Sam Howells

Every month we introduce one of our members, this month's featured member is Sam Howells.

1. How long have you been running ?

Ive been running for 2 1/2 years 

2. How long have you been with CRC?

Ive been an official member for just under 2 years, but prior to that I was chief cheerleader/jumper holder for about a year prior as my husband Kevin was already a member.

3. What inspired you to start running?

In all honesty, I don't know - I always used to say 'if you see me running you better run too as I'm being chased by something' but one day I just decided to have a go and haven't stopped since.

4. What motivates you to keep running?

My health & self-confidence. I have lymphedema in my right leg which causes it to swell; there used to be days where it was so swollen I couldn't wear shoes and I would often wear clothing that hid my leg so people wouldn't stare and ask questions but then I tried running (out of shear stubbornness as I didn't want the lymphedema to own me) and noticed the swelling started to reduce and thus my self-confidence increase; now I don't hide it and live in shorts, regardless of the weather.  

Ive now found a love for running and have obtained my leadership qualification and have now started my coaching qualifications so that I can help others in their running journey. 

5. How have you managed to stay motivated during lockdown?

I'm lucky I've had a few things keeping me motivated - The clubs virtual challenges have been fab, not only have they kept me motivated but driven me to quite a few PBs whilst taking part and Ive been able to connect with members that ordinarily I may not have had chance to.  My other huge motivation is Kev and the boys they are all very active so Ive got to keep the fitness level up so that I can keep up with their randomness. Kev's also great motivator.... if there are a few days where Ive not been out or lacking motivation he will drag me out and run at my pace (which probably could be faster but we talk and laugh most of the way round).

6. What is your running ambition?

Simply to finish every race I start!  
However, I'm now leaning towards a full marathon. Initially I wasn't interested in completing a marathon but the more I achieve with my running the more I'm leaning towards attempting one, although I'd have to find one that was right for me - something a little different.....

7. What do you consider your proudest moment?

Achieving a sub-1-hour 10k as this was never on my horizon. The day I achieved it was dark and raining I made sure I kept someone (Dave Davies) in my sights all the way, we got to the end, I stopped my watch, saw the time and panicked that I hadn't run the full distance so re-checked multiple times.....I then proceeded to tell anyone interested or not, multiple times that night that I'd got a sub 1hr.....I think Kev was happy to see me go to sleep that night so I'd shut up!

8. What is your favourite race and why?

It's got to be the Richard Burton 10k in Port Talbot, its very family and community orientated based in the valley where you run up and down the Griag, under and over the aqueduct and finally down through the Afan Valley cycle path.  Each mile is dedicated to a local person who has worked within or for the community. There is also a big party afterwards!

9. What is your favourite music to run to or what do you think about while running?

Iv only started listening to music since lockdown and my taste in music is very random.....whilst running I mainly listen to Latino hip hop, reggae or house as I find the tempo helps me keep a decent pace (and it reminds me of holidays)!

10. What advice would you give to a new runner?

The biggest bit of advice would be to 'stop comparing yourself to others, believe in yourself and run your own race' it took me a while to figure this out but when I did, things started falling into pace and I started enjoying it more. I would also advise them to join a club - I always thought I was a lone wolf, resisted joining a club as I didn't think I was good enough but Kev signed me up one evening and the rest is history, Ive never looked back and have come so far with my running and made some really good friends!