Richard joined Team RR in 2017 and has gone from strength to strength. Not one to shy away from a challenge, he recently ran a half marathon through the Snowy Mountains of Australia and if you’re really lucky he will offer to fly you to an out of town fun run if he can get the plane that day! Meet Richard…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am now 65. Have been married for 42 years, am a father of 3 and a grandfather to 5. I run a family owned, specialised engineering supply company which my wife and I purchased from her parents in 2003. I was born in Grafton NSW, where rowing was my sport of choice on the mighty Clarence River. I played squash in Sydney until my knees were not happy to be even walked on from the week previous. Growing old (disgracefully) I made it to 135kg with Type II Diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Tell us a bit about you and running – How? When? Why?
At age 59, whilst tablets were controlling the above, it was not going well. Initially I joined a local gym “Healthy One Lifestyle” at East Hills, got my weight down to 112kg, but my good cholesterol was almost immeasurable. My doctor said “You need to walk”. Not being one to do things in moderation, walking was out for me, but running was in! Enter: Panania parkrun, and all of a sudden I found myself asking “Who the hell are “Rachel’s Runners”? (whom have a large presence at the event).
In 2013 I ran a total of 80 km. In 2017 I ran 1173 km, including 2 half marathons, various 10 km events and one memorable 6.25 km – one hot lap around Mt Panorama race track!
I am now 93kg, no blood pressure problems for 4 years, cholesterol is stable below 4, and I’m almost no longer a diabetic (0.1 to go). I now run 35km a week, with 6 sessions of gym.
Is it easy? No. Why do I do it? Because I can. Believe it or not, my hips, knees, ankles and lower back are better, stronger and more pain free now 6 years in.
What’s the best thing about running for you?
I mention parkrun above and this mob called Rachel’s Runners. What a mob of the most encouraging, inclusive and supportive mental morons you could ever encounter! A group that thinks a 5:30am departure on Sunday morning to run 12 km, gaining 340 vertical metres is a “good idea”. At some stage someone, on every hill, will say “push” and we will find that “Yes you can”.
What’s the best thing? I will never set any records apart from my own, but you know what? That’s all I have to do! You have to start to be able to finish. Come and start with us – nil judgement made!
What’s your favourite piece of running equipment?
My feet – they get me there, at about 164 paces per minute. To protect them I like my Brookes Adrenaline and Saucony Peregrine. For those who know me, my head sweat band is also a favourite!
What’s your biggest challenge with running?
My biggest challenge is hearing what my body is telling me and obeying the physio’s “no more than 10%” increase. It used to be motivation on a bad day, me or weather, but the commitment to turn up to a trail or road session helps here.
If you could invent a running or fitness tool or toy what would it be?
A portable nano metre radar to detect spider webs on trails in the dark, especially if it’s the centre of the web and the spider is sitting in it!
Any tips for fellow runners?
Take your rest days!