Runner Profile: David Church

Firstly thank you to George Seward for the nomination this month.

How I got into running

My profile is not going to be the longest read as unfortunately I did not get into running until August 2016.  My background is not particularly sporting with only playing youth football in my teens.  Whilst Jenny and I were away on holiday in Lanzarote, most mornings Jenny was getting up and going for a run on the prom.  The conversation whilst laying on the sunbed relaxing one day turned to running.  Jenny said “Dave why don’t you start running”?  My reply was “I’m not running anywhere”!  Well from that conversation a new chapter in my life opened.  On our return home I decided to download the coach to 5k app and took a trip to Sports Direct to get kitted out with some basic running gear.  Seven weeks of starting out I ran my first parkrun at Kesgrave in a sub 30 minute time.

I was really enjoying running so I decided to sign up for the Alton water 10k in May 2017 which I set myself a target of 1 hour, which I completed 58 minutes.  This was my first and only race unaffiliated as shortly after I joined FRR.

Becoming an FRR

I remember turning up to my first Tuesday training session, warming up and heading off down to the prom for a hill session on Convalescent hill.  I was completely out of my comfort zone doing circuits on the hill and thinking OMG I hate hills!  As I have now grown to learn that most of these sessions have some significance to upcoming events which I found out when I ran my first race as a red at the Ipswich Summer 5k Series a week later and tackled the hill twice in Christchurch Park!

Since then I have moved up through the distances, in the latter part of 2017 taking part in my first Coastal 10 mile race and in October 2017 the Cabbage Patch 10 mile race in Twickenham,  followed a few weeks later by my first half marathon at the Great East Run Ipswich.  Last year I took part in most of the Friday 5 Series and also the Ekiden reply race which was a great team day out.   This year in February I took part in the Tarpley 20 mile race which was my longest distance until I completed the Brighton Marathon in April this year.

It is surprising how one conversation can change your life, after being quite inactive, working long hours as an HGV driver.  I am now 3 stone lighter, fitter and healthier than I have ever been.  I have made new friends through running and am really enjoying being part of a running club with the friendship and support that this gives me.

Most Memorable Race

For me this has to be the Brighton marathon earlier this year.  After my second London marathon rejection I knew I was ready to have a go at running this distance.  I took on an 18 week training plan which Jenny had found.  The training was tough but I reaped the reward on race day.  The day itself went surprisingly well, the weather was good and the support from the crowds was amazing, it was good to see some fellow reds dotted around the course shouting us on.  My pace was good from the start albeit a bit quicker than I had trained for, but I felt good and as the miles ticked away I was holding this steady.  I did have to dig deep between miles 15 and 18 where I felt I lost my focus a bit.  After that we headed into the dreaded dock area which I had heard so much about how grim and what a lonely part of the route it was, but I was feeling good at that point.  My focus was now on the last 3 miles and by now it was bang into a cold headwind.  It was tough, I was digging deep but when you know the reward you have trained hard for is within touching distance you find an inner strength.  I crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 15 minutes and 23 seconds.  I had achieved what I had set out to do, now my thoughts turned to Jenny achieving her biggest challenge and I did not have to wait long to see her cross the line and share a very emotional hug.

What does the Future Hold?

2018 was a good year for me being my first full year as an FRR member and I was nominated for  most improved male, for which I was runner up.  I want to carry this through this year, staying fit, setting some more PB’s and entering some different events.  Most of all I want to keep enjoying my running and hopefully an entry to the London Marathon as I hit the big 50 next year!

Next month’s Nomination

Thank you for taking time to read my profile.  My nomination for next month is last year’s top female newcomer Jo Blyth.  Over to you Jo!

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