I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston. I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals. Their journeys all lead to the same place. You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.
I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Rob Farrell. I really enjoyed getting to know about this runner from “across the pond.” I found him to be extremely genuine and very relatable for many of my running friends.
Name: Rob Farrell from Portishead, near Bristol, England, UK
- Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”
This will be my first and only Boston Marathon (bar national lottery wins!) and my 4th marathon. I started running in 2010, due to a distinct lack of fitness during my mid life, completing my first half marathon that year. Three years later I managed a painful 3:28 at the Shakespeare Marathon.
With the words “never again” barely out of my mouth I put my name in to the ballot for London, partially hoping I wouldn’t get in! However, I was lucky enough to get a place and targeted a sub 3:15 to obtain a London Good For Age qualifying time.
At the time Boston was more of a dream than a vision, although the idea of running it was beginning to form. I had a perfect race in London (April 2015), bagging a 3:14:48, a massive 12 seconds inside my target but, at the age of 44, not good enough for a squeaker’s place in Boston.
I had already signed up for the inaugural, local and, so far, the only, Bristol + Bath Marathon, taking place in late October 2015. Things began to fall in to place as I realized this was within the qualifying period for Boston 2017, that I would enter the next age category and that the 2017 race would take place bang in the middle of my two sons’ Easter school holidays. I needed to beat 3:25 with some change and, although it was a hilly second half of the course, I ran 3:20:36. A timely annual bonus from work and I was going to Boston (as part of a family holiday)!
- What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
For me it is about personal achievement and feeling proud of something I have worked hard for, off my own back. A lot of people have earned a marathon finisher’s medal but not many have earned a BQ, never mind a Boston finish. For me, this is the victory lap of marathons.
- What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?
Getting to the start line uninjured! Also pinching myself on the way round to take in the fact I am running that iconic course. And, of course, picking up that medal, the culmination of four marathon training cycles and 7 years of dedicated running.
- How will you define success, on race day?
It has to be a PR. I’d love to say I will take it steady, take in all the sights and sounds and remember every moment but I know I will try to run the quickest race I can. Sub 3:15 will guarantee entry in to London for the next 2 – 3 years, a fast course with great crowds, so that’s the target
- Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?
I love my Garmin (currently a 620) and never run without it. I always run with my phone on my arm for music (fast sessions) or podcast (slow runs) and use Monster iSport Victory earphones as they survive virtually all British weather. My job is to manage a 24/7 manufacturing plant so sometimes I take work calls on the run! Other than the GPS watch, phone and music I’m basically at one with nature!
I rarely buy clothing and wear all the tech-tees collected from races, although I did buy a Boston Marathon Qualifier Adidas tee (via my sister-in-law in California due to no international shipping!) to wear during training – I don’t see many of them around in the UK!
- How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?
Training has gone really well considering I barely ran in 2016 due to achilles problems. I started walk/jogging in August and slowly ramped up to begin a 16 week plan, the same one I used for my last two marathons. One significant change for me was to take a day off a few times when not feeling good. I know this sounds obvious but I am rather obsessive about sticking to training plans and it took a lot of willpower not to run. I’d like to think this has helped me avoid injury. If the sensible, non running side of your brain suggests you shouldn’t run, follow its advice!
- What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?
Nerves! I worry a lot in the days and hours leading up to the start. I worry about all the usual stuff; getting injured or ill, what I will eat before, how I will sleep, GI issues! I know it will hurt during the race as I always push myself and I fear the disappointment of failing to reach my goal. Other than that, I love it!
- What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?
It would have to be the London Marathon, an amazing atmosphere and a great course. The only race where the cumulative cheers of the crowd have made me, a generally cynical guy, feel genuinely emotional. Especially considering the crowd was mostly full of people who are miserable and rude the rest of the year! I look forward to experiencing the well renowned American support in Boston
- Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?
No weird or wonderful rituals or good luck charms. I just put aside my favorite bits of kit for race day. No music during any race, that’s just for training
- What inspires you as a runner?
I usually train rather than just run, I run when I race. I run for the effects, the results; emotional, physical, mental. I’d like to inspire my sons to get out and run but I only seem to get their eyes to roll so far!
- Anything else you want to share or would like Runcanvas to promote?
My eldest son is Autistic, a charity I often run for is the National Autistic Society. However, this race is just for me, I’m giving my family and friends a break from asking for money
My Twitter account is @runningfaz for the occasional running tweet
Good luck to my fellow BQers!
Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner! You can wish Rob good luck and send him some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.
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