Dave Parker's England selection

Dave Parker will be representing England in the Masters next year! This is yet another incredible achievement for Dave and he will become the 3rd STAC to represent England in the last 5 years after Chris Gill and Shane Grace. Paul McGreevy asked Dave how it all came about and what it will mean running for England!

How did you get your England selection?

I have qualified to run for England in the Masters 55-60 age group 10k at Chester next March.  Firstly you need to run a time within the England Athletics standard for your distance and category, 39 minutes for mine. Then there are four published selection races where the first 3 in category across the line are eligible. For me this was Abbey Dash where I got second place in 35.56.

Is your England selection something you ever thought was possible or even considered?
Never. I’ve had a funny year. I completed the Spine Race in January which sort of meant I’d done everything I had aimed for, with no focus for the rest of the year. I started doing some fell and cross country races with the help of Dave Mellor’s training which went well, then got the call up for Leeds Country Way. I was quite looking forward to it till the pairings came out and I’d been put with Glen Johnson! He’s super speedy so I knew I’d have to up my game if I wasn’t going to let the team down. This led to a Summer of getting my legs ripped off by Shane Grace charging round The Springs at an ever increasing rate, winning the Vets LCW, and him suggesting I give qualifying a go.

You’ve taken part in many events like ultras and coast to coast. How does your England selection compare to these events?
I’m very lucky to have competed in such different disciplines. Running for England is obviously a massive honour. However, there are a few of my ultras that I would have to say are very special to me. UTMB, Summer and Winter Spine and Double Iron Man will take some beating.

Will you set yourself a target for the race or just go out with no pressure and see what happens?

To be honest I hadn’t thought any further than qualifying. The Abbey Dash that got me through was a minute quicker than my best estimate so wasn’t really expecting it. I’ve decided to keep on with the 10k training and see where I can get to up to before March. I will definitely set a target time before the race, I’ll know better where I’m at nearer the time. As things stand I am about two minutes off the winning times so I’m definitely not feeling under any pressure.

What will your feelings be when you pull on your England vest (any nerves?) and stand on the start line, you must feel very proud of yourself?
I’ll be OK with the nerves I think, I competed for GB age group in Triathlon a few years ago and have a pretty good mental process which works well for me. Wearing the vest for England will undoubtedly be a very proud moment and a reflection of the support I’ve received from all of you at STAC. It’s a team effort.