01 Jun In the Spotlight – Paul Morton
Many thanks to Kath for my nomination! Luckily, I am not back in work full time so had a spare 10 minutes to knock this up!
My running journey began in 2015, aged 33. I had started piling on the weight and had not completed any exercise since I was a teenager really. For some reason, for my new year’s resolution I decided I would enter the Cardiff Half Marathon and raise money for Clic Sargent, I had never done either of these things so thought I’d give it a go.
It took me 5 months to venture out, my first run (walk) was in May 2015, I tried running around Roath Rec, I got to Penylan library and had to walk home. I was mortified. I told Hannah (my partner) that I had made a huge mistake and will never be able to do it. People had already started sponsoring me, so I was panicking. Luckily, Hannah is a good egg and told me I could do it and continually encouraged me to get out and try to run/walk further.
(Paul and Hannah at Llanelli HM 2019)
I persevered and was getting further and further and starting to enjoy it. I decided to enter the Cardiff 10k which was four weeks before the Cardiff Half. I got around in 51 minutes which I was ecstatic with.
Four weeks later I lined up in the last pen at Cardiff Half, I finished the race in just under 2 hours. My journey had begun, and I was hooked.
In 2016 I entered more races in the spring and was getting faster; I thought I would look for a club to join. I took part in the Barry Island parkrun one Saturday, which happened to be taken over by P&D. My barcode got selected for a free entry to Porthkerry 5-mile race. After completing my first marathon in Liverpool I joined P&D, the club was not local, but it felt like it was meant to be! I cannot get to many sessions as I live in Cardiff and have been a member of another club at the same time. I am so pleased to be representing P&D again as first claim.
(Paul running 3:13:18 at the 2019 Manchester Marathon)
I thought about why I run, long and hard and there are several reasons. It keeps you relatively fit, it gets you out of the house and you only really compete against yourself. However, I think the main reason I run is I feel alive when I do it. Cheesy I know, but it is the truth!
(Paul running 3:12:09 at the 2019 London Marathon)
I am not sure if I have mentioned it, but I ran sub 3 in Berlin last year! This is definitely the most significant moment in my running career so far, as I ran my first marathon in 2016 with a time of 4:24. I never thought I could get to sub 3, I had a few people who believed I could do it and there were people who said I couldn’t do it, this just made me more motivated. I owe a lot to Richard Jackson-Hookins for Berlin, he gave me lots of tips and for three months last year he was amazing, the pre-race nutrition tips were the key.
I just loved Berlin itself. Hannah and I had a great time (no kids).
So many people inspire me to run, its hard for me to single anyone out. The elite runners are inspiring with their dedication and commitment to living the life. Similarly, I get equally inspired when I see someone starting their running journey at parkrun and/or people who are running to overcome personal/physical trauma. Every runner is special in their own way.
When I am not getting any faster, I’d like to go further and take part in an Ultra-Marathon, not sure which one yet. Also, the dream would one day be to complete all the Marathon Majors, I have completed two, but my fear of flying may prove problematic!
My advice to other runners would be to focus on yourself and not others, make sure you run for the reasons you want to. I see a lot of runners get hung up on what others are doing. Some people want PBs, some people want to socialise, some people are not worried about times. Just let everyone be and enjoy running whilst our bodies allow us to. (I am aware that I may not actually follow my own advice, lol)
If you are a runner looking to get faster, ask the faster runners for tips, that’s what I do.
What’s up next?! Well I decided that I would take a year off marathons in 2020, great timing!!
I am currently just enjoying training and building a base for when we can run again, at present my focus is geared up to the autumn Cardiff Half or Swansea Half, although these may not happen.
Spring 2021 I will have a go at the marathon again, first option would be London if I qualify, if not it would be Manchester. Do not tell anyone, but I have a pipe dream of sub 2:45 for the marathon! Can I do it?! Who knows, I’ll give it my best shot!
I’d like to nominate our Chairman, Simon Williamson as I’m keen to know his story and how he achieved his astounding marathon time!
Some photos in this feature courtesy of Paul Stillman and Robert Gale, thank you gentlemen.