Glyn Billington - Postie to 2hr41 Marathon Runner

This recent Interview took place at the Grapes in Bamford over a few Moretti's, a cappuccino and a Steak :-) I paid #typical

Q1. Tell me about your running journey - how did this come about?

Glyn B: Hi Mate - thanks for inviting me down for today and good to see you again! Ps great steak as well.

So the running journey all started in 2011 really. I had just found out that I had been successful in the ballot for the London Marathon and thought why not. I was still playing football on a Sunday after packing in Semi-professional footy on a Saturday so I knew I had a decent level of fitness still. When I was at high school, I was often first at Cross Country and this meant that my stamina levels were always decent from my teenage years. As the Marathon was in 2012, the majority of my run training came off the back of football training and my work for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

I decided to run for the Stroke Association and raised as much money as possible. To my surprise I ran 3:15:42 and felt good after finishing. It gave me the buzz of thinking about my next marathon straight away.

The Running G: Great little story that, I know you've played footy and still play at Vets standard but the thing that stands out for me most is the energy levels you have - top notch!

Q2. Were you part of a running club - if so, why did you choose to train with this particular club?

Glyn B: Soon after the marathon and the recovery process (which included a few pints, treats and chippy dinners) I decided to get my arse down to Salford Harriers. Having played football at Salford City and Chaddy FC I already knew Billy Mac (Good strong footballer and good guy) who was at Salford Harriers and I worked with Paul Simons who was also a member, they convinced me to get my backside down to the club to join them on a club run - this was the start of a great time being a club member and seeing myself improve as a runner. It was the summer of 2012 and my first ever club run was the '8 mile Sid's run' at an easy pace (don't think I was running at easy pace though!). Following the run it was back to the Blue Bell for a Pint and a Sausage Roll - brilliant lads, good club and great atmosphere!

The Running G: Totally agree, great club, good people and a lot of runners who have been there, done that! Enjoyed many a great run, race, training and a few beers with everyone associated at Salford Harriers.

Q3. When training what was your favourite type of session?

Glyn B: Hated them all! Honestly I did not like a single session but knew that in order to improve you've got to do them - I did enjoy the process of marathon training though. I always preferred the longer sessions (1km,1 mile, 3/4+ mins) as opposed to the shorter stuff as this really benefitted the marathon training. Running with some of the faster lads at Salford (Joe Bailey/Dave Lockett) really brought me on in such a short amount of time as well as some of the Oldham runners who I would join sometimes for 2 minute hill efforts - these were hard but necessary for improving.

The Running G: He he you make me laugh! I love training, always have and always will but I get it - proof is always in your races and this is something that you are really good at.

Q4. Thinking back over the past 10 years what has been your biggest sense of achievement in the running world?

Glyn B: Probably got to say the 3 year transition of running a marathon in 3hrs15 to 2hrs41 - this is the achievement that stands out the most. The 40-45 years of age category is strong for running and when I got the PB of 2hs41:10 I finished 346th overall in the London Marathon which I still look back on with fond memories and 52nd for my age category.

The Running G: Believe me mate, this is a truly great time. I could only dream of running 6.05 min/m

iling avg. for 26.2 miles - this is just crazy stats!!!

Q5. Worse feeling when running - has there been any that you can think of?

Glyn B: Got to be the marathon again - London 2013. Race was on a Sunday in April but I had been feeling ill since the Weds before. A sore throat and headache resulted in a throat infection and it was a stupid decision of mine to decide to race. At 4 miles I had a blister, 13 miles on I was unable to take on anymore fluids and at 20 miles I was done. It was horrible, I saw the missus soon after and just said, "I'm done". I continued to struggle and managed a Lucozade sipping from mile 23 onwards and managed to finish in a time of 2hrs54 - still a good time but not a good experience. I should never have raced or even travelled to London.

The Running G: I feel for you buddy. Been there myself when illness and the body just won't respond to the hard training you've put in regardless. Sometimes the hard decision should be the only decision - massive respect for finishing and in a great time as well.

Q6. I know you have won a few medals when representing your running club, which medal stands out the most and why is this?

Glyn B: Got to be my 12 Stage Gold Medal in 2016 at Sunderland representing Salford Harriers. I wasn't down to run in the 'A' team and would normally be serving the Queen on a Saturday. On the off chance, I was off that day. I still remember the backstory to my inclusion - Matt Shaw (very good 'A' runner for Salford Harriers) had been knocked off his bike the day earlier and Sean the 'A' team coach contacted me on the Saturday morning asking if I would be available to run - without hesitation I said, "Yes". Not a chance I would miss this opportunity. For my leg of the run I came back in 1st place much to Sean's surprise and it was a great team effort to win the Gold medal this year as there was strong competition across the field.

