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Richard strides into 2024

Need some inspiration to try, get or keep running in 2024? Richard shares his start and leaves us 👏


Preston Harrier Richard Southworth has had a cracking start to 2024, securing a PB at the Central Lancs Half Marathon, an undulating and rural course.


Despite some very chilly weather and - as Christmas is well and truly over - a lack of recent seasonal cheer, Richard certainly made his first Sunday of January one to remember.


Richard has been kind enough to share a little about the event and explained how this event, set in and amongst the country lanes of Salwick, piqued his interest as ‘it feels positive to kick off the year with a big race.’ Also, being close to Preston itself, it is easy to get to....Us runner-types all know that feeling of ‘ahhh’ when you don’t have to factor in driving in literal circles for somewhere to park, collecting your bib from a random postcode, and finding mysteriously-located portaloos in a state of pre-event panic.


The Central Lancs Half Marathon had a relatively subdued atmosphere at the start, probably because of the cold: many people spent their time before the gun sheltering in cars for as long as they could. However there were a few hardy (and much appreciated!) souls wrapped up warm and cheering runners on at the marshal points along the course to make the morning less lonely.


Richard had an aim to run a sub-100 minute half marathon for the first time which meant a pace of at least 7:35/mile, but based on training runs he felt he could probably go faster.


For the first half (of the half) he kept an applaudable steady pace of around 7:20/mile, judging it by how his body felt whilst still using his watch to make sure he didn't go too fast - many will identify with how easy it is to get swept along by adrenaline in the first few miles of a longer event and pay for it later...


By the 10 mile mark, when he knew he had ‘just’ one parkrun left to go, he felt confident enough to open the throttle and run at what turned out to be around 7:00/mile for the remainder. Although he hadn't set out to do a negative split, it worked out that way which helped his confidence and has proven there’s a lot more to come from him in 2024.


Richard has not always been a runner: in 2017, he signed up for a triathlon as a new challenge and although swimming and cycling were old friends, he had little experience of running so started the Couch to 5km programme. Afterwards, he thought it would be a shame to give up running after all that work so he kept on doing it, though it was only around lockdown in 2020 that he really fell in love with it. He has now reached the point where ‘I simply can't imagine life without running’ which is testimony of how C25K: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/ is a really effective way of getting into running, with careful guidance and encouragement along the way.


2023 has been a great year for Richard and his running. He cites this being due to three main factors: making a habit out of strength training, paying more attention to diet and focusing more on whole foods, and joining Preston Harriers - bringing new opportunities and many new friends!


As well as taking part in the Inter-Club events and the Preston Harriers’ Club Champs, Richard has his sights set on completing his second marathon, Edinburgh Marathon in May.


Being patient, believing in yourself and putting in the training (including the mind-numbing but leg-building strength work) has clearly paid off for Richard and we hope it leaves fellow Harriers feeling inspired to work towards something new in 2024 too.


If you would like to share a recent running tale (no matter how big or small!) drop a message or email victoriaprestonharriers@gmail.com

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