Saturday, December 15, 2018

John Shaw's Racer Story: The Unexpected Journey from Couch Potato to World Records!

Article by John Shaw

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to bring you John's story. Six years ago, John took up running in a Couch to 5K program after leading a pretty darn sedentary life. In October 2018 he smashed the 20 year old 50K World Record for a 65 year old with a time of 3:34.18, passing the marathon in 2:54. He also holds the world marathon record for a 63 year old with his personal best 2:45.13. He shares his remarkable life story, motivation, training and racing methods, and his secrets, "the nitty gritty of an ancient marathoner" on how to really run fast, at any age, with RoadTrailRun.
John before taking up running and on the podium after his world record 50K PC: Jasmine Scholtz and Raine Shaw

On any given weekend up to June 2012 you would have found me lazing on the couch watching sport; munching my way through yet another pack of chips (crisps) while guzzling down a rum n coke.
Fast forward to October 2018 and at age 65 I’m standing atop the podium after winning a 50km event and smashing my age group World Record by 6 minutes. A record that had stood for 20 years!
Hold on! What the heck happened to that couch potato? To find out let’s go back to the very beginning of an amazing and unlikely journey.

In the beginning
I was born in Hobart, Australia in 1953. I was the youngest child in a dysfunctional family with a loving mother but a violent alcoholic “war damaged” father. Early on I was labelled a shy, withdrawn, troubled kid!
From age 8 I would regularly leave home in the early morning and roam far and wide. As long as I was back before dark that was fine. It didn’t matter what I did in between. I knew the location of every backyard fruit tree and milk money hiding spot within several miles of home. Treating myself to both became an art form after a while. I was a street wise kid bordering on being a delinquent.  
In winters; with my older brother; I would often walk to the top of the local mountain and back down again. In hindsight walking 15-20 miles in a day was good base building for a future runner. What wasn’t so healthy was chain smoking cigarettes at the same time.
More base building occurred in my primary school years (age 6-12) with a 45 minute walk each way to school then back home no matter the weather conditions.
Thankfully I enjoyed walking. But running was even better. I loved to run. I had natural speed and at school very few were faster regardless of age. I lived for the annual school sports day. It was my favourite school day of the year. Apart from that one day I hated school and detested homework. Fortunately the situation at home enabled me to regularly avoid both.
Though I had natural talent it was never acted upon or even recognised. My parents were not in a position to offer any support but I didn’t really care anyway.  
On moving up to high school I became totally fascinated and distracted by girls! Running never had a chance. I still participated in the school athletics sports day but solely to impress the girls. I never trained yet would still win most track and field events. The school sports coach was a top class runner and I was the bane of his existence. He could see my potential but also recognised my total lack of ambition. To get him off my back I agreed to run in the state inter school cross country championship in my final year in 1969. I was in the lead pack till the last mile but my lack of training and smokers lungs had me fade to a mid pack finish
So by age 16 and in my final year of schooling I had 2 established vices - girls and smoking. Then the trifecta of vices arrived - alcohol!  Being underage was not an issue. That’s what made it fun
Upon leaving school I entered the banking industry in 1970.  Running was in the past. The only form of running that was of interest was after girls in fast cars while fuelled by alcohol. That was much more fun. I did manage to give up one vice. I quit smoking but not for health reasons. On turning 16 I was legally allowed to smoke. As I was no longer a “cool” underage smoker I quit cold turkey.
After a few years of chasing girls I eventually caught one; moved to Brisbane (Australia); married and became a domesticated parent.
Fast forward many years to mid 2012 and I had become a 59 year old unhealthy 96 kg (210lb) couch potato. I was miserable with how I looked and felt. I decided it was time for change.
Over the next 3 months I walked 1000k (600+ miles); cut out junk food; sugar based drinks plus alcohol and shed 20kg (44lb). I tried to run once during that period. It took all of 10 seconds to get over that silly idea.
After achieving my weight loss goal I was back on the couch watching TV and pondering what to do next. I did not want to regain that weight. By chance a lady was being interviewed about how she could teach anyone to run 5k within 6 weeks. The following day I signed up for her “Couch to 5km” program. On day #1 I had to time how long it took me to do 5k. Only the time mattered not whether I walked, ran or even crawled. To my amazement and her surprise I ran 5k non stop in 34:13. I was upgraded to the 10km program the following day.  As the months passed I ran further and faster. The speed I had as a kid slowly returned.
In January 2013; 44 years since my last race; I went along to a Parkrun; a free Saturday morning timed 5k event anyone can turn up to. I ran a respectable 23.04.  Running against others after so many years was an instant high. I was hooked. From that day on I continued to get fitter; faster and began to have running ambitions.

