He may be a man of many parts but laurels have seldom been in less danger of being rested on. Iain tells us how he got started and what keeps him going.
1. How did you get into running and why?
I started running in 1981 when at university in Northern Ireland. I wanted to join the Army so I needed to run to get fit to pass the selection tests.
For many years running was a means to an end. I was a rugby referee for over 12 years, having been an official at Twickenham for services games and for an international match. Very minor one!
However, since leaving the Army and joining the Quakers I have learned to enjoy running and getting out and letting my mind wander or have a little “red” time. I prefer to run without music now.
The Quakers were my headspace and exercise time when I was a teacher.
2. What kept you going when you first started running?
The prospect of a job, and actually I found I enjoyed getting outside and running around my local area. I was always a very active person, a Scout, a keen mountaineer for many years. There was not a lot else to do in Belfast in the late 1970s and early 80s anyway.
3. How much training do you typically do each week?
Typically, I do around 6-9 sessions a week, swim, bike, run and gym.
4. Be honest, do you enjoy training?
Yes; I love it; especially at the end of a session when I know I have pushed myself. Either a hard, early morning swim or run to set me up for the day or a run with the Quakers to help me relax at the end of the day.
I like long cycle rides at the weekends, especially the coffee and sausage bap en-route!
I like to save my longer sessions to the weekend.
5. Do you do any other sports or fitness activities?
I am also a triathlete and a triathlon coach. I am working my way up the distances.
6. Do you manage to fit in any other hobbies?
I manage to keep myself busy with being parent taxi, governor at Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College, Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts in Darlington. I coach in Darlington Triathlon Club, mostly juniors; and I also have an allotment. The strawberries are particularly nice. I have grown grapes in Darlington. Not quite a Grand Cru, yet!
7. Tell us about some of the races that you’ve done in the past
I have done quite a few races in the past. All of them memorable for their uniqueness.
I liked the Richmond 10k for its hills, Snape 10k for its terrain and location, Darlington 10k for the support you get from the town, and Croft 10 for making the mistake of not wearing headphones and having music playing as a distraction.
Best of all are the Quakers you meet at events. It is fantastic and I am sure we are the biggest represented club at most races, which says something about the atmosphere in the club.
8. What’s your current running goal(s)?
To get under 45 minutes for 10k and, if my body holds out, to get under 20 mins for 5k. I am almost there with 46 minutes a couple of years ago.
9. What are your longer term running goals?
To continue running/exercising for a long as I physically can.
10. What is your favourite race/distance/terrain?
I prefer mixed terrain. I have recently grown to like Cross country. Something I actively avoided in my youth. I prefer up to 10k. However, if I am to attain the goal of an Ironman I will have to increase the distances.
11. What are your proudest running achievements?
Getting under 50 minutes at the Leeds Abbey Dash a couple of years ago. It was here I attained my first running goal; getting under 50 minutes.
12. Anything in your running experience you regret?
Not starting to run earlier for enjoyment and being consistent about it.
13. How many pairs of trainers/ running shoes do you have and do you have a favourite pair?
I have three pairs, Road, Trail and XC. I particularly like On road and trail shoes.
14. What’s your idea of running heaven?
I have found a great route along the Tees river. Or out in the countryside on a nice long slow run at a weekend.
As a bit of cross training I love getting out on my bike for long rides, often with a coffee and a sausage sandwich en-route.
15. What’s your idea of running hell?
I hated squad runs in the Army.
16. What is the best piece of running advice you’ve ever been given?
17. Any advice to newcomers to running?
Invest in your “physical pension” and you will stay fit and active for longer.
18. What keeps you going when the going gets tough in a hard race?
Staying ahead of my wife!
19. How do you relax/reward yourself after a race?
What is great after events is the camaraderie of the Quakers.
Being around club members whilst having a piece of cake and a cuppa is a great reward.
20. If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be?
USA or Canada. I am aiming to complete my first Ironman Triathlon in my 60th year.