This month’s club member is Christopher Green, aged 30.
I am Partner in a Solicitors’ firm in Bedford, specialising in Litigation and Contentious Probate.
Did you do sport at school?
Yes, I played for the school rugby team and ran for the school cross country team. I also ran for Luton Athletic Club and played for Stockwood Park Rugby Club, representing Bedfordshire at both sports.
When did you start running & why?
I seem to have been running for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I was torn between running and rugby, enjoying both. However, it came to a point where I needed to concentrate on one. My decision was made for me by the fact that all the other lads at rugby seemed to have a growth spurt and I didn’t (I’m still waiting for it!). Getting knocked about every Sunday morning began to take its toll and so I focused on my running.
What made you come to Stopsley Striders?
It was actually my parents. As mentioned, I used to run for Luton Athletic Club, which is far more track orientated. However, I found that I was enjoying cross country and road running far more. At about the same time, my parents joined Striders to keep fit and said how friendly everyone was. That, together with its emphasis on road and cross country running led me to join when I turned 18.
What is your favourite run/course?
A few years ago now, there was a big group that used to go out on a Sunday morning from the Barrells. An old boy (I forget his name) used to lead the group, initially heading down the Crem road and out onto the tracks beyond. We seemed to be extraordinarily lucky with the weather most weeks and I didn’t have a clue where I was, where I was going or where I had been. I really enjoyed those runs and the company.
What is your best run?
My PBs are all pretty old by now. Some highlights for me were (i) the Flitwick 10K in 2006 where I ran 35:59, (ii) the Leighton Buzzard 10 mile in 2006 where I ran 1:00:29 (it still bugs me I didn’t get under an hour that day), (iii) the National Cross Country Champs in Parliament Hill (can’t remember the year) and (iv) the Exeter Half Marathon in 2007 which I ran in 1:22:59. The first three were because I knew I had left it all out there and felt good on the day. The fourth one was because it was my best Half and I ran it whilst I was at University in Exeter so I had a lot of support and cheerers.
What was your worst run?
The London Marathon in 2010 was a very tough run. At that time, there was a very competitive group of runners at the club and I still remember the pain of our Monday and Thursday night sessions, tonking it down the A6 past Barnfield, racing each other. That year, we were all flying and I went into London feeling really good and confident I could break the 3 hour mark. Lord knows what happened on the day but I hit the proverbial wall at around 22 miles, had to walk a bit and came in at 3:17:44. It was a sharp lesson in the fact that Marathons can go either way, regardless of the amount of training put in, and that a decent portion of it comes down to luck and things going right on the day. I will try again at some point!
What was your most memorable run?
The Wall in 2013. It was a 69 mile ultra marathon from Carlisle to Newcastle. Myself and Stuart Harries entered the race because Mark Sains had mentioned he was doing it and for some reason it sounded like a good idea to us both. It took us 18 hours to complete and I found out a huge amount about myself. I thought I’d find it easier than I did and that I’d be able to push myself more than I actually could. I wouldn’t have finished the event if it hadn’t been for the support and company of Stuart and our better halves. However, after a few days of hobbling around, I looked back on it as a very memorable and (sadistically) enjoyable experience.
Do you like cross country?
Yes, really enjoy it. The races are generally tough but they are enjoyable. I love the “argy bargy” and elbows at the start of the race, the changeable weather and the mud. Again, it is one of those things where you come off the course knowing you’ve worked hard and put a lot of effort in, which is a very satisfying feeling. In addition, there is coffee and cake waiting for you afterwards, which is always good.
Assuming you have spare time, what are your other hobbies/interests?
My daughter, Sophie, takes up a fair amount of my time these days, as does Bernie the Cocker Spaniel. I also still love my rugby, being a season ticket holder at Northampton Saints. Finally, if there is still any time left, I enjoy getting out on my road bike (which hasn’t happened for a while, I admit) and taking part in Triathlons (something else which hasn’t happened for a while).
How many times a week do you run?
At the moment, about 2 – 3 times. However, if I can ever get myself back fit again, then I used to do around 4 – 5 training sessions a week.
What is your average weekly mileage?
Recently, I’ve managed to get it back up to around 15 – 20 miles per week. Again, if fit, it used to be around 30 – 40 miles a week.
Do you do speed work or specialist training?
I haven’t done any speed work for a while but have done it in the past and intend to go back to it soon. Those sessions can make a huge difference and breaks up those monotonous, long, runs.
Do you follow a diet regime before competing?
Not really. I am currently on a diet to lose weight. However, when running well, I didn’t think too much about food, save that it involved a fair amount of pasta and carbs. I always knew I would burn it off. Sadly, when the training dropped, my appetite didn’t follow. If I’m doing an evening or week night event, I usually aim for a foot-long subway at lunch, which has worked wonders for me in the past.
What piece of your kit do you think is the most important?
Shoes. I have suffered from a fair amount of calf problems over the last few years, which along with numerous other excuses I could come up with, has led to my running decline. I am starting to think it is connected with a change a few years ago from Asics to Nike (largely for style reasons). Best piece of advice is find a good pair of running shoes that you get on with and stick with them.
Who is your hero?
Running wise, I’ve had a keen interest in the career of Steve Prefontaine over the last 5 – 10 years. He was a world class distance running from America who died in a car crash when he was in his early 20’s. He is a bit of a cult icon in the US, largely because of his running philosophy. He hated tactical racing and believed that you should always give it your all. Accordingly, he always went out hard, ran from the front and held on. That thinking has helped me in those races when you are hurting and you’ve just got to grit your teeth and suck it up.
What do you like about the club?
Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. The older members of the Club also have a vast amount of experience to tap into and are more than willing to share. That ranges from actual training advice, to showing you new routes to try out, and simply being a source of inspiration given the times that they used to run.
What would be your advice to a new club member?
Be confident in yourself and just get involved. I help out with the beginners’ course and most newbies always doubt that they can do the next session. However, they always get round and many say they found it easier than expected. They should trust their abilities more. Also, to get the most out of the club, you need to get stuck in. Help out with races or socials, try out the different speed / track sessions on offer. The more you put in, the more you will get out of it.
What is your running song to get you over that line?
A bit of a cliché but I enjoy the soundtrack compilation from the Rocky movies. Just don’t try to hurdle a park bench during a training run, it doesn’t end well.