Q & A with a Running Dad #6

May 2, 2019






Another dad willing to share his thoughts with you folks...here we have Dan Williams for you; take it away Dan!







1.Tell me a about yourself.

I’m Dan – 34 years old, originally from Barnsley but living in Baldock in North Herts. Have spent time living in Yorkshire, the south of France and Belfast, but now settled with the missus (Becca) and two kids, Alfie (5) and Olivia (soon-to-be 2).


2.Why do you run?

The main reason I would say is because I can. A few years ago, when Alf was born, I was in the worst condition of my life. The sleepless nights and irregular meal times that come with a baby in your life contributed to me being the largest, heaviest and least healthy I’d ever been. Worried I wouldn’t be able to play with/run after my little lad as he grew up, I started at a bootcamp group, took up running and got into the best shape I’ve ever been in. However, when Liv came along, the same thing happened again, and I’m still trying to fight my way out of the bad part of the cycle and into the good. It’s not always easy getting out running with a young one that doesn’t sleep at night, but I’m giving it a go. Also, this year, I decided to challenge myself in a big way for charity. Over the course of 2019 I’m running in 12 events – a combined 200 miles over marathons, halfs and a couple of 10k – all to raise money for two incredibly worthy causes. It’s fair to say though that my current fitness levels don’t match my ambition when it comes to this challenge.


3.What are your PB’s?

I’d have known these without having to look them up a couple of years ago – these days I’m just always looking to get to the end alive. I’m also nowhere near times like these now. 5k – 23:48 10k – 48:56 Half – 2:00:02 Marathon – 4:44:05


4.What are you aiming for?

First of all, I want to get back to looking and feeling well. My self esteem has taken a major battering recently and I’m finding the path back to liking myself a long and rocky one. Second, I want to raise a huge amount of money for charity this year and be able to look back on this challenge as a once-in-a-lifetime thing that I can be really proud of. Mostly, I want to be able to go for a run and it not feel like a massive effort. Just heading out and loving a run would be great, I’m not there yet, they are very difficult still.


5.What is your most important running achievement?

Three years ago I decided, as many do, while watching the London marathon on TV that I’d give one a go. Fast forward a few months and, despite a few niggling injuries along the way, I trained for and completed Manchester marathon. I’ve never been a runner of any description, always been too fat and hated it at school. I’d be the last person almost everyone I’ve ever met would expect to complete a marathon. But I did it – and then two more in the following six weeks for charity… It was tough but worth every mile. When things were going really well training-wise and my results were visible to everyone, it felt great that everyone in my family also took up running in some capacity.


6.Which race has been your favourite and why?

The afore-mentioned Manchester marathon. It went brilliantly for the first 23 miles and I felt like a world beater. Seeing my little boy cheering at the side of the course was incredible. Unfortunately, cramp hit hard in the last three miles, but I’ll never forget getting to the end, and am in no way ashamed to say that tears flowed when I lifted my little lad into my arms in the race village.


7.What race do you regret and why?

None really. Plenty have gone badly, but without wanting to sound like a massive cliché, they were all a learning curve.


8.What race would you like to run and why?

A European marathon would be great. I’d absolutely love to run Barcelona as it’s my favourite city, but am not sure that I’m really suited to the weather there. Amsterdam, Berlin or Rome would be equally great.


9.Tell me about how you prepare for a race on the morning of the event.

I should work on this more I think. At the moment I just have some porridge, a couple of cups of tea and a bottle of running juice (Lucozade Sport or something similar) before the race begins. Nothing special, no superstitions or anything. The only thing I do is ensure I’m there in plenty of time – the thought of having to queue for a race number/bag drop/toilet 20 mins before the race begins fills me with dread.


10.Tell me about how you relax post-race.

Beer please. I’ll have a beer and any and all food that you’ve got, hanging out with the kids and hoping I’ll be able to walk the following day.


11.What three pieces of advice would you give to fellow runners? (New and seasoned)

Accept that it’s not always going to be easy. You don’t have to set a new PB every time you head out. Don’t let the watch on your arm take over your run/life. Enjoy yourself, smile at people and say hello to other runners – whether training or at a race. If you are in a big race, and not an elite runner looking to finish on the podium, give a few of the kids watching a high-five, they’ve got their arms out because they love it. Make the day memorable for them and it might inspire them to do the same down the line. Just try your best. You’re only running against yourself, not your Strava friends or the people you see on telly.


12. What is your preferred running route? Path, trail, fell etc?

Until recently I’ve only really ever run on roads – but have just joined a trail running group – and am enjoying it. I’ve always thought trail running is a pain with its uneven surfaces, but it’s nice to be in the middle of a forest, rather than running down the side of an A-road.


13. What is your favourite running brand and why?

I’ve had Nike running shoes since the start. Pegasus 30s up to 35s. What I wouldn’t give to get hold of another pair of 30s. However, I’ve just made the move over to Adidas as I wasn’t getting on with the 35s, and I think I’ll be staying over in the land of the three stripes.


14. Who is your all-time sporting hero?

Former Wales and Barnsley left back Darren Barnard. I have always been a football fanatic, and my teenage years featured Barnsley’s one season in the Premier League. We might have got a good few humpings along the way, but we had a defender with an absolute wand of a left foot who scored some of the most memorable goals I’ve ever seen. He’s lovely on Twitter, too, all these years later. What a guy.


15. Who is your all-time running hero? Usain Bolt. Mr Charisma himself. He’s my favourite athlete of all time by a long shot.


16. Being part of the Running Dads community, what has this done to inspire and motivate you? Following the training efforts of other dads has been great. I love the #inspiringourchildren hashtag, as it’s a dream of mine, and I’m sure many others, to be their kids’ hero. I want my little lad to be both proud of his dad, and inspired by him. He’s already working on his jogging and is keen to see how far he can go. That’s all I need. And it’s what keeps me pulling on the running shoes and getting out there.


I’m @daninbaldock on twitter and Instagram. The challenge can be found at @DansBig12Chall1 on Twitter or dan_big12challenge on Instagram My charity link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dansbig12challenge

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