As we move towards Croft’s Birthday in June, Huw starts a series of chats with the members that have been instrumental in our clubs formation and growth over the past 40 years. This week it’s the turn of Tom Davies.
How did you first get into running?
I went to Leominster Grammar. Rugby was a big thing at the school. I was a bit small and played as a Hooker where I got kicked rather a lot. I didn’t enjoy it and started to run Cross Country. It was mainly a way of not having to play rugby to be honest.
I left school and girls and motor sport took over from running until 1980 when my brother Brian and I went to watch The Offa’s Dyke Race. It caught our imagination and we thought – we could do that.
The year after my brother and I entered the race. Brian actually won a prize. The the organisers told him they wouldn’t give him another because he wasn’t affiliated to a running club. We had no idea you had to do that.
1981 was the year of the first London Marathon and there was a running boom. We decided to give the Offa’s Dyke Race another go in 1982. This time we knew we had to be affiliated to a club so we decided to create our own. Croft Ambrey Running Club came about in June 1982 with Bryan Markham, my brother and myself, Pete and Mike Faulkner as the founding members. The rest is history.
What’s a typical running week for you?
With the Offa’s Dyke race in mind I’ve been trying to run about 20 miles a week. I like to go to Hergest in the week, do a Park Run on Saturday then a slow longer run on Sunday. I also like to come along to Club training in the summer. I try to stay off the road but make an exception for Leinthall Starkes.
What’s your most memorable run?
I’ve always loved the 3 Peaks Races. You have to run up and down Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and then finish at the top of Snowdon within 24 hours.
If I had to choose one of the 3 Peaks Challenges it would be the 2018 race. We entered a ‘Super Vets’ Team. It was Flora, Sue Powell, Sue Davies, Gary Gunner, Mark Paviour, Ian Price and myself with Daren Lincoln and Andy Tipton driving. We completed it in just over 19 hours and won a Gold Award plus the Oldest Team award. It was very hard but great fun.
What’s in the diary?
Offa’s Dyke – 11 June Magic Roundabout – 19 June Race The Train – 20 August Kington 8 Peaks 17th September Any injuries you’ve struggled with? I’ve been fortunate with nothing really major in 40 years of running.
Any Injuries you’ve struggled with?
I’ve been fortunate with nothing really major in 40 years of running.
Unfortunately I tripped over a tree root on Tuesday’s training session at Croft. I think I’ve cracked a ribbed so wasn’t able to run Shobdon Wood. I’m really hoping to still be in good shape for The Offa’s Dyke though.
What makes Croft Special?
Croft has always been a really friendly club. Too often people feel intimidated about joining a running club. Croft has always been welcoming and supportive and inclusive. I’m not sure why – it’s just the way Croft has always been.
What do you most love about running?
I just like being out in the countryside. The fresh air and freedom. I’m not keen on road running and big cities.
Aside from running, what else do you love doing?
I live next to the family farm so there’s always something to do. I also love Classic cars, although I’ve only got one now, a 1967 Morris Minor.
Who do you live with?
With my wife Pat, also our daughter Alison has returned who’s staying with us while she’s studying for her Masters in Law at Birmingham.
Have you any pets?
We have a Border Collie, Sam (5) and a Chihuahua, Bentley (11)
Why has Croft survived and thrived for 40 years?
All clubs have their ups and downs. I guess one of the reasons Croft has survived is that Bryan and I, and later Guy and Mike have always been there when things haven’t been so good. When the club ran out of money some years back Bryan put money in so the club could carry on. Thankfully Croft is thriving at the moment.