How did you first get into running?
Over a couple of beers before an Arsenal game in 2012, my mate asked, “Do you want to run on Sunday?” I said, “Yeah, why not.” He told me about this race along the beach in Bournemouth, we did that, and I haven’t looked back really. The next week, we were going back up on the train to London and my mate said he was going to beat me in the next race. Obviously I said, “No you’re not” and that was the start of competitive running for me.
And now you’re a bona fide runner, what do you enjoy most about it?
I enjoy getting out, getting some headspace, and getting away from the Mrs! (Don’t tell her I said that.) You get that freedom in your head, which I really enjoy. I run anywhere between 12 and 30 miles a week, depending on what I’m training for. I’ll go out for a five or six-miler twice a week and then anything up to 15 on a Sunday.
What inspired you to enter Big Marathon Challenge?
My wife was watching some crap on the TV and I was reading the mag. I saw the competition and thought, why not? I’d love to go sub-3. It’s a big ask but I think my other times suggest I can do it. I’ve just always struggled in the marathon, because I’ve never followed a set plan. So the idea of working to a structure was what interested me in the first place, and I intend to follow the plan to the dot, just to see if I can do it.
It’s going to be a really big ask, but I think I’ll be there or there abouts. If I don’t do it with this plan, at my age I’m never going to do it, so this is my one last chance and I’m going to give it a real go. My biggest worry is getting ill or injured, because if you’re ill – even if you get a cold – you can miss a week’s training and that can screw you up a bit.
If the early days of training are anything to go by, though, you’re in with a shout…
Yeah, I had a race on Saturday, the Boscombe 10K, and knocked a minute off my PB! I did 37:56, which isn’t bad for an old boy, is it? I was racing one of the younger lads who’s been beating me all season and I just wanted to have him. I ended up passing him on the track right at the end.
And what are your thoughts on the training plan in general?
I hate being out my comfort zone, in the sense that I always stick to the same sessions. But I did a threshold session on Tuesday night that was on my plan and I hated it, but thought I had to do it. If I was on my own, I would have done two or three intervals then thought, b******s to this, I’m just going to run now! But because I’ve got a plan, I’ve got to report back and don’t want to let anyone down, I pushed through it.