Fetcheveryone Member of the Month

Each winner receives a £100 ADVANCE PERFORMANCE voucher

Interview with swittle

DrPhleecingD asks: Oh, awesome! Well done switts! Tell us how you managed to maintain your streak, please :)

swittle says: Thank you so much! It started without any planning: I just enjoyed getting out every day. When I joined Fetch, the Streaky Bacon thread met my needs perfectly. Day to day, it's a matter of staying injury free enough to go out again. Obsession? Yes, I think so! :)
jennywren asks: Yes, The Streak. More about this please. What would happen if you stopped? Would the iron men on Crosby Beach give you a hard time?

swittle says: I broke a Streak of 1315 days in 2011 and the grumpiness level was at an all-time high. Habit is habit forming and I love the healthy feeling at the start of each day after a visit to the Iron Men. I communicate with them in my own way and they inspire me, often by their silence and unwillingness to judge.
.B. asks: Congratulations, about time :-) I love your photos of the iron men. Do you ever stop to take photos on your runs or are running and photography separate activities?

swittle says: Really good of you to say that, .B. If the sky & weather look favourable, I'll pop the camera into my pocket or hand and set off - it's a conscious decision to go and take pictures. Once at the beach, say, I'll look for good locations and wait for the shot to compose itself. Very occasionally, I'll walk or drive to the beach for some photography.
RichHL asks: Congratulations! You have the best Christmas Fetch name ever. Are you an Elvis fan or was the pun too good to resist?

swittle says: Cheers! You've made me laugh, 'cos I remember a comment similar to yours about my festive name. I love using & adapting words and songs are big friends too; but the song that inspired my name has a special, quite wistful meaning as it reminds me of 2 gay friends splitting up for Christmas. Yes, I adore Elvis in all his guises but feel for the victim he became. Good pun? Indeed it was!!
TheScribbler asks: Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition of your unique contribution to Fetch. My question is - What do you think about when you think about running?

swittle says: Thanks, Scribbler - how kind! When I think about running, I give thanks for the 26 years that I've been able to do it. I often cast my mind back to routes & races memorable only to me: that singular event that marked out the route or result as memorable. Most of all, I think about the people I've met through running.
GimmeMedals asks: At last! Very well deserved and far too long in the making :-) Simple question and I can't wait for the answer. How did you get to be so awesome in every possible way?

swittle says: So, kind of you, GM - the answer to your question is simply by surrounding myself with awesome people, of whom Fetch has a plethora. When avatar and name become flesh, sinew, bone & ITB, whole brilliant new dimensions of the owner's character shine through - as happened at the E. Hull 20 a couple of years ago! ;)
mikep asks: Many congratulations. I know you travel from West to East to race but how far North or South would you venture?

swittle says: Thank you, Mike - most kind. North would be the beautifully remote Scottish Borders - and Northumberland, of course. South? I was very taken with Suffolk - and hadn't expected to be. Not flat, not all fields and wonderfully evocative beaches.
monsenb1 asks: Congratulations Swittle! I believe we have only met you once at the Northumberland Coastal Run a few years ago..yet you left an indelible mark..now when are we going to meet again my good Sir?

swittle says: Thanks you indeed. I have a photo of some Fetchies at the start and remember you well! I follow your running career & travels too. I'm targeting possibly a Toon Moor parkrun and the Jedburgh 10 if my Twinsis, MeLAR is fully recovered.
Neilio asks: Well done swittle. We met at The Brass Monkey Half last year, and very nice it was. Anyway, red sauce or brown?

swittle says: Kind of you to post, Neilio. I remember our meeting with much pleasure: the power of Fetch is indeed remarkable! Funnily enough, on the way home from college tonight, I bought chili sauce, in both hot and sweet presentations.. But I digress: on balance, red, but on sausage sarnies, brown. ;)
runningmumof3boys asks: Well done switts. About time too. I still find it amazing how we bumped into each other that afternoon on Crosby beach. 😃😃
Anyway my question if you could re run any race which would it be and why ?

swittle says: Hi, rmo3b. That was a Harry Hill moment: 'What were the chances...?' I'm very glad we did, because I've been able to follow your improvements in three separate events, culminating in your GBR kit! And your sons are such a joy! Great question: I'd love to have another try at breaking 1:30 for the Lake Vyrnwy half Marathon. 7 miles in, I found myself acting as pacer for a group of 6 and didn't have the racing nous to take steps to avoid burning resources. The lakeside course shielded us from wind & rain and, on a sunny day, the scenery was glorious.
Clueless asks: Fantastic news, very well deserved. I love your photos of Crosby beach so much so that I am hoping to come and visit it soon. Have you ever decorated one of the iron men - on one of your runs, obviously?

