my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Mike Wells interview – Part 3 of 4: #Runstreak, helping others to run, and favourite gadgets!

Welcome back to the third instalment in this four-part blog interview series with weight loss success story Mike Wells.

If you need to read Part 1, or Part 2, follow the links. Otherwise, read on to find out how Mike gets others involved in running!

BT: Best race (for any other reason than the one you gave in the last question on the previous interview instalment!)

MW: I think it has to be all the times I’ve guided Terry, who’s an inspirational blind runner at Colwick parkrun. Terry was an amazing runner when he was younger and before he lost his sight, he had a fantastic set of running PBs, including a 15:55 time for 5K! Terry hadn’t been able to run for over 10 years until he started coming to parkrun, and it means so much to him to be able to run again. There are a group of us at parkrun who guide him when we can, and I’ve been lucky to run with him several times and it’s always a real privilege. We’ve managed to get his parkrun PB down a lot, from around 35 mins when he started, to under 27 now. Terry is always so appreciative of parkrun and those of us who are lucky to guide him and all the volunteers, and it’s always such a memorable experience to run with him.

Mike Wells with Terry at parkrun, July 2013

Mike Wells with Terry at parkrun, July 2013

Sub-16 minutes! That’s insane…Terry must have been some runner!

BT: Favourite running piece of kit (electronic or otherwise and reason why).

MW: It’s probably my Garmin GPS watch (I have the 410 – sadly, now discontinued) – it’s brilliant for keeping track of stats while you run and to upload to Strava afterwards  (I’m a real fan of stats) and I’ve recently discovered it’s really good as a navigational tool – you can program it with routes and paces and then it will guide you as you run.

BT: Which running app do you like most and why? (Strava, MapMyRun, Endomondo, etc)

MW: I originally used RunKeeper and I still do now when I’m running a longer distance (ultra races for example) and want people to be able to see where I am (as it has a live broadcast feature). I usually just use my watch while I run now, and only take my phone on longer runs. I do use the Strava app quite a lot now when I’m out and about to see what all my running friends are up to, and comment on their runs and rides.

BT: How do you get others involved in running?

MW: I think it’s a combination of enthusiasm, enthusiasm and non-stop badgering them about it until they join me! Seriously, I hope it’s obvious to everyone how much I enjoy running and how much of a positive impact it’s had on so many areas of my life and that’s what encourages people to get involved.

BT: What is RunStreak all about?!

RunStreak is simple – you run, every day, for as many consecutive days as you can, or want to. Some people decide to do it for a week, or a month, others decide to do it indefinitely – Ron Hill has kept his streak going for nearly 50 years!

The rules are pretty straightforward, the minimum distance is 1 continuous mile, and you have to run (not walk, hop, crawl), but it can be any pace you like. You have to do it on each calendar day, but if you want to, you can run at 10 minutes to midnight one day (as long as you do your 1 mile before the end of the day), then stop, wait a minute or 2, until after midnight and run back again. My personal minimum distance is 5K per day, but the “official” rule is that you only need to run 1 mile, you don’t even need to wear running gear (but some clothes would obviously be helpful!).

That is some serious commitment and discipline. Great work Mike! Perhaps this is how you manage to avoid the colds and bugs that others (like me!) pick up all the time.

BT: At the time of writing and editing this blog post, Mike is now up to 714 days of his runstreak. Yes, seven hundred and fourteen days, where he has run every single day. Can you believe it?!

BT: What has been your worst injury from running?

MW: I’ve only really had one real injury – I strained my back about 4 months ago and it was very painful for a while, so I had to cut back to 5K per day. It’s pretty much fine now, the odd hint it’s still there, but generally I’m ok.

BT: Best moment during a race?

MW: There are so many – possibly being told by a marshal at last year’s Chester marathon that I was the highest-placed fancy dress runner (I was in a pink tutu and fairy wings). I also had some very memorable experiences at the Chester and York marathons recently – meeting the Emmerdale actor Tony Audenshaw (a very keen runner) at Chester, where I was first fancy dress finisher again and then being photo-bombed by him at York while I was having my photo taken by the local newspaper. (Check out the fourth and final part of the Mike Wells interview for images of this happening!)

I was also interviewed on camera while running at York as I was first fancy dress finisher again there, something I never expected to happen!

Any time that someone has thanked me for helping them to get a PB has been a highlight, any time I’ve run with Terry, or most memorably of all, finishing my first ultra marathon (the HighPeak 40 last year) and my longest race yet (the 53 mile Highland Fling), when my son Kieran has run the last 5K with me each time.

What a supportive and helpful son! Good on you Kieran!

Add this blog to your ‘favourites’ and come back soon to read the fourth and final part of this blog interview series, in which Mike shares some pearls of wisdom about running, his take on what would make Strava a better app, his personal running goals and achievements and his recommendations for running literature.

Now, blogging family, if you have any questions you’d like to put to Mike, please do leave the questions as a comment on this post, and I’ll endeavour to collect them together and put them to him. You never know, he could be back on this blog for a Christmas Special!




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