In the lead up to Run Jurassic, we are featuring a series of interviews from some of our amazing Jurassic Coast Trust fundraisers. These people are running the various Run Jurassic races in order to help the Jurassic Coast Trust in our mission to protect and promote our incredible World Heritage Site.
We hope you will feel inspired by our runners’ stories – either to donate to their JustGiving page, or to take part yourself in a race to remember.
Visit our online shop to book your place as a Jurassic Coast Trust fundraiser.
In this blog, Steve Bennett – an East Anglia resident and passionate visitor to the Jurassic Coast – talks us through his motivations for entering the Run Jurassic Half-Marathon, his training regime, and his lifelong interest in palaeontology – which he now shares with his 8-year-old granddaughter.
What motivated you to take part in Run Jurassic?
In truth I could have chosen any number of reasons why I decided to take part, however the primary motivation for accepting the challenge is for me really all about dinosaurs.
I have been interested since childhood. Growing up in 1960’s Gloucestershire I always hoped that on one of the frequent, pre-health and safety era, visits to quarries I would stumble on a new specimen!
Last year I realised an ambition 60 years in the making by visiting South West USA and finally seeing National Parks and Monuments including Dinosaur National Monument Colorado / Utah. My eldest granddaughter, Siena, coming up for 8, is really keen and has an open invitation to visit Utah and dig dinosaurs with professionals. She is a such a great inspiration and her role model is Mary Anning.
Whilst I cannot compete with Utah, I can and do, take her to the Jurassic Coast where she can meet like-minded people, get involved, explore the area and escape those who think it is odd for girls to like dinosaurs! (Yes I am afraid some people haven’t moved on from the Dark Ages!)
Dinosaurs is one of the interests that gives us a strong bond, and Siena has proved to be a joy to be able to share the interest with. Several years ago she used her own money to buy me a long neck cuddly dinosaur called Dave, and he will be training and running with me on the day!
As some of my sponsors have pointed out, the Jurassic Coast is a special place. It is an ideal location to spend time and share experiences. I hope that through my efforts I can help preserve the location so that others may be able to enjoy similar family experiences. After all, the young are going to be the next generation of scientists – and what better inspiration for them?
Describe your relationship to the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is about much more than dinosaurs of course, and whatever you’re into, there is some aspect that will hold an interest, from literature (Hardy, Fowles, Austen and Potter to name a few) through history and science to health and well-being.
We like to get out and walk, leaving our troubles behind. Whatever the weather the scenery is to be enjoyed along with the natural history, museums, historic places and literary connections. I could go on but the best advice I can give is to get out there and explore it all for yourself. Who knows what you will find to stimulate your interest?
My relationship is that of a visitor; I visit frequently, although perhaps not as frequently as I would like. I am quite content with my own company and after spending a career working with people I like to visit out of season and avoid the crowds. I always find peace and solitude on a good walk with plenty of opportunities to watch wildlife, sketch and look for fossils. I use my knowledge and skills to encourage my family to develop a love of the outdoors.
What do you think will be the greatest challenge of the race?
Just shy of my 65th birthday with an arthritic condition, the entire event is a big challenge. That said, I have managed the arthritis for the best part of 30 years through diet and exercise – I declined medication at the point of diagnosis back in the early 1990’s!
Believe it or not, running really does help. Most medical practitioners have praised my commitment to self-management of my condition. I have run several 10k races, and early this year ran a similar half marathon in just over 2 hours. Living in East Anglia there are not too many hills to practice on and I think the total elevation will be the biggest challenge for me.
What kind of training are you doing?
Currently I am training 5 and sometimes 6 days per week – 80% of this I run alone. This comprises 3 gym sessions with treadmill workouts of at least 30 minutes (speed / hill climbs / general run) and weights to strengthen legs and core muscle groups.
I also swim for at least half an hour 3 times per week – normally included in the gym sessions, which last for 2.5 hours. I also run the Parkrun (5k) every Saturday and at least once per week I have a long run of at least 90 minutes (usually covering at least 15k in this time).
Living near the coast I can incorporate some hills, however, the total ascent is only some 100m! I also go running with my daughter as we are training for an 8k run in October. In total I am running between 35 and 40k per week.
What’s your favourite spot on the Jurassic Coast?
A very difficult question – I have several favourite spots and it probably depends on my frame of mind which I would chose on any given day.
I like Golden Cap approached from the west for the views, wildlife and solitude. I like Charmouth for the activities. I like Lulworth and Durdle Door for classic cliff formations. I like the coast around Beer for the atmosphere and history, but the best times have been spent around Lyme Regis looking for the elusive ‘dinosaur’ fossils with my granddaughter.