swittle says: Hello, Clueless, and thank you. I can offer my services as guide! Although I marvel at many of the efforts to brighten the lives and warm the bodies of the Iron Men, somehow, it seems ever so slightly inappropriate. Gormley writes about man's struggle with adversities and I agree that the Iron Men face wind, rain, sea, frost, ice & sunshine with no cover or shelter. Mind you, a Fetch shirt would look ace!
richmac asks: Finally!!!!! You are the litherland running man are you not? And thank you for kind words and inspiration over the years

swittle says: Cheers, Rich! It's true that no-one has seen both of us in the same moment or photograph! I've seen him twice, both times at Crosby Marina: his purple shorts & old skool calf bandage are highly distinctive. For a time, I thought he might be an Iron Man liberated from his long vigil and allowed to explore....for just a day!
Bintmcskint asks: You make a lot of people on here very happy with your support and your photos and the like. What makes you happy?

swittle says: That's such a special compliment, Bint. :) It makes me very happy indeed. And I suppose simply knowing I've not messed up anyone's day too much, and maybe added to their confidence, happiness, knowledge or security. Being a small part of another person's progress or advancement is a rare & highly valued privilege but I'd hate to be thought of as some kind of miracle worker.
stilldreaming asks: Congratulations Sir Swittle of Crosby Beach :-) My question is: which off-road race in the north west would you recommend and why?

swittle says: Most kind, stilldreaming. I very much enjoyed the Radcliffe AC 12-mile multi-terrain race, between Bolton & Bury: at first sight, not the most scenic environs. Yet an undulating profile, woodland trails, river & canal banks, parks and only 5% road made it such a joy! I've run it stone dry; icy & frosty; and ankle-deep in mud. Because of bridge work, it's now a ten-mile race; so well organised, cheery marshals and start & finish at The Mason's Arms! :-)
Carpathius asks: Hurray! We got you in the end ;) jaks has already asked my question, so I'm going to ask one you don't have to answer - what do you think about while running?

swittle says: The support's been terrific, Carps. When I'm running, sometimes, I clear my mind & work on thinking about nothing. Most times, I'll seek inspiration from some element of what I see or hear or feel: a gull gliding on a strong breeze; the low, reassuring boom of breakers rolling in; or that gusty, blustery thrust that leaves me breathless. I'll dwell on work gubbins from time to time, to help prepare myself but that's an invasion into *my* running time. :)
Jinksy asks: Congratulations! If you could go for a run with somebody famous who would it be and why?

swittle says: Thank you, pinklou - most kind! Alan Turing would be my running chum: I'm not sure whether he actually ran or not but I'm convinced that I'd gain a brief glimpse into a brilliantly inventive and powerful mind, one that shortened the Second World War more than any numbers of bombs and guns. And I'd ask him about discrimination and injustice and bigotry - but I doubt I could bring him any comfort. :(
Johnny Blaze asks: When will you be dressing one of the iron blokes in a Fetch shirt?

swittle says: Hehe! I'm going to have to get an FB size Fetch shirt: Mr Gormley is a healthily built specimen. Notably, one of the Men sported a Holmfirth Harriers vest a couple of summers ago - and nothing else....I sent a photo to richmac, a Holmfirth runner. Apparently, it caused much merriment - except with committee members. :-o
Derby Tup asks: Richly deserved swittle sir! Buzzcocks or Bob Marley? ;-)

swittle says: Much appreciated, DT. :) Well, you and I are almost solely responsible for upping the proportion of reggae & dub tracks posted on the 'What are you listening to?' threads and we've found many similarities in our musical preferences. For promoting the almost underground sound coming out of some small, Caribbean islands and sending it global, I'd take Robert Nesta - tho' he's not my favourite W.I. artist. There was an honesty about Buzzcocks, with a healthy dash of cynicism too, and I'd take both if I could.
run-forest-run asks: Fantastic, many congratulations and well deserved. Do you have a particular run that you often recall and what made it so special ?

