Our Marathon Runner Brand Ambassador Chris
Hopefully you saw our blog post all about our Ultra Marathon runner Holly, her top tips and adventures- well, now we’re introducing Chris, our marathon runner and all round sportsman. He’s let us know all about how he became a marathon runner and how he fits training in between his career as a paramedic. Plus – of course – why he loves a pork pie for training.
Ever since I was young I have played sport, never stopping, 7 days a week! Eventually finding my love of hockey at the age of 8, and then being one of those children having to be ferried around all over the county and country playing hockey. Never stopping and never happy with the level I was at and making my way up through the ranks. Playing men’s hockey when I was around 12 years old, then going from County level, to Regional level, to National League and eventually representing Wales at International level.
I had years of great experiences and fun playing at such a high and competitive level but eventually life and career got in the way. As people who play teams sports know you have to be available at specific times of the week and shift work is not conducive to that. I found my love of the road bike and spent a lot of my time with friends climbing the hills of the Peak District before eventually coming back to the South West when I began work for the ambulance service as an Emergency Care Assistant. I again made my way up through the cycling ranks and eventually came to a halt when attempting to gain my 1st cat. Licence. At this time I was introduced to running again by having a go at the Bristol Half Marathon in 2011. At the same time I was also introduced to Duathlon (run/bike/run) and I found myself doing my first sprint Duathlon and Half Marathon in the same week. I completed the Half Marathon in a time of 80 minutes which I was told was rather good as I had no idea what I was doing! This is when the next sporting journey began, as I focused on the Standard Duathlon distance, representing GB in my age group (AG), but never really achieving as it was just fun at the time.
In 2013 I became a fully fledged paramedic and it was also around this time I began a new focus on the Long Distance Duathlon or Powerman. This became a serious goal as I realised I was more of a diesel engine and was much better over the longer distance. Putting in over 20 hours per week training and holding down a full time job was hard and I had an understanding wife (and still do). I gained multiple AG medals, National, British, European and World medals. I eventually was lucky enough to pull on the Elite GB suit and represent GB in the European Powerman Championships in 2016. All the hard work paid off! That year I finished 20th overall in the World Powerman Championships, not bad for a paramedic.
The here and now
In 2016 came the introduction of mini me, my amazing son Charlie. At the end of the 2016 season I hung up my cycling shoes and just ran. I commuted to work on the bike but spent most of my time running and enjoying it. I am good friends with Holly Rush (another ambassador for Vale of Mowbray) and the conversation arose of “why don’t you have a go at the marathon?” July 2017 was the start of the marathon journey and October 2017 was the first marathon. Not a lot of build up training and I was definitely underprepared! I managed to get my first marathon done and dragged myself over the line in 2.49.07. This was when I realised I could do it and wanted more! We have worked so hard over the year, balancing family, training and work so that I can gain the best running I can.
My overall goal is to get that sub 2.30 marathon and highlight that anything is possible. I have a stressful and hectic lifestyle but still manage to sustain a consistent training schedule. Sleep is a massive factor and you never get used to shift work, but the mental strain the role of a paramedic goes through is enough to tire anyone out.
Why the pork pie?
I am so excited to have joined the Vale of Mowbray team in supporting my nutritional needs. People assume that as an athlete I eat salads, how wrong they are! Yes, I don’t go out and eat certain fast food meals, but I do maintain a healthy but specifically fuelled diet. Porkpies are a great source of fuel for any Long Distance athlete and Vale of Mowbray are great combination of carbs, protein and fats, all great energy sources, and they taste GREAT!