Runner Profile: Jess Farthing

Thanks ‘Matey’ (Stuart Mason) for the nomination. I have finally been caught.

School Days (late 80’s)

Although I was an active and sporty outdoor kid, I never really excelled at any particular sport. It was football, football, football at my school. They all wanted to be a striker like Jason Dozzell or keep goal like Craig Forrest. But not me I was rubbish at football, always the last to be picked. However, Athletics and Cross Country was something I was good at, and more importantly, it was something that I enjoyed.

Onto my mid-twenties (late 90’s)

I’m living in Ipswich and a good friend mentioned that he had started running and I was asked if I would like to train with him. Before I knew it we had entered a couple of 10k races in the Cambridge area near where he lived, then we entered and ran “The Great North Run” in 1998. My greatest memory, apart from crossing the finish line, was all the runners and supporters shouting “Whaattssuuuuuuup” as we passed under a bridge at the start. It was a craze at the time from a Budweiser ad. If I’m honest I really didn’t really enjoy running at the time and so didn’t keep it up.

Fast Forward to my forties (2015)

I now find myself residing in Trimley St. Mary and I’m married to my beautiful wife Carita (I had to say that as she is going to type this up for me and correct my bad spilling and terrible grammar!?). I’m turning forty and decide to give up smoking. Yes, I’d smoked on and off since my late teens and now a twenty a day man I was a little overweight. So I quit the smokes and started running again. It all started with runs round the block in the early morning before work and very slowly I started increasing my pace and distance. This time I was enjoying it and persuaded Carita, my beautiful wife, to join me, we were soon addicted (me more than her). I then went on the internet to find some local races that we could run and found a 10k trail near Thetford which we booked and ran together. Running a race with your beautiful wife definitely tests your marriage, nevertheless I was hooked.

Leap one year on (2016) Joining The Club   

I signed up and ran a handful of races through 2015 and kept bumping into runners with Felixstowe plastered on their vests. I would often chat to them before, during and after the races. After hearing that I lived in Trimley I was encouraged to make an appearance on a Tuesday night down at Brackenbury. One very dark, rainy, November evening I plucked up the courage and braved it. I was nervous. Walking on to the fenced area of Netball Courts, I recognised someone that I had chatted to at previous races. He asked if it was my first time, I nervously squeaked a “yes”, he replied “stick with me tonight, you’ll be fine”. I later found out that this was his usual chat up line. Thanks Lee Crisp. I loved the club night and went home buoyant. I informed Carita, my beautiful wife, who joined me a couple of weeks later at Brackenbury to run and we soon joined the club. I was later told by some of the ladies there was a hunt for female runner called Jess in the club that was fresh to the group, turned out to be me. My name has also got me into trouble, when at the end of a couple of races I was awarded a top three position as a female runner. You can imagine their surprise when I’ve walked up.

A few months later we found out that we are expecting our first baby. Zack later became known as the FRR baby, as he came to many races and events with us. He was present at the annual awards evening in early 2017 when, to my complete surprise, I was awarded Best Newcomer 2016.

We have loved being members of the club, meeting on Tuesdays, races and social events. Everybody in the club was welcoming and friendly. We have made so many new friends and formed some great relationships.

Favourite Races

This is easy, parkrun (not a race, I know). What’s not to like? It’s weekly, it’s free, it’s every Saturday morning, global and has a very friendly and sociable atmosphere. The best thing is you’re only racing yourself by trying to beat your best time. Other favorite races in order of distance:

  • 5k parkrun (Anywhere!)
  • 10k Woodbridge – Always a good showing from the reds.
  • 10 mile Hadleigh – Sorry for not choosing our Coastal 10, but I lived and worked in Hadleigh for many years.
  • Half Marathon – I had to choose two: Stowmarket & Colchester. I love these two local races, and this is my favourite distance.
  • 20 mile Tarpley – Scenic and fun.
  • Marathon Brighton – Great Weekend.
  • Ultra Marathon Peddars Way – To be honest this is the only ultra I have run. I ran this race with Dan Clark on a very wet and muddy January day. We were supported by our friends and family the whole way round and I loved it. It was a tough race but we laughed all the way from the start line to the finish line.

Supporting (drinking)

I have been lucky enough to travel with the club to support the Mighty Reds. These destinations include Valencia, Amsterdam and Coniston in The Lake District. We went as a family and I have some great stories from these adventures. I would love to broadcast these here but my memories are a little fuzzy and I don’t want to get the club website brought down. Alcohol was heavily involved in a number of these trips, especially Valencia, which Shaun Good has great tales of.

The Future 

I have never been one for plans. I’ve never really been able to stick to a training plan either. I have started enjoying the longer, slower runs, with the hydration pack on my back and a podcast in my ears. I’d like to run a more marathons and would also like to do some more adventures with the club, supporting (drinking) and running.

Next Victim  

This wasn’t easy as a lot of club members have already written a profile. The person I’m going to nominate is someone that I have run beside many times. I also see him in and around the village of Kirton, where we both now live. Over to you, Len Saunders.

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