Winning this medal is up there with my football medals and London marathon PB. I mean good club runners and athletes who have been running for years and some better than me haven't achieved this feat and I feel lucky to have been part of this winning team and achieve this Gold Medal success.

The Running G: Great back story to this! I guess you owe Matt Shaw then for this one #onlyjoking Top effort and much respect for this one.

Q7. During your typical marathon build, what was your weekly training distance?

Glyn B: Never ran past 50 miles. This was the magic number for me. What with working on my feet all day and covering anything between 10-13 miles daily there was no need to go past this marker. Firm believer that Quality over Quantity is key. Typical weekly effort would look something like this:

Mon - Rest Day

Tues - Track or Hills

Weds - Easy Run

Thurs - Club Run or Tempo

Fri - Easy Miles

Sat - Rest Day

Sun - LSR (Long Sunday Run)

The Running G: I like the structure of this. Definitely believe in at least x1 or x2 rest days per week. Essential to listen to the body and allow it to reap the benefits of the training sessions - far too many people do not listen to the body and overtrain/experience fatigue.

Q8. How did you balance your work life with your training programme?

Glyn B: Was lucky with my working pattern and shift work - this allowed me to run home early afternoon and most days my training would be done by teatime. Great for being able to recover well and not place too much pressure on myself to get out and run. With no childcare, early job finishes and knowing when to back off from tough sessions allowed me to consistently run well over a 8 year period. Having only taken up serious running at the age of 38 years of age I think I did alright at this running malarky!!

The Running G: Clearly had the life of an athlete with those early afternoon finishes (not forgetting the early early starts though).

Q9. Favourite race?

Glyn B: There's a few to mention but those that stand out are the Benidorm Half Marathon and Welsh Castles Relay. Benidorm HM takes place in Nov and most of the Salford Harriers club runners head over for a blast at the 10km or HM with an almighty piss-up to follow the race. Great race, well planned and managed to finish 6th overall in a time of 76 minutes (Nightlife wasn't too bad either!).

The other race to mention is the Welsh Castles Relay - You cover the length of Wales as a relay team over 20 legs (as a club we managed to win this prestigious event) across a weekend usually in June pre-COVID restrictions. Beautiful scenery, tough hills and cracking races with other runners from decent clubs. Even managed to win a leg stage myself and was King of the Mountain stage winner.

Another one to note most recently is the Chester Marathon. I've had the pleasure of pacing the 3hr group. Superb management, well looked after as a pacer and nice set of people - loved the event, route and helping other runners chase and achieve their PBs.

The Running G: Love these answers Mr B - always wanted to race the Welsh Castles Relay but never had the opportunity. Chester does and is still one for my bucket list.

Q10. Favourite running shoe?

Glyn B: Used to the trusted Nike Pegasus range until Mo Farah decided to start using them. So I went over to Adidas and running in the Ultraboost/Boston/Adios for my choice of running shoe now - Ultraboost has a special place due to the comfort offered.

The Running G: Good choice - I'm back running in Adidas again and love the comfort and snug feeling on my feet, much better than most and get those trainers you've mentioned at a decent and affordable price rather than those at a 'stupid amount' price.

Q11. If someone was starting out as a runner and had the ambition of running their first race or indeed the marathon distance, what advice would you give them?

Glyn B: Enjoy yourself, get outside on the hills and trails - it'll be the places where you will make most improvement. Just enjoy running for what it is, don't put too much pressure on yourself and don't compare yourself to others on social media and especially Strava. Too many runners compare themselves rather than concentrating on their own training and the type of runner they want to be.

The Running G: Excellent this buddy! Great to see the range of training and type of relaxed outlook you have on running - only wish more people taking up this sport could do the same. Just out of curiosity do you have a favourite Moto and something motivational that you've used when training or racing?

Glyn B: "Don't be a Dick"

The Running G: How can I forget this!! I remember it written on your hand - absolutely brilliant! I don't think people will forget this one in a hurry.

Thanks for agreeing to do this - it's been great to see how someone with very little running experience can apply training/racing into a lifestyle routine and produce results like your 2hr41 marathon time. Topman!

Ps will there be a return of the running bunny at Manchester 10km later this year?

Glyn B: Possibly - you can never rule out the lure of those ears!

The Running G: Thanks again for today - next time the beers are on you..

272 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All