Sutton Park parkrun 2019
Getting to know...

Getting to know… Emma

Welcome to ‘Getting to know…’ number 14 . This week we have another Emma, it seems to be a popular name in the running world (ok maybe in my small circle of people that I follow on Instagram!)

Enjoy reading all about Emma and remember to get in contact if you fancy taking part. Also, if you have missed any of the previous interviews, you can find them here.


Emma Neachell




Hydrology Technical Specialist

Action photo of Emma

How long have you been running?

Since primary school so for over 30 years! I’ve always been a keen runner; PE lessons were the highlight of my school week. While my friends dreaded double-games on a Thursday, I looked forward to the 800m and 1500m in the summer and cross country in the winter.

What made you start running?

 I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been a runner. I stopped running for the 12 months I was a Masters student at Leeds University but started again when I realised I was getting a little cuddly. 

Why do you run now?

Running gives me a sense of freedom and also a huge sense of satisfaction. Running has also introduced me to some amazing people and I’ve made some lifelong friends through running. 

What was your last event?

I was one of the tail walkers at the last Sutton Park parkrun to take place before Covid-19 resulted in the cancellation of parkrun globally. My last organised event was the Shenstone Fun Run in July 2019. 

What is your next event?

  All of the races I’d entered have been either cancelled or postponed; I don’t have anything left in my 2020 race calendar. As I’m currently dealing with a knee injury I’m treating this as a positive rather than a negative. I don’t have any dates for 2021 events yet.

Favourite thing about running?

Getting to explore new places and to meet new people. I’ll never forget the National Lottery Anniversary Run in 2013 and running in the Olympic Stadium, it was a truly amazing experience, one I doubt I’ll be able to replicate. 

Worst thing about running?

Running injuries, I’d describe myself as a rather injury-prone runner and have lost count of the number of times I’ve been injured. 

What one piece of advice would you give to a beginner?

I’m going to be quite boring and say invest in a decent pair of running shoes and a sports bra (obviously only if you are a female!), the more expensive running gear and accessories can wait until you’ve decided that running is for you. Have fun and follow the Couch to 5k, it works (sorry that’s more than one piece of advice) 

Best piece of advice given to you?

You don’t have to run a marathon but if you do want to run a marathon, make sure you respect the distance and train accordingly. 

Favourite race distance?

I’m going to go with the half marathon distance. 

Funniest thing that has ever happened to you whilst running?

 I’m 6ft tall, don’t always pay attention when I’m running so I’ve run into a few tree branches. It’s always a little embarrassing when someone witnesses this happening.

Most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you whilst running?

 I very nearly did a ‘Paula’ during one of my long training runs, I was five miles from home in a residential area and started to panic as I knew I wouldn’t make it home. Let’s just say it’s a good job my teacher hadn’t moved house and was happy to let me use her facilities. I hadn’t seen this teacher in years so it’s also a good job she recognized me. 

On average, how many miles do you run per month?

It varies massively between zero and 60 miles.

Getting to know Emma Action photo

Do you belong to a running club?

Yes, I recently rejoined my local running club; Royal Sutton Coldfield AC. I’m also hoping to take part in some runs with GoodGym in Birmingham when life returns to some sort of normality. 

Do you do any other forms of exercise in addition to running?

  I treated myself to an exercise bike last year and was spending 30 minutes a day pretending to cycle around Lake Garda until I injured my knee.  

Favourite pre-race/pre-long run meal?

I’m not good at eating early in the morning so I tend to make sure I eat a large portion of Spaghetti Bolognese the evening before a race/long run.

Favourite post-run meal?

I think it depends on the distance but I do enjoy a post-parkrun bacon sandwich. 

Do you have any superstition?

 I always make sure I put on my right trainer first. I also have a favourite pair of shorts I save for races.

What is your biggest achievement sport wise?

The 2018 Royal Parks Half Marathon. Although the weather was terrible and I completely misjudged my pacing, I loved every minute of the race. More importantly, I raised over £1000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

If you were granted one wish related to running, what would it be?

 That I could continue to run into middle and old age without picking up any more running injuries.


Instagram: @thephdrunner

Blog: The PHD Runner

Twitter: The PHD Runner

This or That

Early Morning Run or Evening Run

Tea or Coffee

Winter Running or Summer Running

Solo running or Running with Friends

Road Running or Trail Running

Dog or Cat

Miles or Kilometres

Run with someone chatty or run with someone silent

Run with no sock or run with no underwear

Run a hilly 5k or flat 10k

Run a hilly 10K or flat half marathon

Run a hilly Half Marathon or Flat Marathon

Run a hilly Marathon or Flat Ultra Marathon

Run as much as you want on the treadmill or only run once a week outside.  (if I had space (and money!) I’d buy a treadmill

An average runner that has found a passion for running and raising money/awareness for MNDA. I have completed London, New York, and Chicago marathons. I am tempted to go for the Six-Star finishers medal, running all the World Marathon Majors, but that's a dream in progress.

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