Runner Profile: Jon Glanfield

How did you get into running

Right. Before I get down to business I want to say cheers to Mr Social himself (Shaun Good) for my nomination, BUT…. I WILL get you for that April fool comment my friend. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but its coming. Sleep with one eye open buddy ;)

Anyway, how I got “into” running. Well that depends what you class “into” running as I guess. Initially running was a tool I used to lose weight. Aged 21 I was a whopping 15 stone 10lbs. I realised pretty sharpish this was not where I wanted to be, and vowed there and then to shed the excess blubber, and that I did! Running (accompanied by a healthy eating regime and a few key life choices) took me from 15st10, all the way down to 10st3lbs! Running was not something I enjoyed, not something I ever foresaw myself enjoying, but it served its purpose, and what I didn’t realise at the time, was that a seed had been planted just waiting to grow. But at this point, I would NOT have classed myself as “into” running at all. In fact, I pretty much stopped running altogether after that.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve found myself a job as a dock worker at the port of Felixstowe. This is great from a career perspective. A job for life that has facilitated the purchase of many an old ford and a forever home for my growing family and I. However, from a health perspective its not so prosperous! 12 hour days and nights, for the most part sat on your rump, and a canteen full of unhealthy options, you can quite literally feel your arse grow if you’re not careful! This is exactly what started happening to me, and I wanted to prevent it. Running had worked for me the first time, so I thought i’d give it a whirl again. By this time technology had moved on and I had got myself a smartphone (ooooh la la). I had installed an app on the phone called endomondo (think Strava, but much less competitive! I refuse to go anywhere near that app, it would consume my life) and could track my runs. This was great, as unlike the first time, I could see how far and how fast I was going and more importantly ….. improvement! As all you fellow runners know, improvement is addictive! I was really starting to enjoy myself now, enjoying running!? I found a 5k route by my house that I would charge,  3 – 4 times a week. Never more, never less, and always flat out! I didn’t know any different. If you weren’t going flat out you clearly weren’t working hard enough! Oh sweet ignorance! But… it was working for me! I was sub 24, then sub 23 before I knew it, then into the 21s! I told myself if I could go sub 21, that would be it, i’d have hit my peak and reach some sort of running Nirvana. The thing is, when that day came, and my watch was stopped at 20:57….. this was no longer good enough. Yep, that was the moment I think I realised I was “into” running! I started running a few 10k’s to mix it up at this point, and every now and then would blast 1 mile just to see how fast I could do it. Then, late summer 2015 I decided  I wanted a medal to display to show people I was a runner. So I entered The Coastal 10. I’d not run this far before. But it sounded like quite a fun distance, and it was a local race, so why not!

The day came and I had fully prepared for it! By prepared I mean I ran 9 miles once to make sure I could go the distance. Not knowing what the hell I was doing, I decided to just go for it, hell for leather, and just try and hang on till the end. This turned out to be, whats the right way to put this? Ahh yes, pretty f**king stupid! By mile 4 I was gassed out (oops) and being passed by everyone. Thankfully this included the FRR Lady Legend that is Lucy Sheehan. Being paced by (i didn’t realise at the time) our very own Roger Stone. I knew Lucy prior to club, and knew she was pretty handy at running. So figured if I could just keep her in my sights i’d be on to a good thing. So thats what I did! I stalked her for the next 6 miles (barely). I came in at 1:14:22. This time meant nothing to me, I didn’t know what it meant. But I finished something like 80th, out of 400ish. Around the top 20% of a field jammed full of proper club runners. This astounded me if i’m completely honest. I’d never realised where I was on the “running spectrum” before. I was just some wobbly runner who ran a few 5k’s so he didn’t turn chunky. But as it turned out I was actually ok at this running malarkey! And this Ladies and Gentleman was the point I realised, holy s**t, i’m categorically 100%  a bloody runner alright!

I signed up that winter for Brighton Marathon 2016, I don’t know why I went from 10 miles to 26.2, but I did. (You’ll read more about this later). Basically I had no-one to train with, I had a long training regime ahead of me, and was not looking forward to long sunday runs on my own. I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a sunday run by Lucy. This one run turned into a near enough weekly thing (work allowing) and I met a lot of FRR members (Sarah Parker, Erika Downs, David Seymour, Paul Schwer, Ben Jacobs, Michelle Gordon to name just a few) that I really enjoyed running with. Everyone spoke highly of FRR, and I knew pretty quickly signing up to a running club was the right thing to do if I wanted to take this hobby further, and the rest they say is history!

