Neil has been running since spring 2018. After a medical in April 2017 he realised his weight of 16 stone 8 pounds needed reducing. He joined a gym and initially struggled with 5 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill. He improved his diet and in April 2018 he had lost 6 stone. He ran his first 10k in May 2018 and hasn’t looked back since. Neil also writes a blog to inspire members of his running club to continue their running journeys.
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What is your proudest running achievement, and why?
Running my first 10k, the John West Spring 10K in Liverpool in May 2018. My goal was to lose weight and be fitter, but by running this race I proved to myself that I could do it. The time was not important, I just wanted to finish it.
What has running taught you about yourself?
Running has shown me that I am a lot stronger in myself than I realised. I still find it hard to believe I have completed all the races I have. It has also increased my circle of friends, and shows how inclusive running can be. It has shown me not to judge people by their looks or body shape; anyone who steps outside and runs, jogs or walks is doing more than most people.
What is the most ambitious running goal you’ve ever considered?
It was ambitious to run my first half marathon, the Village Bakery Wrexham Half Marathon in February 2019. But it was running the Port Sunlight 5k and 10k races in June 2019 with 20 minutes of recovery that was even more ambitious. While the distance was shorter than some of my training runs, it was the challenge of running two races in a morning. Also, running three laps of the same course, was mentally challenging.
How far in advance do you plan your running races?
A few races are planned a year in advance – as soon as the race for next year comes out, I enter it and get it an early bird entry. Other races are not planned, they are recommended by friends.
What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week?
I think the most miles I’ve run in a week has been 30 miles; this was training for the half marathon. I had a long slow run of 11 miles, and did some smaller runs, including parkrun on a Saturday.
What is the longest period you’ve ever trained for a race?
I think it was three months for my first 10k race. It was getting out of the gym, and running on the roads, getting my body used to the change. It was hard work, but it did pay off.
What has been your most serious running injury?
Touch wood, I haven’t been injured yet.
What cross-training exercises do you commit to?
The day after a race, I will go down to the gym and do some light cycling, followed by stretches, lunges, and planks. Sometimes when I don’t feel like running I will do some stretches, lunges and planks at home.
What would persuade you to work with a running coach?
I am not sure how I could be persuaded to use one. We have running coaches at my club (Dockside Runners in Liverpool) and also some very knowledgeable athletes who are Team GB duathlon and triathlon age-group European and World athletes. They have been fantastic in their advice.
In one sentence, what does running mean to you?
Running has made me feel better physically and mentally – I know that I can better cope with anything thrown at me.