Robert Taylor

Rob Taylor tell us how he began running and became one of the founder members of the Metro Running Club.

1. How did you get into running?

After spending most weekends in the pub my friend (Bruce Moroney) suggested I start running. Completed my first 20 minute run on 14th May 1983 and my first race 4 months later (Aberdeen marathon) the rest is history…

2. How long have you been a Metro member and why did you join?

Being part of the group that formed Metro I’ve been a member since day one.

3. Best thing about being a Metro member?

The best thing for me is watching the club grow and develop. Passing on knowledge, running experience and supporting many members over the years to progress and gain confidence has given me a great sense of achievement.

4. Personal Bests;

1500m - 4:30

3k track - 9:01

3k prom - 9:06

5k track - 15:39

10k - 31:20

Half marathon - 68.50 (point to point downhill)
numerous half marathons 69-70

Marathon - 2:45:10

5. Achievements you’re most proud of?

Struggling with this one (I have so many…) here are three;

1) 2 Bronze medals for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay

2) Coming in 3rd at the Malta half marathon

3) Going under 1:18 for the first time in a half marathon

6. Most depressing running experience?

Hitting the wall in 1989 Aberdeen marathon, reaching 20 miles in 2 hours and not fulfilling my potential to do 2:30 (hence no further marathons...)

7. Most memorable moment?

I have lots, but one that stands out is my 3rd victory at the Bennachie hill race. I was sitting in second position and looking well beaten, I found the energy to claw it back to retain my trophy which I was allowed to keep having won it three times in a row.

Also couldn’t leave this one out; hay bales at the Ythan challenge, giving my good friend Jaffers a helping hand. The two of us falling and over rolling around on the ground, we got up to sprint to the last 50 meters, and I just remember turning round and saying “see yi!”

8. Hardest lesson to learn/thing to fight through?

Always listen to your body, never over-train and be patient when recovering from injuries.

9. What are you targeting next?

I’ve had a great 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Here’s to an even better 60’s (next year)!

10. Any advice?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and most of all enjoy your running.

11. What’s the best event you have taken part in?

That’s easy, it’s got to be Baker Hughes - done 25 of them no. 26 coming up!

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Meet the Metros

Clare Russell

We ask Metro member Clare Russell how she became involved with Metro Running Club.

1. How did you get into running?

The Active Schools Coordinator in our area was encouraging teachers to get together to train for Baker Hughes. My friend and I turned up for the first session to find we were the only ones but kept it going. In the end I couldn't manage the race as it clashed with the Mountain Biking World Cup in Fort William.

2. How long have you been a Metro member and why did you join?

I joined Metro in 2009 as I'd been running with Jog Scotland Bridge of Don and felt I needed a push to improve my times.

3. Best thing about being a Metro member?

The camaraderie. It's such a friendly club and everyone is so supportive and encouraging of others. Being part of the Core Team at Aberdeen parkrun I also love that when we suggest a Metro volunteering day the roster is filled with an hour! It's fantastic to see our runners encouraging others of all abilities as pacers.

4. Personal bests;

Parkrun 19:50

10k 42:30

10 Mile 68:44

Half Marathon 91:33

Marathon 3:45:12

5. Achievement you’re most proud of?

Smashing my PB and finally running sub 20 at parkrun. This had been a long term goal and one that I thought I may never achieve. I'd said that unless I achieved it I'd never do another marathon! I was so delighted to achieve it that I did shed a few tears.

6. Most depressing running experience?

The Dundee Half Marathon where it just wasn't my day and I got a personal worst! I had planned to tackle my demons a couple of years later but did a 'superman dive' off a pavement in Dyce a couple of days before so ended up spectating. I reckon this may be the race I'm just not meant to do!

7. Most memorable moment?

Pre-Metro, completing my first ever marathon in Amsterdam in memory of my Uncle George and raising money for Clan who supported him. I struggled and cried for the last few miles and will never forget crossing the line to the blaring Scissor Sisters, "I don't feel like dancing'.