swittle says: So kind of you to say, r-f-r. Yes; a particular favourite run was with a chum of mine who may well have been at Haworth the first time you ran the 'Yorkshireman'. She'd thought out a general route - and I'd asked that it take in Winter Hill, to lay the ghost of an awful race I'd had, getting hideously lost. From beautiful White Coppice near Chorley, we ran for fun over Great Hill, splashing through pools & muddy streams and vanquished Winter Hill from the sharp side, pausing for a photo before the transmitter on its final working day. Down into Rivington, then past the wonderfully named Anglezarke reservoir on gentle forest trails and back to our start.
northernslowcoach asks: congratulations :)
what's your favorite post run cake?

swittle says: Thanks v much, coachie :-) In the winter months, a lovely piece of parkin with a piping hot mug of Taylor's Yorkshire Tea of course! Warmer times of year call for a lighter snack: perhaps some Victoria sponge, or a Chorley Cake - sacrilege, I know!
Yorkshire Lass asks: Congratulations Swittle, at long last! We've met a few times at the Chevin Chase. Which 3 people living or dead would you wish to share a pint with?

swittle says: Thank you, trends - most kind. I do look forward to what seems to be our yearly meeting on Moorland Avenue! Oo, must tell you@ entries for said race open this Sunday - see you there :)
Now to a terrific question: 1.) Marcus Mosiah Garvey, lifelong campaigner for black freedom - for his drive & motivation, and for the reggae & dub that he & his struggle inspired. 2.) John Harrison, whose marine chronometers effectively discovered longitude and took navigation 50 years forwards - because of my late Dad's lifelong devotion to studying John's life & work. They were born in Wragby, Yorkshire WR. 3.) Aristophanes, cent 5th BCE Athenian writer of coruscating and very rude Greek comedies aimed at criticising politicians of the day, mostly for warmongering.
KOG asks: Well deserved. Whats the best & worst thing about streaking?

swittle says: Very kind of you. I think the removal of the decision, 'Shall I run today?' is a substantial benefit of the Streak and deciding to run only before college in the mornings means my run's done for the day. I like the figures, the advancing day count and the Fetch mileage league, and I'm aiming to crack 2000 miles again this year. The worst part is tripping up & falling - and the sick fear that comes with this: can I finish my run? Can I run at all? Is this Streak at an end?
Black Cat asks: About time Switts! How much pressure do you feel to keep a streak going? Doing the Coastal Run next year?

swittle says: Many thanks, Black Cat! To be honest, there needs to be a certain drive present to get me out and on - or off - the road. There's peer pressure too from people who've got interested at work, as well as the wealth of generous support heading my way from Fetchies far & wide. Bad days? Yes; last summer was punctuated with one-mile Streaksavers and the 'can't be bothered' monkey kept leaping up onto my back. Add a range of niggly injuries, and I considered a break from Streaking. I came through it, and this year couldn't be more different.
Dave A asks: Whoop etc :-) Rugby League. The true sport ?

swittle says: Cheers, Dave :) Pulling on a double-sided rugby shirt at age 7 at Wakefield GS, and having no choice in the matter, rather clouded my views of RL in my earlier years. My *skills* were better suited to RU, as my manual dexterity was poor, and I admired amateur & pro RL alike, Walnut Warriors and Wakefield Trinity in particular.
HappyG(rrr) asks: Many congrats - you do a lot of it, and every day, so what have you "learned" from running, about running, or yourself, or life? Well done again. :-) G

swittle says: You're most generous. :) A fine question too. I started running 27 years ago and realised the weight loss did nothing for my rugby. Simply looking back to darker days when I weighed over 17 stones and drank excessively & regularly, I simply couldn't imagine such a sequence. It's the only sport I've stuck with and it's given me structure, discipline, health, but, most of all, a closer affinity with the diverse wonders of nature. I so admire the achievements of others, especially Fetchies and applaud their modesty too.
milemonster asks: You always have the time to comment and encourage people on FE. How many hours a week are you on FE?

swittle says: milemonster, it's terrific that you've referred to what I try to post on Fetch. When I can see the distance a person has travelled - not necessarily geographically - it's only fitting that the achievement, regardless of its nature, should be recognised and celebrated more widely. May be a part of being a teacher! I estimate I'm on Fetch about ten to twelve hours a week. Yes, I should go out more - but I've usually done my run already! :)
DrDan asks: Dear Master Swittle ... at what point did you become a MASTER?

