When Richard Barker came to Active8 Health and Fitness in Redland about 10 years ago, he was in his mid-30s, had not taken any exercise for years and had in his mind the fear: “I’m soon going to 40, short and fat!”
Fast forward to May 2012, and the 46-year-old landlord from Redland can now look back at a sub-four hour finish in the Vancouver Marathon at the beginning of May – his second full marathon, having completed his first with good friend and training partner Matt Boyd in New York five years beforehand.
“The whole point of this marathon was to break four hours and I did 3 hours 59 minutes dead on,” he said.
“It’s a new course and fairly flat for the second half. But the first half has some hard hills and so it became a bit wearing.
“Between 20 and 26 miles it was tough, really tough, and I did have a few thoughts of ‘I am not enjoying this, I really don’t want to do this again”‘
“It starts in the city and heads west out to the coast and follows the coastline around – so it’s a pretty course to run.
“Matt and I have known each other 20 years and we did the New York marathon together in 2007. We seem to be seeing the world by marathon!”
While the friends had trained together for the New York run, this time there was more digital motivation going on as Richard spent much of the first part of the year in Canada dealing with his new skiing business Kicking Horse Powder Tours.
He put in the miles in the gym then came back to the UK and the pair did a couple of 20-mile runs together in preparation for Vancouver.
While he is pleased with his efforts, Richard says he has no burning desire to run another… yet.
“It’s not that hard to do a marathon really if you put your mind to it. It’s about putting the time in – we could have done with another couple fo 20-mile runs in to be honest.
“The four hours was my goal and, now I have done that, at the moment I am not really that fussed to try to get down to 3hours 55!
“People are impressed if you say you have run under four hours, but if you say 4 hours 08 [Richard's time in New York] they say ‘well done’ but you know it doesn’t sound as good.
“I did get cramp in my buttocks at 20 miles and had to stretch for 30-40 secs a few times in the last six miles. I could have knocked another five minutes off my time, but I’m not really that excited to try it again!”
Who would have thought it, when Damion at Active8 got to work on Richard all those years ago?
“I was 37 when I first went along and thought ‘I’m going to be 40, short and fat’! Now I have done more than 12 half marathons and keeping reasonably fit. It’s all down to Active8!
“They are good lads, it’s a friendly place with different people from different backgrounds – certainly not a ‘beefcake’ kind of place. It’s all about setting and achieving personal goals. But if you have a glint in your eye about trying something then they are there to motivate you.”
And his marathon tips?
“Set a realistic goal. Three hours 45 minutes for a marathon, for example, isn’t going to happen unless you train four times a week.
“Put the commitment in – if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!”
And finally… “Eat bananas!”
To book a personal training session with Damion, or any of the Active8 team, click here…
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