“I run marathons. Everything else is a result of that.”
Jay on Simon
I first had the pleasure of meeting Simon in May 2012, when we were both lucky enough to meet (and run with) the legend that is Simon Wheatcroft*. Back then I was quite new to the world of blogging, so meeting someone who backed up their writing with genuine insight and encyclopaedic knowledge of the Runningverse (real word) was a bit of an eye-opener, especially to someone who’s idea of a “serious article” is anything that contains less than three references to Count Duckula.
Simon is a runner’s runner, in that although he’s super speedy and a has many many marathons under his belt, he still has the same “hey, this running lark is fun” zest of a beginner** and makes no secret of his past life as an unfit plodder.
As if producing a globally well-respected blog wasn’t doing enough to promote our sport online, Simon’s latest project, Freestak, sees him taking things to the next level. The Facebook page is definitely worth a look, and features an abundance of tips, competitions and suchlike. To quote from the page: “We trawl the interwebs and find the stuff so you don’t have to”. It’s a fantastic resource that all runners should check out, so be sure to have a look after reading this.
Simon on Simon
I’m Simon. I started running after years of smoking and unhealthy living now I’m determined to see what I can achieve with my two feet. I’m convinced that the 2:38:31 I achieved at the 2012 Virgin London Marathon is not the best I can do, so I’ll be back for more in 2013. I now live and breathe running alongside my training, keeping a blog at www.simonfreeman.co.uk, running a Facebook page full of inspiration and offers for runners at www.facebook.com/freestak and working with my wife on social media marketing and consultancy for running organisations at www.freestak.com. My twitter biog @simon_freeman says it all: “I run marathons. Everything else is a result of that”.
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).
I’d like to think it’d be someone like Brad Pitt, but that would require the audience to suspend disbelief rather too much. I have been told I look a bit like Hugh Laurie and he’s a pretty good actor, so I’d go with him.
2. What’s the one song that never fails to give you a mid-run boost?
I tend to run quite rarely with music and when I do it is down-tempo stuff because I only ever take the iPod on recovery runs. But I did once borrow my wife’s iPod for a run and her jazz playlist had me running a recovery run at just slower than 6 min/mile! It was like audio-EPO!
3. In twelve 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”.
My blog should only be read by the terminally bored, running geeks or octopuses who will love the blog with all their three hearts.
4. Why did you start running?
I looked in the mirror one Christmas eve morning and hated what I saw. I was over-weight and a heavy smoker. There and then I decided to needed to change so I stopped smoking that second and started running a few months later to lose weight. So vanity got me started. Then curiosity about what I could achieve kept me going.
5. Why do you keep running?
I really want to find out what I am capable of and be the best I can possibly be at one thing at least! I also would love to help as many people to undertake the journey I have taken: to discover what an amazing sport running is and how it will enhance your life, so it is a case of do as I do!
6. Running’s nice, isn’t it?
Nice doesn’t begin to describe it!
7. What’s the best goodie bag you ever received?
I don’t usually take too much notice of goodie bags – if there is anything to eat in there, then I’m happy, but all the leaflets and samples of washing up liquid are a waste of time and money. I did once get a branded ruler at a race that is still on my desk.
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.
In the ultimate goodie bag I would put: (1) something really lovely to eat and drink – a home-made flapjack and a fresh smoothie for example (2) a pair of Skins recovery compression tights (3) a voucher to download all the photos and videos taken around the course for free (4) an beautifully designed commemorative t-shirt that the runners would be proud to wear for ever more (5) a permission slip to brag about your result for at least a week!
9. Favourite place to run?
Occasionally my wife and I get to travel to the Alps and go running for a few days in the mountains from refuge hut to refuge hut – I really love those hours running in the most beautiful environment in the world, away from all the hustle and bustle, just moving along and feeling as free as a bird. And when I’m at home, my favourite place to run is wherever my friends and training partners are running. At the moment that is particularly in north London.
10. A law is passed that states all runners must have a nickname, like Caballo Blanco or Alan “the Turtle” Winthorpe. What’s yours?
It is probably something like Simon “Wow! You’ve Changed” Freeman.
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 cheesemonger”.
I would begin by telling myself to run slower but run more – when I started every run was as fast as I could manage it and as a result I hated every run and didn’t go as often as I should have.
12. How are you today?
Really wonderful! My running is progressing and I have just had confirmation of my Championship place in the 2013 London Marathon: it is great to have a target in front of me. And I have just launched a social media marketing consultancy for running brands with my wife (www.freestak.com) which is going really well. Life couldn’t be better!
You already know where my blog is, because you’re reading it, but if you fancy a condensed version of my nonsense (maybe 140 characters of less, just to pick a number completely at random) head over to twitter and follow @borntoplodblog. Oh, and I’ve now got myself on facebook too, so feel free to pop along and share the heck out of my page.
Right, I’m all linked out. Byyeeeee.
Okay, maybe one more.
* For more about that, and to understand why I might occasionally refer to Simon as “Colin”, have a read of this. If you fancy a more sensible version (i.e. one that doesn’t bang on about why they should make a version of the Camelbak that dispenses fondue) you can read Simon’s report here. ** Okay, so not a complete beginner. Show me someone who says “hey, this running lark is fun” on one of their first few runs, and I’ll show you someone who is either lying or playing Virtual Jogger IV: The Revenge of DOMS from the comfort of their armchair.