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Member of the Month - Dvorak

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pedroscalls asks: Well done Dvorak. My question is if money and time were no object what race or route would you love to do?

Dvorak says: Firstly, thank you to all who nominated me and voted for me. I'm viewing it as a kind of long service award ;-) And a blanket thanks for anyone who has posed a question. I must admit, I have rather put off doing this as, well, having scanned through, I thought "I'm not sure I have that much to say in many cases". Although to those who know me personally, the fact that I've put something off repeatedly might nit be startling. And I'd have come up with something more interesting a few years ago. Anyway, I seem to have put off actually starting again. So …

I don't actually have big ambitions in that way. No New York, Boston, Comrades or anything like that. And although I'd like to travel, right now I'd just settle for somewhere warm, and with enough to keep me occupied, as my ability to do nothing that useful does not quite translate into an ability to do nothing at all. In race terms, if I ever did a marathon, I fancied Valencia. A friend is running it this year for his fiftieth, it would have been good to have made it (however I am currently further away than for years). Or the three race series in the Sachsen Schweiz held each year, or something else in Germany. Taking the "money and time no object" thing, I'd have an extended stay, maybe with some in the mountains, and probably work a few races and a few destinations round that.
Bintmcskint asks: Congratulations, Dvorak :-) You are stranded on a desert island. You can take one type of food, one book and one Fetchie. What and who do you take and why?

Dvorak says: Type of food, hmm. I am actually a bit off my chuck at the moment but can I say Indian, specifically South Indian vegetarian? That would give me a bit of variety. I'm not reading much and struggle to think of a book. I also rarely reread anything, even if I really liked it. So probably some kind of practical desert island survival guide. I wouldn't take a Fetchie, I wouldn't want to make anyone else stuck on the island.
westmoors asks: Congratulations Dvorak. If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Dvorak says: I'm struggling here, I lack heroes, or often, inspiration. Aristotle maybe, although I might quickly find him a bit frustrating, with all those questions. As he might me.
GlennR asks: Congratulations mate, well deserved. Balsamic vinegar on chips? Really?

Dvorak says: The info-nuggets which people have stored away :-p But yes. Not always, but sometimes. Crema di balsamico if it is a piece and chips, less runny.
Sigh asks: Congratulations! Is there any back story to your profile pic?

Dvorak says: Yes. I'd been through three or four profile pics before this one, which I particularly liked and so have kept. I actually took the photo myself. The backstory is one Saturday night, a few years ago, when I think you could say there was more saucy natter on Fetch of an evening, often with a cordial or two, there was a thread the subject of which somehow became (don't judge me, I never started it) ginger pussies. And some contributors changed their profile picture to match. It was all done in the best possible taste, obviously. And that was my contribution. The feline pictured is a leopard in Bioparc Valencia.
Neilio asks: Well done you. Red sauce or Brown?

Dvorak says: Red, I never really took to brown. I have the occasional dabble, just to check.
McGoohan asks: Well done Mr D: How are you getting on with the plan to nick one of those kelpies under cover of darkness and stick it in your back yard?

Dvorak says: Plan, what plan :-o Actually, I think opening the blinds every morning and have a Kelpie looking in would be a bit … much.
Velociraptor asks: Very well deserved win, Dvorak! What got you into running in the first place, and what made you keep doing it?

Dvorak says: I was I suppose self-directed as I used to run around a lot as a child. Not just randomly either, I had a clockwork Woolies stopwatch and used to run the 100m beside my house (more like 60m tbh) or laps around it (5000m, more like 2000m) sometimes. And have imaginary runners and imaginary leagues in my head as I grew older and would run to friends houses (and sometimes there would be Olympics in the street). Maybe a function partly of being an only child who liked numbers and whose imagination ran that way. (The "making things up with numbers" thing is something I still do, rather than think about useful stuff. Though usually not running related.)

So anyway that was a grounding and running in some form carried on in a slightly less childish way and even became regular. And then drifted away and in and out (sometimes with cycling replacing it). But has been there or thereabouts pretty consistently for the last 20 or so years. Oh, you also asked why? I guess I enjoyed it, and sometimes it was done with friends and there was also the notion that being reasonably fit (or at least not particularly unfit) was a good thing.
Ness asks: Congratulations on MOTM. What is the best piece of advice you have been given for either running or life in general?

