Friday's Inspire! A blog series, inspired by @RunnersKnees a runner who authors the blogs at The Runners Knees.
We "met" via Twitter in the last weeks of my Berlin Marathon training, and he was a great online moral support. Meeting a lot of inspiring runners, who are also bloggers, is one of the many beautiful rewards of the journey towards my first marathon.
He came up with the idea of exchanging 10 running related questions - #RunnersKnees10 - the answers to which will be published at each other's blog pages. You could read my interview @ The Runners Knees blog ~ RunnersKnees10: PaperInEurope. I found the idea awesome, and a great way to usher the blogs about my back to back marathon.
Aaand yes, I did it! Berlin Marathon and 3 weeks later Amsterdam Marathon! Surprise!!! But you have to wait a bit more for the detailed blog(s) about them because I am still waiting for the original photos of both races.
In the meantime, let me proudly introduce you to Darren aka @RunnersKnees answering my first set of #RunnersKnees10 questions !
1. What brought you to running?
This is actually quite an interesting and revealing question. It wasn't anything as simple as being good at running at school, or looking up to a sportsman or woman. I broke my left knee badly in 1996 and again in 2000. In 1993 I multiply fractured my left ankle. With acute tendinitis whenever the weather changed, bursitis and a baker cyst you could land the Mars Rover on, running was never an option. Additionally even walking gave me shin splints.
I was also a bit of a hypochondriac. NY doctors, the internet and my mother are to blame, but all the health anxiety was put down to me never challenging myself.
So put 2 and 2 together and I found the one challenge that would prove my health anxiety was unfounded, I would take up running. And so I did, in March this year.
2. How long have you been running?
Ah, see, I didn't look ahead. I just answered that. March 2012 I started in earnest.
3. Which criteria did you use to choose races you have run thus far?
Races have to be organised, with timing chips, bling, marshals, a published route. Piddly little races with less than 1000 people do not interest me. I am a plodder not a racer.
So I normally go on RunnersWorld and look at big city races first. Then I read reviews from the previous year.
I think my smallest race to date was the TeachFirst 10K that had a couple of thousand people I think. The biggest had 28,000.
I just love to run in crowds.
4. What would be your dream race?
I think a coastal marathon, maybe Hawaii, maybe South Africa. City races are great as am a city boy (I lived in London, NY, SF, Paris – city breaks are my favourite kind of holiday) but I would like to love to run by the sea.
I would also love to run a decent Disney half or 10 miler through the park with US friends in costume.
5. Is there a running athlete/personality you look up to?
I went to the London Olympics and saw a lot of competitions. We all saw Usain Bolt, we all loved Jessica Ennis, but the GB gold, silver, bronze in the Moscow Olympics was my greatest memory and inspiration - Coe, Ovett and Cram. But then in the end none of this made me take up running or inspires me.
6. What other sports do you do besides running?
I used to gym a lot. But I only run now.
7. Who amongst your non-running family and friends would you love to convince to begin with running?
Oh, they already run. But a lot are flakes. Of the original 7 people running Amsterdam 3 flaked at the last minute. 4 days after the race, two still haven’t had the balls to tell us they aren’t coming.
8. And how would you convince them to run?
I would need to really lay on the guilt. All three do run, but are flaky. One runs through Hyde Park with his trainer in camp 1970s shorts but bailed on Amsterdam, one trained for Comrades but is a perennial flake, the other ran the City2Surf but recently got married, comfortable and fat.
9. If you would run for charity, what organization would you support?
I ran for Diabetes Uk, Help for Heroes, MS Society this year but will not run for charities as much anymore because , in this time of austerity, I can't keep tapping my people up for sponsorship, it is just not fair. If I could run for only one cause it would be Help for Heroes – a UK charity for wounded servicemen and women.
10. What races in UK would you recommend a foreign runner like me (for 5K, 10K, half and full marathon)?
Most people do not get into the Marathon in London, so I would recommend the Royal Parks Half, it takes in the sights, or the British or BUPA London 10K races. I think starting and finishing by Buckingham Palace, through Admiralty Arch, running by Nelson's Column and the National Gallery, the London Eye, along the Embankment, by St Paul's Cathedral, back to The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben would be awesome for foreign visitors. Great medals, toilets, timing, music en route, support staff, marshalling. The complete package. Oh, and you get to hang out with me for a post-race pub visit.