Member Spotlight June 2024 – James Atkinson

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Member Spotlights, News


Welcome to the June edition of Quakers Member Spotlight, this month, we hear from our very own quizmaster, James Atkinson who is now part of our social committee. Over to you James……..


1.How did you get into running and why?

I have always been very sporty from a young age and whilst at school, I was made captain of the football team, and although we were doing well winning matches, I always strived to improve my own game. I have to thank my old P.E teacher, Mr Johnson for getting me into running. He organised an inter-school athletics competition at Gateshead Stadium. He said to me ” I want you to be on the 400m relay team as well as the 100m” I agreed to participate in the athletics met at Gateshead Stadium, and to my surprise I won a gold medal in the relays as well as the 100m!

After that, I caught the running bug and have been an active participant ever since!

2. What kept you going when you first started running?

To see how well I could do if I maintained a structured and consistent training program. It is amazing the progress you can make if you work hard and give it your all!

3. How much training do you typically do each week?

On average, I run 3 – 4 times a week. Twice a week with the Quakers ( work permitting) and sometimes a Parkrun on a Saturday, and a long social run on a Sunday or race depending on what I am training for. 4. Be honest, do you enjoy training?

I love training! I like to see how far I can go and how much I can improve as a runner with the variety of training sessions on offer at the club training nights.

5. Do you do any other sports or fitness activities?

I occasionally play 5 a side football

6. Do you manage to fit in any other hobbies?

My hobbies include reading books, listening to music and attending live concerts, and travelling.

7. Tell us about some of the races that you’ve done in the past. 

Some of the races I have done include: Great North Run, Haweswater Half Marathon, London Marathon, Edinburgh Half Marathon, Raby Castle 10k, Darlington 10k, Fountains 10k, Kirbymoorside 10k, Ravenstonedale 10k and Brass Monkey Half Marathon!

8. What’s your current running goal? 

To run a 5k Parkrun under 20 minutes again

9. What are your longer term running goals? 

I would love to run a Half Marathon under 1:35 again. I last managed that back in 2017 at the Great North Run when I finished in 1:34

10. What is your favourite race/distance/terrain? 

My Favourite distance is 10k/ Favourite race is the London Marathon for both it’s incredible atmosphere and all the iconic landmarks you pass on the course/ Favourite terrain would have to be a road race on tarmac/ grass

11. What are your proudest running achievements? 

My proudest running achievement to date is competing the 2015 London Marathon in 3:36. The whole Marathon weekend was an incredible experience and will live long in my memory. From travelling down to London on the train on the Friday morning, to attending the expo at the Excel, as well as finishing on the Mall! I would love to do that race again as the people who organise it make it such a great event!

12. Anything in your running experience you regret? 

I don’t have any regrets

13. How many pairs of trainers/ running shoes do you have and do you have a favourite pair? 

I normally have two pairs of trainers at a time in rotation. My favourite pair is Brooks GTS 9 – so comfortable and durable.

14. What’s your idea of running heaven?

Road race on a dry, sunny ( not too hot though) spring/ summer day with great course scenery and crowd support

15. What’s your idea of running hell? 

A disorganised race with a monotonous course with no pleasant surroundings.

16. What is the best piece of running advice you’ve ever been given? 

Just enjoy your running!

17. Any advice to newcomers to running? 

My advice would be to run with others – either with friends or join a club. By doing this, you will make friends, pick up invaluable advice on training/ nutrition/equipment/races. Also, if you want to achieve a long term goal such as complete a Half Marathon in under 2 hours. My advice would be to work hard and follow a structured and consistent training programme – if you do that it is amazing what you can achieve!

18. What keeps you going when the going gets tough in a hard race? 

A positive mindset makes a big difference. Also, particularly when running in hot conditions keep hydrated at all times.

19. How do you relax/reward yourself after a race?

Something nutritious to eat and a few beers or a few glasses of wine to go with it!

20. If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

I have always wanted to run abroad somewhere. In October, I hope to achieve that goal as I am going on the club trip to Belgium to compete in the Bruges Half Marathon.

Thanks so much to James for being June Member Spotlight, think you’ll agree a fantastic read.

Once again if anyone wishes to take part in the member spotlight and let us all know how many pairs of trainers you have, just drop me a message at the below email.