Richard Smith


How did your running journey start?

Getting into the London Marathon in 2008 (4th time luck in the ballot) as an armchair fan thinking that I’ll give it a go.

What were/are your main/favourite distances?

5 – 10 miles, preferably cross country.

What would you consider your greatest personal athletic achievement, and what did it mean to you?

Any time I’ve been deep in the red during a race and endured the suffering rather than easing off. Doesn’t happen every time which makes it all the more special when I get through it.

How did/has your approach to running change(d) throughout your career?

I didn’t run with a watch when I started whereas now I’m a stat slave. I’m much more aware of how to prep and peak for races (I still get it wrong, though). I’m much more aware of enjoying a run for running’s sake now, when it happens, regardless of whether it’s a race, training run or one for fun – it used to be simply ticking boxes when I ran.

Favourite race you’ve seen and why

Probably either of Mo Farah’s 2012 Olympic golds, purely for being swept along in the moment.

What injuries have you had, how did you treat them, and how did it affect you mentally?

Various tendon issues in my right foot and leg: Achilles, posterior tibial tendon and recurring extensor tendon issues. They all took time, rest and patience (hardly in abundance for a runner). Various conditioning exercises (which I didn’t turn into habit!) have been learned and forgotten along the way. Learning what my limits are, what the triggers are, recognising it early and how to manage ongoing issues have been key.

What was/has been your number one challenge throughout your career, and how did you overcome it?

Trying to figure out what exactly I want to achieve and focus on. Although I know what I prefer, after 14 years, I still don’t know what I’m best at or what to maximise. Squaring that with my desire to try most things in running is quite tough.

What is your number one piece of advice?

A cliché one; but don’t forget to enjoy it. Any run. If a race goes badly, you’ll hopefully still have had good, enjoyable experiences along the way and fitness in the bank.