Stephen is an older athlete who competed in the second ever running of the London marathon. He talks to Sundried about all things running.
Have you always been into sport?
No! At school I was the kid who hid when it came to PE. I think I am what you call a late bloomer.
What made you decide to enter the world of distance running?
I was into rock climbing when I was in 6th form and beyond. I then watched the 1st ever London Marathon on TV and thought ‘yep, that looks cool, I might have a go at that’! Never having run before, I got an entry and completed the 2nd running of the event.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I now compete as a V60 athlete. I won my category in the 2018 Eden Project Marathon after 2nd places the previous 2 years in the half marathon. It is a really well organised event and uses small lanes and trails as well as a superb finish right by the Eden domes. I have many V60 1st places but I feel this one was hard won.
And your proudest achievement?
After a serious illness and time in hospital back in 2009, my 2 sons and I completed a non- stop Lands End to John o’ Groats cycle relay. The three of us completed this in 68 hours 15 mins with my wife doing all the support driving. We raised a lot of money for Cancer Campaign in Suffolk.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
Not one of my longest races, but I did the Motatapu Trail Marathon in New Zealand a couple of years ago. I had done it before and wanted to get on the podium in my category. I felt ‘a bit off’ before the race and at the highest point in the race with 10 miles still to go, I got the worst cramp I have ever had. A helicopter that had landed to evacuate an MTB competitor waited to see if I too needed a lift! I don’t do giving up so I did get to the end under my own steam but the lesson is, if you feel unwell leave the heroics to another day.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Setbacks make the successes all the sweeter.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
When I reached V55 I based my performance (or lack of) on what I was doing when I was 28. A coach friend of mine gave me the simple advice to start V55 as a ‘new career’ - forget all PBs before that. Simple yes, but it got me into the right place mentally.
What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?
My major goals for 2019 are almost completed including the Keswick Mountain Festival Ultra Trail Race and the International Snowdon Race. It is now back to cycling for my major 2020 goal which is the Tour Aotearoa in February. Luckily it is in New Zealand so it is summer there!
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Anyone who overcomes adversity to compete or simply enjoys taking part in sport.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I first became aware of Sundried when they supported the Clacton Half Marathon, shortly after their launch. I liked the idea of sustainable sports kit and the use of coffee grounds had me hooked. I own several of the original tops which just last and perform so well. I have now ordered a full set of Cadence cycling kit and can’t wait to put it through its paces.