News Dave Winch Selected for England Masters Marathon Team Dave Winch Selected for England Masters Marathon Team

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Report by Ian Lockyer
2018-01-18 21:02:46

Dave Winch Selected for England Masters Marathon Team

For over three decades Thanet Roadrunners AC has been producing exceptional athletes who compete in multi athletic disciplines, sometimes at national level.  Top of the list must be Dave Winch, an unassuming man who has gone about his business quietly and with little fuss but has amassed a solid record that would be the envy of most serious athletes.  What makes his story so surprising is that this has all been done in his autumn years and many of his records have stood for decades.  Recently Dave was fortunate to be chosen to run for his country, and everyone at the club is so excited for him.

Dave has been selected to run for England in one of the Master's age group teams after qualifying as 1st place V70 in the British Masters Championships held at the Chester Marathon on the 8th October 2017.  Dave said, ‘As I understand it the first five from each qualifying race in each class are selected to represent the England team.  The Chester marathon will again be the place where the teams will compete against opposition drawn from Celtic Nations teams.  This will be held on 7th October 2018. I am very proud!’

Dave’s interest in athletics started at school where in those days you competed in most disciplines, involving shorter races on a grass field.  Dave said, ‘I recall that the longest race I ran was the school cross country distance about 3.5 miles.  I managed to come first gaining the record time for the event. Maybe this gave me the running bug?’

Dave was among some of the first members of Thanet Roadrunners AC.  He said,’ I had been a member of Invicta East Kent previously and competed in some races with them.  Although my time with Invicta was invaluable, I felt that joining Thanet Roadrunners AC would give me better opportunities and training buddies.’ 

Dave remained a member of Thanet Roadrunners AC for well over a decade when a new interest inspired him, i.e. Triathlon, and so he joined Thanet Road Cub (Cycling Club) and competed in some Triathlons and Road cycling time trials again for well over a decade. He re-joined Thanet Roadrunners AC four years ago.  Dave said, “My old running vest still fitted me so where else could I go? “

‘The early days with Thanet, when everybody was relatively new to the sport were very exciting.  Records were being set, and the competition was of a high standard.  The club in those days was looked upon as a very amateur set up by the elite clubs.  This motivated us all and respect followed after excellent results by Thanet Roadrunners AC were recorded.  Inevitably the Marathon was the big motivator and breaking the 3-hour barrier was my goal.  It took some marathons to achieve this, but like most things once broken you wonder why it took so long, now I wonder how I did it and could it still be possible?’

Dave has many athletics accolades to his name having run the London to Brighton ultra-marathon (53 miles 540 yards) on 7th October 1984 with a time of 7 hours 29 minutes 29 seconds.  A year later he completed the same race in 6 hours 49 minutes 3 seconds. He then went on to run the Thanet Maritime Marathon 1991 in 2 hours 44 minutes 29 seconds followed by the London Marathon 1991 in 2 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds in the veteran category. Dave said, ‘This race came just two weeks after I ran the Thanet marathon, this was the club championships race where I set the new club record which has only just been broken this year by Bradley Cameron.’

Last year, Dave ran the Virgin London Marathon and was first place in the Vet 70 category which took the all-time British marathon record in 3 hours 10 minutes 24 seconds, which was shown in the Run Britain all time statistics.

Dave keeps to a regular training regime to ensure that he maintains high standards, running every day of the week with his long run on Sundays.   His diet is balanced with little or no Junk food.  Dave said, ‘I have not knowingly eaten any beef since 1985 when the mad cow disease was prevalent although some of my friends say it was too late anyway!, I have a sweet tooth which temps me into eating things that could put on weight, so you see why I have to keep training.’

Motivation comes in many forms from loyal training partners to family and friends who don`t quite understand why I do this but support me none the less and pick me up when things don`t always go as planned. It fascinates me to see what is possible as the body ages, and competition within my age category and below my category.

What would you say to someone who is retired and who may be interested in running but was apprehensive about doing so?  Dave said, ‘My first recommendation if you are my age would be get checked out by your Doctor, to make sure all is well.  Then join a running club such as Thanet Roadrunners AC and get all the encouragement from experienced club members:  the benefits gained are invaluable, it won`t make you a rich person but the satisfaction and warm glow experienced after battling the North East wind blowing in from the sea will be truly memorable.’

Terry Brightwell, Chairman of Thanet Roadrunners AC said, ‘To run a marathon in just over three hours is an achievement at any age.  But to do it and at the age of 70 and be selected for your country is something extraordinary.’

All of us at the club wish Dave well and will be eagerly watching his races!

 

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