An interview with Ben Shearer of Standard Chartered
We spoke to Standard Chartered’s regular Great City Race runner, Ben Shearer, on why he takes part in the event every year and what motivates him to keep running.
Why does running appeal to you?
It’s time efficient and fits well around an office job and family life. If you’re lucky enough you can even run as your commute, and it’s a great way to stay fit and healthy. Personally, I’m quite competitive and quite good at it as I’ve always been quite sporty. You’ll always feel great after a run and glad that you did it – particularly after a fast run.
Running isn’t just good for your physical health – it’s an important part (as is any sport) of looking after your mental health too. It helps you to destress and gives you thinking time.
Why do we need the Standard Chartered Great City Race?
It’s a flagship event for London corporations to get colleagues involved in, helping them keep fit and healthy. It’s also a great way for participants to socialise with each other for a good cause and raise money for Futuremakers by Standard Chartered – a global initiative to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people in our communities.
Now more than ever, as we continue to work from home and adopt hybrid working patterns, it gives teams another date in the calendar to all be together.
It’s a truly unique event – what other running challenge takes over the City on a weekday worknight? A huge amount of organisation happens in the months before Event Day so we can run around the closed streets of London after work. It’s great fun!
What are your three Event Day tips?
For a beginner – enjoy the day and have fun! Don’t try to go off too hard and remember to soak up the atmosphere along the route.
For an intermediate runner – make sure you’re in the right starting pen as the race can get a little congested at the beginning. Try to run at a solid, even pace throughout – most PBs are achieved that way!
For an advanced runner – course information is your golden ticket! The route winds quite a lot for the first 3K, so conserve energy and try not to weave too much. The final 2K section is relatively straight, although there is a 180-degree switchback at around the 4K point which could be a challenge if you are getting tired. After a final left turn, the finishing straight takes you very slightly uphill – you wouldn’t notice the incline when jogging, but when racing you might! Just try to keep pushing the pace up to the Finish Line. I don’t really want to give any more of my secrets away!
What are the best motivational words you’ve heard whilst running?
When I was trying to break 2:30 for the marathon 10 years ago, one of the club coaches on the course calmly told me to relax at around the 16-mile mark. This helped me more than I thought possible – nobody runs well when their whole body is tight. So, try to keep your body relaxed from the face down, even when you are giving 100% race effort, and trust your training.