David launches new marathon motivator programme
A marathon challenge programme set up by a Scottish runner is inspiring hundreds of Scots to get up off the couch. David Parry, of Glasgow, launched the TEAM AKobE Marathon (TAM) in February and has seen numbers of followers on Facebook rise to more than 700. I wrote about TAM in the Sunday Mail. It’s a great story.
David launches TAM
TAM is a reward and motivation programme to help runners to build mileage from zero to 26.2 miles in a “fun, flexible and social way”.
There are five coloured medals as part of a TAM Couch to Marathon plan, each awarded for running three, six, 13, 16 and 20 miles.
There is another special medal for a full TEAM AKobE Marathon, which is overseen by David himself.
In addition, if a dog runs the marathon with the owner it is also rewarded with a medal.
David Parry was motivated to start the community after running more than 125 “official” marathons worldwide.
He said: “I love running marathons and training for them but it did become quite time consuming and expensive running different official marathons.
“I thought there must be an easier and more exciting way to get my marathon fix and I wanted to do something that encouraged a community of healthier people.
“My original idea was to encourage and support people to train for a marathon and reward that with a medal.
“But then people said they want more motivation and so I came up with the idea of medals for different stages of running.
“TAM has really taken off in such a short amount of time.”
The TAM runners
Kirsten Cowling, of Stewarton, Ayrshire, is one of the first people to be awarded a TAM medal.
She recently completed a six-day running challenge, starting with a full marathon on day one and then 20 miles, 16 miles, 13 miles, six miles and three miles on consecutive days.
Smiling, she said: “To look at me, you would not think this was the sort of challenge I would do.
“I am a lot more, shall we say, sturdy than many runners – and I am slow. I prefer to plod through my miles, chatting with my friend Kirsty Gladwell.
“I have actually been last twice in longer-distance – ultra – running events but I don’t care. I have finished them and others haven’t.
“I simply enjoy running and I love a challenge that makes me run more miles so TAM is brilliant for me.”
Kirsten first heard about TAM through canicross, a sport that sees owners running with their dogs.
She said: “As well as being a good marathon runner, David does a lot of canicross races.
“In fact, he encourages people to run with their dogs and even gives out a medal for dogs that run a marathon while leashed to their owner.
“TAM is about getting more people to run and also helping people to keep their dogs fit, too.
“It’s feels really good to be part of a growing community of runners and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing my TAM challenge.”
More TAM runners
David, who is retired, has so far recorded 14 TAM marathons, 11 of which were completed with dogs. (At time of interview in April.)
He acknowledges he will need to develop a new system for other ways to record the marathons as the community grows.
He said: “We have interest from runners across the UK, China, Brazil and France already and I think this has the potential to grow further.
“So far I have been able to record the TAM marathons myself but as the community grows this will need to change.
“I would like to see TAM marathons being recorded all over the world and my next step is to work out how to keep track of this.
“It would be great, too, if a TAM marathon was to become officially recognised like other marathons.”
To find out more see Team AKobE Marathon Community (TAM) on Facebook.
8 things to know about TAM
1 TAM stands for Team AKobE Marathon.
2 AKobE is a combination of letters from David’s three dogs, all malamutes, Akela (who has passed away), Kobe and Ekko.
3 TAM is funded by money left to David by his parents. He said: “Mum and dad would have supported the community aspect of TAM and so I subsidise the organisation with help form donations.”
4 The five Couch to Marathon medals cost a suggested donation of £25 and are self-awarded.
5 You can walk, run or canicross to cover the distances in each session.
6 Each person who completes a Team AKobE Marathon recorded by David receives a black medal, which is given out without charge.
7 For a dog that completes TAM while leashed to the owner there is a yellow medal, also free.
8 The six-day TAM Challenge is:
Day one: Team AKobE Marathon 26.4 Miles within 8 hours
Day two: 20 Miles within 6 hours
Day three: 16 Miles within 5 hours
Day four: 13 miles within 4 hours
Day five: 6 miles within 90 mins
Day six: 3 miles within 50 mins
See TAM on Facebook for more information.