MJ is not only one of the best runners of Richmond Harriers, he is also one of the most gregarious and positive members. MJ only has positive things to say about the Club, about other members and what the Club means to him. None of this is faked or formulaic. But, it is based on his sincere appreciation for how the Club, Neil and Joji, have propelled forward his running career. Many of us runners are only too willing to give excruciatingly detailed accounts of our training schedules and race results as evidence of how proficient we are at running. Testament to MJ’s modesty, getting this profile out of MJ wasn’t easy. He doesn’t even mention his particularly brisk PBs.Here, MJ provides some details on his running pleasures. He doesn’t even mention the Simpsons, What a Fool Believes, Mazdas, or cats (both footy team and felines) once.
Favourite moment as a runner: why was it so satisfying? when was it?Anytime I beat a Joji-PB, it is incredibly satisfying. But apart from that, toward the end of 2016, I picked up a multitude of nasty injuries from both running and an unco bike fall, resulting in a night at hospital, weeks of wheelchair and crutches and some cortisone injections in very uncomfortable places. I had pretty much accepted I might not run again.
Anyway after a couple of painful months of building back up to walking, walk-jogging, jogging, running, and finally back to racing, I managed to get back into some pretty good form. I entered the Half at the Melbourne Marathon and managed to finally take down a PB that I’d been targeting for years. I was so happy that I cried. I think I may have even hugged Joji.
Most admired members of RH?
Joji and Neil. Both are about as tough as nails with no-nonsense attitudes when it comes to training and racing. The difference is that Neil is comparable to those rusty old nails that still manage to keep holding on in a storm, whereas Joji is more comparable to those shiny little nails you use for indoor wooden surfaces.
Both have put a huge amount of time and energy into our club and its runners, and both have played an enormous role in helping me train and race to a much higher standard that I thought I was capable of. All while being two of my closest mates <3.
Training philosophy: how do you go about training?
When it comes to training I have one rule – do what Neil tells me to do. I feel as long as I’m doing exactly what my coach tells me to do, I’m doing the best training possible. It takes all the stress out of having to come up with my own running plan.
But I just love going out for a run every day, especially with our Harrier crew. The Richmond Harriers are by far the best sports club I’ve ever been lucky enough to be involved with.
I’ve played every sport from football to ping pong to go-kart racing to falling off bikes, and nothing beats the simplicity and challenge of running. You just throw on some shoes and a Harriers shirt, walk out the door and run for a long time.
How has running during Lockdown been for you? What are the challenges it has presented you as a runner?
Honestly, it’s been fine. We’re very lucky to be nearly back to normal now, but during the worst of it running was probably the best sport to be training for. We’ve had an influx of Harriers move out west so I’ve had no shortage of running buddies. It was great to get over your way, Andy, for a change of scenery too. I did miss our group runs with Neil watching over us, but it all seemed to pass quite quickly and fingers crossed we don’t have to go through it again anytime soon.
Favourite albums (three max!)
The Prodigy – Music for the Jilted Generation
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless Radiohead – OK Computer
The Avalanches – Since I Left You