Monday, March 8, 2010

RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: Steve Speirs

I've been a Twitter and Dailymile friend of this week's featured runner for quite a while. He's been a friend of the blog as well. If the name sounds familiar you may know him as the 100 Push-up Man. Read on to find out more.

RD: So, Steve, before I knew you as Steve, I knew you as BritishBulldog from Twitter. Where does that name come from? Are you British?
Steve: Well my real name is Steve Speirs and my twitter name is brittishbulldog. I was born in Wales. Moved to the USA in 2001.

RD: Okay, it's making sense now. What do you do for a living? Where do you live in the US?
Steve: I "theme" web portals and commerce sites for a company headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, although I actually live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My wife is an OR nurse and my daughter is a college junior. The rest of my family live in the UK, so overseas trips happen quite often!

RD: How long have you been running?
Steve: I've been a runner since high school days, although at that time it was merely a way to keep fit for football and rugby. My rugby coach persuaded me to run my first race—the Cardiff Half Marathon—in 1982. I was almost 16 years old, didn't train specifically for the race, but finished fairly respectably. It was a good feeling and I guess from that point on I was hooked.

RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
Steve: I enjoy everything about running—the training, the races, the health benefits, the camaraderie and the huge sense of achievement! But, if I had to sum it up in one sentence, I'd say running has taught me that I can pretty much achieve anything I set my mind to. The sky really is the limit.

RD: That's awesome. I can really relate to how running can help a person see how much they are actually capable of doing. What’s your biggest running accomplishment?
Steve: I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, so to speak, but without doubt, the biggest highlight of my career was winning the 2009 Cayman Islands Marathon. I’ve never viewed myself as a hugely talented runner, so the main goal of the race was to have fun and take part in a marathon on a beautiful island. The race was one of those rare occasions where pretty much everything went perfectly; I steadily worked my way through the field and at mile 22 pounced on my chance to take the lead. I highly doubt anything will ever compare with the feeling of leading a marathon and breaking the tape as the winner.
RD: Man, I've placed first in my age division, but never placed overall in a race. That's awesome! I can only imagine what that must feel like. What an accomplishment! Hats off to British Bulldog!

RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Which model? Why?
Steve: Probably a tie between Brooks and Newton. I dabbled with the revolutionary technology found in Newton shoes last year and was thoroughly impressed with a couple of their models. However, my love for Brooks goes back several years and I can vividly remember numerous great performances wearing the brand.

RD: What’s your favorite race(s)?
Steve: Tough question. My favorite race *distance* is the marathon—the classic test of strength, endurance and speed. I have great memories of several big city marathons (London, Boston and Washington DC), but I've also always enjoyed the Richmond Marathon. I set my marathon PR at Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon, so that one is a favorite too. I guess I shouldn't forget the Cayman Islands Marathon either :)
RD: Of the one's you mentioned, I've done Richmond. Great race. Pretty course and has some good hills.

RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to run, what would you say?
Steve: The main thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Set goals by all means, but keep it fun and share the enjoyment with a friend, colleague or family member if possible. Make running a lifestyle choice, not a chore to keep your style of life in check.
RD: Great advice. I think with anything, when it becomes a chore it doesn't really do you much good. Not to say you won't have tough days or days where it's hard to get out there, but overall, making running a lifestyle definitely helps improve and maintain your overall wellness (mentally and physically).
RD: Open Mike: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiences, past accomplishments, goals, dreams….anything you haven’t previously shared .
Steve: I'm also the guy behind the "hundred push-ups" movement that you may or may not have heard about. It started with a web site when I was looking for a simple strength program to complement fall marathon training. I found numerous online references to push-up workouts so I set to work combining some of the principles into an easy-to-follow, progressive plan I could follow. Months later I mentioned the six-week program on a personal blog, and after receiving quite a few emails/comments about push-ups, decided to post the plan online. The web site was soon spotted by a developer in New Zealand who created the hugely popular iPhone App, and soon after I was approached by a publisher to develop material for a book loosely based on the site—7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups. There are a couple of spin off web sites—200 Sit-Ups and 200 Squats—with more to follow soon. The plans are way more popular than I ever imagined and it's probably because people are looking for simple, easy-to-follow fitness plans that are effective and show results.
RD: As a personal trainer, I too can attest to the popularity of your programs. I think you're right on the money with the reason being that they're so effective and easy to follow. I think there's a little element of competition too (be it competing with yourself or with a buddy). I often see on Facebook and Twitter, friends bantering back and forth about who's ahead in push-up reps. Having such a huge effect on the fitness world, must be very satisfying.

Thanks again to Steve for sharing a little about his life. If you haven't already, be sure to check out his blog, website and book!


Anonymous said...

Glad to see Steve on here. I've been keeping up with him for a while too.

Mike Schoeffler said...

Bravo for Steve!

His program is simple and works wonders. It was a *major* step in me getting rid of my paunch and back in shape.

misszippy said...

I may be the only one who had never heard of him, so thanks for introducing him. A great interview.

Dena said...

Ah HA! I have found the man to blame for my bicepital tendonitis as I plowed through the 100 push-up challenge! Steve, you owe me $300 in chiropractic fees. ;)
Just kidding... I loved the challenge, even if I did only make it to 52. Great concept!!

Unknown said...

Love the 100 PU challenge! Easy, convenient workout!

Kathy said... didn't ask for th eweirdest thing that happened to him during a run. I LOVE that question! :)

but honestly, whenever I think of the Caymans I shiver a bit because last year they got hammered (hurricanes). the caribbean was a bad place to be last season.