We get to know Hugh Jones better, AIMS Secretary

Hugh Jones is a regular contributor to PACE magazine, enlightening us with pearls of wisdom and in depth knowledge of the running arena. We decided to find out more about him and his inspirations and motivations:

What has inspired your interest in running over the years?
'My first inspiration was the boundless enthusiasm of my secondary school maths teacher who was an enthusiast in everything he did. He was a runner and cyclist in his spare time and it was him that kept me racing, initially. I didn't take up training until I was 15 years old. My peers provided me with inspiration too; the people I was running alongside who I'd either try to emulate or beat. This phase lasted all through school and university, where the only thing that mattered to me was the immediate competition - mainly in Cross Country at this stage.'

How did your interest in marathons begin?
'In 1977, I got to know Alan Storey (well known Senior Performance Manager for endurance sports) and he offered me unsolicited coaching advice, which I ignored despite the obvious sense of it. After running my first marathon in 1978 and before attempting my second in 1979, I got back in touch with Alan to see whether I could improve my performance.

He gave me a schedule which I followed fairly conscientiously. The effect of the training really came through 6 months later when I made it to the English Cross Country team for the World Championships in Paris 1980.'

Do you have any running hints that you'd like to pass on to others?
'Don't obsess. The 'science' of running has become overblown at the expense of real 'secrets' to doing well, which are enjoyment and commitment without looking for short term reward of any kind. If you are good at such a basic thing as running, it only needs time and a bit of effort for it to come out.'

Hugh Jones succeeded Andy Galloway as AIMS Secretary in July 1996 after a career as a marathon runner and freelance athletics journalist. He also qualified as an international course measurer which made him the obvious choice as the next secretary of AIMS. As well as being both a runner and a journalist, Hugh has coped with the growth of the AIMS job over the years due to an increase in membership of the Association. Hugh became editor of Distance Running in 2000.

The Dingle Marathon is not for the faint hearted, or the remotely unfit. It is a challenging course that even the fittest of participants will consider a test of their endurance. The 26.2 mile course offers many up hill sections. The toughness of the course is, however, balanced by the stunning scenery throughout the race which plays a large part in distracting the mind from any pain or discomfort experienced by runners on such a challenging course. The weather was kind to the participants for the whole race with no clouds in the sky and warm weather throughout the weekend.

Dingle itself is a typical Irish town with every other building a bar with traditional Irish music wafting out every night. There's plenty for the participants' friends and family to do, including dolphin spotting on one of the boats resident in the harbour.

The course runs through the Slea Head coastal drive, then through the lanes of the Dingle Peninsula, taking in golden beaches whilst traveling along a small cliff road with the waves crashing a few hundred feet below. To complete this course is a hugely rewarding achievement. The male winner of the full marathon was John Griffin in 2:38:15 and the female winner was Marie Houlihan with a time of 3:35:53. The half marathon winners were Michael Hurlihy, 1:10:57 and Orla Nimhuircheartaigh, 1:34:24.


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