One of the characters of Team RR, Craig is always up for a laugh, a fancy dress run and if you’re lucky enough when you hit the wall, you may be the recipient of one of his special long run remedies – that’s if, of course, he hasn’t already taken it himself! Meet Craig…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in the mid 60’s; eventually off to school at De La Salle, Kingsgrove then moved to De La Salle, Revesby Heights and then on to Benilde High, Bankstown, where I despised Maths.
I finished school reasonably well accredited but then drove a meat truck around Sydney, before I become a CNC programmer and Laser Cutting was my forte at Padstow, before I got a job with the Big T (Telstra) in 1989. I have been in revenue management/billing for 29 years this year – remember, I hated maths? How things turn out, hey?
I am married to my lovely wife Rosanna with our only daughter Ceana who is currently in Year 9 at All Saints, Liverpool.
Most importantly, being born in Kogarah I have to support the great Dragons Rugby League team too!
Tell us a bit about you and running – How? When? Why?
I was never a runner. I played rugby league, then moved to soccer for 30 years and continue cricket to this day. I retired from playing soccer at 39 and did very little for a few years until I was convinced by my wife Rosie to do something other than sit on the couch and watch motor racing plus virtually every other sport.
So, I joined a local Bootcamp…at over 100kg! I came home from the first night of the introductory lesson; the beep test, push ups, sit ups and the rest of the exercises, (all of these initial fitness tests must be designed by the devil) and I said to my wife, “The bootcamp instructor is going to kill me!” Well after that, I proceeded to get better and what was an initial six week program, effectively has continued to this day. Now, I hit the gym up to 4 times a week with mainly boxfit and circuit classes.
One funny story though as part of that initial bootcamp, Fartlek was a regular occurrence and I’d never heard of it before, so I went flat out on the first part, only to find out when I got back, I misheard the instructor and we had to go again and again and again! I learned to like Fartlek, but also learned to listen to the coach/instructor more attentively too! So important for all of us, we must listen to our great running coach very carefully. 🙂
After several fun runs, several half marathons and lots and lots of bootcamp, I decided it was time to give a full marathon a crack in 2013 – the Gold Coast Marathon. I set myself a goal finish time of 4 hours 30 min as I was doing consistent half marathons at around 2 hours. At halfway through the event, I was exceeding my target at 2 hours, but then not long after, there was that “imaginary” running wall, which I ran into it big time! I eventually came across the finish line in just over 5 hours. At the time I was a little disappointed but the feeling of completing a marathon outweighed the disappointment.
Several months after the marathon I had an extremely dizzy incident on the way to work and ended up in hospital for a week, only to find out I had been diagnosed with an Ischaemic Stroke. No warning signs and no real explanation as to why this had happened to me. Anyway, it slowed me down for approximately 6 months and made me want to come back stronger. Although to this day I don’t run as fast as I use to before it, I feel stronger in many other ways.
Since commencing running I have managed to rack up a few nice pieces of bling with numerous 10/11/12/14km events, 10 half marathons, 1 full marathon and my latest achievement a Ultra Trail Australia 22km – and yes, a little teaser, I am planning to do UTA 50 in 2019 too!
What’s the best thing about running for you?
Simply maintaining my fitness and wellbeing. Running gives me lots of time to think; it helps physically as well as psychologically. I feel it cleans the mind and helps you make better decisions in life.
One of the most important keys to running is to be involved with of a great team of like-minded people, whom provide the inspiration and constant encouragement of everyone around you.
What’s your favourite piece of running equipment?
My Garmin Forerunner 235, good socks and my favourite running shoes, which at the moment are my “clean” Asics Nimbus 19’s or Adidas Supernova ST Boosts for road and not-so-clean Asics Venture 6 for trail. Oh, also some red snakes for energy too and fancy pants on special occasions, only!!!! There may be also a small bottle of something special in my backpack for incentive on trails. I’ll leave that to your individual taste to imagine, but never more than 50ml…*hiccup*
What’s your biggest challenge with running?
The days everyone has where you question why are you doing this to yourself, but you realise at the end – the advantage. A lot of times, the hard days turn out to be your best runs and they feel more rewarding overall.
If you could invent a running or fitness tool or toy what would it be?
To be able to bottle the feeling you get when you cross the finish line of a good run, road or trail, the euphoria and achievement that #yesyoucan!
Any tips for fellow runners?
Although it takes time and lots of effort – training, training and training – it sets you up very well to get time and distance under the legs. Training can be boring at times, so mix it up and run with a great team of like-minded people; Rachel’s Runners provides this is so many ways. I also think you need to find a happy medium and learn to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, as there will be times during running it will be hard and you will question it lots, but keep in mind what the end goal is always. Remember to finish, you must start!