And He’s Off and Running
July 2013: Gold Coast Marathon.10 months after completing the Couch to 5k program I lined up for my first marathon at age 60.  Unfortunately I had injured my left calf 2 weeks earlier. It held for 8k (5m) but eventually I was reduced to a hobble after 2 hours and 29k (18 miles). Though I finished in 3:47 it was a bitter experience to be passed by over 1000 runners during my 13.2k (8+miles) walk of shame  
I also felt cheated as I accidentally ran a 3:16 marathon during an easy paced long run only a month before. My online coach had me do a 200 minute long run so I simply followed his instruction. The fact that I did 38k (24 miles) in a 180 minute long run the week before must have escaped his attention. He was not happy and told me “your goose is cooked”. He was right as the calf injury occurred soon after.
I learnt a valuable lesson from that first marathon. Find a coach who understood me as a runner and a person plus could help me achieve my running ambitions. Yes, even a 60 year old can dare to dream. Through a friend I met my coach, Peter James. He understands how to get the best out runners of all ages; especially older ones.  He has helped guide many Australian Masters runners to State and National titles.

July 2014: Half Marathon at the Gold Coast Marathon. 1:23 PB and age group win in my first half marathon.
Oct 2014: Melbourne Marathon. 3:07 PB in marathon #2 and age group win (by 11 minutes) even though I went out too fast; hit the wall at 30km then shuffled the remaining distance.  Another learning experience
Jan 2015:  Australian Masters Half Marathon Championship. This was to an emotional experience in my national debut as it was held back in my childhood hometown. It had been 46 years since I last raced there when still at school. I intended to make this “homecoming” race special. The race went to plan. Not only did I win M60 Gold and my first national title but capped it off with a State M60 record (1:25). That record on home turf remains my most cherished running moment
July 2015: Gold Coast Marathon.“Third time lucky” in marathon #3.  By then I had learnt to listen and more importantly follow my coach’s instructions. I went sub 3 for the first time with a 2:48 PB and finished only 100 seconds behind a similar aged highly experienced Australian Masters distance running legend - Ron Peters.
Jan 10 2016: Australian Masters Half Marathon Championship.  1:20 PB but beaten again by Ron Peters.
Jan 23 2016: 2 weeks later Ron and I became teammates. We joined two other local runners in an attempt to break the 4 x 1500m relay world record for 60-69 year olds set by a Netherlands national team 20 years earlier. Usually world records are set at national meets where the best runners from different parts of the country link up. We were simply four local club runners willing to give it a go.

We did not train together or even have baton practise. I had only run on a tarmac track once and had not run relay since primary school 53 years before. In that race I dropped the baton. I had also never run a 1500m event. My coach gave me a crash course on how to race that distance.

On race day we needed to average 4.59 each to break the record. Being the least experienced I started and ran 4.55; 2nd leg - 4.54; 3rd leg - 4.47; anchor leg - 4.52. So on a hot steamy summer’s morning we broke three records. The World by 27 seconds; National by 1.07 and State by 3.01. A good morning’s work.

July 2016: Gold Coast Marathon. This event had been my focus since breaking sub 3 a year earlier. In the lead up I set training PB’s for 5km (17:39); 10km (35:06) and half marathon (1:19:26). Marathon #4 didn’t go entirely to plan due to a minor hamstring injury but overall it was a very good day
Race outcomes:
- Single Age (63) World Record  
- Finish time -  2:45:23 (PB by 3 min 12 sec)
- 60-64yo Age Group Win (by 23 minutes)
- Placed - 70th overall out of 5467 finishers
- National Masters Championship (Overall) - Bronze medal
- State Masters Championship (Age group) – Gold medal
- 2nd fastest 60-64yo in the events 38 year history
- Beaten by only 5 runners aged 40+ which included the event winner and third place getter
- Half split of 1:20:20 was 32 seconds faster than the Half Marathon event age group winner   
- 2016 #1 World Masters ranking
- 33rd fastest time ever by a 60-64yo.  
- 17th fastest 60-64yo individual ever  
- 3rd 60-64yo Australian to go sub 2:50
Nov 2016: World Masters Athletics Championships (Perth, Australia) – Marathon. Despite an injury interrupted preparation I felt confident in my international debut. The original race plan was discarded even before the start as hot windy conditions awaited. It became a tactical race where for 37k (23 miles) I tailgated 100m behind a pack that included my main rival for M60 Gold. Then I made my “catch me if you can” move. I hit the afterburners; flew past the pack and did not ease off till I crossed the finish line in 2:55. It was a special feeling being on the winner’s podium later that day; gold medal around my neck; with the national anthem being played because of what I had achieved. Another cherished moment.  

