Over time, we’re going to introduce our members by way of a series of questions we’ve put to them; they’ve kindly agreed to let us publish their answers. On this occasion, it’s the turn of Paul Cook
How long have you been a member:
Around 8 years now
Why did you start:
I’d hung up my football boots due to a reoccurring achillies problem and then I was ‘persuaded’ to run the Plymouth half marathon by a work colleague of mine. Spoke to Mick Doughty who used to manage the Up and running store, joined his Monday night group from the Tri Club and decided I liked the tradition of the Harriers and that his view is they were the more serious of the two clubs around development.
Favourite type of running (Road, XC, T&F, Fell etc):
I actually prefer trail races, but I probably run mostly on the road.
Best event you’ve taken part in (and why):
London marathon. Nothing compares to it, the atmosphere, the crowds and just the whole experience is amazing. Close second would be the McTaggart Trot.
Event you’re looking forward to (and why):
Any event at this moment in time. I’d like to run all the major marathons and would like to go back to Berlin to have a go at a time as it’s a great course. McTaggart trot, best event of the year, great event and spirit across all clubs/non club runners.
What’s on your headphones while you train:
I don’t wear headphones ever for training, but when I used to run with music, was generally something like Guns N Roses or something like Counting Crows if I was just going for a jog.
Favourite training session (and why):
I like any session that I finish a) not injured and b) have given 100% effort on the day. If I was to pick one, would be the 4min 3,3,2,2,1,1,1 then 3 x 30 secs all of 50% recovery. Looks simple on paper but if ran correctly (picking the pace up on each level) is brutal.
Do you take your trainers on holiday? If yes, where is the best place you’ve trained/ran?:
All the time! I’ve ran in France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia off the top of my head but running through New York and around central park was great.
Pre race food & drink of choice:
Depends on the event….for a 5k up to a half marathon, probably nothing or a piece of fruit. I recall smashing in a full English breakfast before a half marathon once and didn’t do any harm! Marathon, I’d probably have some porridge, yoghurt and a banana. Always coffee pre race! Night before I’ll probably have pizza…..or curry…Chinese (if anyone needs any nutritional advice you know where to come).
Post race food & drink of choice:
Straight after a race I like a shake, banana or a chocolate bar……unless it’s a marathon then it’s Burger King/McDonalds with a milkshake!!
Favourite place to run:
I think it’s more the company that I run with rather than where. Some great runs over Richmond, Lordstones and even down from high Coniscliffe down by the river but I think who you run with rather than where is key.
Best Club related memory:
There are many lots of personal ones, some great races and training with Simon Rogers and Andy Dobson back in the day, loads of team events, seeing everyone giving 100%. On a personal level achieving sub 60 at Thirsk 10, The first time I broke 3 hours at London and my 2.51 in 2015. Breaking 80 mins over the half marathon distance and running London marathon with my brother, carrying a large bottle of Jack Daniels in my rucksack to keep him motivated and running the Aycliffe 3k with Miya two of my particular favourites.
Proudest moments include the first Darlington 10km race when the club had risen from the ashes (so to speak) and we had a large turnout on high row. If memory serves me well we had 196 runners the following year. Amazing to think how far the club had come in such a short period of time and a lot of effort by a group of people. The other major one was the club achieving the Queens Award for Voluntary services and having the opportunity to go to Buckingham Palace with Ian Morris. Amazing experience and one neither Ian or I will forget.
If you could go for a long chatty run with anyone, who would it be and why:
Jesus…just because after a mile I’d like to ask him if his choice of foot wear was the right one!
Describe our club in three words:
Simply The Best