Interview with Pete Wallroth

Pete Wallroth is 40 years old, married with three children living in Glossop, Derbyshire. He was a non-runner in 2013. He now runs 45 miles on average a week. He started road running initially but focus on trail and fell running since doing his first ultramarathon four years ago. He also runs to help recover from grief and help with mental health/PTSD after losing his late wife to cancer in 2012. He is also the founder and CEO of Mummy’s Star, a registered charity that “supports pregnancy through and beyond cancer”.

What is your proudest running achievement?

In late September 2020 I completed a self-organised 50-mile ultramarathon around the Peak District after thinking I’d never run more than 10k at a time following an injury in 2018.

What has running taught you? 

To set incremental goals rather than expecting everything to happen with relatively little effort.

What is your most ambitious running goal?

Completing my recent 50-mile ultramarathon. I did it with a strong focus on recovery, commitment to core strength and progressing from small initial goals to building mileage. Mileage was not the focus though. Instead it was terrain. Being disciplined enough to do hill reps in the boiling sunshine or pouring rain. Above all though I just focused on what got me into running in the first place, which was trying to recover from grief and the people I subsequently support from my memoriam charity Mummy’s Star. I run because it makes me a better person mentally, but also because there are many people who unfortunately can’t run. So I’m full of gratitude.

Have you got any memorable or funny running stories to share?

I was once running along a moor chatting to a friend when all of a sudden they stopped talking. I turned around at eye level and he was nowhere to be seen. He was at my feet with his head and hands peering out of a deep bog!

What has been your worst moment as a runner?

Injury. Seeing others being able to run all my favourite routes and feeling them get away from you in terms of performance. Also, I had the fear that I’d slip out of social groups that I was used to. I couldn’t join in the usual running chats and banter and felt inadvertently ostracised. I was very honest and upfront with how I felt with a few friends who made a conscious effort to run with me while I recovered, but more importantly I reminded myself that I was the pace setter only a few years back and thought about how that must have felt for them. Now I just run. I run because running is brilliant and I’ll run with folk who are faster than me, my pace or slower and lacking confidence. I know how that felt and it’s great to see the little reward in others getting their own running mojo back.

What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week?

80 miles.

What has been your most serious running injury?

I snapped a ligament and tore another on the outside of my right foot in 2018 (while kickboxing) and its impact on my running and mental health was huge. The injury itself and needing to rest wasn’t the issue. It was the back and forth of recovery. Every time I tried to run my stability would give out and I would rock over on the ankle again because the natural support wasn’t there. Eventually a focus on building up muscles in the lower leg paid off and I’m now running better than ever. For a while though I thought I was going to have to find a new outlet!

What is the best advice you have ever received about your running?

A 4-minute mile is the same distance as a 12-minute mile. Just run your run.

If you could go back and talk to yourself when you first started running, what would you say?

This will be worth it. It’s about far more than the physical running and “runners’ high”. The social aspect is just as important. Also, go run in the hills. Although I live in the Peaks, I was running only on the roads for the first three years.

Have you got a running hero or a runner you look up to?

Jasmin Paris. Her no fuss, no sponsorship, no fanfare approach and simply running her own race, at her pace. She’s simply there for the enjoyment of running, not plaudits which is the true spirit of running.

In one sentence, what does running mean to you?

Positive Mental Health.

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