Dec 2016: Gold Coast 50. Five weeks later on a hot steamy summer’s morning I fronted up for my first 50k event. It was a spur of the moment decision with no preparation or plan. I had never run beyond 43k so I would simply wing it on the day. The first 25k felt easy and I turned in 1:43. The return in the scorching summer heat became a nightmare. I went into survival mode where reaching the next aid station then the next became the main task. I somehow finished 6th overall in 3:40; a M60 national record by 12 minutes and only 10 minutes off the World Record. It also enabled me to finish the year ranked World #1 for 50k for my age group.  Imagine if I had prepared!
The Running Gods did smirk as they toyed with this mere mortal:
After a stellar year and thinking “how easy is this running caper” the running gods sat up and smirked. They ruled I had supped far too much from the cup of success so a shrewd plan was set in motion to smite me down.
In early 2017 I was offered weekday employment as a courier driver. This fitted in well with my existing full time weekend employment. I needed the extra income and it was only 4 hours morning work which still left afternoons free for training. I already owned a light truck with a manual transmission and heavy clutch.
That heavy clutch became the running god’s trump card! Each morning I worked that clutch several hundred times then ran in the afternoon on an increasingly fatigued left calf. Two weeks into the courier job I was on a 16k (10 mile) tempo pace run when I felt a sudden sharp pain in the arch of my left foot. I thought I had stood on a small rock. I finished the run feeling strong but the stabbing arch pain returned when I cooled down.
From then on it was a slow downward spiral as my life as a Plantar Fascia (PF) sufferer began. Initially it was only a mild case and I was able to maintain my training schedule. Running on the road was painful till the area warmed up. Running on grass was pain free and I became a close friend of lane 8 at my local athletics track. I could still easily manage threshold, tempo and race pace on grass but not short intervals or sprints.
Training continued near to normal on the fatiguing left calf and dodgy plantar fascia. The solution to fix both was simple. Swap the light truck for one with an automatic transmission. However my financial situation at the time made that impossible. So till further notice it was a case of suck it up princess and tough it out.
July 2017: Gold Coast Marathon. Despite the calf and PF issues I was still targeting a PB in marathon #6. Three weeks out I was struck down with a virus. Working 7 days a week while training hard finally tipped me over the edge. The virus laid me low for 2 weeks. I resumed running in race week but with a highly inflated heart rate. On marathon eve I toyed with dropping down to a 10k event but dismissed it as the soft option. After discussions with my coach we agreed I would run but not race the event. As the virus was still in my system it was important I maintained a comfortable pace. If I raced I could risk permanent muscular damage to my heart! So I ran comfortably as told and finished in 2:50.  114th overall and an age group win by 12 minutes.
Tough times never last but tough runners do
The next 12 months were tough. I trained for events as best as my ailing calf and PF permitted. Most training was on soft forgiving grass. Sadly come race day the roads proved too punishing and resulted in several frustrating DNF’s and even some DNS’s.
Things hit rock bottom at the 2018 Gold Coast Marathon. Due to previous successes at this event I had been granted the special privilege of an Elite Start entry. So this newly minted 65 year old was to toe the start line alongside Olympians; Kenyan’s and even the “Citizen’s Runner” Yuki Kawauchi; the 2018 Boston Marathon winner. Most of the elites would be young enough for me to be their father; even grandfather to some!!
July 2018: Gold Coast Marathon. I was mentally ready for this race having successfully negotiated 2 months of solid grass and road training. Prepping within the elite compound was surreal. Trailing; or maybe stalking; Yuki in his warm up run had me pinching myself in disbelief. I had my game face back on by race time though.
