Name of race organisation: White Star Running
Tell us a bit about your organisation. How old is it and how did it come about?
We organise fun inclusive races from distances of 2.5miles up to marathon and Ultra
I have been organising races for 13 years, but because they were club events, could never organise the races I really felt people would like. So I started WSR, I created the Giants Head marathon as an antidote (sort of) to the large generic “stamped out” road race. So we made it as mad as possible in the most beautiful setting we could find and the rest is history Giants Head is Runnersworld best marathon in UK and so we now have loads of races all different
What races do you organise?
Right sitting comfortably?
Larmer Tree Races 13th March ‘16
Larmer Tree Gardens Wiltshire/ Dorset
Marathon, half marathon and a 20 miler
The Ox Races 21st and 22nd May’16
Rushmore Estate Wiltshire
Light Ox Quarter Marathon, Dark Ox Quarter, Ox Half, Ox Marathon and Ox Ultra
Bad Cow Wedding special 1th and 12th June ‘16
Holton Lee Park Poole Dorset
2.5 Km kids race, 5 mile race and double marathon weekend
Giants Head Marathon and Sydling Hill Race 25th June ’16
Marathon (Britain’s bestest) and 10k ish Hill race
Dorset Invader 16th and 17th July ‘16
East Farm Winterborne Whitechurch Dorset
Half Marathon and Marathon and mad it’s a knockout style charity race called Chaos
Bad Cow Weekender 20th and 21st August ‘16
10k, half marathon and double marathon weekend
We are working on something a bit different for September and a Xmas race for next year
You will notice all are Dorset and Wiltshire, we don’t like travelling too far.
What do you personally get out of putting on races?
Good question, I love it, I have lots of real friends, that run with us, we have had a lot of people hit milestones with us. 100th Marathon, fiftieth, first marathon, first trail race, first race even. We have people return to us year after year. I won’t lie it pays the bills, just, but your average marathon weekend takes hundreds of hours to organise so to do what we do on a voluntary basis is impossible.
I love what I do. My long suffering wife Ginny says we are in the entertainments business. I suppose that’s a bit true.
Are you yourself a runner?
Yes I have run all my life, when your Dad is a Major in the Army Physical Training Corps, not running, swimming, boxing, rock climbing, gymnastics and so on, wasn’t an option. I was in a running club for years and have achieved the running PB milestones I wanted to. I got a bad knee injury in a martial arts class which required surgery, so I have been out of action for a year. I am back running now and I have lined up a couple of marathons and 50km Ultra for next year.
What’s the most annoying question you get asked before a race?
Good question. Only the ones that clearly haven’t read race instructions.
Tell us a funny story, you know you want to.
Too many to count. However the first year we organised the Giants Head runners were coming back saying “There is a naked man in the bath at mile 3” Only the farmer, the farmers wife and I knew it was going to happen, the rest is legend.
No other race in the UK has its own naked farmer.
Have you ever ran your own race? (If you could only run one which one would it be?)
I am always too busy. But I have run all the routes many times. If I had to choose probably Giants Head, as I love the area. We considered buying a house in the village. Its my mates first marathon next year so I may…may jump in and run with him if I can get someone to man the helm while I am out.
What do you think medals add to your races?
The medals are very important. They add reward. You have slogged 26.2 + miles or any distance, you want to be rewarded. To be honest there’s no point in giving people s***medals we go the extra mile and give people unique designs relevant to the place you are running. So for example the Cows on the Ox medals are all ancient breeds of British cattle. That medal was drawn freehand by Bert Armes, my tattooist. The Roman designs on the Dorset Invader are all about that part of Dorsets unique ancient history. So we think hard and long about the medals and get the right people to design them. A good medal sets you apart from races that just give medals as an afterthought.
Why should people come and run your races?
We don’t care how fast you are, come and have a good time
What’s your favourite medal from your own races?
I don’t want to sound corny but I love them all, they are different, as different as each race.
What’s your favourite medal ever? (You can be bias)
Actually it’s the Gillingham Trotter race the Gilly Hilly 7.5 mile race with a flying pig on it.
Or a mug that I was given when a team I was won the Wessex Ridgeway Relays. It was a mug but I worked hard for that.
Thank you very much Andy. Naked man at mile 3? Had we known that we would have signed up sooner. Good luck for getting back to running, we hope your Ultra goes well. You may have convinced us into doing an Oxy Ultra in 2016, we’ll see…