JUST like fine wines, adopted Geordie Terry Scott has matured over the years so much so after moving into the over-45 age group he is now lying second in this year's Power of 10 rankings over the 5k distance and joint second over 10k as his times continue to come tumbling down.
A 'fun' runner just seven or so years ago Terry has improved dramatically since linking up with Tyne Bridge Harriers and is now a regular in the England team for the Masters Cross-Country International.
His most recent success was a gold-medal performance at the British Masters' Port of Blyth 10k before going on to post one of the fastest times in the Elswick Good Friday Relays and it was at Newburn where I caught up with him and suggested doing a question and answer piece for the NEHL website which, I'm happy to say, he willingly agreed to.
Q: Terry, you're not from this neck of the woods so tell me a bit about yourself and where you are from and how you have made a home on Tyneside?
A: I am originally from Barrow in Furness, but lived and worked in Warrington as a Logistics Operations Manager for a large tissue manufacturer before moving to the NE to manage a large project, and remained here after its completion. I love it in this area.
Q: As a youngster athletics and running doesn't seem to figure on your cv so how did you come about making the decision to give the sport a try?
A:I never did anything to keep fit as an adult. Then after some bad luck within the family, I decided I needed to get fit. So at 37 I joined a gym, lost some weight and got myself into some shape just lifting weights, eating a bit better and reducing alcohol intake. Then when I was 40, a friend asked if I wanted to do a race which was in 4 weeks time. I jumped on the internet, found myself a 4 week plan (yes, they actually exist) and started doing some more running. People said it was a decent time so it opened my eyes to taking it more seriously.
Q: Your first entry on Power of 10 is 36th place in the Newburn River Run in 2011. What are your recollections of that night?
A: I’d completely forgotten I’d done that. I think I just did it as a little run in amongst the competitors but it didn’t give me any desire to enter more races. Not at that point anyway.
Q: The following year parkrun was a big attraction for you though you started to dabble in the NE 'bigger' events, ie: the GNR, the Blaydon Race and North Tyneside 10k which must have encouraged you further?
A: When I ran the North Tyneside 10k, I think I finished it in about 39 minutes. People were telling me that it was a decent time, so I started to take things a bit more seriously and train properly. I also entered the Blaydon Race and have loved that race ever since.
Q: In 2012 your half-marathon debut saw you post 80min 10sec in the GNR, that must have been a kick-start to thinking 'that was pretty good and maybe I should take running a bit more seriously'?
A: Having got myself an entry to the GNR, I focussed all my training around that for the preceding 3 months. Being fairly new to the North East, and running in general, I had never paid much attention to this race but I knew it was a big event. As the weeks went on I just kept revising my target, then on the day I aimed for 90 mins, so when I finished in 80 mins I was really happy. People more familiar with half marathons were sounding impressed at the time. It was probably at this point that I started to think about whether to join a running club.
Q: Unfortunately, the following year despite following a similar pattern to 2012 you were three minutes slower in the GNR while you knocked three minutes off your Blaydon and North Tyneside times. Can you pin-point the any reasons for the mixed performances?
A: I think the positive times were because I was getting fitter and training well, but then in July I got sciatica. GNR was my big target so I was wanting to do anything to get to the start line. I spent a small fortune on different treatments to try to get rid of the sciatica. Nothing was working. As a result, I ran about 4 times between July and the GNR in September. Such was the determination, I got to the start line but clearly not fit. By the time I got to the end of the Tyne bridge I was hugely regretting it. I wanted to drop out but realised I would not be able to get a message to my family at the finish line, so I spent the next 12 miles suffering, but ploughing on. Eventually finishing 3 minutes slower than the previous year. Happy to finish though. A little mental victory.
Q: That GNR result didn't deter you having another go 12 months on which resulted in a superb 77:21. However, while all of your running had been on the roads you started to dabble in cross-country which came about I presume after linking up with Tyne Bridge Harriers.
A: This was in 2014, two years after my first proper race. I decided to join Tyne Bridge Harriers after Kenny Mac and Sparrow Morley were individually encouraging me to sign up. The Elswick Good Friday Relays was my first event in the vest. This then led to all the other events like cross country. I was really enjoying running as part of a club. Good camaraderie, and clearly helped me improve.
Q: You were now certainly 'up and running' competing most weekends and in 2014 what stands out for me is your ninth place finish - third over-40 - in the Tees Pride 10k in a time of 33:51. How did you feel after dipping under 34 minutes for the first time?
A: The sub 34 for 10k was something that I was really aiming for. I just missed out at the Darlington 10k - 34:02, then at Tees Pride I knew after 5 miles, the pace was close to breaking 34. However, coming into what I thought was the final straight, and seeing what I thought was the finish line, I did the usual emptying of the tank towards the finish line. Anyway, it turned out it wasn’t the finish line. That was around the corner and another couple of hundred metres away. I literally crossed the finish line on my haunches, then collapsed in a heap. 5 more metres and I’d have been crawling across on my elbows. After pulling myself round and realising I’d made it in under 34, I was elated. So happy.