I soon got into a comfortable rhythmic 3:50/km (6:08/mile) pace. 10k was swallowed up in 38:37. At 16k (10 miles) my left calf began to twinge slightly. I hit halfway in 1:22:33 with a slightly cramping calf. The right calf began to cramp in sympathy soon after. Within 10 minutes my race was over. Both calves fully seized and I was forced to withdraw. Another DNF. It was a long lonely bus trip back to the race precinct. Strangely I didn’t feel shattered. Just numb and extremely disappointed I had blown my Elite start privilege. Maybe subconsciously I knew I was not physically ready for a marathon
I later learnt I smashed the M65 10k and HM course records but as a DNF they did not count. Talk about rubbing it in! I certainly drank my way to another form of numbness that night
The Revival:
The marathon disaster finally satiated the running gods and they shifted their attention to some other mortal.
The following week I replaced the trouble causing manual vehicle with an automatic. Hallelujah! I noticed an immediate difference. No longer did I finish work each day with a quivering, cramping calf. After many years I also ceased weekend work. No more 7 day working weeks. Things were finally on the up.
The calf and PF did not magically heal overnight with the change of vehicle but they improved marginally day by day. I was now able to train with reasonably fresh legs and finish with minimal soreness. Having weekends off also refreshed me physically and mentally.
Two weeks later I ran a 1:23 half marathon without issue. A month later, in mid August, I made a last minute decision to enter a marathon. Though far from race ready I needed to make amends for my previous fail. All went well till 28k (17 miles) before my lack of preparation showed. I finished unscathed in 2:58. Not a great time by my standards but the mission was accomplished – a sub 3; the first 65yo Australian ever to do so.
Buoyed by confidence I was ready to make redress for another fail. Nine months earlier I attempted to break the M60 50k World record. I aborted at 21k with calf fatigue. So one week after a sub 3 marathon I embarked on a 10 week 1000k (600 mile) training program in pursuit of the M65 World record of 3:41. Training went smoothly with no soreness, injury or illness downtime. Threshold and interval speeds were back to normal.  After 18 long months of doing it tough I was finally back in the groove. I was primed for my 3rd attempt at 50k
Oct 2018: Ned Kelly Chase 50k. Weather conditions were perfect as I steeled myself at the start line. Mind and body were in alignment to break a world record. Rather than waste energy focussing on split times (i.e too slow-hurry up; too fast- slow down) I would run by heart rate; slightly above aerobic. As it was a flat out n back course heart rate variations would not be an issue.
Within minutes of the start and after the initial adrenalin rush I relaxed into a metronome like mid 150’s HR and low 190’s cadence. From experience I knew this would equate to an approx 4:00/km (6:25/mile) pace. After hitting the lead; I slipped into cruise control and enjoyed the scenery. Before I knew it I was at the halfway turn in 1:42 (4:05/km - 6:33/mile avg pace) and still feeling fresh. I knew to break the World record I needed to reach halfway under 1:51 so things looked promising.
Though not an issue at that point I had made a rookie error with my drink bottle choice. Instead of a fast flow they were more like a drip feed baby’s bottle. Trying to suck out the Maurten “magic potion” drink mix was tougher work than running. I was only drinking half my requirements. I wasn’t too concerned as I was used to unfuelled training runs lasting 2.5 to 3 hours.
The fuel shortage started to impact at 40k when I began to get leg cramps. My pace slowed marginally but I pushed on. Marathon distance passed in 2:54 which was pleasing as it equalled the M65 Australian record even though I was in a 50k run mode. Leg cramps really set in from 44k which made the final 6km a huge struggle. Though I drank lots of flat coke at the final 2 drink stations the damage was done. The final 2k were; to put it mildly; ugly with at least 5 stops to stretch and ease the cramps.
I finally crossed the finish line with cramped legs in 3:34:18. First place overall by 14 minutes but better yet it was 7 minutes faster than the World Record set way back in 1998! If I wasn’t so seized up I would have done a happy dance. This was indeed Redemption Day and confirmed what you think and believe, you can achieve.
My first outright win; at age 65; felt amazing and satisfying. The age graded time of 2:47:02 ranks #13 all time world fastest. It’s nice to know I need only tweak my fuelling to improve another 5 minutes. It took 4 attempts to get it right in a marathon so hopefully it’ll be the same for a 50k  After all I’m still new to this running caper!

