Today’s Friday Friend is Steve Thomas.

I first met Steve in 1972 at Sussex University when we were both 19 yr old students – some 40 plus years ago. We lost touch over the years and met up again at Bushy parkrun on Christmas Day 2010. I remember Steve’s first words at that time, “I don’t know whether I’m more surprised about meeting you again or seeing you in running kit.” It turned out that Steve was a Bushy regular but I managed to poach him to Richmond Park where he settled in quite nicely and was a founder member of our Pembroke Athletica Running Group.

Steve started running age 48 and has run four marathons in the past including New York (“so good, I ran it twice”), six or so half marathons and lots of 10k’s. He has also run various team events with PA such as The Green Belt Relay and Endure 24. 

But the most amazing statistic about Steve is that this last weekend he not only completed his 250th parkrun but also his 200th time volunteering.  As Cam said in her pre-parkrun speech about Steve on Saturday “That’s pretty well all you need to know about the kind of person Steve is”. 

In celebration of Steve’s remarkable achievement PA took over all the volunteer slots at Richmond on Saturday from lead bike to tail walker and everything in between. Please read Stacey and Poppy’s run report here. We do urge all park runners to volunteer from time to time – you do get to see a completely different view of the event and its very sociable and good fun too.

So back to Steve – lets hear what he has to say about his running career to date:

Why do you run/what do you get from running/why did you start 

I’ve always been pretty athletic and have tried to keep myself reasonably fit but I didn’t really start running as a sporting activity until I entered the London Marathon in 2001 – as a personal challenge.  

Best running achievement 

Every run I do is an achievement for me!

Running bucket list /plans for future 

Keep running for as long as I can!  I told myself that I wouldn’t do another marathon but, after volunteering as a marshal at last year’s Virgin London Marathon, I found myself applying for the 2020 VLM!

Favourite race 

Team events with my Pembroke Athletica friends (Green Belt Relay, Thames River Relay, Endure 24)

Advice you would give to others/ your earlier running self/what you wish you’d known

  Do your best to stay free of injury – and don’t try to run if you are injured!

Thank you Steve and some very sound advice! Here’s to many more parkruns and PA events in the future.

Above: Steve with Run Director Ally Pickard, and right: PA volunteers ready to go

left to right: Event director Andy Caie’s Duke of Edinburgh- style report on Steve, Cam during pre-run briefing and keeping it in the family – Cal and Ciara join the volunteer team.