Running & Life – Sam Juson

running and life

Age 25

Sam sets the course record on the new Bircher Handicap Course

How did you first get into running?

I first got in to running as a natural progression after rowing at university. I signed up to run Cardiff Half as a charity place with one of my mates back in 2018, and managed to get around 1:42 or 1:43 which I was pretty happy with! I probably took around 18 months off after that while I prioritised my studies, before getting back in to doing park runs a bit more regularly and attending more Croft sessions. It’s also fair to say that my Grandad (Bryan Markham) has been a huge inspiration for me, running has allowed us to spend a lot more time together over the past couple of years – for which I am very grateful! It’s lovely to be able to still run together at local races (albeit at slightly different paces nowadays!)

What’s a typical running week for you?

Sticking to a set routine is fairly difficult for me recently due to the amount of travelling around I do with work. Generally, I try and do a few running sessions, a few swimming sessions, and some cycling most weeks whenever I can fit it in! I try and get across to Ludlow parkrun on a Saturday, or any other local parkrun depending on where I am, and also try and squeeze in a Croft session if I am around during the week. I do always manage to get away from my desk for about 30 mins for a quick walk every lunch time which I find is a really useful way of breaking up the day and getting some fresh air.

What’s in the diary?

Ludlow Sprint Tri – 24th September

Summer Cross Country Series

Snowdonia Marathon – 28th October

I’ll be starting my training properly for Snowdonia soon. It’s not one for a PB – it’s going to be a serious challenge

I’m half thinking about doing a Half Ironman next year… we shall see!

What’s your Most Memorable Run?

The London Marathon in April was amazing – It was my 1st. I felt very fortunate to get the club place, so made sure I put everything into my training and preparation to make sure I got the most out of the experience. I set a fairly ambitious goal of sub 3 hours, but I knew I would be capable of achieving it if I put in the work! The milage did get to me in the end of the training block, and I picked up a bit of a knee injury – which still niggles a bit to this day, but is manageable. I ran with a pacer on the day to make sure I didn’t get overexcited and rush out, which I think was a very sensible decision! I did my first half in 1:29.32, and my second half in 1:29.28, crossing the line in exactly 2:59! I was complete overjoyed at the finish, it felt like such a relief more than anything!! The whole experience really did highlight the hard work, commitment and sacrifice that goes in to marathon training.

Man vs Horse was also very memorable – maybe not for the right reasons. I struggled for the last 5 or 6k and ended up stumbling across the finish line and straight into the medical tent. Again, a huge thank you to Liza for helping me as I crossed the line, she seemed to know exactly what I needed even when I couldn’t find the words to speak!!  I think it was the heat – it was a seriously warm run.

Any injuries you’ve struggled with?

Only the knee that kicked off when I was Marathon training. Unfortunately I broke my other knee playing rugby years ago so both knees can be a bit uncomfortable at times. It’s not stopping me from running, but also hasn’t stopped me complaining about them!!

What do you most love about running?

I love the challenge it provides – setting goals and working hard to achieve them, and also offers a chance to push yourself a little bit more every time you have a race. Also the social aspect of belonging to a club and running with people you wouldn’t normally spend time with. I love that anyone can join Croft and be welcomed and fit in. It’s also great spending time with my Granddad.

What do you do for a living?

I’m currently on the Engineering Graduate Scheme with the UK Ministry of Defence, specialising in Space Systems. I move around every 6 months within different departments or governmental organisations to gain wider experience within my field. I’ve spent time at the UK Space Agency in London, Space DT in Bristol, and I’m now doing my final placement at the UK Space Command based at RAF High Wycombe. My main area of work is within chemical propulsion systems for small satellites and launch vehicles, orbital dynamics software for spacecraft trajectory analysis, and space sustainability.

Who do you live with?

I’ve just moved to Hereford to with my girlfriend Sophie, currently renting a house in central Hereford. It’s great to have a bit more of a stable base after moving around a lot over the past few years.

Have you any pets?

Just my mum’s dog – Murphy – he’s a  Collie-Spaniel cross.

Have you any book, film or TV recommendations?

One book I did love was Lift Off by Eric Berger – it’s all about the early days of SpaceX and Elon Musk’s journey, and includes a lot of interviews with the founding team of engineers and managers, and how that shaped the company. I got gifted it when I left the UK Space Agency, and I can honestly say it’s one of the only books I have read in the past 5 years haha.

Sam with mum Lisa and Grandad Bryan at the Hereford Sprint Triathlon in Leominster

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