Me! Me!Me! Footprint of a Runner – Mike Blair, age 40, married to Jess. Father to Evie 10 and Maisie 7. Works as Owner, RunForest Running Shop, Matlock
What was the first thing you thought of this morning? I really should stop drinking on a Sunday!
What is your favourite meal? Traditional Sunday roast, but Christmas Dinner cooked by myself is the best meal of the year!! With all the usual trimmings and then some.
Stiff drink or herbal tea? Stiff drink, all day long; I do not have the diet and lifestyle of a performance athlete
What got you interested in running in the first place and how long have you been a member of MAC? I ran at school age 11/12 and was one of the quicker boys round the Highfields Riber XC course. In the usual way, around the 3rd year, I started to skip games which ended in me having 25 years off of running. I came back to running in 2013 when I used it as cross training for my cycling time trials with Matlock CC – it was then that realised I actually liked running. I ran the Whitworth thread (in fell shoes) and recorded a time of 19.31, which people told me was pretty quick - so I eventually joined MAC and did the Bakewell BDL XC in December 2016. That ended in a torn calf and a finish position of 32nd if I recall correctly.
Some stats – PBs: 5k – Bakewell Park Run 2018 - 17.00, 10k – Wilne 2017 – 35.31, Half Marathon – Monsal Trail Half 2018 – 1.15.20. Unofficial Hungover Marathon - solo effort – 3 hours 10 mins.
Tell us a bit about your previous work life? Most people locally know me and my wife Jess as we set up Peli Deli in 2007 because of my love of good food and coffee. This lead us on to have a PeliDeli in the Arc, Wirksworth and for a while, a craft beer shop called Peli Beers.
Before that I had worked for 10 years in the motorsport industry, working with teams at British and World Championship Level as a Data Acquisitions Engineer and latterly as an Operations Manager. I was travelling all over the World in Moto GP and was part of the Works MG Team at Le Mans – the 24 hours automobile endurance race. Other career highlights included the Honda British Super Team, British Touring Cars, WRC and The Works Mitsubishi British Rally Championship winning team.
Why a running shop? I love running my own business, I love running, I love great kit, I love great coffee and Jess is a professional cake baker (The Cake Snob) so it all made sense to do it. I’ve tried to make Run Forest different to the usual sports shop offering - We have a café, a physio and use gait assessment to find the right shoes for an individual runner’s unique style. Run Forest combines my passion for good coffee, my personal interest in running and puts my data analysis background to good use. I think the main thing is that the shop differs from other running shops in that I will spend as long as it takes to get the right kit, shoes etc for the customer. I like to have a bit of fun while doing it too!!
If you could spend the day in the life of someone (dead or alive) who would it be? My wife, Jess, to see how annoying it is to live with me with my constant training and crazy ideas.
Best advice you have ever been given? If you drink too much alcohol, eat jam – because if you’re sick, it tastes really nice. This advice was from an old race engineer friend of mine who was a recovering alcoholic.
Tomorrow I am going to….? I have for some time been considering doing a marathon, just not sure when and where. I would love to be part of the GB Age Group Marathon Team now I’ve hit 40. I qualified for GB in 2006 at Oulton Park for the European Sprint Duathlon Champs in Soria, but did not go as I felt it was a lot of money for such a short race – we went on holiday as a family instead.
I asked Mike to put 6 words in order of importance in terms of a 10k race. He came up with –
1. Mental Attitude, 2. Speed, 3. Strength, 4. Kit, 5. Nutrition, 6. Flexibility – That said, all are very important factors in a race. If you get one wrong, you’ll not get the result you wanted!
Other interests? I love coffee – South American, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Kenyan are the best at the moment. Running consumes my life but I love family time too. We have a caravan and try to get away in the school holidays, but as we love Derbyshire so much we never venture further than 30 miles away. I also enjoy cooking and eating out and of course I enjoy a drink or two!
Any advice for new runners? You need a good attitude and you should run because you want to and make sure you enjoy it. It’s easy to get pushed and pulled by your peers and you can easily lose the love and enjoyment of the sport and the community around it.
What is your worst habit? Eating pizza and lots of it (I’m sure my wife and kids would mention flatulence – I blame the pizza)
Next challenge? The Snowdonia Trail Half in July. I have organised a coach-load to take it on. I am focusing on this race for my MV40 debut and hope to hit the MV40 podium.
What has been your most rewarding running challenge? This year, I focussed all of my training towards the Monsal Trail Half and set a series of goals to break. First I wanted a new PB (which was 1:16.32), second, I wanted to break the course record of 1.16.02 and Third, I wanted to break into the 1:15’s. I did all this in a time of 1.15.20, winning the race by over 2 minutes. I’m the first person to beat myself up with results but that day, the planets aligned and I felt that I had achieved everything I set out to do.
Who has been your biggest influence/inspiration? My Dad. He taught me through his successes to have belief in myself and that it is all about the winning! I do criticise myself and strive to try my very best so that there are no regrets – it’s never an easy ride, you have to work hard to hit goals. He was a rally car driver and my brother a touring car driver, so I was bought up in a very competitive environment. Through my life he has supported me which helped me get to a point in life where I’m happy and content.
Latest music download? Have been listening to Camilla Cabello, a Cuban-American pop singer… I like female vocalists so will listen to all sorts. Pop music made for people half my age is a guilty pleasure….
Favourite film? The Jerk – a 1979 American comedy featuring Steve Martin which is about an idiotic white man, raised by a poor black family, who does not realise he is not their own child – worth a watch if you want a giggle. Directed by Carl Reiner and written by Steve Martin.
Do you have any ideas which Matlock AC could incorporate to improve the club?
It’s great to see the club growing and everyone in the club rising up through the ranks and regularly achieving new PB’s and winning races.
It would be awesome to see the club put on some nights where we would get to access a performance coach to help with pushing our own out of club training days to new heights.
More regular track sessions would be good too, perhaps incorporating both of these ideas would be awesome. 2 or 3 coached track sessions which help build a deeper understanding of training sessions for different disciplines would certainly help my training and also help me deliver more effective training programmes for the juniors.
A dedicated club coach would be a real perk, I’m not sure how that could work though – 100 odd members all wanting specific training plans…. They would have to be on the pay roll!
All in all, I really enjoy being part of MAC. It’s a friendly atmosphere with enough banter to keep you honest!