Welcome to the first post in a new series on Thoughts and Pavement! In this series, I am profiling interesting and unique runners I know by asking them five unusual questions about running. To kick off the series, I am excited to introduce Richard, from baze187. I met Richard at the Shine Walk last year. He was part of my VIP blogger team. Richard has a fabulous YouTube channel, and he’s also one of my fellow shortlisted bloggers in the upcoming Running Awards. Hope you enjoy the first post in this new series!
What purchase under £100 has most impacted your running life?
I bought a head torch for about £20 so I could run the Cotswold 24 Hour Relay. My team and I won our category and it was the first time I ever took a first place trophy, a huge running high. It was the first time I used the torch and thought it would end up in a drawer after that, but using this same head torch we took the same title for three years straight and it’s also allowed me to go out on Thursday evenings with my running club. We go off road and have some great fun on the Chiltern Hills. Although it hasn’t saved me from the odd face plant in the mud here and there.
What new habit have you adopted in the last three years that has most improved your running?
Quite honestly, 2015 is when I ran all my PB/PR times and in the last three years I have become a bit slower, so I can’t boast any improvement here. What I have done to improve my experience is to combine running with travelling and completed two fantastic races, The Great Wall Marathon in China and the Comrades Ultra in South Africa. Both were amazing experiences. I met people from all over the world who had come to run too, and with running in common made some great friends along the way. Engaging with local people at each race has been fantastic and seeing some of the poorer families in rural villages in China has given me some perspective to realise how lucky I really am. To continue this habit, in 2018 I’ll be doing the Frankfurt Marathon.
In 2016, I started my YouTube channel. I started making vlogs about my races, travelling, and anything else I was doing I felt was cool. This has lead me to so many opportunities such as a place on the VIP Media team at the Shine Walk which is where I met Miranda. We were talking the night away with our group as we walked all over London and by the end of the night we were all friends. It’s also helped me connect with so many other like-minded runners and when I’m not actually running, it’s improved my whole social experience too.
When you are at your absolute lowest point in a race, what do you do or say to yourself to convince yourself to keep going?
The Comrades Ultra, a gruelling 86.7K race with 5,000 feet of ascent in the hot South African climate, was the hardest thing I ever did. The race started at 5am. It took me 11 hours 19 minutes. After about 7 hours I had already run further than a marathon, climbed some ridiculous hills and was physically exhausted. My nutrition was running low, it was the real heat of the day beating down on me and I was dehydrated despite drinking every kilometre at aid stations, I felt like giving up. Several things keep me going:
- I’m stubborn
- I don’t want my daughter to think quitting is OK. In this race, there is an overall 12-hour cut off to finish with many cut off points along the route. I wanted her to know that trying your best and failing is OK so if I got cut off, I’d tried but I also want her to know throwing in the towel is not OK. It’s applicable to life more than running really.
- I’d been sponsored by friends and family for charity. If I didn’t finish, I would let them all down.
- I wanted that medal. I hadn’t travelled all that way and run that far to come away empty handed.
- I don’t like to fail.
Tell me about an unusual thing that you do before, during or after a run?
As soon as I read this question I thought about the film Cool Runnings where Sanka kisses his lucky egg before and after a bob sled run. I’d love to have a quirky superstition like this but sadly there’s nothing to report here. Maybe Thoughts & Pavements readers could help me out here, suggestions?
What is your most memorable running failure and what did you learn from it?
I have two. The first was running the London Marathon when deep down I knew I was injured and not fit for it, but again I’d done it for charity so couldn’t let down the people who’d donated. I ran the first bit and then walked the rest in searing pain. Remember, I’m stubborn so I did finish but I was out of running for months after this. The lesson? Never run injured.
The second is when I attempted a Guinness World Record with a friend for the fastest half marathon dressed as a 2 person pantomime costume so we went for a camel. It was July and a really hot day. I overheated a lot, crashed and burned and we didn’t get the record. The lesson: I am not really a camel and probably can’t survive in a desert.
That was fun! Stay tuned for the next Five Questions With…!!