Running Matters - One:2:One with Colin Crowther

Interview by Martin Lyons

(Photo above) Colin with Luke Crowther (left) Olive MacDonagh and Emily Crowther on the day he completed his 50th Mullingar parkrun, October 9, 2019.

This runner is originally from the Gauteng Province in South Africa and is now a regular face at the parkrun in Mullingar. Colin Crowther began running after finishing rugby, he decided in his 40s that he wanted to lose some weight and get fit.

Then, with the help of his partner Olive, he started the Mullingar parkruns on Saturday mornings. He has sound advice for anyone who is looking to take up running, and he also loves his weekend treat in one of Mullingar’s finest eateries!

Name: Colin Crowther

DOB: February 9, 1974

When did you start running and what motivated you take it up?

I’m by no means a seasoned runner, but have enjoyed other sports, like rugby, that included running as part of my training.

I stopped playing rugby in my 30s and did very little exercise for more than a decade – although I did two seasons of tag rugby within that decade.

When I hit my 40s I decided it was time to lose weight and then I started to run 2-4km at a time. Within a year of consistent running, I lost 2 stone.

When I met Olive, she told me about the parkrun in Mullingar and we both decided to give it a try.

That’s when the running bug really hit.

What is your favourite and least favourite type of training and your favourite race distance?

To be honest, I enjoy any type of training.

Generally, my parkrun is my training.

I enjoy 5km as a distance, because you can challenge yourself over that distance, or you can go at your own pace or leisure.

As well as that, it’s obviously great for mind and body.

What running achievements are you most proud of and why?

Reaching 50 parkruns. It’s a milestone. Parkruns are run weekly, so that equates to a year of weekly dedication.

I have come a long way since starting and I’ve made a lot of friends in the Mullingar parkrun community.

Colin Crowther doing the Mullingar parkrun on May 28, 2019.

List your current PBs for the following distances.

5k: 22m.18s – parkrun Mullingar – May 4, 2019

I haven’t raced or timed any other distances, but hopefully I’ll starting ticking off those boxes in the near future!

I look forward to challenging myself more in the months and years to come.

How have the Covid-19 restrictions affected your training or racing plans?

I have skipped one or two weeks of no activity as there has been no parkruns due to Covid-19, although I have done some weekly running along the N52 to keep myself going.

It will be great to get eventually get back to running in groups around Mullingar and surrounding areas, as long as it’s safe to do so.

Although parkruns have ceased operating on Saturdays until restrictions have been fully lifted, the greenway (part of the Mullingar’s parkrun course) is perfect for getting out and giving it a try.

The course is mapped out with 1km distance markers and paved along all routes. The greenway is free and open to the public and you can use it any day, or at any time.

What advice or training tips would you give to anyone who is now looking to take up running?

It’s a decision of doing and setting aside a time to run.

When I returned to running after my decade of no activity, I felt a sense of pressure and doubt.

Negative thoughts like, how fast I should go, or that uncomfortable feeling of being watched while running!

The bottom line is that you are doing this for yourself and you just need to do it.

I started with small quick-paced distances of 2-3km and eventually my parkrun became my regular 5k.

One example of how you can start running is to jog out from your starting point for a period of time (5-10mins), turn around and then return to your starting point.

This helps one get familiar with their distances and times.

Parkruns are a great place to start if you want to start running or simply do an activity like walking. There’s no pressure or competition – it’s your weekly dose of exercise at your own pace.

What are your lifetime goals and PBs?

My next goal is to complete 100 parkruns.

I also hope to better my personal best for 5km to sub 20 minutes. That would be great.

Apart from that, I would also like to do a 10k, hopefully within 50 minutes.

I’ll see then what the future holds and hopefully I can stay injury-free and keep enjoying the local running and fitness scene in Mullingar, which is buzzing.

What is your favourite post race meal?

Every Saturday morning (without fail!) I’ll go for the full Irish breakfast at Red Earth Mullingar, with all the Mullingar parkrun crew and of course, my family. It’s the reward for a fun morning out!

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