What got you into running?
I didn’t consider myself a runner. As a school kid I’d enjoyed cross country for a while, and as a 21-year-old I ran a half marathon after I had finished my finals (beer and student bars have a lot to answer for), but that was it.
I went back to playing team sports: football, cricket & rugby. As I got older, injuries and work got in the way of these, and I became increasingly inactive. I still played cricket, but the cricket lunches and the bar after kind of negated any positive effect. Work didn’t help as I was away a lot and worked for a company that liked a drink; you didn’t say no to the challenge of drinking all the whiskies in the hotel bar in one go. It took its toll. Whilst Tracy was into running at the time, she would often try to get me to join her on a run….my answer was always “I’m not a runner”.
Entering my early 50’s I realised I had a choice – either accept being out of shape or do something about it. So, I embarked on getting my fitness back. At the suggestion of my daughter (not Georgie, the other one, Jess) I entered a half marathon, but gave myself 9 months to get ready. After a couple of months on the treadmill (5k indoors seemed easy), I was ready for my first outdoor run with Jess. Turned out outdoor road running was something different and a lot harder! Both of us secretly wanted to stop but wouldn’t as neither wanted to be beaten by the other. Turns out this is a family trait, as whenever Georgie and I run together we often end up trying to outdo each other. I digress! After a lot of training and a lot better diet I was ready for my second ever half marathon at Nottingham, a full 30 years after my first.
I realised that I would soon fall back into bad habits if I didn’t have a goal, so after an arbitrary search my next outing was Stockport 10, which is still one of my favourite races. If you haven’t done that one, it is well worth a go, but be aware it is 10 mile not 10 km! That was followed by a few more halves including the Congleton Half.
What made you join the Harriers?
By this point I realised I was a runner, and I was enjoying it, but it was a bit boring running on my own (Tracy had stopped by this stage and Georgie hadn’t started) so joining a club seemed like a good idea. Living in Holmes Chapel, it was a toss-up between Sandbach and Congleton. The Harriers won out – partially because they had a cross country team and partially because “Harriers” sounded way cooler. So, on a cold November Tuesday evening back in 2015 I joined my first club run.
What I found was a really warm and inviting group of people who made me feel welcome and gave me a lot of encouragement, and I’ve not looked back since. Over the last 8 years, I’ve made a lot of new friends, got a mass of advice which has helped me improve as a runner and got me into off-road and fell running which I absolutely adore. I wanted to give something back to the club so took up a few roles, initially as Passing Clouds Race Director, Press Officer, and I’m really proud that I can now say I’m chairman of Congleton Harriers.
I love being part of the Harriers and I no longer need to enter races to get motivated as I now look forward to going out with my friends. I still have a bit of a competitive streak, so beware, if I am in a race and I’m behind you close to the finish line I will try and hunt you down!