"Britains Most Over Active Pensioner" - THE PHILLIP HOWELLS INTERVIEW

Introducing 69-year-old Phillip Howells, loved father and friend, a seasoned businessman, and a passionate and committed athlete extraordinaire. This year, Philip was crowned as "Britain's Most Over Active Pensioner" by Railcard UK.  So whether Phillip is running his way to success wearing his Wigwam socks or his Sole Insoles (which he promotes and sells at Ed & Phils; and are also stocked at the NEFC for those local to the North East) a wholesome and active lifestyle is the key.    

In his own words... 

I am now the 111th member of the 100 Marathon Club’s 600 members to reach the 200 total and one of only 13 members to have completed over 60 of each of the normal road marathons (64), trail (off road) marathons (63) and ultra marathons (73)... so quite proud of that.

That’s inspiring alright! 

Phillip spends some time with the North East Foot Centre to tell us how age is not a barrier to leading an active, or 'over-active' lifestyle in his case.  He certainly is living proof!  Phillip started his tango with sports, specifically running marathons at the age of 58 and he has kept going ever since, without so much of a backwards glance...even when struck by serious health challenges, including the serious diagnosis of the heart condition, atrial fibrillation.  Phillip soared past adversity, against the odds making notable wins and enjoying every minute.  

In running marathons Phillip explains that "no one can run a marathon for you…it’s you…that is confidence and belief in yourself.  Getting your body into good enough shape for your mind to do the job," is the key.  

Philip with friends Sue and Tessa, celebrating their 1st and his 199th marathon.

With a positivity for life, a passion for athletics and a strength and resilience that inspires, Phillip gives us an up close  glance into his world, on being a successful athlete in his golden years and just plain old enjoying life!  

When did you start leading an active lifestyle? 

Since turning 53, the drive has been to get fit and keep fit and healthy.   Now it is a way of life.

From the age of 58, Phillip started running marathons after experiencing seminal turning points in his life.Since then, Phillip does not get stressed and takes whatever life throws at him in his stride.Being fit and healthy is one of his key life philosophies. Phillip really appreciates and counts his blessings, saying that... 

I am blessed with good health and so I cannot be anything but positive.

Do you find that it is an isolated sporting experience compared to the traditional group sports? 

There is a tremendous sense of community amongst endurance athletes.  So no I do not think that it is an isolated sports in the least...we share a common knowledge that binds and holds us together.  You belong to a family.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your sports?

Overcoming adversity.

What is a typical day for you leading up to a Marathon? 

Rest, eat-well, hydrate, check timings, check logistics-know where you are going and make sure that you have organised kit.  So leading up to a marathon, I would advise everybody to  plan, prepare and be organised. 

What is a typical training session for you?  Do you visit a gym? 

It varies.  I long run at least once in the week.  I visit the gym at least once a week.

What about seasonal changes, do these affect how you train and where you train? 

It does not bother me at all.  I actually feel inspired by energetic weather.  It lifts the heart.  Rather than a bright, calm and warm day.  You rejoice in tempestuous weather…you feel a sense of accomplishment.  So no,...-rain, sleet, hail or thunderstorms do not deter me from my training regime outdoors.

Talk me through a build up to a race?  Your process, both physical and mental. 

Crucial is planning.  I take time to make a proper plan.  Eating well, sleeping.  Remaining balanced.

Phillip cannot underscore enough and emphasise that it is essential to... 

Plan ahead. 

Ultimately, in Phillips mind, when building up to a race his mental focus is...

Ultimately to enjoy it!  You are doing it for fun.  Visualise.  Say, I want to enjoy it…and you will.  Think ahead, plan it then do it for the positive experience and engagement.

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Take care of my body and my mind.  The most important mantras are to sleep and eat well.

Do you eat differently when you are training for a marathon? 

No, I always eat healthily.

How do you recover? 

By taking a shower.  Trying different exercises.  Being sensible.  Resting.  Treating the injury.

What would be your ultimate achievement?

My current time in completing a marathon, considering my current health: 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Which is incredible given his heart condition!!  In the past, when Phillip was in his 20's and he ran the odd marathon, his top achievement was 1 hour and 20 minutes.  

How do you set your goals?

Phillip is a successful businessman and athlete, to consistently achieve as he has, setting goals is important.  Phillip explains his methodology...

Be moderate.  Be realisitc ...but still takes on tough challenges.  Take steps to achieve goals.  Think about the plan and the process of how to achieve goals.  It is about the process….the journey.

Life mantra? 

Turn adversity into positivity. 

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