‘In the Pen‘ is our series of interviews with runners who inspire the Lonely Goat Running Club community. We’ve spoken with elite athletes, authors, podcasters, CEOs, coaches, and adventurers. For this edition, we hear from World and European triathlon champion, Non Stanford.
Recently retired from the world of professional triathlon, Non is one of the most successful British triathletes ever. Having started off as a runner, she added swimming and cycling to great effect. A brief overview of her successes includes representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and winning gold medals at the 2012 World Triathlon Mixed Relay, 2013 World Triathlon Series, and 2022 European Championships. She’s still involved in the sport, working as a coach, and supporting other athletes as part of the British Olympic Association Athletes’ Commission. She will also be attending the Wild Goat Festival at Holker Hall on 11-13 August 2023.
We’re grateful to Non for taking the time to answer our ‘In the Pen’ interview questions and share her experience with the Herd…
Why do you run?
I run because I love it. I love that it takes you outside and immerses you in nature. There’s no better feeling than the high you get from a good run.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by many different things. It used to be my performance goals and wanting to be the best athlete that I could, but now that I’ve retired I’m motived by the desire to stay fit and healthy, and also to be fit enough to to help those athletes that I’m coaching. And if all else fails, there’s nothing like the promise of a tasty treat to get me out the door!
What are your top tips for beginner runners?
Running is hard, especially when you first get started, and that can be daunting. But don’t be afraid to break runs down into manageable chunks; start with 30secs run, 60secs walk and slowly build the duration of the running up. When you feel able, start reducing the walk duration too, and before you know it you’ll be doing the whole run continuously. Use your run time as an opportunity to catch up on your favourite podcast, or to listen to your favourite album; its a great distraction and will help pass the time quickly.
What is your favourite place to run?
Along the coastal path in my hometown of Swansea. It’s very nostalgic for me and you can’t beat the views and sea air.
Where would you like to run that you haven’t?
The Grand Canyon.
Do you have any favourite running books?
As a kid I remember reading both Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes‘s autobiographies and being totally obsessed. I was a huge fan of both athletes as a young runner and loved reading their books.
What did you used to do that you don’t do now?
I used to obsess over pace on easy runs. All my runs used to be pretty fast, but as I got older I realised it’s actually ok to run easy; in fact, it’s good to run easy.
What result are you most proud of?
Probably my Triathlon World title from 2013.
Who inspires you?
I was very lucky to be mentored by Dame Kelly Holmes during my teenage years; she inspired me then and she still does today.
Are you a parkrunner?
I’ve done a handful of parkruns in Australia; I’ve only ever done them for fun to help support and pace my friends to their own park run PBs.
Music or silence when running?
Depends on my mood. Sometimes I enjoy the distraction, but more often than not I like just getting lost in my own thoughts and switching off from all electronics.
What do you like about running on your own?
I like the freedom to go at my own pace and to have time to myself. I actually prefer running on my own to with other people. Running is my chance to switch off from the world.
What is your next challenge?
After having performance goals for the last 20 years of my life I’m actually enjoying having no upcoming goals or challenges. It’s been refreshing for me to switch that side off for a while.
How can people follow you online?
Best place is on Instagram: @NonStanford
What are you most looking forward to at the Wild Goat Festival?
I’m excited to lead some of the gravel rides and get involved in the yoga classes. It’s in such a beautiful part of the world, I can’t wait to explore it.
Thank you Non!
We hope you enjoyed our chat with Non Stanford. Keep your eyes peeled for the next ‘In the Pen‘ interview, coming soon…
Header image from instagram.com/nonstanford, photo by instagram.com/fintanstagram