Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Rob Farrell

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

I’m excited to introduce our featured runner today, Rob Farrell.  I really enjoyed getting to know about this runner from “across the pond.” I found him to be extremely genuine and very relatable for many of my running friends.IMG_6957

Name: Rob Farrell from Portishead, near Bristol, England, UK

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

This will be my first and only Boston Marathon (bar national lottery wins!) and my 4th marathon. I started running in 2010, due to a distinct lack of fitness during my mid life, completing my first half marathon that year. Three years later I managed a painful 3:28 at the Shakespeare Marathon.

With the words “never again” barely out of my mouth I put my name in to the ballot for London, partially hoping I wouldn’t get in! However, I was lucky enough to get a place and targeted a sub 3:15 to obtain a London Good For Age qualifying time.

At the time Boston was more of a dream than a vision, although the idea of running it was beginning to form. I had a perfect race in London (April 2015), bagging a 3:14:48, a massive 12 seconds inside my target but, at the age of 44, not good enough for a squeaker’s place in Boston.

I had already signed up for the inaugural, local and, so far, the only, Bristol + Bath Marathon, taking place in late October 2015. Things began to fall in to place as I realized this was within the qualifying period for Boston 2017, that I would enter the next age category and that the 2017 race would take place bang in the middle of my two sons’ Easter school holidays. I needed to beat 3:25 with some change and, although it was a hilly second half of the course, I ran 3:20:36. A timely annual bonus from work and I was going to Boston (as part of a family holiday)!

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

For me it is about personal achievement and feeling proud of something I have worked hard for, off my own back. A lot of people have earned a marathon finisher’s medal but not many have earned a BQ, never mind a Boston finish. For me, this is the victory lap of marathons.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

Getting to the start line uninjured! Also pinching myself on the way round to take in the fact I am running  that iconic course. And, of course,  picking up that medal, the culmination of four marathon training cycles and 7 years of dedicated running.

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

It has to be a PR. I’d love to say I will take it steady, take in all the sights and sounds and remember every moment but I know I will try to run the quickest race I can. Sub 3:15 will guarantee entry in to London for the next 2 – 3 years, a fast course with great crowds, so that’s the target

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

I love my Garmin (currently a 620) and never run without it. I always run with my phone on my arm for music (fast sessions) or podcast (slow runs) and use Monster iSport Victory earphones as they survive virtually all British weather. My job is to manage a 24/7 manufacturing plant so sometimes I take work calls on the run! Other than the GPS watch, phone and music I’m basically at one with nature!

I rarely buy clothing and wear all the tech-tees collected from races, although I did buy a Boston Marathon Qualifier Adidas tee (via my sister-in-law in California due to no international shipping!) to wear during training – I don’t see many of them around in the UK!

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

Training has gone really well considering I barely ran in 2016 due to achilles problems. I started walk/jogging in August and slowly ramped up to begin a 16 week plan, the same one I used for my last two marathons. One significant change for me was to take a day off a few times when not feeling good. I know this sounds obvious but I am rather obsessive about sticking to training plans and it took a lot of willpower not to run. I’d like to think this has helped me avoid injury. If the sensible, non running side of your brain suggests you shouldn’t run, follow its advice!

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

Nerves! I worry a lot in the days and hours leading up to the start. I worry about all the usual stuff; getting injured or ill, what I will eat before, how I will sleep, GI issues! I know it will hurt during the race as I always push myself and I fear the disappointment of failing to reach my goal. Other than that, I love it!

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

It would have to be the London Marathon, an amazing atmosphere and a great course. The only race where the cumulative cheers of the crowd have made me, a generally cynical guy, feel genuinely emotional. Especially considering the crowd was mostly full of people who are miserable and rude the rest of the year! I look forward to experiencing the well renowned American support in Boston

  1. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

No weird or wonderful rituals or good luck charms. I just put aside my favorite bits of kit for race day. No music during any race, that’s just for training

  1. What inspires you as a runner?

I usually train rather than just run, I run when I race. I run for the effects, the results; emotional, physical, mental. I’d like to inspire my sons to get out and run but I only seem to get their eyes to roll so far!

  1. Anything else you want to share or would like Runcanvas to promote?

My eldest son is Autistic, a charity I often run for is the National Autistic Society. However, this race is just for me, I’m giving my family and friends a break from asking for money

My Twitter account is @runningfaz for the occasional running tweet

Good luck to my fellow BQers!

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Rob good luck and send him some positive words of encouragement for the big day, in the comment section below.

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Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Lindsay Kahn

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.
The first athlete I have chosen to feature is runner, Lindsay Kahn.  I have enjoyed following Lindsay’s journey on her blog and look forward to reading about her success when she returns.

Lindsay Khan

Check out Lindsay’s Blog!

You can also follow Linsdey on Social media

Twitter: @lindsaybkhan

Instagram @lindsaybkhan

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

This will be my first Boston, and only my second marathon. I ran the Ottawa Marathon in May 2016 to qualify, with a time of 3:17:35. My story begins back in 2012. After having my son in that year, we knew we wanted to have a second child. My half marathon time dropped from 1:47 to 1:34 after his birth, and a lot of people started asking me when I was going to run a marathon. My response was “when I’m done having children”.

