Recently has been a very busy period for me. Like many of us, time seems to be running at warp speed and yesterday seems to have not finished before today starts.
After returning from England coaching duties in Vienna, where I was jumps team coach (a great honour), I got a phone call from Wendy Sly from the Great Run company about Athletics Weekly. Would I be interested in doing some writing for the magazine on a more permanent basis (I’d regularly contributed over many years)? This was another great opportunity and, something I’d not have foreseen, thirty-five odd years back, when my name first appeared in the UK men’s top 50 lists for the long jump. I was 17 and had managed a jump of 7.04m in that year’s English Schools.
I recalled how I flicked through the then small A5 copies of AW at my school – one of the teachers must have been a runner. I recall a copy with, I think, the East German sprinter Marlies Gohr on the cover. AW has always been around for me as a coach and an athlete and occasional master athlete and now I have the opportunity to be a regular contributor. We (us athletes) all wanted to see our name in print in the mag and wow, if we got our picture, now that would be an achievement.
I’ll be writing on the performance aspects of the sport, through my own devices/assignments and contacts and via suck knowledgably contributors as Dave Lowes, Tom McNab and others. I’ll be calling up some of my coach friends to see if you have some nuggets of information! Also, if any of you reading this have ideas for content let me know.
The first few weeks have been hectic, getting copy together and learning what I have to do. I’ve still got some other commissions for other magazines and websites to complete too and of course there’s my coaching. But it’s a fun (most of the time) and somewhat obviously writing for AW and my coaching fit very well together.
Over the past few decades of health, fitness and sports writing/editing I’ve had the privilege and the opportunity to talk to so many sportsmen and women and coaches, fitness instructors and strength & conditioning experts and even fly over the rain forests of Brazil whilst covering an ultra race (that’s a story for another day). Magazines are still an entertaining and invaluable means to kick-back, switch-off and relax, but they do need to evolve and utilise social media and in particular video to engage, further their reach and make some money! My YouTube channel was in a way a reflection of these changing media times. I should have been more proactive many years back… but better late than never. So for AW you’ll be reading more from me and maybe hearing and even seeing a bit of me in some of the videos I hope to make to go with some of the articles.
Oh, and speaking of busy weeks, here's a review of three of the group's performances at the British Trials and the British Universities and Colleges Championships last weekend.
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Something a little different here's a short video on my trip to the opening of Asics' new flagship store in London. I found about the brand's philosophy and their product ranges and what their 'move it' campaign is all about.
Yesterday was spent in the Surrey Hills with ultra runner Susie Chan. Susie is a bit of a celeb on the running circuit and has run the Marathon des Sables three times and numerous other marathons and ultras. I was interviewing her for a piece in Outdoor Fitness & Adventure and will also be making a video.
Susie only took up running six years ago and admits to doing her first trail race, slightly hungover! Since then the Surrey woman has gone onto complete hundreds or races and log up thousands of miles. She is a real example of "The Girl Can"!
.... I realised that it was a trail marathon. I didn't even know what that meant... (as the miles and hangover) slowly melted away by mile 9 I realised that I could finish..."
There have been races that I have struggled with for various reasons. The first was the Jungle Ultra... you start at 12,000 feet in the Andes and run down to the Amazon basin... I wondered if I was good enough for the race..."
Look out for the full interview in the June/July issue of Outdoor Fitness & Adventure