Dvorak says: Hmm. I can't place a particular bit of advice. I've probably ignored more good advice than taken any (although I keep trying to give out my version of good advice, which might be a bit of a failing, but I try to do it in good faith, at least.) This will sound egotistical, but I probably worked out a lot of the running stuff myself by a long and gradual process, taking influence perhaps from others rather than any particular bits of advice I can point to as revelatory. To be honest, not asking for help even when I really needed it (and therefore generally not getting it) had been a weak spot of mine all through. Not generally through just thinking I was always right (although, sometimes) but a mixture of shyness and non-directedness/ lack of ambition. Um, that took a bit of a turn.
MazH asks: Well done you! Two Questions: have you forgiven me for that puncture yet? And, can i borrow your bike again!? xx

Dvorak says: Well, you let all my air out and left me feeling flat … but of course, and of course. (I realised after that the tyres were pretty worn (there were more punctures) so I upgraded to something on the robust side.)
_andy asks: Nice one. With so many composers to choose from, why did you settle on Dvorak as the name of choice?

Dvorak says: Well, it's better than Smetana, Čelanský or Kubelík. Although Janáček could have been an alternative.
FraserFud asks: Congratulations dude. Whats your favourite ice cream? And what flavour not created yet would be the bestest?

Dvorak says: Cheers Chief! I don't have just one favourite, sometimes it is on the fruity axis (pineapple/ mango) and sometimes on the chocolatey (especially if it is choc with extra choc).

A flavour not yet invented: wow, that's exploding ma heid. Pineapple and coconut with a Jaffa cake swirl studded with raspberry pieces and maple fudge. Perhaps.
run free asks: Congrats for MOTM. How do you feel about events using non-recyclable cups and single use bottles on events? Would you support a BYOB event where hydration is dispensed from reusable water containers?

Dvorak says: As long as they are cleared up and recycled, I'm pretty all right with it (not the answer you would like to see, I know). It is an issue, not the biggest one surrounding races, which if we are looking at an ecological one, would I think be the transport. In a race, I wouldn't be that happy with a byob event. In fact, if it was longer than 10K (but not an event like an ultra where, for most, it is about endurance rather than speed and you may be carrying stuff anyway) I probably would not enter. If all events went byob, I'd probably get some kind of bladder pack to avoid having to fill a bottle.
JulesR asks: Congratulations Dvorak. How do you spend all the extra time you gained by giving up playing Criminal Case?

Dvorak says: Minimally. I might as well be playing Criminal Case. (I've had the odd Farm Frenzy period - where I did too much. When you end up with the tune rattling between your ears all the time (not that that was a novelty: Civilisation, Railroad Tycoon, Sim City, even back to old arcade games).

Actually, I though that Criminal Case, based on revisiting old cases, would be an interesting basis for studies into memory. Maybe it is already and we were (or are) all part of a big experiment based on it.
FatterITG asks: Did that blister ever clear up? I recall it as your reason for never meeting me for a run when I was living in Elgin - though I suspect the truth is you were a bit scared to meet a crazy lady off the internet.

Dvorak says: I'm not actually sure that that was (or rather wasn't) me? Elgin's a lang way. But I am currently blister free. I don't think you are that crazy ;-)
princesszee asks: Congratulations! Which is your favourite Scottish parkrun?

Dvorak says: Oh Falkirk, of course :-). I think I would say that even if was not my regular one. (Currently on 199 runs there - and the last one was my slowest.) Although if I could terraform it, I would make Heartbreak Hill two-thirds of the climb which it is.

(I've not run them all, of course. From what I've heard, Aviemore on a good day could be a contender.)
DavieO. asks: Well done Dvorak. Do you have any pre race rituals or superstitions?

Dvorak says: Not as such. Throwing up shortly before the start probably came the closest. Although that was more expected than deliberate. As is waking up too early. And going to bed too late.
katypie asks: Well done. A worthy winner indeed. Hmmm. Questions - favourite type of cake? Favourite race you’ve been late for and your favourite beer?

Dvorak says: I like a carrot cake. Or lemon drizzle. And chocolate, of course.

I've not actually been late for many races! I may have cut it fine a few times, but I think I have only missed three starts. (And the odd parkrun.) That's probably surprised you :-p I have got into the races (and not been last, though started too fast.) Jedburgh HM would probably be the favourite. (Another one I wondered if I might make this year, but no. As it might snow there (we will know if it did by the time this appears) I'm not feeling too downcast.)

Favourite beer. Very difficult. And I might find that something I really liked was not just the same again. I like variety. But maybe a Pilsner Urquell served with the proper head, somewhere in Prague. Or a Hacker-Pschorr in a Munich biergarten. More domestically, a bottle of Williams Brothers Seven Giraffes.
Night-owl asks: Congratulations on motm, who would play you in a film of your life

Dvorak says: Peter Capaldi, maybe. Though he would have to shave his head and pork up a bit. And shrink vertically.

Actually, probably some bit-part actor who appeared in the odd Taggart would be more like it.
BaronessBL asks: Congratulations, well deserved. Who has been an inspiration to you - either in your running, or more generally at a point in your life?

Dvorak says: Well, I take a lot of inspiration from Fetchies, both in running and for life in general. I may by and large do not that much with it afterwards, but it is there.

