Lindsay Barwick is the club’s women’s captain and one of our speediest and most active members. At any given moment, she can be spotted flying past any given point between Miramar and Lower Hutt. We managed to catch up with her and get her thoughts about her history with Scottish and her role as captain.
When did you start running, and what brought you to the sport?
My dad used to run a lot in his younger days and passed on his enthusiasm to me and my brother. I used to run in my school days but didn’t run much at all after that, preferring to play football. Then probably about 10-12 years ago I stopped playing football and Paul had to retire from rugby [Editor’s note: Paul is Lindsay’s husband.], so running was something we could both do to fill the void. We would train for a few races – 10km to half marathon distances – then have a few months’ rest. It was only when we arrived in New Zealand seven years ago that we started to run more consistently.
Without wanting to be presumptuous, I gather from your accent that you're originally from somewhere in the British Isles. Did you run when you lived in Britain? How was it different from running here?
Haha! Yes, I’m from Burnley in the northwest of England. For those who don’t know, it’s near Manchester – Coro land!
As I previously mentioned, we did a bit of running over there. We didn’t do the harriers thing, but we did run a series of local races, which were a mixture of fell (muddy hills), road and trail. The main contrast from New Zealand was the sheer volume of races you had to choose from on any weekend in the UK. If you fancied running a 10km or half marathon you would have at least two or three races within an hour’s travel.
What led you to join Scottish, and how long have you been a member?
Paul made me do it!
I had decided I was going to do triathlon when we moved to NZ, and that I wasn’t interested in joining a running club. Stephen Day (the recruitment machine) had asked Paul along to the Scottish open day through the Waterfront 5k – Paul was really keen but I had required much persuasion to accompany him, and only did so as the dutiful wife [Editor’s note: told you.]. I chatted to a few members and I decided to join straight away!
After a year of triathlon, I decided I was rubbish at swimming and cycling and reasonable at the running bit, so I decided to ditch the other two and concentrate on becoming a better runner.
I’ve been a member at Scottish now for six years.
Has Wellington Scottish helped you with your running?
Joining Scottish has been great both socially and for improving my running. We were pretty new here when we joined Scottish, so it was a great way to meet new people with similar interests. From a running perspective it has helped me enormously and my times for all race distances have dropped substantially. Joining a bigger club definitely helps as you have more opportunity to develop friendly rivalries with your club mates, which I really like. There are always people slightly faster that I can aim to catch and consequently other people that are improving at a faster rate than me, that I’m desperately trying to hold off. (Not that I’m competitive at all!)
What is your favourite part of the racing year? Do you have a favourite race?
Definitely the road season! As most people will know, I am not a great fan of cross country or anything away from the smooth tar seal.
I think I would have to say the Christchurch races over Queen’s Birthday weekend, as I have both my 10km and half marathon PBs there. They're flat and more often than not Christchurch tends to have pretty good conditions – i.e. not gale force winds.
My other favourite race of the year is the big one – Road Relays!
What does your role as women's captain involve?
All year round there is the weekly email to write and includes searching through results and stalking people on Strava. Answering queries regarding membership from people thinking about joining Scottish and meeting up with them. Helping out current members with their various questions and encouraging all members to get to our group sessions. Organising the relays is a big one through the season too.
What do you like most about being captain? And what do you like least?
I like being able to create an environment which is inclusive, regardless of ability or fitness. The organisation of relay teams can be a little challenging but can also be very rewarding when you see the camaraderie within the teams.
We had a great crew of senior and masters women at road relays last season, and there is a really active and organised set of regular training runs happening around Wellington. How do you see the health of the women's section of the club presently? How has the women's section changed over the last few years, and where do you see it headed?
I think we have a great nucleus of female runners at the club now and things are looking healthy for the future. The group sessions we have been running over the past year have definitely played a big part in growing that. A number of the new members have really helped by involving themselves on a weekly basis in these sessions and we’ve had people of all abilities joining in, which has been great to see. This is definitely something I’m keen to develop further this year.
It can be difficult maintaining a strong group, as we have found in the past, with Wellington having quite a transient population. It is important to listen to what the members are wanting from the club and evolve appropriately.
Finally: you've run so many international marathons now. If you were to recommend one overseas marathon, which one would you choose, and why?
Only three – I just go on about them a lot so it probably seems like more!
I wouldn’t really recommend Canberra - it was pretty undulating and not the most exciting course. I enjoyed Chicago: the course, the organisation, the crowd, and my first big marathon. New York was a great experience but was my worst marathon performance – I can still vividly feel the mental and physical torture I endured! The crowd were amazing there and I’m glad I’ve done it: certainly one for the bucket list but I won’t be repeating it.
I would probably recommend Chicago (as I’m still scarred by New York). It’s really easy from a race day logistics viewpoint (in contrast to New York), as well as being flat, and it’s a great city to run through.
Interview by Simon Keller