B2P Q&A: Dan Cartwright

“Running makes me a better me. It just about balances the crazy.”

Dan “the Laser” Cartwright

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Welcome to the latest B2P Q&A. For newer readers, this is a regular feature where I ask some of the best bloggers in the runosphere the questions YOU want answered (just so long as the questions you want answered involved octopi, time travel and magical goodie bags). Anyway, let’s get started…

Jay on Dan

Dan writes the excellent blog “How I Became a Runner” in which he talks to his kids, sharing with them the lessons that running has taught him. More often than not these lessons go far beyond the simple act of running, and relate just as much to the wider aspects of life. So he’s kind of like Yoda, but in trail shoes.

As well as being a friend and a colleague, I consider Dan to be the canary down my running mineshaft. He started running a year or two before me and has notched up some amazing accomplishments since then, so I tend to use him as a benchmark of what can be achieved with enough determination and hard work. Similarly, if he picks up injuries, it gives me an idea of what to look out for in the future and hopefully how to avoid them. The first time running really showed up on my radar was around a year before I started, when we were at work and I noticed that Dan was reading a copy of Runners World. I remember being intrigued, wondering how on earth anyone could fill up an entire magazine just with stuff about running. Children can run, I thought to myself, so what else is there to know? I half-expected there to be a couple of pages debating whether blue trainers were better than red ones and for the rest of the magazine to then be filled with excerpts from back-issues of Practical Caravanning, just to fill up a bit of space. Flicking through that magazine and seeing Dan’s already-infectious passion* for running wasn’t quite enough to make me buy a sweatband and hit the streets straight away, but it planted a seed. Thanks buddy.

Dan on Dan

I’m Dan Cartwright and in numbers I’m a sub 20 minute 5k runner, a sub 1:40 half marathoner, sub 4 marathon runner and I’ve run 3 ultramarathons. But for me running isn’t about the numbers and I Iike to grade runners by the effort they put in.

I train hard and run hard.

I started just for me, then like so many others saw the effect that running has on others. I now write a blog intended for my kids but with a (hopefully) wider appeal and am studying to be a personal trainer while having a full time job and young family.

The Big 12…

1. Which actor would portray you in a movie of your running life? (If someone’s already made a movie of your running life, you can skip this question).

Ryan Reynolds. He’s more handsome, tall, fit and talented than me. May as well look good on the silver screen!

2. What’s the one song that never fails to give you a mid-run boost?

Any song from the Rocky Soundtrack (child of the 70’s), especially Gotta Fly Now.

3. In 12 words or less, explain why people should read your blog. You can double up to 24 words, as long as one of them is “octopus”.

To be inspired to run outside and enjoy running, to push themselves and achieve more. Blog doesn’t include octopus,

4. Why did you start running?

Like most people I wanted to improve my fitness and lose weight. My brother was doing VLM 2010 and wanted a training partner so I started training for a HM in the March. I finished in 1:49 and surprised myself. Never looked back since.

I genuinely didn’t think it would take off the way it did or that I’d get addicted quite so badly.

5. Why do you keep running?

Because it makes me a better me. As nonsensical as that sounds, it keeps me healthy and less stressed. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and pride and it just about balances the crazy!

6. Running’s nice, isn’t it?

Most of the time.

7. What’s the best goodie bag you ever received?

Strongman run in Germany. Brooks hooded top, Brooks T-shirt and neck warmer, food, stickers and most importantly beer!!!

8. Still on the subject of goodie bags, imagine you’re a race director with an unlimited budget; what five items would you put in the ultimate goodie bag.

Local beer

9-bar (love those things)

Branded technical top

Sticker

Most importantly, a decent looking medal (not the cheap crappy ones that you can buy online for 50p).

9. Favourite place to run?

Trails, preferably somewhere I haven’t run before. I love the sense of adventure.

10. A law is passed that states all runners must have a nickname, like Caballo Blanco or Alan “the Turtle” Winthorpe. What’s yours?

Easy. “The Laser”. (child of the 70’s, I still think lasers are cool).

11. If you had a time machine and could go back to when you first started running, what advice would you give your younger self? It’s a special running-themed time machine, so you can only offer words of wisdom that are directly related to running. That means no lottery numbers or warnings of “whatever you do, don’t trust that cheese monger”.

Don’t start off too hard and don’t move up through the distances too fast. I wish I’d spent more time getting competent and happy at 10k and HM runs before leaping straight to ultras. Although now you mention it I would also warn myself about the cheesemonger (lactose intolerant).

12. How are you today?

I’m good. Have a 10 miler today, 8 miler tomorrow and training 26.2 with a new running partner on Wednesday so I’m pretty happy. How are you?

You can check out Dan’s blog at http://therunningman-hibar.blogspot.co.uk and he can be found on twitter @Danrunning. He’s actually stopped writing the blog now, but maybe if you all badger him relentlessly he’ll start up again 🙂

You already know where my blog is, because you’re reading it, but if you fancy a condensed version of my nonsense (140 characters of less, for instance) head over to twitter and follow @borntoplodblog. LoveYouByyyyyyye!

* If you’ve been directed to this website after googling the words “passion” and “infectious”, I don’t think I can offer what you’re looking for. Perhaps some kind of ointment might help.
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