Our ‘In the Pen’ series is where we speak to some of the runners who inspire the Lonely Goat Running Club community. In this special April Fools’ Day edition, we share all the funny running stories from the ‘In the Pen’ interviewees.
Meet the interviewees
We’ve got funny running stories from:
- Ultrarunner and coach, Pete Thompson;
- Barefoot mischief maker, Anna McNuff;
- Podcaster and marathoner, Marcus Brown;
- Championship winning athlete, Laura Muir;
- MD of sustainable running brand Tribe Sports, Emma Reid;
- Coach, podcaster, and former élite athlete, Martin Yelling;
- One of our favourite authors, Adharanand Finn; and
- Ultra-endurance record breaker, Sean Conway.
We’ve asked each of these runners a whole host of questions about their running lives in their ‘In the Pen’ interviews, including whether they have any funny running stories. It’s these tales we’re sharing here, in our April Fools’ Day ‘In the Pen’ special edition!
“On my 44 Marathon challenge my legs were so sore by day seven in Ukraine that I made a make shift ice bath with four bags of frozen peas.
I am not a proud man.”
“I love to run in fancy-dress. I think life in fancy dress is fun, then you add running to it and it’s like ‘fun squared’. There’s just so much fun going on. You can’t take yourself seriously when you’re in fancy-dress – and I don’t think you should take yourself seriously when you’re running.
I ran Hadrian’s Wall dressed up as a Roman soldier with my friend who’s a history teacher. We ran that over four days, which was beautiful, and every time we crested the hill, you could see there we were, just two girls with our capes flapping in the wind.
Then, I decided I would try and run the Jurassic Coast Trail on the UK’s South Coast. Obviously, I did it with my friends dressed as a dinosaur. I learned that even though it was December, and we were running in onesies, it’s really hot to run in a onesie so we had to cut the arms and legs off our dinosaurs.
Also, the dinosaur tails caked themselves in mud because the South West Coastal Path is just covered in mud. We were always falling over, so the tails of our dinosaurs were getting thicker and thicker and thicker, swinging behind us and dragging us backwards.
Before lockdown, I was all set to go and run part of the Monarch’s Way, which is this cool, long route through South and South West Britain. I was going to run on it with my friend, dressed as the Queen. We were going to have pearls, the wig, a little soft corgi and everything. Unfortunately we couldn’t do that because of lockdown, but it’s still on the list.”
“Probably more so ‘ironically funny in the harshness of life’ rather than ‘jokey funny’, was in the 2019 Manchester Marathon. I was feeling unwell towards the last 10K of the marathon, I gave the final push to the finish line and I threw up.
I’ve got it captured on film and have various photos thanks to the photographers, but looking back at the film – when I’m being sick and you see the medical staff coming to help at a distance – there’s then a guy that crosses the line just after me and his legs just go and he falls backwards. But no one sees him, as they are helping me. It’s a calamity at the finish line and seeing it back was just ridiculous.
Ironically, being sick was actually a good mental shift because once you’ve been sick in front of lots of people, you learn that the perceived fear of something happening, against the actual reality, isn’t that bad!”
“We were in South Africa on a training camp and we had a really hard session of 1 kilometer hills. We were just about to start a rep and a family of warthogs started crossing the path!”
“I used to run with my husband a lot – before one of us had to stay home to watch the kids! – but his style of running is very different to mine. I like to know my route, have it planned out and know the distance beforehand. He, on the other hand, likes to wing it and doesn’t have a set route or distance.
One weekend we were going to go for a quick “5-7 km run” in the new neighbourhood we had just moved to. I didn’t know the area very well yet and we had been running for about an hour before I started to realise that we were nowhere near home. I asked my husband how far it was to get home and he said about 6 miles!
We ended up doing a half marathon, although I made him walk the last few kilometres as I was exhausted and very irritated, to say the least.
I can laugh about it now, just about!”
“There are tons of stories from when me and Tom Williams [co-host of Marathon Talk, and Chief Operating Officer of parkrun] did the Comrades Marathon in 2011. We were podcasting early and not so many people were podcasting back then.
We were walking up Table Mountain just before the race, chatting away, and someone came over and said “Hey, are you Tom and Martin from Marathon Talk?” That was unbelievable; that we were up Table Mountain and there’s somebody there that listens to the podcast. I love stuff like that.”
The first story that comes to mind was the day in Kenya I turned up at 5:30 am to run with a group of top Kenyans, but I mixed up the days. I thought it was an “easy” day, where I could usually just about keep up. They were all looking a bit concerned when the group leader (a former marathon world record holder) came over to me and said: “Do you know, today is fast?”
Ah. But, hell, I was up and ready to run. “Don’t worry”, I said. I’d see how far I could last. Even if I only made it to a mile, it would be a good experience.
So we gathered together and they said “let’s go” and we started off. Sprinting! It was an 18km run, but 200m in and I was struggling to stay with them. I saw a side road off to the left and without saying a word I simply veered off and disappeared, my heart pounding, my tail between my legs!”
“I was running the length of Britain, but stupidly, completely forgot to go through Wales.
I was coming into Cheltenham, around Worcester, and a friend of mine called Matt Pritchard – who used to be in ‘Dirty Sanchez’ on TV – said “Boyo, how can you be running Britain and not coming to Wales?”
I said “Oh my goodness, you’re absolutely right”, but the problem was, I had to be in Bristol the following day. This meant I would have to do an epic detour over the Severn Bridge, just to have a pint with Matt.
So I ran 40 miles, with a 7kg rucksack, into Wales and got there at nearly 11 o’clock at night. Matt was waiting on the bridge for me, and we said “Oh well, let’s just go to the pub and have one pint. We can probably camp in the pub garden – I’m sure they’ll let us – and then we can be off in the morning.”
We got there, just before closing, but Matt Pritchard is a pretty big celebrity in Wales, so as soon as we walked in, the pub landlord said “It’s Matt Pritchard! Right boyo, we’re having a lock in!”
Oh no. 11, 12, 1, 2, and 3 o’clock passed before eventually, at 3:30 am, the landlord said “Right, I need to go home, guys.”
We said, “That’s cool, don’t worry, do you mind if we sleep in your garden?”
He said “Ah, you know what? Don’t worry, you can sleep on the pub floor. And here’s a piece of paper; just write down everything you drink and sort me out in the morning.”
It was carnage. I think we eventually went to sleep at about 5:30 am as the sun was coming up and had about 3 hours sleep. At about 8:30, Pritchard said “Right boyo, let’s go” and put a double Southern Comfort in front of me.
And then we left – me, him and his dog – and ran a marathon all the way into Bristol. That was tough.
Never run 40 miles to have a pint with Pritchard, because it’s going to end badly!”
Thanks to our ‘In the Pen’ guests
We hope you enjoyed reading the funny running stories from some of the Herd’s favourite runners – Pete, Anna, Marcus, Laura, Emma, Martin, Adharanand, and Sean.
You can check out the full interviews here, and keep your eyes peeled for more ‘In the Pen’ interviews with inspiring runners, coming soon.