A blog by runners. For runners.

Runner of the week: meet Nico Stanford

runner-of-the-week-nico-stanfordWhere are you located?
nico-stanford-runner-of-the-weekLondon, Edgware Road so most runs go through Hyde Park at some point.

Tell us about yourself
I work at The Telegraph newspaper. I head up sales on the travel side of anything to do with skiing and snowboarding. So that’s sponsorship, space at the the Ski Shows or advertising for the magazine and website. I’ve lived in ski resorts in the French Alps and New Zealand for nearly 10 years, before moving back to London, where I was born and I now live with my lovely girlfriend, Cat.

How did you get started running?
My Dad has been a keen runner for a while. I always used to be amazed after he came back from 2 hour runs when he was training for marathons. He managed a 3:30 marathon when he was 62 years old and I said to myself I’d try to beat that one day, preferably when he’d be too old to be able to beat me back! I never thought I’d manage it, though, because my passion for snowboarding was far greater than my actual skill at landing tricks. This resulted in three separate ACL knee operations, some even got a bit of nip and tuck on the cartilage thrown in for good measure. I thought it was time to swap the mountains for the big smoke, not just to try being sensible in life but also to give my knees a break. I needed something to replace snowboarding every day.

Why did you pick running?
I got myself into swimming as it’s good for the knees but I found laps in a pool a bit dull. I also tried cycling, which is fun, but not so much in London as you need to get into the countryside first. With running, you can just leave the house and go for it. A few different points got me into running my first marathon, other than the motivation to beat my Dad. I thought my knees were beyond repair and would never be able to run a full marathon but my mate Simon told me to man up as one of his pals had done one after a full knee replacement. An old school friend, now a PE teacher , told me I didn’t have the discipline to run a marathon, which was like a red flag to a bull. Finally, I had a drunken bet with another mate who has run 5 marathons that I would beat him on my first attempt. (Actually, where’s that fiver, Andrew?!) All of that said, I didn’t really “pick” running as I really enjoy cycling. I did a mixture of half and full marathons and cycling plus an epic ride from Biarritz to Faro on the South Coast of Portugal.

What’s the best thing about running? What’s the worst thing?
Not only do you feel great after a run but if I need to clear my head there’s no better way. Well, maybe getting on the snowboard is up there! But it’s a great way to go out and have your thoughts to yourself — some funny things can pop into your head when you’re on your own!

The worst thing? It’s addictive if you’re training for a race, which I suppose is good and bad. I flew back from the USA last year, it was a nightmare journey which took about 20 hours and I had about 5 hours in London before flying to a stag do in Europe. I was knackered but needed to go for a run so I didn’t lose too much fitness. Injuries are obviously annoying too. If you’re injured you get so frustrated that you can’t go out because you’re constantly counting the days until the race day, so if you can’t stick to your schedule it messes with your head a bit.

Do you have any advice for a running newbie?
Re-reading what I wrote above, maybe take it less seriously than me and just enjoy the freedom. The sense of personal achievement is well worth the effort so keep going. I still find the first 3 miles of a run the worst, which is tough on a 2 mile commute.

Tell us a bit about your training — what does a typical week look like?
Tuesday Run Club (see below) has increased from 5 to 10 miles recently — around the Royal Parks or by the Thames, and I’ll try for another 10 or so at the weekend. I’ll also try to run to and from work once or twice a week, so that’s what 25 to 30 miles per week and rising.

Tell us about your running or fitness goals.
None in particular to be honest. I guess I want to stay healthy, be able to enjoy food and a few beers without feeling guilty and getting fat!

Anything else you want to share?
I’m loving my Tuesday run clubs at the moment. A girl and guy at work signed up to run the Rome and London marathons so I said I’d help them train as I ran Edinburgh last year. I’d hoped to get her to beat him originally, but now we run as a group. It started with just us but has grown into our “Wolf Pack”. Helen, Hugh, Katie, Andrew & Matt: AWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rapid fire facts:

  • Favorite candy: Boost chocolate bar
  • Favorite quote: An Irish chap I met in the South of France once told me, “One should always strive to be quoted”, a great quote in itself. And one of the Wolf Pack told me that “Sweat is just fat crying”!
  • Favorite running song: Old Crow Medicine Show, Wagon Wheel. I used to live in Texas as a kid so country and western is cool!
  • Favorite cross-training activity: Cycling
  • Music or no music (when running): Yes if I’m on my own. No if I’m with others or in a race.
  • Treadmill, outside, or both: Outside every time. Even in the UK, the weather is rarely that bad you can’t just throw on some warmer clothes and get out there!

Thank you, Nico, for sharing your story! If you’d like to nominate yourself or another runner to be the “Runner of the Week,” email us! We’d love to hear from you.

Read more stories from WalkJogRun runners here.