Running and Life – Ashley Robinson

running and life

Age 72

With Jasper at The Hereford Half Marathon

How did you first get into running?

I’ve always run as long as I can remember. When I was quite young I used to run with an older friend and kept up with him easily. Not only was I physically very small as a boy, academically I was bright and they put up a school year, so when I got to secondary school the other boys towered over me. But when we first ran a mile I was in my element. The sports teacher – an ex Arsenal player – told us to take it easy because “it was such a long way”. Of course, most boys totally ignored him and dashed off at top speed. I set off at my normal steady pace but by halfway round the first lap I was in the lead. “Slow down you fool”, yelled the teacher at the end of the first lap. I ignored him. After two laps, it was “take it easy take it easy”; after three laps “keep going!” By the end, he knew I could run. I finished 3rd in the school cross country championship that year, won it every subsequent year and went on to finished 2nd in the North London grammar schools cross country championship and represented the school at the White City.

I gave up running in my late teens, partly because of a persistent knee injury, but also having discovered sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. I drove out twice to India in my early 20’s. I learnt to speak Tamal and sang Tamal songs. I became quite southern Indian in my way of life. I travelled extensively, spending years in India and also teaching English in Portugal, but then started running again in South Dakota and Oregon when I was about 30. I ran the first London Marathon  in 1981 (3h 28); it was the week after my first 10k (36.06). It was about 30 years before I ran my second 10k! My persistent knee injury had caught up with me.

I started running again with Jasper when he was very little. I had learnt how to sort my knee problem out and we ran in several Eastnor Castle Mud Runner events winning 35 trophies between us. Then I ran as a guest at Fforest fields (the owners of the campsite are friends). I bumped into Brian Markham and joined Croft Ambrey. Sky blue heaven.

Hereford Half Marathon

What’s a typical running week for you?

Ideally I’ll do a race on a Sunday. On Tuesday I play indoor football with Jasper (no talent, just enthusiasm). It’s like interval training. Then on Thursday I run about 10k starting at my house and going over to Shobdon Wood and back.

What’s in the diary?

– Peterstow, Croome Capability Canter – 10k – 27th November

– Fforest fields Cross Country – 18th December

– Hereford Couriers Christmas 10k – 28th December

– Seven Sins Run –- 7 miles, 7 hills. 30th December

– Muddy Woody – 6 miles. 12th February 2023

I’ll also do some duathlons in the spring.

What’s your Most Memorable Run?

it’s got to be the second 5k run in the European standard duathlon age group championship in Romania in 2019. I was 90 seconds down on my great rival but managed to make it up and get another 30 seconds ahead to win the gold medal. I did the same thing to him in subsequent races to win British and English championships.

Any injuries you’ve struggled with?

Very few, apart from my earlier right knee issues, until I fell heavily running fast downhill in the Longtown Llanthony Fell Race on 22nd May 2021. I sprained my right ankle quite badly. it still hurts walking but not running. Then, in January 2022 I tore my right calf muscle (medial gastrocnemius). It was several months before I was back to full recovery

What do you most love about running?

The exhilaration, the feeling of the joy of being alive and active, the wind in my face, the wonderful scenery – and the competition.

Also, research has repeatedly shown that continuing to be vigorously active as we get older is the most important single thing we can do to stay healthy, boost the immune system, live longer and avoid degenerative diseases like diabetes, dementia, cancer and heart attacks.

What do you do for a living?

I’m an osteopath, but not a bone cruncher. My approach is very eclectic & holistic, using clinical kinesiology (including my own research) and cranial osteopathy especially working on the interface between body structure and body chemistry (I worked in drug research many decades ago). I love it.

Who do you live with?

With my wife Karen, our two sons Ollie 24 and Jasper 22 and my stepson Jake 33

Have you any pets?

Two cats called misty and Marigold, litter twins but looking totally different.

Winter is with us. Have you any recommendations for films or books?

The Time Travellers Wife (the book is even better) Billy Connolly in What We did on our Holidays The Anatomy of a Scandal, The Marvellous   Mrs Maisel, Lupin (French) Rita (Swedish) The Green Glove Gang (Polish) Intimacy (Spanish). My all-time favourites are Love Actually & Groundhog Day

I read a fair bit, mainly on my Kindle, especially health sciences, biochemistry, the origin of life, evolution. Authors include Daniel Lieberman and Richard Dawkins. Also mediaeval history and travel and fiction based on historical fact including Elif Shafak, Bernard Cornwell, Conor Iggulden and Sharon Penfold. I also love good science fiction by the likes of Ursula Le Guin, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke.

Listening deeply to music is a huge passion. My favourite piece is Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D, also Bach JS & CPE, Sibelius, Bizet, Vivaldi, Mozart etc.

Also West Coast, Klezmer, Middle Eastern music especially Santoor and Gollum’s song from Lord of the Rings sung by my daughter-in-law Emiliana Torrini.

Rotherwas Cross Country

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