Runner Profile: Len Saunders

My sporting life  

Solo, single, individual are words that describe the common theme that runs through all the sports I’ve taken part in throughout my life! I was never much of a team player so naturally found myself excelling in cross country at school while at the same time I could be found mountain biking or charging around country lanes in Worcester on my road bike. Upon leaving school, I took up rowing, primarily to continue a family tradition and race in the Doggetts Coat and Badge race held annually on the River Thames, although I also competed as a single sculler for several years all around the UK.

Work eventually took over and without the time to fully commit to rowing, I returned to the saddle and the B roads of Suffolk, but something was missing and gradually my interest faded. A chance encounter with a Felixstowe Running Club member, Vic Breadman, while working on a job next to her parents’ house resulted in me attending a couple of Club nights before becoming a fully-fledged club member in 2016. My new membership caused me to come full circle on my sporting life! Although the biggest difference now is that I feel part of a team and enjoy the social side of the club as much as the running.

My favourite race

My favourite race is a no-brainer – it’s the Framlingham Cross Country – please no jokes about me trying to relive the cross-country races of my youth! There is something special about the race – I don’t know if it’s the scrambling out of the moat, getting covered in mud or the incredible backdrop of the castle but it is definitely my favourite race.

And obviously I can’t mention races without acknowledging the race reputation I have built for myself within the Club. No, it’s not being top of the leader board week after week, it is my ability to be come out of the blocks like a 100m sprinter even if the race is 10km and my inability to get to a start line on time! And for the record I’m probably too old to change either of these things – I hope you continue to enjoy the entertainment I provide!

Favourite leisure run

I moved to Kirton in 2018 to a house which is on the Friday 5’s Series route – a fact that completely sealed the deal for me – joke! I frequently run this route, not to practice for the return of racing (is that cheating?) but because it’s a great route – there’s a good mix of road and track and you can see for miles across the flats of the fields. And of course, living on the route means I’m never late to the start!

What I’m looking forward to over the next 12 months

I’ve really missed racing over the last year and I’m most looking forward to returning to Park Runs – probably the most we can ask for in terms of organised racing this year. But moving into 2022, I’m excited for the return of the Friday 5 Series and the Ekiden relay – I promised I’ll be on time!

Who I’m nominating next

Kerry Buckley, who like me, has done a good job of outrunning the runner profile for far too long! Over to you Kerry!

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