Get to Know…Teo van Well

Look what the Brighton air has done to Teo (He is on the right by the way).

For this week’s choice we meet one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. A gentle soul who will do anything for anyone and the man that will always put others before himself. Since joining the club Teo has become a firm favourite amongst his peers as well as joining the Committee. He is the man that makes sure the results are updated promptly as well as trying to get to as many races as he can to maximise the Arena points. His running has come on tremendously since he first joined the club and if you don’t know Teo yet, then really do take the time to introduce yourself. So lets find out what makes Teo tick.

Name: Teo van Well

1. When and why did you join Arena:
October 2015, if I remember correctly. I had just moved to the area to study a MSc at medical school and wanted to meet like-minded people. I also needed to fill the void created by retiring from football and thought that endurance running would be a suitable challenge.

2. How long have you been running:
Running with a view to being a “runner” began when I joined Arena, so in that sense I have been running for 14 months. But as a footballer I of course had a base level of fitness and had to run plenty – especially in my team – I was the defensive midfielder and was overworked due to our twinkle-toed strikers and attacking midfielders who only liked to move towards the opposition goal.

3. Where did you grow up:
As a child I grew up in Helensburgh and as an adult I spent my years in Glasgow, both in bonnie Scotland of course.

4. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
Thus far I have been fortunate enough to visit nearly 70 countries. Travel is a huge hobby of mine and I’ve barely stayed in one place for more than a year due to my global inquisitiveness. I dearly want to visit Bhutan, Mongolia and North Korea. It will happen. If I’m only meant to choose one then I’d go for North Korea, assuming I didn’t have to be part of a restricted tour group!

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your time:
I’m an avid mountain climber but don’t do that so regularly due to my current location. Last year I climbed (solo) four active volcanoes in 10 days in Indonesia. One of them erupted while I was at the summit and the ash was so hot it burnt the soles of my shoes off! But in reality, these days, if I’m not running then I’m eating. I’m happiest with good food in front of me.

6. What would you say to your younger self:
“What you do now will have a huge bearing on your future, both mentally and physically.” I did not respect my body, got mixed up in bad circles and made some very poor choices. It all still haunts me now. Running helps immensely.

7. If you could go back to an age in your life what age would it be and why:
I hated my childhood and teenage years. I’d go back to my early thirties when I spent 6 years travelling and enjoying very simple, unique experiences within other cultures. Those years offer me the fondest memories. But of course I hope to create many more in time to come.

8. What’s your favourite website:
This is surely a trick question, right? arena80.co.uk. What else? It does have a rival however. I’m never far away from the BBC sport home page.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
In the past, Ayrton Senna. Zinedine Zidane was right up there too. Today I prefer to be inspired by those directly around me. Jenny Hughes and Paul Gasson are two such examples.

10. What is your favourite album ever:
Not an easy question at all but I’m a huge fan of Arcade Fire so will go for Neon Bible or the Suburbs, both by those Canadian rockers.

11. Have you ever had or do you have a nickname:
Not really. But I have been called Mr T, just T or on a bad day, T-bag!

12. What makes you happy:
Food, great conversation, people helping others, falling in love, overcoming personal challenges, peace and quiet, sun and scenery……….take your pick!

13. What was the last thing you bought:
Bob, Jenny and Colin a cup of coffee and a piece of cake each – yesterday – at the XC race.

14. What’s something you miss the most from childhood:
Building tree-huts in the country hills and foraging for nuts and berries in the same location.

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
Many, many things that I’ll never have time to share! But to pick one for the sake of this question: I was involved in setting up and opening the first ever backpacker hostel in Myanmar. And it is doing great business to this very day, making my Burmese friends a very comfortable living.

16. What’s the one thing you can’t live without:
Oxygen, blood, water………? On a selfish level I’d say a bicycle, honey, stimulation………

17. What is the hardest thing you ever had to do:
Hmm. Tricky. I’m not a fan of needles so I’ve had a fair few colonoscopies, endoscopies and tooth extractions all without anaesthetic. That wasn’t overly pleasant.

18. What are your three most used apps:
Whatsapp, gmail, facebook……….sadly, nearly all communication is electronic these days.

19. What were you like at school:
Gifted, wasteful, violent – a mixed bag. I earned a scholarship to a private school due to my intelligence at that age but wasted the opportunity due to feeling like the poor kid in unfamiliar, wealthy surroundings. I try to block out those years even today.

20. What’s the last photo you took on your phone:
This is before the water shed! I just wanted to see what it looked like from another angle.

Our biggest thanks to Teo for his Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Teo a little better. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.