What do scouts, schools, the University of Reading, paracording, musicals, and running have in common? Answer: Ian May - the next to feature in our weekly uncovering of the people behind the RD vest.
What do get out of running?
It’s a great way to de-stress, escape the pressures of work, keep fit and stay healthy, and it’s probably the only time I get to listen to music, which is mainly musicals for me. I started running when I was about 19 thinking it was a good idea to enter the very first Reading Half Marathon. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I have run for my own fitness ever since, but it was a lot easier almost 40 years ago than it is now!
What do you like most about parkrun?
The parkrun ethos fits well with my own, and keeping fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, is important to us all. It’s great that parkrun is for everyone, and I always enjoy the community spirit, wherever I run parkrun.
What do you like most about Reading parkrun?
The people, the relaxed attitude, and the friends that I have made while being part of the Reading parkrun family. I felt welcome from my first time and this has continued ever since.
What do you get out of volunteering at parkrun?
You could call me a forever volunteer, it’s who I am - and I always like to give back to the community when I can.
Volunteering at parkrun has always been fun, full of smiles and it’s great to be part of a fantastic team. I really enjoy the RD role as it great be part of a team that supports and helps each other in making parkrun safe and successful.
What made you first volunteer at parkrun?
For me, it just felt like the right thing to do, but it’s good to give back and support others and I enjoy working with other people to make great things happen for others.
What is your fantasy parkrun to do (real or otherwise)?
At this current time it would be great to get back to TVP! But anywhere near water, as I find running by a lake, river, or the sea, very relaxing.
What is your best running memory?
Crossing the line with my brother in the first Reading Half Marathon back in 1983, being part of that first event, starting and finishing at the University of Reading (where I have worked for the past 30 years) - that was the start of my running journey.
L-R: Ian, his father and his brother after the first Reading Half Marathon
Are you a member of any running clubs / do you run elsewhere other than parkrun?
Unfortunately I’ve never had the time to join a running club, maybe it’s something for when I retire to help me keep going in my old age perhaps! I enjoy going out on my own, running around my local area and entering local running events.
What’s the longest distance you have run?
Half marathons are my limit, and this is getting harder and apparently longer as time goes on! So 13.1 miles.
Do you have any running ambitions/dreams/goals?
I don’t remember when, but at one time I did think it would a good plan to run a marathon when I eventually retire, I believe this was connected to the thought that I am going to have lots of time to train and build up to the 26.2 miles. However, in reality, the ambition is to still be running in 20 years time with no worries about distance, times or injuries. If I can still parkrun as I get older that will enough for me.
A parkrun in another country would be something I like to do at some point, I just need to be in the right place at the right time.
Are you training for any upcoming events?
It’s not been a good year for plans! Since the end of last year I have struggled to run any real distance due to health issues and I was looking forward to getting back to TVP for a gentle Saturday morning parkrun, and fit in a spot of volunteering as well, before the world stopped.
For all of us the last three months or so has not been as any of planned and it will be great being back amongst the Reading parkrun community when the world returns to some sort of normality.
If I am able to the Great South, an event I enjoy each year, which beckons next in October and also with having just deferred my Reading Half place to next year, I have something to strive for (health permitting) for 2021 and beyond.
Ian is a regular runner of the course at TVP
Quick Fire Questions
Reading parkrun 20/08/11 in 27:00 mins
25:24 - a distant memory.
No of RDs?
11 and looking forward to more.
No of volunteer occasions?
Have you ever done a double?
Never had the opportunity to complete a double as this has always been a bit of challenge. It’s is a goal for the future.
Have you done a parkrun in any other countries?
An overseas parkrun is one of the goals for the future. Since joining parkrun most of my runs have been local; 203 at Reading, and 17 runs at eight other events.
What’s your favourite post parkrun refuel drink/food?
A nice cup of coffee at Tutu’s.
Do you do any other sports/have any other hobbies?
Apart from running I enjoy a game of badminton and cycling when I can as alternative forms of exercise. If I go to the gym, I always end up on the treadmill which is “running indoors while watching the TV”!
I have been in scouting since the age of 10 and I am currently the Assistant County Commissioner (International) as well as holding couple of other roles as Trustee with Berkshire Scouts and a local Scout district.
For the past 25 years I have also been involved in school governorship, and as a Trustee with Maiden Erlegh Trust. I feel that I am giving back to my local community.
When I’m not working, scouting, in a trustee meeting, or exercising, I am also a loyal Reading FC season ticket holder, football being one of the sports I like to watch and not play.
I can also find time for watching films, going to the theatre (musicals), and a bit of paracording. Most importantly, I do find time to spend with my family and two dogs, without who I would not be who I am.
What injuries have you had?
Mainly lower limb injuries (calf and ankles).
What are you doing in lockdown?
Mainly working; I seem to work harder at home than in the office! Also I’ve been doing scout and school meetings online, and talking to the family and friends on the laptop or iPad. By the time the working day has finished I ready for the sofa and a sleep in front of the TV.
I’ve not managed very much running due to my health over the past 6 months but found the energy for a go at a “home” parkrun, and I enjoyed 3 attempts at the “round and round the garden” home event, just the 111 times around the house!
Ian relaxes with the volunteers after his 111 laps.
What is your favourite parkrun memory?
I have many parkrun memories over the past 9 years. Every event is a fun adventure making forever memories for us all.
What is your favourite (non-Reading) parkrun?
My favourites so far are Tamar Lakes on the Cornish/Devon border not far from Bude. It’s a delightful one lap course around Tamer Lake as the name suggests, with an easy instruction from the RD’s pre run briefing; “One lap. Keep the lake on your left, and if your feet get wet you’ve gone too far left!”
The three lap Sheffield Castle parkrun is a great challenge taking place in a “pocket park” on the side of hill with three steep downhill and three steep uphill sections. I managed to run one of my fastest 1k sectors at this event - guess which section of the course that was on…
"Keep the lake on your left..." - the Tamar Lakes parkrun run briefing.
What is your advice NOT to do at a parkrun?
The only advice I can give when you can’t run a parkrun is try to volunteer at a parkrun.
Worst parkrun weather you have run in?
I think I have run in all weathers from the really cold, snowy, very wet, and extremely warm. I actually enjoy running in the rain you - can’t beat a good splashy puddle.
Splish. Splash. Splosh.
Photo Credits: Peter Cook, Ian May, Tamar Lakes parkrun