swittle says: Dear Dr Dan, I'd have to say this occurred - in my mind - after I ran 3:38 for the 1988 Leeds Marathon. Having tried squash, tennis & rugby union, I resigned myself to never troubling the scorers - but running. Ah, well, having dismissed it as too tiring, I trained for & ran the Rotherham HM a year before Leeds - and I was hooked! My best races were as a mid-packer - just - but, while my times were falling, I still earned my title. The Streak now supersedes but the body of running remains.
Minnie Mad asks: Well done Swittle I've been voting for you for ages and I can't think of anyone who deserves this more right now. I haven't seen you for ages; I still remember meeting you at the Ilkley Trail Race. Its one of my favourites. What's your favourite race, and which one will you be running next?

swittle says: Minnie, that's really kind of you! Yes, it's been far too long since we caught up in person - when I come to Yorkshire, I'm visiting my Mum & sister. That Ilkley Trail Race was such a hoot: I've some great photos of so many Fetchies. You've timed your question well: entries open for my favourite race - now - tomorrow and it'll be on Boxing Day. The Chevin Chase is just testing enough to be run if one is carrying the festive excesses. Fancy dress gets ever more spectacular; the paths through the woodland estates are like old friends; the depth of the Bog Of Doom near the farm is never know 'til the day, and the mile downhill career to the finish is epic. :)
Sushi. asks: Congratulations! Well Deserved!! What would you prefer as a post run refuel? Flapjack, banana or banana flapjack?

swittle says: Many thanks, sioux! Only one answer: flapjack, and it would *have* to be your own special, supercharging recipe. :) Banana flapjack sounds simply divine but banana *and* flapjack together might be thought a tad self indulgent! ;)
Craig_ asks: Congratulations Swittle - well deserved MOTM. :-)
Most runners enjoy a good motivational slogan. Offers us some wise words to run and live by...

swittle says: Much obliged to you. :) You've set me a real challenge but, here goes: Smile ahead of the run in your mind. Mind you extend your limits, if the time be right. Right now, you're a runner on *your* terms, so seek to excel. :)
Big Al Widepants asks: Great streaking. What is the most annoying thing about running every day?

swittle says: Cheers, Big Al: I follow your progress regularly and I know how fastidiously you pursue your Streak. Not bad Marathoning either! The most annoying aspect of Streaking remains the injury that isn't quite bad enough to cut down the daily mileage. Alongside that, let me place the niggles that manifest themselves when I've simply been sat down - up I get, and, all of a sudden, a protesting porker, back twinge or hip pull. :( My trip-up-and-fall-over in comedic style is also intensely irksome
Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Hii Switt your posts and comments always positive so thanks well done. My question is what is the secret to running perpetuity through life

swittle says: Hi, HOD - many thanks for your comment. Sometimes, as I reach down to tie my running shoe laces, a job that can take some time ;) I think about the other ties that have kept me running over 27 years and counting. It's good to prove a doubter wrong and a PE teacher at school thought me only good for being the scorer at inter-school athletics events. The Leeds Marathon, my 1st, proved me wrong about being able to complete. I think it's the choice between solitariness and sociability that draws me on: hours running, alone with my thoughts, training with chums, or joining tens, 100s, 1000s and more united by a common love. To celebrate the victories of others, tho', is best of all! :)
The Terminator asks: Congratulations Swittle. Struggling to think of a more deserving winner in recent times. Think I speak for us all when I say thanks so much for all the support, positivity and advice. You have been streaking longer than I've been running but when did you start running and why?

swittle says: Oh, TT, what thoughtful words! I simply employ what I've found lifts me and it's great to know that it helps from time to time. :) 27 years ago, rugby close season, and a challenge: train with two huge 2nd rowers for the Rotherham HM - in 11 weeks :-o A mile became 2 and, well, you know how it builds! 1:47 and amazed at the push, the buzz and the will to go again. So I did. Leeds Mara 3:38 the next year - and a spring in my step, clothes that fitted and no guilt when sitting down to eat. 4 gurus led me through, and its their support that carried me through. I never troubled the scorers with my times but I gave racing the best I could, from PBs to dead last finishes!
geordiegirl asks: A very worthy winner Swittle many congratulations. What keeps you streaking? How do you get yourself out the door on days where you may feel like having a day off?

