Profiles - Richard Lazenby

by Sam Downing on April 17, 2023

‘PROFILES’ is a chance for the Ponnek team to catch up with figures in the running community, both local to us and much further afield. These are the people that we find interesting (not just runners!) and hope you will find interesting too.

We recently sat down with Ponnek's very own Sheffield based ultra runner, Richard Lazenby. Rich is not one to shy away from a challenge, and has finishes at The Dragon's Back, Cheviot Goat, a number of Hardmoors race's and a Bob Graham Round to his name. In the words of Rich, 'I just love running and it just so happens that I like to go far'! Aside from being a full-blown trail running addict, he is also a well established tattoo artist and family-man. Multifaceted and a free-spirit, not conforming to anything in particular, existing on the peripheral and thriving to say the least! Here's what Rich had to say when we fired some questions his way...


What was the draw to running over any other form of 'keeping fit'?


I think, for me, the biggest draw to running over any other sport is it's accessibility. All you need is a good pair of trainers and you’re away! I mean, I’ve been running on and off my whole life. Whether it be in sport or a reason to just run away.
How does running make you feel? What benefits do you take from it aside from the physical?
For me personally, running is an escape from life. From all the pressure’s of being an adult. Whilst I run, I can choose to be completely present in the moment, or use it as a tool to structure whatever I have going on in my head. 
I can also use it to push myself and remind myself that I am capable of hard things!
You clearly love to run long distances (100mile + / multi-day) - why is that?
For me, it’s not about the distance of the run, it’s instead how I feel it will push me. I don’t want to do something that isn’t going to test me, and I also don’t want to choose the easy choice. I think that this is probably a personality thing...the way I’m programmed maybe. 
Progress should feel hard. Nothing worth having should come easy nor should it be a given. I like the saying ‘constantly moving forward’.
How would you define success in running?
This is a hard one. If you asked my wife she’d say I’m really competitive and would want to win everything. Maybe that is slightly true. I am very competitive...but only with myself.
I think if I’m being honest, just getting the job done is a huge success. With ultras, especially the bigger ones, making friends and enjoying the adventure is just as important as a top 10 or a podium.
Describe your running in one word...
How do you handle the toughest and lowest moments that inevitably come when running ultra distances?
The high and lows of running long distance…
It’s just the inevitable really and it’s not always easy to read. You can be 6 hours into a race and be running like you just left the house, then all of a sudden, bam!...deep in a well asking yourself why you choose to physically beat yourself up like this!
What is great about these moments is how quickly you realise how strong you really are… just one more step, then another and another. Before you know it you're starting to come around, not moving fantastic but you are still moving and maybe even jogging! There is so much power in that feeling, the feeling of not quitting - the feeling of being stronger than you thought you were! Honestly it’s such a powerful and positive thing.
We are much stronger than we think. It’s such a great feeling to push beyond what we thought was possible! Maybe that’s the addictive part of it all?
Biggest strength with running? Biggest weakness?
Biggest strength I think is my want and need to not give up.
Biggest weakness is that constant worry of failure. 
What's your favourite place that you have been able to run? Why?
My favourite place to run will always be my locals trails. There's something special about being able to leave your front door and be out on the trails in no time at all. 
Otherwise, The Dragon's Back race was beautiful from North to South Wales through some of the most beautiful mountains and countryside you could wish for.
Any tricks to staying consistent? Do you have a strict diet? Leg maintenance?
For me, consistency comes with motivation, and without the motivation you can't be consistent. My advice is stay motivated and don't lose your 'why' for running. 
I don't follow a special diet, although I am vegetarian. 
I do strength and mobility sessions a few times a week on top of my running. 
And finally Rich, define what failure is to you...
I would personally stick to the only give up if it's not safe to carry on approach!
Failure, for me, is not seeing it through. I mean, there are variables to this...not toeing the line because of a niggle is probably worse! 
...and pulling out because your ego has been dented...way worse still!
This is a tough one to answer for sure!