05 Oct In the Spotlight – Andy Pearce
Hi all – I’m am so pleased to have been asked to compile an “In the Spotlight” for P&D (as will become apparent as you read through this). My apologies for taking so long, I was a little distracted with an extended journey / run / adventure around France in the brief period we weren’t under total lockdown in the UK!
And I’d like to dedicate this to my loving and inspirational wife Cath who is always there every step of the way, for her ideas on where in the world to run and for always being at the finish line waiting for me! (ED’s comment….good lad!)
When did running begin for you?
Well, back in the day……….
As a young man (and nearly a lifetime ago), our family moved to Monmouth for my secondary education. My father and brother were both very good football players and played at quite a high level – I tried, I enjoyed the running, but when I got the ball I lacked any ideas on what to do with it lol. For my ‘Games Lessons’ (as they were then), my teachers Mr Childs and Mr Phillips were both very enthusiastic about rugby – and needless to say, it just didn’t click with me! This culminated in my ‘school report’ for Games recording ‘Should have tried harder – nothing of any good will ever come of this child!’ After a couple of years playing at this – I just felt that ‘team sports’ were not for me, I just didn’t seem to get it!
So, in 1983, I went off to join the RAF at 16 years old and had a dislike for anything to do with sport!
A few years rolled on, until during the late 80’s when I took up cycling – as in riding on my own from Swindon to RAF Lyneham every day. Fairly quickly, I started to enjoy it and soon found myself riding / racing for a couple of clubs and doing 100 mile plus rides on the weekends and I started to enjoy finding something that I liked, and that you could become better at if you just rode more! Not much skill involved, just ride more!!
Time rolls on, I left the RAF behind but continued with my riding – racing and riding for a local team. I started running at lunch times with a great friend – Ed Tucker (Helen Jenkins ‘nee Tucker’) and my enjoyment for running started to really get going. At around this point, I first heard of P&D through ‘Keith the cough’ who was always extolling the virtues of the club. So, combining these two strengths, I took to Triathlon!
My Triathlon really was based on my riding ability and then a desperately ‘hanging on’ during the run!! Anyway, I got better as time went on – now having competed in 10+ Ironman Triathlons, raced for Team GB in 2 European Long Distance Triathlon Champs, in 2008 became Welsh (Vets) Triathlon Champion and have now completed 42 Marafuns (and Ultra-Marafuns) – even though I still couldn’t run!
I even got to race for Wales on my bike too!
When I did begin to run, I never thought running was for me. I still don’t consider myself as a ‘club runner’ and I still doubt myself as a ‘runner’ and am really just a bloke who does some running. Like my riding, I’m just enjoying it and will keep moving forward to see how far I can go with it. I’ve never achieved ‘greatness’ and am still learning more about this ‘running lark’!
Why do you run?
I run to keep myself looking young!! 😄😉
I also run so that Lisa Cleary / Debbie Williams can shout at me!! I run to be amongst my friends – might explain why I run mostly on my own lol!!! 😄
I love the sense of camaraderie I get from running – people tooting their car horns at me when training, trying to beat my friends at parkrun, encouraging others at parkrun, races, cross country etc. and generally trying to be the best that I can be – for a sense of achievement / relaxation. NOT because I’m competitive!!??
What race or moment in your running career holds the most significance and why?
So many! In line with my narrative here – I never thought I was capable of taking part in the Welsh Castles Relay! To have been asked if I wanted to run Stage 10 (a King’s Stage) into Newtown at the end of Saturday was a significant highlight in my ‘running career’ – and this Club gave me that chance. I shall be forever grateful for that opportunity! The ‘short old man’ got to run alongside some truly great athletes, like Richie Gardiner and Tim Cummings!
The sense of camaraderie and team spirit that weekend was really something special. Welsh Castles Relay brings out the best in me, we get to run, we get to spend time with other club members, we get to make special memories and we get to let our hair down together………… all things that seem a bit alien and distant right now, but those times will come around again and we’ll need to be ready for them!
Who is your running inspiration?
Some of these questions are harder than others – but this was an easier one for me! My running inspiration isn’t from a famous person somewhere in time doing something fantastic, it’ comes from people we all know and love! Some days I think I’m too old to be chasing PBs, but then I look at our ‘more experienced members’ like Simon Williamson, Malcolm Bradley and a whole number of other Club members that still get so much out of running. They inspire me – if I can get half as much enjoyment from my running as they do, then some of the best (running) days of my life are still in front of me!
What event, past or present, would you like to take part in and why?
I wished I had taken part in the first ever Barry Island parkrun. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have been part of a fantastic journey and I would have made so many more friends some time ago!
Fondest club memories?
It seems like such a long time ago, but Gwent League Cross Country events hold some of my fondest club memories! There is so much team spirit when we all squeeze into the ‘marquee’ to eat cakes and discuss trying to keep up with each other – making special moments in time with Lisa, Tania, Mandy, Ian, Kev, Nathan, Simon, Sarah, Yvonne, Cath, Beth, Nige, Emma, Malcolm (to name but a few – I’m sure there’s many I’ve missed). These memories will have to keep me going until such a time comes when we can make some new ones! 😄
What golden piece of advice would you give to other runners?
As most know, I’ve now temporarily hung up my tri-suit in search of a ‘decent’ marafun time. So, over the last year, reaching 50 parkruns, P&D camaraderie, Welsh Castles Relay, my 42nd marafun and lock down PBs, I’m still learning and still getting there!!
I’m doing OK for someone who started late and for someone who was deemed to be a ‘sporting right-off’! And that’s my point, no-one should ever been put in a ‘box’ – never let anyone classify you as an ‘X’ 5km, an ‘X’ 10km, or ‘X’ marathon person. As long as you’re enjoying it, keep on doing it! Treat it as a journey and enjoy the ride!
The same plan this year as last year, keep travelling around the world having a great time in search of the perfect marafun! I will keep trying to go under the magical 3 hours – maybe then I can sit back and appreciate ‘greatness’! Depending on when this is published, I might be relaxing from my Virtual London Marafun! Next one will need to be in a sunnier climate………..(ED’s comment, Andy recorded a cracking time of 3:43 with his mate Jeff Cox)
Who would you like to nominate?
I’d like to nominate Kit Lambert, our Men’s Club Captain!