swittle says: Many thanks, geordiegirl. :) Streaking started very much by accident: a training pal & I used to enjoy putting the world to rights in the mornings and the chat helped the miles fly by! I only discovered that Streaking existed when I joined Fetch and I had over 550 days' consecutive running in the bank - which was kindly included :) Now I run by myself much of the time, there are days when a Streaksaver [just a mile] appeals but generally, because I run before work, I know I need to be out of the door by 7am at the latest, and that's a good incentive. I like the routine, the logging of days, times & distances, but, most of all, the near-deserted streets, the wide beach only inhabited by the Iron Men, and the warm glow that lasts all day! Check out my sick record: I don't have one! Finally, there may be many years when Streaking won't be possible, so I'll run while I can! :)
Argie asks: Have the Ironmen ever taken a injunction out against you? :-)

swittle says: This is currently sub judice, Argie, but I'm optimistic that, as the Iron Men are very much in the public domain, my interest in them as photographic subjects will go in my favour. Unlike many visitors, I have not visited fashion crimes upon them: floral blouses [too short] and maxi dresses [way too long] spring to mind. The Men remain a constant source of inspiration: to look, to think and to imagine.
Vixx asks: Congratulations! Sorry if this has been asked before, but if you could run with one person, living or dead, who would it be and how far would you run with them?

swittle says: Hi, Vixx, and thank you for your wishes. :) This type of question always gets me thinking - and I've opted for a companion about whom historians are divided: Pheidippides, the Athenian herald, who ran 150 miles to Sparta in 2 days to seek that state's aid against the invading Persians. He then ran 25 miles from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens, announcing, 'Joy, we have won!' With this, he promptly expired. And I'd run those final 25 miles with him. :)
clairster asks: Yaya, super streaking switts. Nothing to add but delighted to see your name here x

swittle says: That's really kind of you, clairster. I continue to be inspired by your Ultra conquests and irrepressible smile! :) Very best wishes,

Naomi P asks: About time! Congratulations! A couple of questions if I may: What was the craziest thing you've had to do in order to maintain your streak? And which Classical character would you be and why?

swittle says: Much obliged, Naomi! I'd rested a painful hammy for nearly 47 hours [run at 1150 one day, run at 0010 next day and run at 1150 3rd day] and decided to test it out on a cold, wet breezy night. For 3 minutes, all was well but I pulled up sharply with the pain. I attempted to reach 10 minutes by propelling myself along the park railings :-o My next-door neighbour, out with her hound, looked over and said, 'Steve, let me help you home.'
Presumptuous tho' it may be, I have always much admired Pericles for his boundless abilities in war, in peace, in oratory, and in the promotion of the arts and in literature. Few people create an empire; fewer still can claim to have had the vision to carry out much of the work on the Parthenon. He's a great choice!
Sunbed Athlete asks: Do you see your streak as a "must keep doing" or is it still fun to enjoy the freedom and space us runners are accustommed too?

swittle says: Hello, Sunbed Athlete. V interesting question. I think you've summed up perfectly why I continue to Streak. It's about when I run and where I run, and not necessarily how far. Pre-Iron Men, I rarely ran on the beach or prom and they've remained a silent source of inspiration for almost ten years. This morning at 7, two miles of beach were entirely at my disposal, or the trails of the coastal park too, if I wished. When bones creak and muscles grumble, it takes greater resolve to lace shoes & get out there: then, I feel something of the pressure of 'not missing a day'. It's all worth it for the healthy glow inside & on my face - and, as well as not missing a day's running, I miss no days at work either!
CottamRunner asks: Very, very pleased to read of your "success" here swittle. Please let us know how big a part photography (of iron men or otherwise) plays in your life and / or helps maintain that streak of yours. Hugely respectful of both those talents of yours. :-)

swittle says: LR, I really appreciate your comments. From hearing about your wobbly knee before the Trimpell 20, we've kept in touch, even tho' my lack of racing means I don't meet too many Fetchies these days. In Dec. 2010 after heavy snow, I ventured onto the beach at Crosby and found an Iron Man exactly half covered vertically in snow. The pic made the BBC New NW website and I was off! I'd often combine a run along the coast with stops for pictures, although it played havoc with my core temperature. Posting on Fetch or Facebook, I realised people quite enjoyed what I saw while running and how I presented it. We all like a little encouragement, don't we? The beach, coast & Iron Men remain my favourite subject: there are such variations in sky, sea, sand & shore: 'Another Place' is alive in my eyes! There was an exhibition of my beach photos last Dec. at the college I teach at in Bootle and quite a few prints, framed & loose were sold, profits to the 'Stonewall' charity. The constant inspiration for running, streaking & photography remains those 2 miles of beach and the hundred 600kg statues. :)
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