Runner Profile: Will White

Thanks, Louise, for the nomination – you were correct, it was my session that you first attended at FRR! And yes, it was one of the famous “Will’s Hills.”

I can’t imagine this will take long, as my story isn’t lengthy (I’m still young, you see). As a kid, I was always sporty. I loved PE and always wanted to be the best at whatever we did. I played football and started swimming competitively at an early age, reaching the regional level. One of my earliest achievements was being called up for the Year 6 swimming gala when I was in Year 3—lining up looking so out of place… and then smashing everyone!

My first experience with proper running was at the start of high school with cross country. I sort of enjoyed it, but swimming was still my priority. I then found my way into the world of triathlon via Hadleigh Hares. I remember getting my first road bike and competing in my first triathlon – a TriAglia super sprint at the Hewitt Academy School in Norwich.

I dipped in and out of triathlon through my early years of high school, while always maintaining my swimming – regularly competing and doing the yearly Great East Swim with my family (always aiming to beat them all). I continued to do the yearly cross country at school, regularly getting through to the subsequent rounds (and always winning the 1500m race on sports day). However, I never really caught the running bug. I remember being dragged to my first ever parkrun at Ipswich and absolutely hating it. I’m still not sure if that was just me being difficult and trying to kick up a fuss with my mum, or if I actually didn’t enjoy it (I try to pretend it was the latter, but somehow think with all the other sports I did, it was just me being difficult)

A few years went by, and I continued to do the odd triathlon. Now that I was getting a bit stronger and my brother started to get involved, we naturally started to race each other. This competitiveness still hasn’t gone, and we’re constantly trading blows (think I’m winning? But who’s keeping score… this is my profile, he’ll get his time). I then left school and went to sixth form, discovered going out and drinking, and eased off the racing. I still did the odd mad thing (mostly with G), such as cycling up Mont Ventoux in France on my dad’s bike.

When we went into lockdown, I moved in with my brother (G) for about 3 months. In this time, I rediscovered my love of cycling and started to properly run – this was partially due to there being nothing else to do, plus G’s idea of a “fun” Saturday. Throughout the few years of COVID and the various lockdowns, I cycled and ran and absolutely loved it. I worked up to 10-mile trail runs, exploring every footpath in and around Hadleigh, and did my first-ever 100k and 100-mile bike rides. Every lunchtime I was either running or cycling (making the most of being an apprentice working from home). I moved to Felixstowe in the summer of 2021 and quickly joined FRR. I loved running as part of a club, pushing myself and training hard. My first race in red was the Suffolk Cross Country Championships at Nowton Park, Bury. I remember turning up and being told I was in the men’s team – I think this gave me the prod to finish second red home on a very muddy course. I continued to run parkrun and the odd Friday Five and started to make some great friends in Felixstowe. A few months after joining the club, I ran the Bury to Clare trail race with G, and we came in 2nd and 3rd. The buzz I got from this gave me the idea of a marathon. I hadn’t ever run a proper half, but the thought of going big straight away had me gripped. I ended up entering on the train back from the Bury beer festival (naturally), but when I woke up the next morning, I certainly didn’t regret the decision!

In the months leading up to my debut marathon, I followed my first-ever structured training plan. I loved having a clear goal to chase – that elusive sub-3-hour marathon. I was running more than I ever had and was in great shape. My debut half marathon came in well under race pace over the old Severn bridge. Race day came around, and myself and G headed off around the streets of York. Through halfway and feeling fresh, then we hit 20 miles, and the times got tough. I ended up dropping G, which probably fuelled me further (he dropped me at the half, so I didn’t feel guilty). I pushed on to the end, and even though I could see my splits starting to drop, from about 5km out I knew I had the sub-3 in the bag – the only question was by how much? I ended up crossing the line in 2:58:55 – not a bad debut! The following months were full of drinking and partying (and the odd hungover race), and running pretty much went out the window.

I soon signed up for the 2023 Manchester marathon, and for this, training didn’t go quite as smoothly. I was back and forth between various niggles and certainly hadn’t done the miles I needed. While training, I was asked to pace my colleague and friend’s sister to a PB at parkrun. I’d seen her a few times at club sessions, and in the excitement of getting that sub-25, I asked her on a date, and we’ve continued to run parkrun every week together since! I went to Manchester and started the race in PB fashion. Through 10k and felt great, but soon after, I started to get some pain down my leg. I struggled through to the finish, went on a great night out, and then was on crutches for a week (something about a torn calf). The next few months involved very little running but quite a lot of cycling, as I started to prepare for my next adventure.

In the summer, I gatecrashed my parents’ holiday and travelled down to the south of France with them. I then thought it would be a great idea to cycle home instead of catching a plane or train. For nearly 3 weeks, I pedalled my way (the long way) home, twice through the Alps, visiting the likes of Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium (only for the beers). I arrived home, and within 24 hours, I was on a plane for a lads’ holiday in Ibiza – I’m still unsure if anyone has had two polar opposite holidays in such a short space of time.

Shortly after the summer, the talk of doing Outlaw Triathlon came up. Unfortunately, with a wedding on the same weekend, I couldn’t sign up. As an alternative, I signed up for Copenhagen Ironman in August with G. The last few months have been full training mode, with a few holidays and probably too many beers, but as I said at the start of this, I’m still young, and I’m absolutely buzzing for this summer and every race to follow.

For next month’s profile, I would like to nominate one of my best mates (who I met through FRR) – Haydn Wade

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.