to take Quakers forward and to give our members what they want from the club.
How do you feel about the growth of Quakers, especially as we push on towards the 300 members mark?
Hopefully the continued growth of the club means that we have the recipe right, other than our excellent website and press reports we don’t go out of our way to advertise our presence, so word of mouth must also play a big part. We don’t force membership on people; they join because they want to – to be part of a great club.
What would you like to see happen next with Quakers?
We like to keep our options open and are always willing to listen to any proposals put forward, we’ve got one or two irons in the fire at present which may or may not come to anything but the one overwhelming thing that came out of last years AGM was that which ever road Quakers follows it must never lose its identity or its ethos, the elements that make Quakers what it is today.
What is the best part of the club in your opinion?
Without doubt the friendliness of its members and also its ability to help people change their lives for the better.
Apple, Water, Banana or Mars bar in your ideal goodie bag?
I don’t have a sweet tooth and definitely don’t do the 5 a day thing so I guess it has to be water (just as long as it’s been processed by the Guinness brewery first!!)
And finally, what is it with you and hills?
I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, anything said about my dislike of hills is nothing but a malicious rumour spread about in the main “by me”! (being a self confessed member of the Flat Earth Society and all) actually it hasn’t always been like that, I did many Fell races in the early days, Doctors Gate, Guisborough Woods and St John’s Chapel to name but a few. Back in 2002, I was fortunate enough to record my one and only race win, ‘The Hamsterley Forest Jubilee 10k’ which I’m sure anyone who ran it will tell you is ‘an undulating trail race’ so I guess it’s just that as I’ve grown older I’ve developed this insurmountable fear of heights and therefore stick to the flatter races!!!