Running and Life – Mike Faulkner

running and life

Mike Faulkner, one of the founders of Croft Ambrey Running Club, tells Huw about the challenge he set himself for his 85th birthday. 

Mike Faulkner

Age: 85

How did you first get into running?

I used to run with my brother, Peter and a couple of friends. There weren’t any running clubs around that I can remember at that time. I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon three times and the Wigmore 8, which was also a road run.

I also ran The Offa’s Dyke 15 mile race. That was tough!

I did my last race when I was 50. It was the Cannock Half Marathon, also called the Guy Fawkes Marathon as it was on the first weekend in November.

Croft Ambrey Running Club was my brother Peter’s idea. He met Lord Croft when he was out running and asked him if he would be our President. At the time the club was more of a badge to enter races under (“the Swallow” was designed by Peter too). It wasn’t anything like the social meeting place I can see it is now.

What’s your most memorable run?

I really enjoyed all the Cardiff Half Marathons, I managed three. There was always a great atmosphere with lots of celebrities running too with many more at the finish. I well remember chatting to the actor Ron Moody who played Fagan in Oliver Twist at the end of one of the runs, a really interesting person. Also Larry Adler from the USA.

I’m not sure if it is still going but “Beat the Train” at Welshpool was a popular one too. I did one with my eldest son Saul. I’m sure I didn’t catch him.

What do you love doing now?

I keep pretty busy. Mainly playing lawn Bowls at Port Carlisle Bowling Club throughout the summer and “Short Mat” in the winter.

I was based in Johore, Malaya during my National Service in 1956/57 and shared barracks with the Gurkhas. It was here that I developed my admiration and fondness of them. I have supported the Gurkha Welfare Trust for many years. “Every little helps” as they say. Do have a look at their Web Page, it’s very interesting and shows just how much is being done to help these amazing people.

In 1962/3 I was working at The Botanic Gardens in Birmingham. There was an ice rink nearby so I gave it a go. I soon became “Hooked” on skating, I even skated at Worcester Cricket Ground after it had flooded and was frozen for about a week. I towed our two boys around on their sledge. That was in early January 1983. Since then frozen ponds have been in short supply. Something called “Climate Change” I believe.

My son David came up with this mad idea of me skating to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust, having bought me a pair of skates the previous Christmas. I did it last month. I was 85 on 8th May so decided to try and skate 8.5km and raise £850.

We went to Dumfries Ice Bowl where there’s a large rink that they use for skating and Ice Hockey and a separate one for Curling. I don’t know how many laps it was. My wife ticked them off. We’ve raised nearly £1,500 which is brilliant and, importantly, raised the profile of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Oh by the way, skating is much easier than running! You just flow.

I’m a member of the local lawn bowls club. I love it. You get to meet lots of people and everyone’s really friendly. It’s like being a member of Croft Ambrey Running Club but easier on the knees!

Where do you live now?

My wife Sandra (Sandy) and I moved to Abbeytown in Cumbria in 2003 when I retired. We love it here. It’s like traveling back in time. You can still get a 2 course meal coffee for £14!

What are your thoughts about Croft Ambrey Running Club?

It’s amazing how the club has grown. From little Acorns and all that! My niece sent me photos of some “old guys” finishing the Offa’s Dyke Race the other day. They looked quite sprightly. That was brilliant lads. Well done.

It’s really good to see the club in such a healthy state.

Keep up the good work and THE BEST OF LUCK TO YOU ALL.

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