In running, I guess I took inspiration from lots of the middle to long distance track runners: from the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games (1970) where several Scots won medals through Lasse Viren, Brendan Foster and their competitors; Coe, Cram and Ovett (and Scotland's Tom McKean). And loads of other runners as I used to watch the athletics a lot (something I now do much less).

I guess I took a bit of inspiration from music as I grew up, although again, it is something you might find hard to discern any tangible signs (never mind benefits) from. I probaby could have done with finding some more inspirational figures.
Flatlander asks: Congratulations to a knowledgeable, humorous and helpful Fetchie who offers lots of advice about running. Do you get your knowledge from articles and books, your own experiences, or a mixture?
How did you become interested in ice hockey?


Dvorak says: From years of my own experience and years of the experiences of others. I'm immodest enough to think that I might have percolated some thoughts which are not entirely nonsense from that. Put another way, if I open my mouth, the sounds are not only those of my belly rumbling. Particularly in the context of those who in race terms are not right at the back, but rarely in the top half. I've read few running books actually - maybe I should, I might learn something.

Ice hockey I must admit is not a particular interest though I did catch a couple of games (and enjoyed them) in Czech Rep. And a shirt :-) Another thing I used to watch as a child on tv (when rarely on) and now don't. Amongst several items on the "maybe I should go sometime" list.
Sunbed Athlete asks: Many congratulations fella 👏
Seeing how you “accidentally” ran a half, is there possibly an “accidentally” full somewhere perhaps 🤔😉


Dvorak says: I think that would be quite a stretch - fifteen miles in a race would be the "accidental" limit. ( I have very occasionally ran further which proved I would not accidentally make it to 26.2).

Not so say never, but it might have to fall more into the category of surprise than accident.
Valyrian Plastic asks: Well done, Dvorak. If you were given a million pounds to spend on either a bigger house, a luxury car or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, which one would you pick?

Dvorak says: A million! Too much for all of them. I'd fix up my house 100%, buy a pretty nice, practical car, travel a bit and spread the rest of the money out to be pretty comfortable for the rest of my life. That's dully pragmatic.
Tick Tock Tim asks: Bit of a serious one. Would you have a single policy to help obesity/ lack of fitness in the country today?

Dvorak says: I think that the roots of it all lie so deep that tackling it from just the diet/fitness side would, however well meaning, and even well though out and executed, would only scratch the surface. Ending poverty (which could be done by ending gross inequality - the rich don't even have to not be rich, just very rich instead of insanely rich) and thus improving health and opening up choices would be the first step, accompanied by increasing accessible open spaces and a shift in part away from the use of personal motorised transport. A re-establishment of community. Growing your own veg.

Maybe, twenty years post Brexit, we will have accidentally ended up with this. We might be poor, with shrunken horizons, but we'll be in it together and our root vegetable based diet and inability to afford cars will have sorted the obesity/ fitness side of things. A wartime economy without the shooting (hopefully). That seems almost Pollyannaishly optimistic at the moment.

Previous Winners

2018
September LindsD
August Helegant
July Dvorak
June run free
May Sigh
April katypie
March Ness
February DocMoye
January Fenland Flier
2017
December Valyrian Plastic
November westmoors
October Windsor Wool
September Joopsy
August Hills of Death (HOD)
July GlennR
June LazyDaisy
May James74
April Doctor K
March Flatlander
February Night-owl
January .B.
2016
December jono.
November Corrah
October The Scribbler
September Big Al Widepants
August Gromit
July HellsBells
June Roobarb
May Nelly
April postieboy
March AntClark
February clare1976
January Duchess
2015
December ChrisHB
November Race Jase
October fetcheveryone
September Columba
August Carpathius
July Autumnleaves
June Tizer
May KinkyS
April kwala
March McGoohan
February Canute
January D2
2014
December Fleecy
November Sharkie
October runningmumof3boys
September swittle
August Irontubs
July MikeR.
June KinkyS
May RevBarbaraG
April Marigold
March becca7
February max71
January ogee
2013
December Argie
November neems
October Avon
September curly45
August Liliaicha
July CC2 Speedy Goth
June Bintmcskint
May Foxy
April flanker
March The Terminator
February Johnny Blaze
January Mother Duck
2012
December Toks
November _andy
October Paul the Builder
September Nellers
August Northern Exile
July Fenland Runner
June runnerbean
May Ultra Kanga Kazzaaaaah!!
April GimmeMedals
March Lyra OK
February Elsie Too
January Smout
2011
December richmac
November hellen
October LouLou
September Sunbed Athlete
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July Phoenix Lesley
June Dave A
May ogee
April BigChiefRunningBore
March Mrs Jigs
February Chromey
January John66
2010
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November Gymfreak
October Happy G(rrr)
September Foxy Davy
August GregP
July Binks
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May Lisrun
April Anna Finn
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February Hendo
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2009
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2008
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2007
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