Ian Morris

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 Ian Morris

How long have you been a member?

About 4 years

Why did you start?

David McKenna!  I was just a hobby jogger and was trying for a Darlo park run PB one day when Dave kindly helped me with pacing. I got my PB. 

He suggested that I think about joining the Harriers.  I laughed at first – me, a member of a proper running club?! – but at Dave’s suggestion I got in touch with Paul Cook who let me onto the club’s Facebook page.   Then I came to my first club track session and I grinned like the Cheshire Cat while I did 800m reps.  Me, Ian, running around a proper running track with proper runners!   One of the best decisions of my adult life, and I remain very proud to be part of the club.

Favourite type of running (Road, XC, T&F, Fell etc)?

Definitely off-road trail & fell running, the higher the altitude and the more technical the terrain the better.  I am happiest running hard over rock and technical terrain in the Lakes or Scottish mountains.  

Best event you’ve taken part in (and why)?

Hardmoors 60 ultra marathon in 2017. 

It was my first ultra race and I had no idea how I would do. I’d ran two marathons before but couldn’t get my head around finishing a marathon, then turning round and running back to the start line, and then doing another 10 miles! 

But I got great support and advice from awesome people like Heather Ford and David McKenna and from fellow competitors that year Mark Milner and Peter Foulds.  I’ll never forget getting to the checkpoint at the top of Whitby Abbey steps after 30 miles and thinking “b**dy hell, that’s not even half way!”

I learnt so much about myself that day.  It’s a bit of a cliche but when we push ourselves way beyond our comfort zones and our previous personal limits it can be life-changing.  At 40 miles I was ready to quit and was actually starting to hallucinate a bit; by the time I got to the north bay at Scarborough 50 miles in I was in a real state with acute pain in one of my knees and it took all my willpower to run around the north and south bays doing alternate run/walk reps between the seat benches that line that route every 100 metres or so.  But then as it got properly dark and I left Scarborough with my head torch lighting the trails I got this weird second wind and ran the final couple of stages really strongly, passing loads of people on those last two sections. 

When I finished at Filey after covering 62 miles in 14hrs 55 mins, and in 62nd place out of 162 finishers, I was elated and I was a different person to the one that had set off from Guisborough the previous day. 

Event you’re looking forward to (and why)?

My first ultra once lock-down has ended!  I had planned an epic year this year and have had my main two races cancelled already…including the Lakes Traverse 60 which I was really looking forward to running and was going to be my big effort of the year…but…I am holding out hope for the Lakes in A Day ultra still going ahead in early October and going back to try to beat my PB from last year.

What’s on your headphones while you train?

I love music but I very rarely listen to music when I train. I never wear headphones when I am trail running – it’s not the done thing and it’s such a waste of the sensory experience of the countryside.  The only exception is on medium length easy road runs when I can’t really bothered to get out of the door and so I take some tunes as a bit of a bribe.  My favourite easy running album is currently Beautiful Freak by Eels, and I also listen to some of the Another Late Night chill out albums too…helps me to slow down on those all important easy runs! 

Favourite training session (and why)?

Either long days up in the mountains in daft weather, because I really enjoy daft weather and love a bit of ‘kit’, or, short fast technical runs up in Swaledale because I just love that part of the world and the thrill of bombing down loose trail and rocky bits with my tongue out and ears flapping like a dog!

Do you take your trainers on holiday? If yes, where is the best place you’ve trained/ran?: 

Yes, always!  I was lucky enough to do some work out in Australia a few years ago and had a day or two leisure time while I was there. I did an early morning run on a very quiet and secluded coastline north of Newcastle (near Sydney).  I only saw two other people – two blokes fishing from the beach – and at one point a couple of pelicans flew past me, parallel to me along the coast.  I collected a few shells which I have still got.  That was a pretty awesome run!   

Pre-race food & drink of choice?

A decent Espresso coffee, water, porridge for a long winter run or toasted cinnamon & raisin bagels with peanut butter and banana for summer/shorter runs.  

Post race food & drink of choice?

I don’t eat very well after long races.  I’ll make myself eat a protein bar and/or recovery shake but it’s usually a few hours before I can stomach proper food, so just lots of liquid to re-hydrate.  Strong Yorkshire Tea is my recovery remedy of choice, perhaps with a nice slice of carrot cake or similar if there’s one going!

Favourite place to run?

High up in the Lake District, very early in morning.  

Best Club related memory?

My first Harriers track training session 4 years ago, with Cookie shouting encouragement to me every lap (see above!), or for a non-running event definitely the Tea Party at Buckingham Palace (with Cookie again!) as part of our club’s Queens Award for Voluntary Services

If you could go for a long chatty run with anyone, who would it be and why?

Bob Mortimer, although as he’s had a triple heart bypass a long chatty run is unlikely so probably one of my running heroes like Ricky Lightfoot, Kilian Jornet, Nicky Spinks (who I’ve met and ran with on an excellent fell running weekend organised by the awesome Mel from DueNorth Events). 

Or just anyone who loves the trails and is happy listening to me talk about kit while we run!

Describe our club in three words

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