What makes me tick?
Mind set: I’ve always been competitive. My family refuses to play Monopoly with me! When racing I enjoy keeping those aged under 40 accountable;  being competitive against over 40’s; a genuine threat against over 50’s and beating all fellow over 60’s. I aim for a 90% age graded result for races ranging from 1500m to 50k. I also endeavour to achieve #1 M65 World Masters Rankings for all distance events.
The competitive beast in me is only uncaged during races. At all other times I am relaxed and love a good chat.
The toughest and most challenging competition I have is not against other runners but that annoying voice in my head. The one that wants me to ease up or better still - stop. It is self inflicted as I force it into survival mode when I push my pace and body to the very edge. To block this stinking thinking I use positive mantras. My favourite marathon one is “Run Strong” (for 2 hours); “Be Strong” (next 40 min); “Finish Strong”.
Another method I use to quieten the chatter is to chill out and run in my “comfort zone”. This is where I relax my mind and body while still pushing the pace. I regularly practice this when running track laps as there are no distractions. When it happens the heart rate remains aerobic while cruising for 90-150 min at a sub 3 marathon pace. Lap times and cadence are metronomic. I came close to being in this zone in the 50k race. It continues to be a work in progress. When I get it right it is going to be a magic day

Training: My programs were a standard 7 day cycle till the start of 2018. To minimise injury risk they are now a 9 day cycle. This allows 60/72 hours between speed sessions and/or long runs to properly recover. I’m not as young as I used to be! I would love to do 160k (100 mile) weeks but my coach’s common sense “quality over quantity” approach means I only need do 80k min -150k max (50-93 miles) per week to be at my best. Every session always has a purpose. Easy runs are never less than 45 min/10k (6 miles) and are more often of 90-100 min / half marathon duration. Each cycle has 11 or 12 sessions.
Living in Brisbane, Australia means training in high temps and humidity for 6 months of the year. Pre dawn runs are the norm but due to work I train mostly in the late afternoon when it can still be 30°C / 86°F. I easily sweat 3 litres (6.3 pints) during easy 90 min runs. The upside is when the cooler weather return I fly. It is our poor man’s altitude training.
I am a massive fan and follower of Matt Fitzgerald - “In Matt we Trust”. His “80/20 Running” book helped me focus on heart rate based training. Another book is “Older Yet Faster” by Keith Bateman and Heidi Jones whom I credit with improving my form which shaved 3% off training / racing paces without any extra effort. Both books are permanent bedside companions.
Recovery: It begins with an electrolyte drink. Then shoes n socks off and Oofos recovery sandals on. Coolcore ice wraps on the legs followed by a protein drink if a hard session. When my legs feel especially trashed I use an Air Relax compression system to flush and rejuvenate them. An hour on the couch at night with the system working their magic and I am fresh to go the next day.

Running Gear: Running in high temps and humidity most of the year means all gear must be lightweight and breathable. Some popular highly rated gear feel great initially but soon get too hot and uncomfortable. They may be perfect for northern Europe and American conditions but not here in northern Australia. This is what works for me in an area where snow, frost; wind chill and chilblains are all unheard of
Racing gear:
Head - Compressport Ultralight Visor. Never wear a cap as they hold the heat in
Top n shorts - No favoured brand but must be bright, light and sweat wicking.
Calf Sleeves - Compressport R2V2 Compression. A must have for my old chicken legs
Socks - Compressport Pro Racing Ultralight. Have a short life but sure are cool
Shoes - Nike Vaporfly 4%. Thankfully they are light and are not hot to wear. They are so seriously good I doubt I would even care if they were as heavy as bricks and insulated.
Training gear:
The only difference from my racing gear is compression shorts and shoe selection.
I regularly run 50+ laps on a grass track at various paces. To avoid post run hip and groin soreness on the inside lane leg I wear 2XU’s MCS Run Compression shorts. It is their top end product and even though they do get hot they do the a great job.

I have approximately 20 pairs of training shoes I regularly rotate which are a mix of brands, weights and heel drops. Some are former racing shoes well past their use by date but still feel so good I refuse retire them e.g. Lunaracer #3 & #4. There are another 20 pair wasting space on my shoe rack due to disappointment in their performance.

My favourite brands are Nike, Skechers, New Balance and Hokas. I can run at any pace in shoes with a 10mm drop. Shoes with a lower drop stress my calfs and are used only for easy pace runs up to 100 minutes duration; mainly on grass.
Nike Vaporfly 4% are my go to shoe for every speed session. They allow me to easily hit my required paces with the feeling I still have more speed in reserve. No other shoe does that for me. I use a pair solely for such workouts and never waste these precious shoes on easy runs

2018 M65 World Masters Rankings: Though I am a marathon runner I like to dabble in some track events just for fun. I do not train for track events but I always do aim high. My overall World rankings are -
#1 - 5000m; 10,000m plus 5k road. #2 - 3000m, 10k road; half marathon and marathon.
“Worst” effort is #11 rank for 1500m. It was run on shattered legs an hour after a 3000m
Nationally I rank #1 from 1500m up to 50k except for the half marathon where I rank #2.