Since Metro, it would probably be the Lochaber Marathon. I was very sick at mile 25, a marshal telling me just to walk it in as I was just a mile from the finish. I looked at my watch and realised I could get sub-4 if I ran so that was a done deal!

8. Hardest lesson to learn/thing to fight through?

Having time out with a foot injury in 2015. I had nearly 5 months off running and had to build my fitness back up. I was delighted to come back stronger overall.

9. What are you targeting next?

I've got Baker Hughes and the Metro 10k. Then I'm going to up the mileage in preparation for the Illuminator as Braemar Mountain Rescue have kindly given me a free place (I'm also a keen hill walker) in exchange for some fundraising.

10. Any advice?

Listen to your body. Do something that gets you in tune with how your body feels, like Pilates or Yoga, then listen to it. Take a rest day if there's something not feeling right and opt for regular maintenance rather than running yourself into the ground.

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Spotlight -

On Laura Katvars

A double family tragedy forced Laura Katvars to re-examine her lifestyle and priorities. Aged just 25 and herself having suffered a lifetime of weight struggles, within a matter of months two close relatives had died as a result of preventable illnesses exacerbated by unhealthy lifestyles.

Forced to take a cold, hard look at her own choices, in 2012 Laura enrolled on a gym programme of fitness training and weight management.

“It was hard at first, and very intimidating walking into a gym, but I soon made friends,” remembered Laura, especially with the encouragement of a running-friendly gym coach who introduced her to her first ever park run. “I’d never experienced anything like that, I thought I’d never get finished!” but with the encouragement of her gym coach she did, and her first ever run outside of a gym was completed in a time of 45.03.

Soon Laura was running regularly outside of her gym sessions with a couple of girls she’d met through the gym, and the three of them decided to sign up to do a 10k together. Gym training was soon making way for running training, and with them finding training programmes online and adopting a ‘get round and finish’ approach to first the Baker Hughes 10k in May 2013, “I think I did that in around an hour and 10 minutes or so”, and then with their confidence growing, “If we could do a 5k, we could do a 10k, and if we could do a 10k, we could do a half”, her first half marathon in September 2013 in a time of 2.20.09. Laura was gradually meeting other runners, at work and on runs, and also helping those who wanted to run but had no idea where to start.

“I entered London on a whim, thinking I’d never get a place”, but then she did get a ballot place for 2015 but as the mileage had increased, so had some hip pain which forced her to postpone the place til the following year.

Early in 2016 she was able to start training again and completed her first marathon in a time of 5hr, 31 minutes and 47 sec.

"Joining a club was scary, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done!"

By this time her regular running friends had moved out of the city and Laura found herself running alone, so googled some running clubs in the city to join. Metro came up first and she knew a colleague who ran for the club, so Laura pitched up at a Tuesday training session a few weeks after completing the London Marathon. “That first session was brutal, faster than I expected, but the member appointed to look after the new people ran with me, encouraging me all the time, and I could have gone slower if I wasn’t so nervous!” In fact that new person helped has gone on to become a friend, regularly giving Laura lifts to the many park runs and events she attends with the club, and she says now “everyone was so friendly and nice, encouraging and not at all elitist like I’d thought they might be!”.

Laura quickly got to know members through events and by joining the Facebook group, and now really enjoys the training sessions, especially the Thursday track sessions at Hazlehead. “Once I started going to park run regularly, the PB’s started coming” remembers Laura, and has seen her times tumble. Laura has lopped around seven minutes – yes, minutes – off her half marathon time with a PB at the end of last year of 2hr 13, and is targeting a sub-5hr marathon at Stirling this year, along with a sub-60minute time at Baker Hughes in May. She runs around three times a week, fitting in a weekly total of 12 miles or so around her full-time job as a scientist.

Her advice? “Joining a club was scary, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done, making friends and helping me run better and faster, and maintain my health.”

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