Plans for 2017

Well, as this profile goes to press, I should be just 9 days away from 2017’s  “A” Race…… Brighton Marathon. I have plans to try and hit something around (hopefully under) 3hrs 15 mins. Although if i’m honest i’m not particularly confident as it stands. Still, I’ve put the leg work in over the last 15 weeks, so after a nice taper period and assuming the weather is kind, who knows what could happen!? I hate having a plan B, I try to be optimistic with targets so dont see the point, but I need a safety net this year, so plan B is sub 3:20, and plan C is just to beat last years time. Please Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Bob Ross, whoever the hell is up there,if you’ve made it this far through my waffle to read this….. let me beat last years time! You don’t want to see a grown man cry do you!?

Aside from that, I’ve got a sub 40 10k shaped monkey on my back i’d like to boot off (Woodbridge, i’m coming for you!) , a Sub 19 5k, and an overly ambitious but “f**k it i’m gonna try my darndest” Sub 85 Half Marathon in September (Great East Run). Gotta aim high right!?  I always need targets like this for motivation, otherwise I simply won’t bother! If the progression stops, I WILL lose interest.

My long term goal (will be way past 2017 by the time I get this) is a Sub 3:00 marathon. I read somewhere that only 1 percent of the population run a marathon in their life time. Of that 1% only a quarter will get sub 4hrs. That means you are 0.25% of the population, which I think is pretty mad! BUT…. on average just 2 percent will ever get below 3hrs. That means (if my maths are correct) you will be 0.02% of the population, and yep, its that completely meaningless, probably made up fact that ultimately is gonna drive me nearly to the point of total breakdown in some vain attempt to join that sub 3 club! (Inspired by Solly, Gripper, and Roger…. cheers guys, your fault!)

And lastly, not directly running related, but I plan to continue shedding the pounds, and working on core/strength work. I’m sure this is gonna be the key to unlocking the targets I’ve set myself. All part of the running jigsaw so to speak!

Favourite races

To be completely honest, having not been on the ol’ race scene for much more than a year, I don’t really have that many to choose from. But there are a couple of stand outs.

Brighton Marathon 2016 is a race that is going to live with me forever. It was my first Marathon (and only the second race I ever signed up to). I have no idea where the target time came from (my lack of running knowledge/experience shining through at this point),but i’d picked a number I thought sounded achievable which was to try and run it in sub 3:30. Despite the fact I had never run further than 10 miles, and that was just the once. Yep, stupid idea I know! But as the cool kids say these day… #YOLO.  I went online and found the very best 3:30 marathon training plan I could find, by which I mean the first one I could find that I didn’t have to pay for. And I told myself I was going to stick with this plan, whatever the weather, whatever the world throws at me, this plan is gospel! What I didnt realise at the time was just how hard this was going to be. I completely appreciate following a strict marathon plan is a difficult time for anyone, but let me set the scene for you. Not only do I work 12hr days/nights, but I am also a flexible worker, on call 24hours a day, 7 days a week…… this plays complete havoc with any plans you try and make EVER. A trip to the cinema? HA! The pub with your mates? HA! 5 scheduled runs a week!? You must be having a f**king laugh sunshine! Not only that, but just 3 days before my plan officially started, my wife gave birth to our second son, 5 weeks early! So I had flexible shift work, and a young family to contend with,  but i’d made my mind up, nothing was going to stop me! This was without a doubt the toughest 16 weeks of my life. Between work, and looking after a newborn with silent relux, it seemed every spare minute was spent running, and it was hard! Now I am one of those people that has never stuck to anything. Seriously, I have unfinished/part built scale models laying around the house, a project car that hasnt run in 5 years, a guitar I tried to play for all of 2 weeks before getting bored, I could go on! Yep,  I genuinely find it difficult to commit to any plan or activity to see it through. But this Marathon plan was different. With the exception of 4 days off with a chest infection, I made every single run, exactly as the plan said. Sometimes straight from work following a 12hr night shift (man that took some mental strength!) I don’t know why, but this marathon meant more to me than anything i’d tried before.

I rocked up to Brighton having no idea what to expect. I had never been part of a mass participation race before. I had no preconceptions of what I was getting myself into, but it was bloody brilliant! The crowds, the atmosphere, the buzz, its great! If you’ve not done one before (Steve “Pringles” Brooke i’m looking at you mate!) I would thoroughly recommend it, its life changing!

