Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Strider in the Spotlight – Colin Braybrook

As he steps down from the Exec Committee, Colin steps into the spotlight... 

1. How long have you been running and when did you join Striders? 
I started running at secondary school, when I was about 15. So that’s over 35 years ago. We had to play rugby before that. When cross-country was offered as an option, I discovered that the sooner you completed the course, the sooner you could go home, so that was an incentive to improve! I also discovered that with some of your own training, it was easy to progress far faster than those who did not train. 

Colin, in the London Marathon
2. What’s been your best moment as a Strider? 
No single moment really, but a lot of good experiences (and a few bad ones!). In a race, possibly winning the Veteran’s prize with a PB in the Watford Half Marathon. Going sub-3 for the first time in Paris in 2004 was pretty special too, as was getting 3 hours in the Snowdonia Marathon. 

Outside of that, being awarded the Strider’s ‘athlete of the year’ in 2003 was a big surprise. I was always glad when the MWRRL fixture I organised for five years was finished without mishap. 

3. What’s your pre-race ritual? 
No big ritual really. The hardest part is getting out of bed in the first place. After that mind and body know pretty well what to do. I normally eat an apple, a banana and maybe some other fruit and drink as much as I can. Plus there is the usual queueing ritual to be performed! I once did not eat my apple before the Gade Valley 17 and felt quite lost towards the end of the run. I tend to get nervous the day before a race rather than on race day. 

4. What’s the most useful piece of running advice you’ve been given? 
Listen to your body. (But do not give in to all of its complaints!) 

5. Who is your sporting hero? 
The Ugandan hurdler John Akii Bua is hard to beat. He achieved Olympic Gold and a world record 400 metre hurdles in the 1972 Olympics pretty much by obsessive hard work. It is a shame he could not capitalise on his success. The Puma shoe company rescued him from a refugee camp after Idi Amin went off the rails. 

Let’s not forget our own Strider heroes. Mike Jubb, Deborah Steer, Zoe Lowe, the ladies marathon team, Caroline Walsh, Paul Adams and Jack Brooks – they have all achieved great things in their time. 

6. Where do you keep your race medals? 
I am sorry to say that most of them have been consigned to a bottom drawer! For a while I was winning veteran 40 trophies and kept an array of them on top of the lavatory cistern. But the dusting was too much hassle. The Watford Half and Snowdonia trophies plus the eight consecutive London Marathon medals are the only ones on show in the living room now. 

7. What’s your favourite local running route? 
Across the fields and the A414 to Tyttenhanger lakes, then over to Colney Heath and back via the Alban Way is a nice escape. The path from the A414 over Hedges Farm and back by the Ver is a nice little escape route too! I quite enjoy running to the Pub Run, doing the Pub run then running home. This brings me close to 19 miles without really thinking about it. Running to the parkrun and doing the parkrun beforehand makes it nearly a marathon! I tend to train quite slowly these days, and rely on the adrenaline of doing races for my speed rather than doing speed sessions midweek. 

8. What’s your next target? 
I need to do a crazy ultra some time soon. I have been feeling very claustrophobic working in a basement for the past year or so. I think it got to me recently – I ran 98 not particularly fast miles in a week without planning to. It just happened thanks to a spell of nice weather!


  1. I've just been browsing the club's website and it gives me great pleasure to see Striders are still going strong after 30 years. I remember the inaugural meeting in 1984 when a handful of aspiring joggers (we weren't runners then) got together to form the club. I was elected the first Chairman and stayed in office for a few years until I could persuade somebody else to have a go. We didn't have any fast runners in those early days, but everyone was full of enthusiasm and after a while we progressed up the leagues and could hold our own in the 10k league. Such a joy to see that running is still popular - also to see people like Jack and Colin are still going strong (looking a bit older, though). Keep up the good work - regards, Mike Starr

    1. Hi Mike - just read your comment 3 years too late! I hope you are keeping well. You are a running legend and still hold the club V50 marathon record I believe. Nice to hear from you, Colin.