5 minutes with... IAIN WHITAKER

5 minutes with... IAIN WHITAKER

By David Beddows | 23/05/2022

5 minutes with... IAIN WHITAKER

 

A TALENTED distance runner, IAIN WHITAKER was born and raised in Rotherham and went to Oakwood School. He joined Rotherham Harriers when he was eight and as a junior won South Yorkshire Cross Country Leagues and represented Yorkshire. After moving up to study at Stirling University, he made his home in Scotland and apart from two years working in Milan, he has remained there and lives in Edinburgh. Now 39, he is the reigning British Masters champion and recently retained his Forth Road Race 10K crown after a Covid-enforced gap of three years. By day Iain is a business analyst for a financial services company.

INSPIRATION
My dad (Malcolm). He took me down to the running track because he wanted me to do another sport other than football. That's how I got the bug. My dad was a sprinter and a rugby player. Unfortunately I didn't get his genes for sprinting or a rugby build.

BEST THING ABOUT RUNNING
When I'm fit and able to run far and fast.

WORST THING ABOUT RUNNING
Coming back from injury and illness. It seems to take longer and longer as I get older. You feel so sluggish when you're not fit.

WHO MUCH DO YOU TRAIN PER WEEK
I average 50 miles a week at the moment, which is around about six hours. I do mainly lunchtimes now because since the pandemic hit I've been working mainly from home and it is a lot easier to get out at lunchtimes, especially now I have two young kids.

BEST PLACE YOU HAVE EVER RUN
The main park in Milan, the Parco Sempioni, was really nice and had quite a grand track in the middle of it, but my favourite place to run is Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen. It's just a lovely place to run around — great trails and you can get a good half-marathon distance without repeating yourself.

MOST UNUSUAL RACE EXPERIENCE
I once got stung by a bee on the calf while running the Glasgow Half Marathon. I swatted it away and then I thought 'that was a bit sharp.' I carried on another mile and it was still stinging. It was only after another mile I realised the sting was still in my leg so I stopped and pulled it out.

FIRST SPORTS MEMORY
Watching Seb Coe. He was a kind of inspiration and hero to me. It’s funny now, reading back about the Coe and Ovett era, I'm actually more of an Ovett fan.

ALL-TIME SPORTS HERO
Haile Gabreselassie, not only for his running but for what he has done since for Ethiopia and its people and how much money he earned that he put back into the country.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF WE DON'T KNOW
I once played American Football for my university team for a season. I'm built like a distance runner and was trying to play on the defense side. I found it the most boring thing I've ever done. It was so stop-start.

GUILTY PLEASURE
My Xbox. My boy, who is only four years old, isn't allowed to see it yet. I don't want him getting involved.

VIEWING CHOICE
Better Call Saul, an American crime drama television series on Netflix. It is a spin-off, prequel, and a sequel to Breaking Bad and I actually prefer it. It’s a better series.

READING CHOICE
Fantasy novels are my thing, such as The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. There are 15 or 16 books in the series.

SPORTING AMBITIONS
I was quite a good junior and when I went to university I didn't do so much running and kind of let it go to waste. When I started back I was dogged by injuries the whole time so I guess I never really fulfilled my potential, never really got close. I'm getting on a bit but I'm still running pretty well, getting personal bests and winning races. I want to get more towards fulfilling my potential and running for the British Masters.

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