Anyway, i’d paired up with a friend who had an identical goal to me, which was great as I had company the whole way round. We found 1 of 2 sub 3:30 pacers at the start and decided to stalk him round the course. Unfortunately at 16 miles he stopped right in front of us, shook his head, took his pacer vest off and threw it in the bin. Um, what the hell do you think you’re doing mate!?!? We were on our own from there, and it was bleak! We were just about on pace at this point and just thought if we could hang on, we might be ok by the end. But then came hell!….  Anyone who has run Brighton before will warn you of the Power Station section, I myself had been warned by Lucy Sheehan (cheers for the heads up mate). Its soul destroying. If I remember rightly its a 3 mile straight (but feels like 30 miles) where you’re heading away from the finish, but everyone in front of you is on the home straight…. It sucks! At this point you start seeing  the stragglers. The people that pushed too hard at the start and now have nothing left, stranded by the side of the road, all life drained from their faces. We found this absolutely terrifying. I had read all about “the wall”, and seeing all these people that had hit it had a negative impact on my mindset. I felt myself lifting off and couldn’t help it. The sub 3:30 target had seemingly vanished, and all I wanted to do was make it to the end without stopping/walking.

Thankfully, at mile 21 you reach the turning point, and its the sweetest sight you will ever see. The lift you get when you realise you’re homeward bound at this point (even though its 5 miles away) is massive! These 5 miles of the marathon were the most enjoyable for me, i’d abandoned target, and felt confident of getting to the end. The adrenaline kicked in as I could see the finish line, and the last 1.3 miles were under 7 minute pace. If only i’d realised I was going to have this much energy at the finish, I might have hit my target. I came in with an official time of 3:30:55 and was both elated and devastated at the same time. Elated i’d completed the marathon I had trained so hard for, in a pretty decent time for someone that had only ran 10 miles once before entering. But devastated i’d left so much in the tank till the end. Still, as far as first marathons go, this was a doozy! And as said, I don’t think i’ll ever forget it.


Secondly, is Woodbridge 10k 2016. This was the first race i’d entered since joining club. And it was amazing. The Red Army were out in force. The sun was shining. It was great! Not only did we have a giggle before the race started (Adrian Hine drive-by Photobombing the group photo?), but the support out on course was on point! A race is so much more enjoyable with a bit of support on the sidelines. Yep, being a club runner was gonna be good!

Favourite moments

Honestly, I don’t think i’ll ever top the dizzy heights of #Team7 winning the FRR XMAS bash last year. But, as it still remains a sore subject for some club members. I won’t dwell on it. (WOOOOO TEAM 7!)

In all seriousness,  I’m a pretty simple bloke (shock horror). Its the little things that mean a lot to me. If I look back at my first year of club there have been loads of little things that have put a smile on my face. These include and are not limited to …..

– A bunch of us jumping in the sea after a particularly hot club session in August. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything more refreshing in my life. I’m pretty sure this should be mandatory protocol in August on club nights! Although running back bare foot wasn’t quite as refreshing!

-The post club session trips to the Fludyers for cheeky drinks and chunky chips with Tim “Sniffer” Doyle and the rest of the FRR alcoholics.

-The big group photos (I love a group photo!) at Woodbridge 10k and Stowmarket Friday 5.

-The giggles and the grub at Ekiden Relays.

– The complete shock and happiness at the finish of Gt Bentley Half earlier this year when I finished in 1:28:58 after setting out for a 1:32 (thanks to the pacing efforts of Ian “The Dugganator” Duggan). I honestly didn’t think sub 90 was anywhere near possible at this point, so to cross that milestone unintentionally really was a great feeling.

– Getting passed by Jess “Carita in Drag” Farthing on the last mile of Twilight 10k last year, and realising I had an enemy/training buddy for life. Strap yourself in buddy, we’ve got work to do this year!

2016 really was a good year. If there is anyone reading this who is maybe thinking of joining FRR, but hasn’t crossed the line yet…. Just get it done. I promise you won’t regret your decision. I just wish i’d joined sooner!

May profile

Ok, someone had to do this eventually. I say lets get it out of the way. I would love to hear from our beloved club Captain. Mr Robin Harper. Best dust that typewriter off mate!

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3 Responses

  1. Ali says:

    Great story. I still wonder how you manage to be so fast and still waddle

  2. Trish says:

    Great fun Mr Wobble. Fun to read, fun to follow! Thanx