Spotlight on... Jon Marsden

Where do you like to run and have you run anywhere particularly memorable?

We are so lucky to have the New Forest right on our doorstep; until I joined the club I never really appreciated it that much before. It certainly makes training easier. Parkruns are great for finding new places to run. Myself and Amy always look out for the closet one to where we might be on holiday. I think one in Northern Ireland is the furthest so far!

What's the most valuable piece of running advice you've ever been given?

Enjoy it! Whether it’s training or racing, if you’re not enjoying it, it makes everything difficult.

Do you have any running experiences you'd care to forget?

I tried a track based 5 km run once but had to give up after 2 km. I found track running to be a very different experience to what I was used to. The open space made it hard to judge my speed - I went off like a rocket, didn’t stick to my race pace plan, didn’t listen to body, and at 2 km in looked down at my legs and realised I had nothing left. Still, it was a valuable lesson learnt.Last year my wife Amy found out the Bangkok Midnight Race was being held while we were passing through on our way to a beach holiday so we signed up for that. It was quite an experience, not least as the course was on a dual carriageway that wasn't completely closed to traffic, the 6 km route turned out to be closer to 7 km, and it was a very humid 29 degrees, even at midnight - at least we didn’t sign up to the 12 km option!I also remember doing an early Parkrun in Bournemouth, before Parkrun became as popular as it is now. I was in third place but took a wrong turn and ended up in a bush. I still managed to finish in 12th place but it just goes to show - always pay attention to the briefing!

Do you have any future running goals?

I’d like to try a marathon at some point in the future, maybe one of the big European ones. Otherwise, hopefully stay injury free and continue to enjoy running, training and coaching with Totton.

Do you have any pre-race routines or rituals?

No not really, I just make sure I get there in plenty of time and make sure I’m warmed up.

Tell us a bit about your running history

I’ve always liked to keep fit by regularly attending the gym and spin classes but when got stuck in a rut my boss suggested that I give Parkrun a go. I went along to the Parkrun on Southampton Common fa ew times and got hooked pretty quickly - I’ve done over 130 now.

When and how did you come to join Totton Running Club?

I joined Totton Running Club in 2014, mainly because I’d reached a point at Parkrun where I wasn’t improving anymore. I set myself a goal to get a sub-20 minute time but just couldn’t seem to get close. I’ve lived in Totton most of my life, so knew of the running club. I decided to join to see if adding some structured training would get me that that illusive sub-20, which it eventually did.I think one of the things that made me come back after my first couple of sessions, was how friendly and welcoming existing club members are to newcomers. I spoke to and made friends with more people in my first three months at the club than years going to the gym. The first impression you get of something, lasts a long time. So, as a current member and now also as a run leader, I try make new members feel as welcome as I did when I joined.

How often do you train and what kind of sessions do you do outside of the club?

I try and get to the Monday and Wednesday club sessions. Outside of the club I do pilates and bootcamp weekly, swim twice a week, and attend a spin class occasionally. I also make sure I get along to Parkrun each Saturday morning, and do interval training on Friday evenings with Runcamp

What is your running highlight or best achievement so far?

Reaching my 100th Parkrun was a big achievement for me. If someone told me three years ago that I would choose to give up a lie-in in favour of dragging myself out of bed to go running every Saturday morning no matter the weather for nearly two years I’d think they were crazy.I was also lucky enough to win a ballot place on a five mile race around the Olympic Stadium in London before it opened for the games in 2012. It was lovely to see the Olympic Park all shinny and new - I even managed to save a sprint finish for the last 100 m, probably a bit slower than Usain Bolt though!

What is more satisfying - racing or training?

Tricky question that one. I’m definitely a short distance runner at the moment, 15 km is about my limit, so I like the speed side of training. But you only get out of training what you put in. I think the saying ‘train hard, race easy’ is certainly true for me, I know if I don’t try and run outside my comfort zone I’m unlikely to improve.

What keeps you out of trouble Mon - Fri?

My wife Amy! Otherwise I work for Naim Audio, based in Salisbury, as a Senior Design Engineer.

Which other club members do you most admire?

That’s another tough one, you could pick so many for so many different reasons. We are so lucky to have inspiring people as members of the club. But as corny as it may sound, I would have to say everyone. At the end of the day, you all chose to come out and train, run, race for Totton no matter what weather is doing or how you might feel. The sofa would be an easy option, but you chose to slip on your trainers and get out there and that’s what I admire the most.

Many of the photos used on our website were taken by local photographer, Paul Hammond. You can see more of his pictures here, but please ensure that you credit him if you use them and consider making a donation (small or large) to his charity.