On the spot – Alexis Shirtliff
We want to hear from the Waverley Harriers and see what motivates them and each month we have been asking our members the same questions. So far we have heard from Steve Rogers, Ruth Lyon, Ali Rand, Tracy Burgess Kate Horne & Penny Elliott and now this month we hear from Alexis Shirtliff who was nominated by Penny.
When did running begin for you?
My first real distance running was the annual School cross country which started up on Pewley Down, and went around the Chantries before a long climb back up to the start. It was not an event I recall ever enjoying, and as a result I never considered myself a runner. However it was around 10 years ago, when I decided to lose some weight that I gave the treadmill at the gym a go. I soon discovered the Army fitness test mode, and the quest to constantly lower my time for 2 miles became a daily challenge. It wasn’t until 2009, when I saw a flyer for the first Bolt Round the Holt 10k, that I considered running outdoors and taking part in events.
Why do you run?
Whilst it used to be all about PBs for me, these days it’s more the general sense of wellbeing you get from a good run. During the last 3 or so years of being a Waverley Harrier running has certainly become a much more social pastime.
What race or moment in your running career holds the most significance and why?
There’s a few races that stick in my mind, mainly due to being breakthrough PBs, but I think I’d have to choose the Berlin Marathon in 2013. It was my second marathon and the first race where I’d stuck to a training plan (and done more than 1 long run in preparation!). The whole weekend was great, from visiting the old Tempelhof airport to pick up the race pack, the 6km warm up run on the Saturday morning to the old Olympic Stadium followed by a massive free breakfast. As for the race itself, the course was great, as was the weather. The various bands around the course stick in the mind, especially the guy on a roof stage belting out the solo from Purple Rain. The real nice touch was crossing a mat around 20 miles popped up a message from my wife and family on a big display board. All said and done I didn’t get the time I wanted, but it was (and still is) my PB by a good margin.
Who is your running inspiration?
No one in particular, but hearing about my fellow Harriers many achievements is always inspiring.
What event, past or present, would you like to take part in and why?
It would have to be the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway. Asides from having always wanted to go there, the race is an evening one, but due to the location of Tromso and the time of the year, the sun doesn’t set, so you finish around Midnight in daylight.
What golden piece of advice would you give to other runners?
Think carefully about pre-race food and arrive in plenty of time to visit the toilets. The Windsor Half Marathon in 2012 is memorable due to the fact I ate excessive amounts of soreen on the drive up, and then arrived too late to visit the loo before the start. I’ve always managed to avoid “pit stops” in a race, but having to drag myself to a portaloo at the 2 and 6 mile points made for a miserable afternoon.
I’m trying to decide on an October/November marathon, but having taken up regular swimming earlier this year, I’m thinking this year might be time to attempt a Triathlon.