2019 Goals: If the running gods do not mess with me I have unfinished business at the Gold Coast Marathon where I aim to break the M65 National (2:54) and course (2:52) records. I will also delve further into ultra events and pursue World and/or National M65 records for 6 & 12 hour track events plus the 100km. If time I will have a crack at a sub 3:30 50k. After all as the saying goes “Shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars”

The nitty gritty on this ancient marathoner:
VO2 Max:  61 (tested) . Mr Garmin is far more generous with 72
Heart Rate: Resting - 36. Max - approx 180
Weight/Height:70 kg/154 lb  - 185cm /6’1” . I resemble BFG
PB’s since 2016: 5k -17:22 / 10k - 35:06 / 10 miles - 1:00:35 / HM - 1:19:26 / Marathon - 2:45 / 50k - 3:34
Training Paces: Easy - 4:25/km (7:05/mile) Tempo - 3:50/km (6:08/mile) Threshold - 3:30/km (5:36/mile)
Cadence: 190’s. Low - marathon/50k; mid – easy/ half marathon; high – 5k & 10k races
Pre marathon essentials: 3 slices of toast with peanut butter; Maurten drink mix plus 4 x 100mg No-Doz tablets. Downside of No Doz is they are still kicking in 2 nights later!
Marathon fuelling: Maurten Sports Fuel 320 mix. 220ml per 5km. Nothing else needed
Trail running: Avoid: Tried once. Tripped over a leaf and broke some ribs.
Treadmill:Avoid. Boring (ho hum) as. Would rather run in torrential rain
Weight training: Avoid. Highly ho hum
Cross training: Avoid. Extreme ho hum with an elliptical trainer in a class of its own
Hills: Avoid but do make an effort every 2 weeks. Bit like visits to mother in law
Stretching: Never avoid. 10 min dynamic pre run. 5 min static post run.  
Warmup: Always.It takes at least 30 minutes before I can run with ease
Fav workout: 10k progression. Start slow; finish fast. Gone in 36-38 min.
Least fav workout: 4k easy; 5k threshold x 2 with no rest.  
Fuelling (training): Have trained body to run unfuelled up to 3 hours in cool weather; 2 hours in warm
Fuelling (race): Maurten drink mix for marathon/50k. No gels. No fuel in shorter races
Physio, Chiro, Massage therapy: More a reactive than proactive patient. Ritually have kinks massaged out of legs in the week leading up to a major race plus have kinesio tape applied to suspect areas
Nutrition: Overall good but lapse when near a bakery. Permit myself a 3 day binge post marathon
Fav shoes (2018): Nike Vaporfly 4% ; Reebok Floatride Run Fast; Nike Epic React
Fav shoe (all time): Lunaracer #3
Fav saying/quote: Many inspire me but only one drives me –“Zoom Zoom”
Headphone music: Stones, Seger, Diamond, Meatloaf, Queen, CCR, Joel, Elton, Elvis, Stewart, Sinatra, Campbell.
Running genes: It’s a mystery. Great grandfather was an elite footballer. Nephew won a marathon in 2008
Running Heroes: Meb Keflezighi; Camille Herron; Steve Moneghetti & Jess Trengrove
Training group: We all run with and for each other. Thrilled when any achieve a goal as I see what they do to make it happen. Love the camaraderie especially the post run coffee and chats. Does not happen enough as the reality is I do endure the loneliness of a long distance runner
Where to find me on social media:
In finishing
I am often asked and I sometimes very briefly wonder what could have been if I got serious with running when younger. No one will ever know and I do not waste valuable brain cells dwelling on it. What I am certain of is I would not be achieving what I am now. My coach says I do what I do because I have relatively fresh young legs. Being a late starter my legs have not been trashed and battle scarred from years of training and racing. Besides back then I was so young n dumb. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t my time. My time is NOW

Image credits
Raine Shaw; Jasmine Scholz; Stu Calvert; Marie Becis; Brisbane Road Runners
Marathon; Base Imagery and Finisher Pix
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Unknown said...


Greg S said...

Great article John....nice change up from the great reviews. Captivating read and amazing story

Harold said...

Gotta be those Shaw genes, just wish that I had gotten more of the “go faster” ones. Great story and I wish you nothing but continued success :-)