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“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow” is one of Mark Cooper’s favourite quotes. His outstanding running accomplishments are living proofs of his passion, dedication, and commitment. Mark is doubtlessly a role model to any serious runner.
In 2007, Mark ran his first competitive race for charity. Since then, he realized that running is his true passion and decided to commit to a life of fitness. He also participated in regular road races and has been frequently running up to eighty miles per week. Today, Mark is all over the place spreading his powerful message to the world.
We had the pleasure of getting an exclusive interview with Mark. Enjoy!
When did your exciting running journey begin? And what motivated you to start running?
My interest in running only really began in 2007, I had always enjoyed playing football but I was a smoker and a regular drinker. One day I decided to stop smoking and drinking (sometimes I fell down on the drink!) and attempted to get in shape. In April of 2009 I cycled from Lands End to John O Groats with a work colleague for charity, it was an incredible journey and one we will never forget.
Running at first it was a fitness choice which after time it became an enjoyable pastime. I have to be honest and say that it is now my number one way to relax and one of the main passions in my life.
What’s your favourite running spot?
Edinburgh is a wonderful place for outdoor sports and I feel very lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful City. I would have to say Arthur’s Seat at anytime of the year, closely followed by my route to North Berwick in East Lothian along the John Muir Way, stunning. I have to mention the Union Canal which runs all the way from Edinburgh to Falkirk (Glasgow if you look hard enough). It is also a great (flat!) route to train on.
What piece of advice would you give to new or aspiring runners?
From talking with people I find that many believe running is an impossible activity reserved only for the super fit but I believe it is something that with commitment anyone can do. When I was starting out I often found myself running at speeds which were not sustainable. I quickly learned to pace myself, this is something which is invaluable for an aspiring runner. It is also important to track your progress and to keep setting goals, when you can see improvement it is much easier to stay motivated.
Also try to remember that 99% of runners are doing it for a personal achievement and not to compete with others. This is one of the main reasons I feel running is so rewarding.
Which one of your running accomplishments that you’re proud of the most?
Over the last few months there have been many milestones for me, running my first Marathon distance stands out. Reaching my first weekly training target of 100 miles is another highlight but I would have to say it was completing my first 10k run in May 2007, this gave me the belief that I could improve if I kept at it.
Please give us some information about Edinburgh charity and how could others contribute to such great cause?
The charity I am raising funds for is The Edinburgh Headway Group (EHG). There is a personal reason behind this choice as my Mother passed away from a brain haemorrhage in 1997 and a member of their team talked with my Father at that time which helped a lot. They specialise in treating people with an acquired brain injuries like, trauma from motor accidents, assaults and sufferers of strokes. They care for the people who have come to find themselves in that unfortunate position. They also help the families come to terms with the circumstances they are in. The best way to donate to The EHG is through my just giving page.
Please share with us some of the interesting people/places and other special memories that you enjoyed throughout your running journey.
I have met a lot of interesting people through running, mostly random people I meet out on a run; I am always interested to know what motivates someone to run. It is also very interesting to find that quite often passers by would gladly give you a hello or a good morning greeting while running. Usually this is followed by a puzzled look which really means “I don’t know how someone can do that!”
What marathon races do you plan to run in the near future? And why did you pick these marathons in particular?
Believe it or not but I have not taken part in an official marathon. I fit one in during the week but nothing official to date. I do plan on the Edinburgh, New York and London one day just because of their reputation at being some of the best in the world. I am interested in ultra marathons and this is perhaps something I may get into in the future, the Marathon Des Sables is one which I find fascinating.
Please share with us some of the running goal(s) that you dream to accomplish in the future.
Besides running 50 marathons in 56 days??? Lol, well as I said the official Marathons are a goal but I will concentrate on these 50 first and then look further ahead. Mark Cooper Runs America has a nice ring to it……
What’s your favourite running book?
After these beautiful insights, I’m sure that some of our readers would love to get to know you better. What else would you like to share about yourself?
I am just an average guy, certainly no athlete, tenacious and determined to make my dream a reality. I lead an everyday life, I work a 9-5, love my friends and family, I am in a band, I am always ready for a challenge. I love people, I am a great believer in respecting each other and treating one another well, karma etc! It’ll catch up with you.