Thom Darby

Stopsley Strider Club Member Profile
This month’s club member is Thom Darby, aged 36.

I am and Assistant headteacher who is in charge of a sixth form and teaches History and Politics.

Did you do sport at school?
Yes, I played for the school football and rugby team throughout my time at school. I also competed for the school Cross Country team. My biggest sporting achievement was being Year 8 School District Champion for 200m and Long Jump.

When did you start running & why?
I started running one day when a work colleague asked if I wanted to join him in running round the school track one day after school. I think I managed 4 laps in about 11 mins. It took me 4 months to get to run 5 miles. It was the best thing I ever did as it helped me lose about 4 stone. 

What made you come to Stopsley Striders?
Another work colleague kept on at me about how great Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers were and that you only improve properly as a runner as a member of a running club. So I came, went for a run with Stuart Harries around Bushmead and decided he was right (but not about A&FF).

What is your favourite run/course? 
Down the lane by Putteridge high school, down Lilley Bottom, up through Beachwood Green, through Tea Green and Cockenhoe and back home again.

What is your best run?
Flitwick 10K in 2011. My previous best was 44 mins something and ran this consistently for a few years. I did 42:55 and had to check my watch several times to check the time. This was due to Alison Sugars overtaking me on the last hill and I made sure I stuck with her to the finish. She was just as surprised by her time as I was. The speed work we had done with Bill was finally paying off!

What was your worst run?
The Stevenage Marathon 2014. This was my first marathon and in the last 6 miles I felt sick, had cramp and walked a vast amount it. I learnt that a marathon race doesn’t start until mile 21. I pledged not to do a marathon again and then received my charity place for London 2015 the next day!

What was your most memorable run?
The London Marathon 2015. This was the only time I have ran it and I would love to do it again. This is the only event where as a lay person I felt like a professional sports person with all the supporters shouting your name for 4 hours. Everyone should try it. You won’t regret it!

Do you like cross country?
Yes I love it. I’ve done the Orion 15. Now that’s a Cross Country. 15 miles. Epping Forest. Enough said!

Assuming you have spare time, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Spending as much time as I can with my twin children. I would like to play football again but then when would I fit in the running?

How many times a week do you run?
2-4 times per week depending on what I’m training for.

What is your average weekly mileage?
About 15-20 miles per week. When I was marathon training it was 35 miles.

Do you do speed work or specialist training?
I try to do the Thursday speed work session and at least one another tempo run per week.

Do you follow a diet regime before competing?
When marathon training I do, especially on the days before and after a long run.

What piece of your kit do you think is the most important?

Who is your hero?
My grandad. He beat cancer twice. The first time he was also caring for my nan who had Alzheimer’s. An absolute legend in my eyes as he maintained his wicked sense of humour throughout all of it.

What do you like about the club?
Nobody judges your time, running pace or ability.

What would be your advice to a new club member?
Do regular speed work, always try to do a weekly long run and don’t try to race every week. Have confidence in your ability and you will achieve your running goals.

What is your running song to get you over that line?
Foo Fighters – Best of You

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