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#handinhand with Paula Radcliffe

by Editor
Wednesday 29th April 2015

On Sunday a twenty four year old runner is a Wesham vest was thrown into the media limelight when he finished the London Marathon hand in hand with Paula Radcliffe

#handinhand with Paula Radcliffe

Photo © Romily Lockyer

We wanted to find out a little more about Robert Danson and sent him a few questions:

Question Run247: Please tell us a little about your running career to date and your ambitions for the future.

Answer Robert Danson: I am a 24 year old plasterer from Kirkham and Wesham. I have been running for my hometown club - Wesham Road Runners - for almost four years now. Prior to joining Wesham, my first competitive race was the Freckleton Half Marathon, which I ran aged 20, breaking the course's junior record in the process by more than eight minutes. My time back then was 1:24:28 for the half and it is a record that still stands.

In the future, I am focusing on getting my 5 and 10k times down for the next couple of years. Eventually, I would love to return to London and break the 2:30 mark.

#handinhand with Paula Radcliffe

Photos © Paul Shanley / Run247

Question Had you met Paula before Sunday's race?

Answer RD: I had never met Paula previous to Sunday, no.

Question Run247: At what stage of the race did you come across Paula and how long were you running with her?

Answer RD: I caught up to Paula's pack just after the 20 mile marker and stayed in and around it throughout the final six miles of the race.

Question Run247: How did this affect your race?

Answer RD: Being in and around Paula throughout the final stages of the race really helped me to dig deep and find the strength to keep up there with the pace. The noise was incredible. Between the noise, the added pressure of performing in front of a camera (which I couldn't help but be conscious of, since it was on the back of a motorbike in front of me all the way to the finish!) and the knowledge that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to run with an all-time long distance running legend.

Question Run247: Did you talk at all and if so what was said?

Answer RD: Approaching the final 100m I shouted out to Paula "Paula, do you want to finish hand in hand?" and she replied "Yes please". Afterwards, we hugged after the finish line, and Paula said to me "Thank you, I was looking for someone to finish hand in hand with, thank you" and I replied "your welcome".

#handinhand with Paula Radcliffe

Photos © Paul Shanley / Run247

Question Run247: Did you feel any added pressure, knowing all eyes were on Paula next to you?

Answer RD: During the final miles, I did feel an extra pressure from the presence of the cameras, but it helped to make me more determined not to slow down, and to seize the moment. I didn't feel any extra pressure from running next to Paula though, no. I enjoyed it and just tried to run my own race too.

Question Run247: Did you know you were in for such a big PB?

Answer RD: I did know that I was on for a big PB, but I ended up running more or less the exact time that I targeted before the race. I had discussed a race plan with my coach Rob Affleck prior to the event, and we were both confident that I was in good shape to target in the region of 2:35 and 2:37, depending on how I felt on the day. 

Question Run247: That finish - can it get any better than that?

Answer RD: I think it is fair to say that nothing in my running career can ever top that finish down The Mall. It is a moment that will live with me forever and is very special for me to be able to look back on and say I've done.

Question Run247: Can you sum up the overall experience of the 2015 Londion Marathon please?

Answer RD: The London marathon is a special race and event anyway, but 2015 was phenomenal on a personal note. Even down to the weather, the cooler overcast conditions suited my running too - compared to the heat of 2014!

Question Run247: Other than Paula who are your running inspirations?

Answer RD: My other running inspirations are nearly all local runners - I would love to be as good as Stuart Robinson (Salford Harriers) and Ben Fish (Blackburn) one day, but am some way off that standard yet!

#handinhand with Paula Radcliffe

Photos © Paul Shanley / Run247

You can check out Rob's blog at robdansonrunningdiary.blogspot.co.uk


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