Trinidad and Tobago Road Runners Club

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Runners Profiles

"John Lum Young"

A series of interviews "Meet the Runners" by Debra Agong

Google the word marathonmainiacs and what you will find is a website devoted to people who suffer from a strange addiction: marathon running.  Among the questions asked to determine if persons are exhibiting the symptoms are the following:

  1. Do your thoughts switch to the next scheduled race immediately after finishing a marathon?

  2. Have you run a marathon as a training run? Or just to pace a friend?

  3. Do you plan all your vacations around a marathon race?

  4. Are your closets and dressers filled with marathon t-shirts?

  5. Are you signed up for more than one race right now?

John’s answer to ALL of the above is a resounding yes, but that’s just the beginning. Entry into the marathon maniacs club requires a lot more than just crazy thoughts; it requires crazy acts like running two marathons in two days in two different countries, four marathons in one month, and walking a marathon just so his sister would have company. (John is maniac #816)

After finishing three marathons with less than stellar performances in the 1990s/early 2000s, John was introduced to TTRRC and became a member in 2003.  His goal at the time was to do a marathon the proper way; following a structured training programme with a coach who could advise him and with people who were as dedicated as he was to accomplishing their marathon goals.  Having made that commitment and followed through with it, he completed a sub 4 hour marathon for the first time and didn’t feel as if he was at death’s door after the race.  Since that time, his love and passion for running have grown in leaps and bounds, something he never expected.

These days, John’s day job sometimes causes his training plans to be derailed, and prevents him from joining his fellow Road Runners for group runs and “ole talk”.  However, he still is able to get in race shape when necessary through careful adjustments to his training programme.

John’s fitness schedule for the next few years has already been prepared and includes more road races, cycling events, and an iron-man triathlon.  He has no plans of slowing down and why should he? He loves the adventure, it keeps him looking and feeling young and he makes dozens of new friends around the world.

Sometimes, being a maniac is not such a bad thing.

Here are more thoughts from John ...

1.When did you start running?

I took it seriously from 2003 when I joined TTRRC (though I had ran marathons in 1994, 2000 and 2002).

2.Who or what prompted you to start?

I was always fascinated by the 26.2mls distance (power of television I suppose). My goal was to break 4hrs for the marathon and Eric Herbert suggested that I join TTRRC because they had a coach.

3. How have you benefited from running?

Running definitely keeps the weight down and facilitates de-stressing. Being fit also helps with the concentration at the office.

4.What is your favourite race distance?

Marathon – 26.2 miles.

5. What was the time of your first marathon?


6. What is your best time?


7.How long did it take before you noticed improvement in your training or racing performances?

I improved from the time I joined the club. By and large I still continue to do so (evidenced by times for certain exercises).

8. To what do you attribute that improvement?

After a few seasons one gets a better understanding of the exercises that get you to top form. In addition you also learn to do the workouts more efficiently. This ultimately leads to improvement.

9. What is your favourite training workout?

Yasso 800s i.e 10x800 at 95% effort with 2:30 recovery (well a derivative of Yasso)

10.What is your favourite local race to run and why?

UWI International Half Marathon. The race organization is of an international standard.

11.What is your most memorable race experience?

I have two:

  1. 2007 Boston Marathon – conditions were freezing and the risk of hypothermia were real but I kept my wits about me and had a good run (3:30)
  2. 2009 London Marathon – my best executed race (3:35); did a negative split with the second half 3 minutes faster than the first 13.1
12.What do you like least about running/training?

Running alone and long runs of 21 miles (I much prefer substitute the long run with an official marathon).

13.Has becoming a member of TTRRC benefited you? How?

Yes. Before becoming a member of TTRRC I knew nothing about training and running despite having 3 marathons under my belt, albeit 9 years apart.

14.What do you enjoy most about being a member of the club?

The camaraderie and benefiting from the experiences of the other runners and being able to pass on some of that knowledge to others.

15.In your opinion, are there any side effects to running?

No. (But some may say that I am addicted to running marathons.)

16.What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?

Set goals (races) and train towards achieving that objective.

17.Do you believe group running is better than running alone or vice versa? Why?

Group running is better than running alone. It is much more difficult to abandon an exercise when training in a group. Running alone, it is very easy to downgrade a tempo run to an easy run after a few miles. With a group you will do your best to complete the exercise.

18.What do you think is the most common mistake made by runners in training and/or in racing?

In training - not putting out the required effort for the exercise, and not enough rest (we runners feel that when we not running we are losing form).

In racing - pacing; running the first half much quicker than the second half.

20. What are your future goals in the sport?

Lots and lots of goals but there are two immediate ones:

  • To run 3 marathons in 8 days (a Five Star effort on the Marathon Maniacs’ scale of challenges)

    John accomplished that this year completing Panama City Marathon, Michigan Marathon and the Endurrun Marathon in Canada

  • To do a PR at age 50


John Lum Young London Maratho 2009
John Lum Young
London Maratho 2009

John Lum Young Alfred Patrick
John Lum Young (left)
sharing a light moment with fellow TTRRC member and marathon maniac Alfred Patrick (#804)



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