Q: 2015 was a hugely successful year where, after some eye-catching performances over the country you made your debut in the Home Nations Masters Cross-Country International in Dublin finishing in 12th place. How exciting was it to earn England selection after just a few active years in the sport?
A: I couldn’t quite believe I’d been selected to represent my country. All I could think at the time was I wish my parents and brother were still around to witness this. I was so proud and so would they have been. The whole event was such an amazing experience. We also managed to pick up team silver, and I counted for the team, so to get a medal was really exciting.
Q: As well as securing your first international vest, the year also saw you compete abroad for the first time where you posted a huge half-marathon pb of 74:35 in Amsterdam. What stands out for you on that performance?
A: Here I wanted to right the wrong for the previous year in the same race where I was chasing sub 75. Just after 9 miles, I started swaying and collapsed into the barriers. Got back up and fell back down. My first DNF. Coincidentally, it also happened at the GNR, painfully this time I was 200m from the finish and on for a time of about 74 minutes. So a month after GNR, and the year after my Amsterdam dnf, this third attempt at sub 75 HM was on. The race went to plan and when I saw the clock in the stadium and realised I’d done it, I was so so happy. I’d realised I’d got the time to get me a championship entry for the London Marathon.
Q: The following year you tested the water in the marathon when you ran London finishing 193rd overall in 2:35.57. How did you feel afterwards, especially as you haven't done one since?
A: I’d always said if I was to do only one marathon, I wanted it to be London. The event didn’t disappoint. Amazing experience. In terms of race plan, it was all about going to pace for the first 15 miles, then if the pace starts dropping, just make sure I finish. I didn’t want to let anyone down by not finishing. I felt proud that I could now say I’d raced a marathon. I have no plans to do another one just yet.
Q: A sixth place overall finish in the Brass Monkey Half-Marathon in York in 2017 in 70:39 and a sub 32 minutes 10k in the Leeds Abbey Dash which put you top of the UK over-45 rankings for the year, showed racing over shorter distances is more to your liking. Is that the case?
A: Yes, that was also my thinking. I tended to train quite generically at this point, trying to cover a bit of everything to do as well as possible from 5k to HM. To finish the year top of the 10k rankings for V45 was a great achievement for me. Another ‘can’t believe this’ moment.
Q: Last year you seemed to cut back on racing - no cross-country at all - despite posting a current life-time best of 31:43 in the Trafford 10k. Was there a reason for this?
A: At the start of 2018 I suffered badly with lack of motivation. This was the first time this had happened, but I just couldn’t be bothered with running any longer. It also turned out I had low iron levels which could have explained some of it. I got going again and joined up with Lindsay Dunn’s group, and directly coached by Nathan Shrubb. They have both been a massive help. Since joining the LD group, it has been excellent and I’ve loved running again. A great group of lads, all willing each other to do well. One of the things we worked on is to be more selective with races, and training in a much more controlled way. This, along with lowering my mileage, has allowed me to stay fresh and this has led to my times improving.
Q: This year is just a few months old but already you have stamped your name in the record books by winning the British Masters' 10k Road Race Championship at Blyth. What did that performance mean to you?
A: With my coach, we have worked on being less concerned with times and PB’s and to just ‘race’. So this is exactly what I did. I just raced the guys that were there, and was delighted to pick up the title, and also ended up running a time much quicker than I thought it was going to be. Since then, I managed to run 15:04 at the Mid Cheshire 5k. I would never believe anywhere near this time was achievable for me. Now that I have that, I have to aim to try and break that 15 minute barrier.
Q: Finally, while you have certainly made up for lost time since you started running what advice would you give to anyone interested in taking up athletics whatever their age?
A: Just to embrace it, and if you’re going to get up at 6am for early morning runs, and running in all kinds of typical north east weather, then it must mean you want this. Therefore train hard but train sensibly. This way you stand a chance of staying injury free and going into the key sessions fresh. Keep the maximum effort for races.
Thanks for taking the time Terry to take part in the piece however, after completing the interview it came to light that his excellent form continued when he posted a superb pb of 15:04 in the Mid Cheshire 5k, an event he described as 'his best-ever race in terms of time'.
|HARBOUR MASTER: Terry, on his way to winning the British Masters' 10k Road Race Championship at the Port of Blyth race earlier this month|
|SAND DANCER: Approaching the finish of his first-ever GNR in 2012|
|CAPITAL OUTING: Under the Shadow of Big Ben Terry takes to the streets of London for his one-and-only marathon so far|
|PB PERFORMANCE: Terry just misses out on dipping under 15 minutes in the Mid Cheshire 5k but is nevertheless happy with 15:04|
|ENGLAND EXPECTS: Mud-splattered but overjoyed on his England Masters' Cross-Country International debut in Dublin in 2015|