Jock Ross

Jock Ross is new to running and we delve into what got him started and how it has changed his life - as our May member of the month.

So Jock, when did you start running and why was the first obvious question to ask. Jock replies....."Throughout 2014 my sister Lisa Caile, (another Run Around Europe participant) had been running for about a year and had been boring me with her stats and races, but it was enough to make me slightly interested. Around the same time, I had got a bit bored with the same old routine – work, TV, sleep, drink, hangover etc and wanted to try something new and challenging. A big Snooker fan, I had seen Ronnie O’Sullivan had gone through a massive change in his life, both physically and mentally, and in interviews he constantly put it down to his running. So i treated myself at Christmas 2014 to his book ‘Running’ a great read and I finished it in 1 day. I ordered my trainers the same day and on the morning of New Years Eve 2014 I went for my first run/walk.

And since that day, what do you most love about running? What is the attraction? "Completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing and refreshing thing I’ve ever done.  It clears away the cobwebs and stresses I had before I started my run and completely clears my head. It’s also great ‘me time’. When I run I don’t have to talk, listen or answer to anybody, it’s just me, my thoughts and my I-pod.  And when I stop my watch, whether it’s been 30 mins or 3 hours, the endorphins have overcome whatever it was that was annoying me that day, and I always…always.. finish with a smile on my face.

So how did you find out about Run around Europe and what made you join? "I had seen an Instagram friend talk about it on one of their posts, so I clicked on the link and liked the idea of tracking my runs around Europe. It was completely different to any other running app I had seen or used. Being able to see just how far you’ve run is amazing. It’s one thing an app saying ‘you’ve ran 113 miles this month’, but being able to see the distance you have covered on a map is amazing and very motivating.

So in your running infancy so far, what has been you most memorable run? "My first Marathon – San Francisco 2016. I had been to the city on 2 previous occasions as a non runner and fallen in love with the place. On my 3rd visit in April 2015, I had only been running 8 weeks and had only just reached 10k. However it was on this trip that I decided there would be nothing more amazing than to run around this city. So I set myself the goal of coming back in July 2016 to run the Marathon. After 12 months hard training I was back, running the Golden Gate Bridge with the Rocky soundtrack in my ears, it was truly breathtaking and very proud moment for me. Paris Marathon in April 2017 was a close 2nd, but you’ll never match that feeling of your first marathon, an amazing life changing experience."

What is your favourite training run? "Sunday long slow runs at dawn. Getting up at 5am, lacing up and heading out whilst the rest of the world sleeps, running for 3 hours and not seeing a soul. Having the main roads to myself, seeing the sun slowly climb up over the horizon as it turns from night to day, hearing the birds wake up whilst running down roads/trails and through villages I never knew existed, getting lost exploring new routes but not having a care in the world.  And making it back home before 9am, to eat all the food I want.

Luckily I’m an early bird, so I have no issues getting up early if I need to get a run in.  My job also allows me to always find the time. I work in Theatre / Events, so although I may have to work evenings or weekends, it means I get days/mornings off in the week when I can get my mileage in. I hate when I hear people say “I would love to run but I don’t have the time” If you want something, you make the time. My partner is also very understanding, it’s easy to get very self focused with your schedule/diet/social life when training for a big race, but luckily our schedules and lifestyles seem to compliment each other well, and apart from waking her up at 5am on Sunday mornings, I think she still loves me.

Being a new runner, we asked Jock to tell us a bit about running during his childhood. "Erm…I didn’t run much at all. I was athletic and played lots of Football and Rugby, and as a result I always came in the top 3 at the school Cross Country race, but outside of school I never ran. Between the ages of 17 and 34 I only ever ran a bath."

Where do you draw inspiration from? "Myself. Whenever I’m struggling or lacking motivation, I think back to the days when I first started running and how far I’ve come. The night I ran for 9 mins at a turtles pace then fell into a bush coughing my lungs up. My first race, a half marathon after only 12 weeks of running behind me, when I seriously wanted to stop after 2 miles but I was too embarrassed because of the crowds, so I kept on running whilst looking for a quiet place to pull out…. but finished the race without stopping once. The fact I had the courage to enter and train for a Marathon, then fly 6,000 miles from home on my own and complete that Marathon. It’s one of the many things running has taught me, everything you need to overcome anything, is inside you…you just need to dig a little deeper to get to it.

And my Instagram friends. So many amazing runners of all abilities who continue to achieve amazing results every day, it really does inspire you to get your running shoes on."

Do you have any role models you look up to? "My mum. She recently dipped her toe into the world of running after being bored by stories from me and my sister. She recently completed her first Park Run at the age of 65 and has entered her first Race For Life in June. Amazing. She’s also a great cook."

And finally, we asked Jock - what’s your running motto??

“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can, that’s what makes all the difference in your life” – Rocky Balboa

To me this sums up everything about running. How many times during a run do we want to stop because we don’t believe we can carry on?....but we keep running, we go in for one more round only to find out we can carry on until the end.

I always watch a Rocky film before a big race. J