The interviewer becomes the interviewee.
Me, Me, Me! Footprint of a Runner - Jan Forrester, age 63, mother of Eleanor and Joseph
Interviewed by Karl Webster
So Jan, we all know you as a highly enthusiastic athlete and valuable club member, but what don’t we know about you?
What were your childhood ambitions? I wanted to be an archaeologist or a journalist.
And did any come true? No, but I do the publicity for MAC. I did once have an article published in Jackie magazine when I was 12 which was about whether I would prefer to live in the town or country. I won a manicure set for that. I have also had a couple of moaning letters printed in the Daily Telegraph. I want to write a book about the different styles of stiles in Derbyshire complete with illustrations. Oh yes, I did once find one of those curly fossils on a beach in Dorset – ammonites – but that is geology – and I enjoy visiting archaeological sites.
As a girl, who did you admire? My dad. He had chronic bronchitis and couldn’t do sport himself but he would always take my brother and I all over the place and encourage us do the things he wasn’t able to.
Yuri Gagarin, I remember from the 60s and being pretty impressed as he was the first person in outer space. Ironically, I have no interest in space travel at all now!
What sport did you do as a youngster? Swimming, hockey and netball were the main ones and I was the games captain at Hitchin Girls’ Grammar School. I was also a self-taught diver in the days before springboards were dangerous.
Why run? I watched the London Marathon on TV when I was 47 and was inspired by Paula Radcliffe. The next day I ran a mile and three years later did the London Marathon finishing 1001 ladies’ places behind Paula. My time was 3:50:01. The year after I did New York Marathon.
What significant performances have you had? I think the best was the silver medal in the European age group duathlon (60-64) in Spain this year, as the weather was so terrible and it was an achievement just to finish. PBs are: 1:43:07 – Hitchin Hard Half Marathon (2002); 1:18:40 – Leighton Buzzard 10 mile (2001); 45:43 – St Albans 10k (2002); 2:02:53 – Diss 15 mile (2003); 3:07:30 – Oakley 20 mile (2004); Derbyshire XC champion V55 in 2010 and V60 in 2013. 6th in age group in English fell running championship in 2013.
What is your favourite food? Honey and marmite but not together and cheese footballs dipped in Baileys.
And drink? Chablis.
The race that got away? I have always wanted to do the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race with 5 daily stages of 24-20-26-13-17 miles with views of 4 of the 5 World’s highest peaks. I think there is a long race left in me, but better get a move on!
Funny running snippet? A few years ago when on the Chatsworth run with Julie Goodwin, Sue Tighe and Anna Henniker-Major, we noticed a very large sheep on it’s back. I was horrified when the girls ran over to it and eventually heaved it back onto it’s feet. Being from the carrot-crunching East Anglia, this is not something I had seen before!
Do you have any guilty secrets? When I was 16 I told my Mum I was going to the Easter Parade in Battersea Park. My friend Barbara Thompson and I then hitched to Whittlesey pop festival where we stayed in a tent with some lads from Durham. We went as Mods and came back as Hippies having been influenced by the music of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Fleetwood Mac and Amen Corner. Mum’s very recently died and she never found out. For years, whenever the Easter Parade came on telly she’d always say to me “Look, that’s where you went.”
What’s the best film or TV show you’ve watched? My favourite films are Pulp Fiction and Woody Allen films. Recently went to see Suffragette, so opted not to answer Karl’s question on ‘who would I like as a toy boy’. Although I will answer ‘who was your first kiss?’ as I know it was Derek Wright, when I was 5! I only know this because I met him recently after 42 years and he told me!
And your best and current books? A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is my favourite book and I’m reading Helen of Troy by Bethany Hughes and The Well, a psychological thriller by Catherine Chanter.
If you could lay dinner on for three guests from the past, who would you invite? Graham Hill, Marie Curie and Abraham Lincoln
And the same for people who are still around today? Zandra Rhodes (fashion designer), Dan Pearson (garden designer) and Carlos Acosta (Cuban ballet dancer).
Now, we all know you have a big presence. What coping mechanisms has your partner Tony adopted over the years? He’s very acquiescent just to keep the peace but if that fails he just storms out. It doesn’t happen very often though.
We also know you to have an artistic streak so who is your favourite artist? Freida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who had a fascinating life story too. Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud
You’re a horticulturalist so what is your favourite plant? The Salvia genus, particularly salvia pratensis. I love to propagate them from seeds and cuttings.
From whom do you draw inspiration for life these days? Para-athletes and anyone who can achieve something against all odds. (Since attending Eleanor Robinson's talk - definitely her)
What advice and development ideas do you have for MAC? I think we should arrange weekend trips away to race.
I’d tell any youngster to work hard at what they enjoy as if you like it you are motivated and are more likely to succeed. The club is progressing well, so more of the same.
Is there anything you don’t like? Quite a few things, but particularly mysoginistic rap.