Gary Trow is an illustrator and 3D artist from Poole who now runs a training base near the Loire Valley in central France, for runners and triathletes. He took up running and cycling after playing football. He is still trying to break 3 hours for the marathon.
What is your proudest running achievement, and why?
My wife and I completed our first marathon together. It was the North Dorset Marathon in 2009. We didn’t really consider ourselves runners back then. We weren’t a part of a running club and had only done a couple of 10k races before entering. We started and finished in a respectable time, side by side, in pain but happy.
What has running taught you about yourself?
That I needed to take better care of myself. Years of playing football had taken its toll.
What is the most ambitious running goal you’ve ever considered?
I did consider doing Transvulcania for my 40th birthday, but moved to France to train with people instead. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is still a distant dream.
How far in advance do you plan your running races?
For marathons I train for three to five months. For smaller races, I can book a race two days in advance if the weather is right.
What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week and why did you run that far?
110km. I decided to take it easy and try to run at least once every day for a couple of months without expectations or speedwork as an experiment and to set a good base for the spring. I have always struggled with injuries (due to playing football) and I also try to cycle and swim so my run training had always been optimised for injury prevention and time constraints.
What is the longest period you’ve ever trained for a race?
I trained for five months for the Loire Marathon, but nine months for a series of races leading up to the 2016 London Duathlon Ultra. This included the Cardiff half marathon, Cotswolds 113 Tri and Littledown Marathon.
What has been your most serious running injury?
Back injury, where muscles kept spasming and pulling discs. Due to bad posture, working environment and bad running technique. I needed two months of physio to straighten my spine before starting to run for five minutes at a time, whilst learning to run more efficiently.
What cross-training exercises do you commit to?
Lots of cycling and swimming. Regular back stretching exercises and glute bridges in front of the TV.
What would persuade you to work with a running coach?
Having a goal that would warrant the outlay, confidence in their methods and a trial period to assess relationship.
In one sentence, what does running mean to you?
Running is about self improvement, a time to mentally de-clutter and an outlet for my competitive streak.