Choose life, choose running! Read Steve Adam’s inspiring story . . .

Sunday 28th April 2024

Steve Adam at the Monument Mile Classic event (photo by Bobby Gavin)

By David McCarthy

Retired policeman Steve Adam spends much of time these days playing an Extra in a host of movies and TV shows such as Outlander and The Crown.

The change of career came a little bit too late for a role in Chariots of Fire but a spot of running on St Andrews’ West Sands beach would have been a piece of perfect type casting for the 57-year from Dunfermline.

Steve’s story might not rival that of Eric Liddell but it’s one from which anyone thinking about taking up running but perhaps finds it too daunting can take inspiration.

‘I was that guy,’ Steve said.  ‘About eight years ago I was a 49-year-old sitting in the stand watching my son James run and train with Pitreavie AAC.

‘I knew I was putting on weight just sitting around watching him, so one night  I started doing some running up and down a back path behind the Pitreavie Stand when James was doing his session.

‘I was probably two stones heavier than I am now, and it was pretty bad at first. After about 200/300 metres I’d be out for the count!

‘But I started the Couch to 5k and after three attempts at it, I managed to complete it and my first ever race was a 10k, where I just managed to get under the hour for it.

‘I began to get into it and went along to JogScotland Dunfermline. That was daunting because I thought everybody was going to be very fast and maybe even elitist, but I was welcomed in and grouped with people who were the same speed as me, which I thought was great. You make friends at the same time.

‘Then I decided to join a club and started walking the dog where I knew Carnegie Harriers trained – so I could spy on them from behind a tree to see whether I could cope with it!

‘Everybody seemed quite fast and it was really scary going there for the first time but, again, everyone was brilliant and nobody would be left behind because there would be a loop of some description. People might lap you but it wasn’t a straight line where everyone disappears.

‘The social side was great and it almost became addictive going to training twice a week.

‘In time, my speed increased and for my age, I became quite a good runner.’

No ‘quite’ about it. Steve went from couch potato to a 3 hour 45 minute marathon man in Amsterdam last year and only a hip injury has prevented him trying to dip under 3:30 in Belfast this year.

He also won one of the races at the 2021 Monument Mile Classic with 5:47 as a V55 athlete.

‘For the marathon, I’d never gone over 30k in training, so as soon as I hit that dustance I was running into the unknown. I’d gone off a bit tentative with a gradual increase in speed over the whole marathon, so I was quite pleased with 3:45,’ he added.

‘But my favourite distances are 5k and 10k . My times are about 19 and a half minutes 5k and I’ve done a 41 minute 10k.

‘Running has totally changed my life. Seven years ago I was about 15 stones and now I’m 12 to 12.5. My diet hasn’t changed too much, so it is really solely down to running.

‘And James and I have had some great experiences. Last year we went to Lornah Kiplagat’s high altitude training camp in Kenya, where Mo Farah used to go. I was a like a fish out of water, but I loved every minute of it.’

His advice to anyone swithering about taking the plunge and joining a club or a JogScotland group is simple – go for it.

‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,’ he insisted.

‘Running has changed my life and I’ll be doing it until my body doesn’t let me any more.

‘I’m 58 in June and I’ve got this thing in my head that I’m going to build up to being a really good V60 runner. There’s a window there when I’ll be one of the young guys in the category, so I want to make the most of it!’





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