Meet the runner – Paul Winwood

  1. How long have you been running and what inspired you to take up running as a hobby?

Since the start of 2014. I needed to lose weight and get fit, so I did a 0-5k programme on my own with a view to doing my first 5k at Brueton parkrun in the March. I remember that first 5k at Brueton hurting so much but of course it introduced me to the wonders of parkrun and after that I was hooked. I did my first 10k in the June and joined K&D soon after!

  1. What is it that you enjoy about running?

The health benefits both physically and mentally. Having spoken to so many people about this you cannot underestimate how good it is for your mental health. If you are going through a tough time in your life or just having a bad day, then being able to get out for a run is a great way of clearing your mind. I have to say though that the best thing about running is the people. I have been fortunate to meet and make friends with so many amazing people all of whom are so positive and supportive.

  1. Do you prefer to run alone or with other people?

Definitely with other people, whether that be our Wednesday night club run, parkrun or a Sunday morning run with the Project 26.2 crew it’s great to get out with your mates. It makes the miles go quicker and for me personally it pushes me to run faster and further than I ever would on my own.

  1. What is your favourite distance to run/race and why?

Probably the Half Marathon. If you can get yourself into a good rhythm, it’s a great distance to run. For the 5k’s and 10k’s I always set off far too quickly for my own good then end up clinging on for dear life to get to the finish line!

  1. What is your biggest running achievement and why?

I have completed 5 road marathons to date but only really been happy with one of those. In the Autumn of 2018, I ran the Chester Marathon and got my PB of 4hrs14m. A week later I did the Birmingham Half and got a PB there too! It was just one of those weeks where the stars aligned and everything clicked into place. Now if you were to ask me what I was doing in training or nutritionally at that time for it to go like that I could not honestly tell you. It’s been all downhill since!


  1. What has been your lowest/toughest running moment and why?

Toughest was the Lakeland Ultra 55k last year. Nothing you can do in training locally can really prepare you the types of ascent and descent over the mountain passes in the Lakes. Just as we were about to set off a club mate there for another event said, “you know this is going to be brutal right?” Four of us set off on what was the hottest day of the year to date, I fell at least three times and had several bouts of nausea. I got to the halfway checkpoint at Grasmere and managed to eat some noodles and have a cup of tea. I was expecting to top up my water at mile 21 but they had run out. Just 8 miles uphill to the next water station. Mentally that 8 miles was the toughest of any event I have ever done. My mind went to some pretty dark places on that stretch. I got to the finish in the dark and I have never been so glad to cross that finish line and see my mates there waiting for me!

  1. Have you ever had to take a break from running due to injury?

Several years ago, I tore my calf on two separate occasions. The problem with calf injuries is that they lull you into thinking everything is all right until you try running again! Thankfully I went to a physio who prescribed some orthotics and I have been fortunate to be able to run pretty much nonstop since.

  1. Do you do any other forms of exercise to aid/compliment your running?

Yes, I really enjoy doing the BMF (British Military Fit) sessions at Brueton Park. It’s a great way to cross train and do some strength and conditioning. They are a great bunch of people too!

  1. What are your running goals/targets for the next 12-18 months?

Hopefully to stay fit and healthy but my main goal is to break 4 hours for the Marathon. I have my Manchester place still open for this year but sadly I can’t see any of the Autumn marathons taking place now so may be next spring. Need to do it soon before I get too old!

  1. What advice would you give to a someone who is thinking of taking up running?

Do it! It will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Accept that it’s going to hurt to begin with but soon you will get fitter and stronger. Then as soon as you feel confident enough join your local friendly running club.

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