my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise
You may never have heard of him. Who? Mike Wells of course! But I have a feeling you’d like to…You do? Great! Then read on…
Part 1 (of 4) – All About Mike
A few months ago, as I was getting used to the Strava app on my phone, I started searching for Strava users in Nottingham. I’m not sure what made my start to ‘follow’ a guy called Mike Wells, but I did. I’m glad I did. Because now, I have access to enthusiasm, encouragement and inspiration to run whenever I look at my app!
This blog post is dedicated to sharing with the blogsville the awesomeness that is Mike Wells, and why he gets so many ‘likes’ and comments every time he posts his exercise, no matter how big or small, on Strava!
Things like what I described in the first paragraph are rare. Less so now, in our technology-driven age, but still rare. I have still yet to meet Mike in person, although I have been on the same run as him at the same time, but we didn’t bump into each other. At that particular time, I’d only just ‘met’ Mike, so I wouldn’t have known what he looked like anyway.
Based on his attire at his most recent events though, I think I’d have spotted him (pink tutu, bunny ears and the ability to swivel round with a smile on his face (and without falling over) while running 26.2 miles.
The following represents a pretty accurate interview we conducted via the reliable old e-mail service. I wrote some questions and Mike enthusiastically answered them…in detail!
BT is me, barefoot tc. MW is Mike Wells, just for clarity! Enjoy the interview!
BT: In three words, describe yourself as accurately as you can!
MW: Flapjack-obsessed running dad! J (BT: I’ll allow the hyphenated ‘word’ this time Mike…)
BT: Why do you run, rather than cycle, or swim, or row or something else?
MW: Lots of reasons really – I do still cycle regularly, and love it, but it’s never been more than a social activity / way of getting around for me. I think the biggest reasons I now choose to run, rather than any other activity comes down to 2 things:
1) The accessibility – I can run pretty much any time, any place – I just need shoes, shorts and a top and I can go. I don’t like cycling in bad weather, or walking in the dark and cold, but I’m happy to run pretty much any time, any place and in any weather.
BT: I’m with you on the convenience. This is what got me running when I realised that with a young family (and a third child on the way any minute now), I’d have to pack in cricket and football commitments for the foreseeable future, if I was going to do a good job as a husband and father.
2) Far more importantly – the people I run with. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to run with my family, my friends, colleagues and even my next door neighbour. Running with others is incredibly motivating for me and it’s a great shared experience, every day.
BT: Mike appears to be working on an alternative career at the moment as a professional ‘pacer’ at running events, where he has managed to bring people their new PBs at anything from 5k to Marathon distance, including helping a friend to a sub 3:30 marathon, beating his previous PB of 3:41!
BT: What got you into running specifically?
MW: That’s a really good question (BT: Thanks Mike!) – I found running really difficult for a long time – even after I lost lots of weight and got pretty fit through cycling, running was something I found really tough, and far less enjoyable than bike riding. Then a friend at work suggested I should enter a sprint triathlon, so I did and found that I actually did better in the run (which was only 5K) that I was expecting, but I still found it so hard and not enjoyable at all (other than getting to the end quicker than expected!).
I was determined to keep improving my fitness, so someone else suggested I should enter a 10K, so after a bit of hesitation (as I’d never run that far), I signed up and started trying to up my mileage. Quite by chance, a couple of weeks before the 10K, I heard about our local parkrun at Colwick Park in Nottingham (it had been going a few months then) and the day before the 10K race, I went to parkrun with my kids for the first time. We were instantly hooked – the atmosphere at parkrun is just so friendly and infectious, and we immediately decided to go back the next week (and I’ve now completed 90 parkruns!).
The day after parkrun, I was really nervous about the 10K race, but that went brilliantly too – I started chatting to another runner about 3K, it turned out he’d never run a running race before either, and was feeling just as nervous and out of place as I was. We kept chatting all the way to the end of the race, and it seemed much easier than I was expected and we finished quite high up the field, with a time of 45 mins, and have kept in touch ever since. Those two great experiences, my first parkrun and my first 10K race, in consecutive days, got me totally hooked on running and I have been ever since!
parkrun is an amazing organisation. If you haven’t already checked it out people, I give you permission to check out the link to it…but remember to come back for Part 2 of the interview, which will be posted soon!