For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the lady who recently popped up in the club history series. This dog loving athlete has represented GB many times and took part in the Tokyo Olympics so this girl has pedigree and class. A lover of everything outdoors and the main instigator of the Arena annual camping trips, you will often find Julie running over the hills with her dog, Amber. Lets find out a little more about Julie Drake.
Name: Julie Drake
1. When and why did you join Arena:
I joined Arena in 1999. I was a member of Brighton & Hove AC at the time with two toddlers but due to work/childcare issues could no longer make Tuesday/Thursday night club training night’s so I starting attending Arena Monday and Wednesday night sessions.
2. How long have you been running:
Far too long … 36 years . I started in 1981 when I was 12 years old. I’m still running in 2017, but rather a lot slower.
3. Where did you grow up:
I’m a local girl. Born in Westdene and lived all my life in Brighton.
4. What was the best thing about growing up as a kid:
Being out and about playing with friends all the time. In my day as a kid we only had a couple of hours of kids tv a day and no computer games so my time was spend doing interesting things.
5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Taking Amber my dog out for walks and canicross runs, lots of wild camping in my motor home, cooking and playing golf. I also enjoy partaking in wine and beer tasting.
6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your seat:
Pharrell Williams – Happy.
7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
The St Albans Stampede (12 hr Enduro relay over 3.8 mile lap). My boyfriend and I ran it last year and surprisingly came 2nd. He ran 39 miles and I ran 36 miles. We are heading back there in September to try and do better.
8. Have you any bugbears:
Obsessively checking how much battery power I have left in my motor home. I’ve now had a solar panel fitted so my obsession is easing.
9. Who is your sporting hero:
Steve Ovett. My primary school teacher was a member of Phoenix AC and brought his Moscow Olympic gold medal into the class to show us in 1980.
10. What would your epitaph say:
She never stopped running until the end.
11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
Living so close to the South Downs and Stanmer Park. I’ve always trained off-road so Brighton is a perfect place to live for me.
12. What are you most looking forward to in 2017
: Of course it’s the Arena 80 camping trip. 18th-22nd August at Hollands Wood Campsite, Brockenhurst. Lots of running, cycling, socialising, eating and drinking.
13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
14. What was the first song you ever purchased (be truthful):
Message in a Bottle by The Police.
15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I’m a life member of Brighton & Hove City AC which I gained from representing GB at the World Championships in Toyko in 1991. My event then was 10000m walk but I was also quite a good runner in my day and won the Brighton Half Marathon.
16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you choose to be:
Parked up somewhere scenic in my motor home eating home cooked food and drinking nice cold cava.
17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far:
Breaking 3 hours for my first road marathon. This was London 1992 and I ran 2hr 58:22. I got back into training as a new years resolution and did 3 months of serious training of 50-60 miles a week for it. Before this I’d lost interest in training and had a few months off which involved lots of partying and being normal.
18. Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
My boyfriend Richard. He’s not an Arena runner but he is a fellow bus driver and I found out that he was a running a few years ago at the South Downs Relay. He’s a hasher.
19. Is there anything that you are scared of:
Running with Amber in Stanmer Park woods on my own in the dark. We have recently started running in the dark on Hollingbury Golf Course which I can handle as we stay on the farways, which are open, as much as possible.
20. If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive who would you choose:
Chris ‘Moyleman’ Moyle my running friend who died from cancer in 2009. In November I’m planning on running my 250th Parkrun on Chris’ 50th birthday weekend. Ashley Head (Chris’ good mate and the Moyleman race founder) and Cam Moyle (Chris’ sister and also a fellow running friend and ex school mate). It would be a very special occasion to all be reunited for one dinner.
Our biggest thanks to Julie for her Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Julie a little better now. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.