Runner Profile: Stephen Shaw

Firstly thanks to Steve Brooke for the nomination and I would like to apologise that I didn’t read your profile sooner. It would have stopped the confusion on the first training night of the New Year when you mentioned that you had nominated me. I want to let you know that I really appreciate the gesture.

How did I get into running?

As a child I ran everywhere (not being ferried by parents). The school cross country runs being my favourite. Football was so dull, I once got shouted at for picking daisies during a match because I was really bored. At 11 I was introduced to Cycle Speedway and the next 10 years were spent racing round an oval track on a bike without brakes with 3 other competitors trying not to hit the fence like I did on one of my first few races, being jammed with the bike below and me above the fence. It was not a pretty sight and very painful indeed. I soon learnt that to stop crashing you had to jam your foot down on the ground as hard as you could. Dave (Solomon) as some may be aware used to partake in the same sport. It wasn’t until I started running that what I had thought was borderline aggression was in fact the sheer force of his determination to succeed (fairly, of course) and had I taken the trouble to get to know you better at the time I would not have been as nervous of you as I was then (you really are a Pussy cat under that tough “never give up” exterior :-) ).

Luckily I was taking the picture in this shot. It really highlights how things could get out of control very quickly. Looking back I am amazed that there were not more injuries especially as we never wore crash helmets in the early days.

At 25 I met my future wife Tracey. Walking and golf became our sport/activity of choice. I thought that because a lot of my shots were sliced that I would be walking further hence staying fitter. All my fancy ideas about still being fit came crashing down around my ears when,  about 13 years later I decided to run to the shops one day and had to stop after a couple of hundred yards completely out of breath. At that point I knew I had to try and regain some stamina for the sake of my long term health hence the reason to start running. I was chatting to my brother one day about it and he suggested coming along to FRR as he was a member at the time and the rest, as they say, is history.

Most Memorable Race

Most of my memories come from the many runners that I have shared the last 8 years with at the club. From just beating Paul (Osborne) one year in the Two Rivers Run. I only found out later that you had hurt your foot in the final stages of the race so it was a hollow victory for me in the end (This shows the high level of drive and determination that has taken you so far in running and there is no doubt more to come). To helping David (Mayes) to achieve his first sub 7 min mile one dark evening on a timed Tuesday night session from the Dip back to Brackenbury (David, you actually did it in 6.50). Pretty damn good considering when you first started I remember you telling me your goal was sub 10 mins for a mile.

Another time I tried to keep up with Steve (Brooke) on a hill session at Marsh Farm. That was when I had one of my few injuries, pulling my calf muscle. I realised then that Steve was destined to achieve faster and faster times and that if I wanted to keep up I would need to put in a lot more work (this is one of my biggest issues). I know that the more you put in the more you get back, but putting those few words into practice (no pun intended) is easier said than done.

One of my favourite memories is of my lovely wife Tracey with a hot water bottle under her coat, supporting me at the Stowmarket cross country in the snow one year, as I came round on the second lap she shouted “Go faster Mr Shaw my feet are freezing”. There is nothing like a sharp reminder of what it takes to be a supporter in the winter to spur you on to a faster time.

Favourite Race

As some of you might know I don’t take part in many races, I feel that improving as a runner is the most important aspect and I can do that on the many varied circuits in and around Felixstowe.

The races I do take part in are for sentimental and scenic reasons. Firstly the Friday 5 at Kirton, this was the first race I did with my brother Paul so there is a great sentimental reason for me running in this event. The following year he moved to Australia so I hold onto those fond memories whenever I run it.

The same fond emotions apply to the Framlingham and Stowmarket Cross country events; although the respective courses are very challenging, the areas that they are held in are a joy to run.

The Dedham 10k is in a lovely part of “Constable Country” and it is a pleasure to run this one every year. I would highly recommend this race to anyone not doing any of the higher profile events that are normally held on the same day and it would also be nice not to be “billy no mates” as the only FRR runner there. It has an extra bonus as Tracey comes from that part of the world (East Bergholt) so she knows the area very well and has many happy childhood memories of the village.

Honour Run October 2018 (Rendlesham Forest)

What does the future hold?

The future for me is aiming as high as I can; trying to recoup some of the advantage that Paul (Osbourne) has gained. (I blame my age, as I have just turned 50 that must count for something) and to keep wearing daft homemade Christmas fancy dress customs. Although what I was doing dressing as a roman centurion on my first Christmas run I will never know. Thanks to Sam (Kay Linassi) and Linda (Woodward) for agreeing to let me in your team all those years ago. I know my efforts cannot compete with the sophisticated outfits warn by Marion (Parker), Jo (Dickinson) and many others. I was very impressed with Jo (Whelan’s) team of Christmas trees that kept falling over when one of them shouted TIMBER. But that is not the point, I know that the club accepts me for who I am and even though there is a lot of leg pulling, it is given and taken in the correct manner with much good humour and definitely no malice. Our club is one to be proud of; all are accepted and encouraged no matter what their background or ability.

Finally I would like to say thanks for taking the time to read this and hand the baton over to a person who proves (time and again) that there is nothing you cannot do with determination and application. The improvement and development of this runner has impressed me from day one. His life has taken many turns and it has been a pleasure to hear about these over the years. Now before I ramble on too much it gives me great pleasure to say “David Mayes it is time for you to take the stage for the March instalment”.

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