On Mother’s Day weekend in May of 2014, I suffered a miscarriage. At the end of September that same year, I suffered another one. I felt betrayed by my body.

As a way to get away from what I was going through, we took a family trip to Boston. I had studied the Boston Marathon course and had my husband drop me off in Newton. I would meet him and my son near the finish line. My mind was full of thoughts during this run. It was a very vulnerable time for me. I felt stuck in limbo, like I was living my life on pause. I felt defeated physically, and wanted to do something to prove I was strong. The fire was lit inside of me, and my desire to run the Boston Marathon began.

At the end of November that year, I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t get excited. I was too scared to. I was afraid that I would have my heart broken again, and was tired of my body failing me. A few weeks later, I thought I was experiencing another miscarriage, but, fortunately I wasn’t. In early August 2015, our daughter was born. Then the questions began – “so, that marathon?”…

I was eager to run a marathon and start my quest to Boston. I registered for the Ottawa Marathon, and kept it a secret at first, but, eventually went public with it. Our daughter would be just shy of 10 months old on race day, and I had never run more than 24km before. It sounded like a crazy idea, but for some reason I believed I could do it.

8 weeks into training I sprained my SI Joint and could barely even walk. I was absolutely devastated. After a lot of RMT, chiropractic and PT, I was cleared to run a month before the marathon. The day before the marathon, there was a lot of talk about the weather and the extreme heat in the forecast. I was starting to get worried that they were going to cancel the race. The race went on as planned, and I’m so thankful it did.

In the first 10, I was high fiving spectators and genuinely excited to be out there. At the half marathon mark, I started to worry, as I ran it in 1:34, which was my half marathon PB at the time. I didn’t want to fade as the temperature rose and the miles added up. I specifically remember getting to the 38km marker and knowing I was well under the Boston standard for my category. I couldn’t believe it was really happening. After everything that went wrong during training, I managed to achieve my goal. Even as I reflect back on it, I still feel a sense of shock.

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

Boston has so many meanings for me. The most significant one is perseverance. I get really emotional when I think about Boston. Running Boston reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am, and that hard work pays off.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

I’m excited for the race and the energy in Boston around the marathon. I’ve heard so many incredible stories from people I know who have run Boston, and I can’t wait to have those experiences. It’s such a significant race with so much history. I feel very lucky to be part of it.

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

Obviously finishing the race strong and getting through training healthy is the ultimate goal for me. I’m still figuring out my goal time for the race. I’d love to run a sub-3 hour marathon, but I don’t think that Boston is the course for that. My emotions are going to be hard to control in Boston – my eyes already well up with tears when I see ads for the Boston Marathon on TV.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

For training, Bose wireless Bluetooth headphones. Sounds silly, but I’ve been on the treadmill for a lot of my marathon training this cycle, and they have made it a lot easier to listen to music or watch something on Netflix. For racing, I have to wear my Garmin. I have the Forerunner 220.

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

I was very nervous going into training for Boston, as I ended up with an injury when I trained for the Ottawa Marathon last year. I wasn’t sure if my body could sustain the mileage, or if I could balance a full time job, family and kids, and marathon training – I was on maternity leave when I trained for Ottawa. Living in Canada, winter marathon training is also tricky with the weather, and I tend to spend more time on the treadmill than I’d like. Training has gone very well this time around. The big thing I learned from training for Ottawa was the importance of recovery and strengthening. Recovery is just as important and the miles you run, which is the main advice I give others.

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

The marathon is still very new to me, and the one I ran was on a day where there was a heat advisory and I was still dealing with the remains of an injury. The most challenging part for me is probably fueling while running. I don’t take anything in when racing a half marathon, so I’d have to say that marathon fueling is something I need to work on.

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

I have a soft spot for the half marathon, but am learning to love racing all distances from 5k to the marathon. There are unique bits about each distance that I appreciate. The work that goes into a marathon is intense, and the distance is still very new to me, but I love training for it. Last year I raced 10K for the first time and I loved the rush from the race. I just ran as fast as I could and wanted to see how long I could hang on for. It didn’t seem like much of a strategy to me, but it worked.

  1. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

My rituals are fairly ordinary. I tend to eat the same things and lay out my gear the night before to avoid rushing around in the morning. I never race in new shoes or new clothes. I still listen to music when I race, even if it’s at a low volume. I need the distraction when things get tough on the course.

  1. What inspires you as a runner?

I’m inspired by the stories of the other runners I encounter, whether it’s in person or online. I love finding out how people got into running, how running has helped them through the things that life throws at them, and the dedication and passion that others have for running. Everyone’s journey and goals are so different. It’s really exciting to watch people work hard and achieve their goals.

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner! You can wish Lindsay good luck in the comment section below.  Don’t forget to check out her running blog.

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