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"The more I fail, the more I want to succeed" - interview with Chris Thompson

by Editor
Monday 27th October 2014
Tags  Chris Thompson   |   PUMA   |   LED   |   PUMA Nightcat range   |   PUMA Nightcat

Interview: Chris Thompson is a PUMA sponsored athlete, with his sights set on the Olympic Marathon in Rio. Run247 were fortunate to meet him at the launch of PUMA's LED range

Chris Thompson Great Edinburgh Run

Run247: It has been well documented that you have put in some great performances despite suffering lots of injuries in your career. Although I am sure the injuries were not welcomed at the time, what have you learnt from them and recovery from them? 

Chris Thompson (CT): It's made me extremely resilient! Until I was around the age of 23 I didn't really get injured. I had one injury which went smoothly and it was no issue, but then I got a very bad shin injury in 2005 which put me out for over a year. It was about thirteen months before I could race and even then I wasn't physically ready and since then I've just had one thing after another.

The problem is that, in a repetitive sport like running, if you're doing something long enough, you will inevitably get an issue in your weakest point and you will compound that issue. I have done everything I can to get things strong, but as soon as I go over ‘that line', something will be found out. It's all about how you manage that.

Unfortunately I have the engine of a Ferrari, but a framework of... Aerobically I can go a lot further than my body is ready to and that's something that I've had to manage. The one thing I've thought to myself through all of this is that I've got a passion to run as fast as I can and achieve as much as I can and injuries is part of it. If I get one I will do my level best to overcome it, move on and become a stronger person for it. I feel you can turn things into a positive, like this summer, not being on the start line for the European or Commonwealth Championships, which were a massive medal opportunity for myself; not medalling just fuels me with so much passion to do more and to make the Olympic Marathon in Rio. The more I fail, the more I want to succeed, because I don't like to be defeated. The battle with my body fuels me and drives me to do more and more.

Run247: So when running is your passion and in your blood, when you can't run, what do you do?

CT: At the moment I do a bit of coaching. I'm already aware that my running career is coming towards its end and I'm looking for other avenues. I'm an emotional person and I put a lot of that into my running. I find I get the same, if not more, enjoyment from watching my girlfriend and athletes I coach do well. I get that same, or more of a buzz, out of helping someone to get somewhere.

I like watching football and the emotional buzz is the same thing. It's just a slightly different set of circumstances with the same kind of emotional attachment. Leading on from that, the biggest enjoyment I get from running well, is to share the success with people and that's what sport is.

Run247: You mentioned that your running career could be coming towards it's end, but look at Jo Pavey. Does her longevity inspire you?

CT: I think that for a while now (and Jo has really emphasised it), there has been a stigma attached to age in sport. When you look back at the previous generation, a lot of them didn't continue to compete into their 30's, whether it was a financial restrictions or whether their passion had died down or they felt like their body couldn't cope with the heights of what it had achieved in their 20's.

Now you see people like Jo Pavey (who is 41 now), who wants to do Rio or Paula (Radcliffe), who ran 2.20 when she was in her late 30's, and age is not so much of a barrier. I feel like my best marathon days are ahead of me at age 33.

I was in a local gym and a guy was talking to me and saying how he didn't believe he could run a 5k PB at 42, but someone had just run their 5k PB at 44 and he was asking how could he do that? I told him that age is not as much a barrier as we think and that it was more about his training age than his actual age. How much have you put into it? If you put in more training in your 30's, you're going to PB in your 40's.

Jo is a great person and I think that if you exude passion and drive, people feed off that.

Run247: What has being sponsored by PUMA meant for your career?

CT: PUMA is linked with the Great Run series, now that I'm back here, that's what I want to do. I know a lot of the time, appearances for your sponsors is something that athletes do to tick a box, but I actually like it. It's good to get your image out there and to inspire people to take up a great sport.

I'm going to a school tomorrow to talk about running and to me that is not a chore, it's a joy. The relationship with PUMA fitted with something that I wanted to do with my career. It was lucky for me that there was a company that has the same ideals as I. When I signed I literally thought ‘Wow, this is something that fits what I am trying to do here', which was brilliant.

Run247: We are here tonight at the launch of PUMA's Nightcat range. Do you have to run much in the dark?

CT: Generally, because it's my full time job, most of my running will be done in the light and if it's in the dark, it's because I've been lazy and I haven't got up early enough.

I have the odd run that will be in the dark. There are scenarios where I have to do it and I've been hit by cars because they haven't seen me. My sister stopped running in the dark because she was scared!

I'm not immune to the worries, as I often feel that people don't pay attention and if I get hit by a car, my livelihood is at stake. My legs are not insured and if I can't run I don't get paid.

Run247: What one or two things you do in training are the key to your success?

CT: Any elite sportspersons will train hard. You have to live it 24/7, every decision you make is about being a professional athlete. Recovery strategies and training smart are two things that set people apart from ‘I train harder than everyone else', because for me that part is already a given.

Stubbornness, defiance and pure determination, along with a desire to better yourself – you just have to have it. Failing should only ever fuel you and not be something you moan about and dwell on. The sport doesn't owe you anything and you have to fight for everything, you take mental toughness away.

You can follow Chris Thompson on Twitter @Thommo10k

PUMA's Nightcat Powered Range is reflective with a super light LED unit to increase visibility. Available from ProDirectRunning.com from £90

For more information about PUMA, please visit www.puma.com

For more information about Bupa Great Run, please visit www.greatrun.org


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