Tom – “I only started running again due to a drunken bet with a mate”

Name: Tom

Location: Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Why/When did you start running?

I ran at a very young age – my Mum was a good club runner so I joined her athletics club’s junior section. I was super keen and used to keep a “jog a log” book of all the runs I did but I stopped abruptly at senior school and didn’t start up again until after university (where I focused too much on pizza and beer).

I only started running again due to a drunken bet with a mate about who could run the fastest half marathon. In all honesty I needed to lose a huge amount of weight so it was just the catalyst I needed.

I’ve been running on and off ever since but over the last two years I’ve really got properly back into my stride and am loving it.

What has kept you running?

A number of reasons really – keeping fit both physically and mentally, the desire for self improvement, and taking on (and accomplishing) new and different challenges.

What’s your proudest running achievement to date?

Running my first marathon and also getting a sub 40 minute 10k.

What’s your favourite race/run you’ve ever taken part in?

Two stand out; The London Marathon is something else – every runner should do it once in their lifetime. I did it in 2022 and it was an incredible experience.

The second was my home town race the Alcester 10km in 2021. I ran a PB and a couple my friends came up to run it too. After the race we went straight to the pub in our running gear and I fell asleep still wearing my medal. Great day.

What’s the worse race/run you’ve ever taken part in?

I love races – there’s always such a good atmosphere so the only ones I’ve disliked are down to my own lack of preparation. My first half marathon was one such experience. Did noooo do the training!

Do you have a favourite parkrun? If so… why?

I love Parkrun but it’s my wife’s thing so I’m usually looking after our daughter. I’ve done 21 to her 120! I’ve only done 6 different ones (I think) but my favourite was last one I did – Newtown in Wales. Small and super friendly. Nice course next to the river.

What’s your preferred brand of trainers and is there any reason why?

My last 4 pairs have been New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s. Such a comfy lightweight shoe. I’ve already got another pair ready to go when my latest pair run out!

Do you have any tips for new runners or those thinking of taking up running?

  1. Comparison is the mother of all fuck ups. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – even your former self.
  2. Just do it for your own reasons whether that’s for headspace, enjoyment, self improvement, fitness whatever.
  3. Run slow unless going for a PB.
  4. Don’t let a bad run put you off. Your next one could be a ripper. I run 4-5 times a week and some runs are just rubbish.
  5. Do Parkrun. You’ll be amongst the very best of people and it’s a great way to start a Saturday.

What’s your ultimate running ambition?

An FKT (Fastest Known Time) of a long obscure trail run that nobody gets close to beating for years. Or a sub 3hr marathon. But the latter is pie in the sky!

Adem Djemil
I only started running at the age of 37, completing the Couch to 5k course, and since then I've been hooked, running 4 times a week and even completing several marathons and an ultra!

This is part of our series called 'Runner Stories' where our aim is to demystify running and show the wide variety of people that take part.

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