TNN Talks: Stephen England
28 October 2016
You might have known that TNN runner Stephen England has competed in some of the world’s top marathons and ultra-marathons, including the Boston Marathon, Leadville 100 and Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. But did you know that he also listens to Kings of Leon, loves “The Goonies” and his favorite food is Marmite?
Below, Stephen shares a few things you may not know in this edition of TNN Talks.
Favorite food when traveling:
That’s a tough one. I think that depends on the time of day, but I do love a Kit-Kat bar. And some Nuun to wash it down with, of course.
Favorite food from your home country:
Marmite. It’s like black tar you can put on toast or eat with cheese and I’ve been known to request it from UK visitors! As the slogan says, you either love it or hate it.
Right now I’m putting together a playlist for my next 100-mile race, and so far it has some M83, Kings of Leon and The Killers. Basically anything that inspires me to run makes the cut.
Anyone else in your family with diabetes?
No, just me. Like a lot of other diagnosis stories, it truly did seem to come out of nowhere, but all of my family was affected by the news.
You can’t make me pick one!
“Top Gun”, “The Goonies” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. That’s been my answer since about 1990, and it still holds true.
Last book you read:
In full? With my lifestyle, I don’t often make time to sit down and read.
I just spent a week in Chamonix, France, prior to UTMB with the ultra-runner Pam Reed. I would argue that she actually read me her book ‘The Extra Mile’ in all of our great conversations leading up to the race. That was an amazing experience.
Worst way someone has mispronounced your name:
As a Brit living in the United States, many locals see my name and can’t grasp that it can be spelled with a ‘ph’ instead of a ‘v’. So “Stephan” happens a lot. My Mum has called me Tim by mistake from time to time so you could say I’m used to people not quite nailing it!
Any pre-race rituals?
I wear my blue Road ID bracelet every time I run. For me, it represents the circle of World Diabetes Day and reminds me why I do what I do.
I also wear my wife’s bandana as an ice wrap for all of my hot races. That way, she is with me every step of the way.
Favorite runner growing up:
I’m not sure I had one as I was so into football growing up. All of the running I was doing was so I could have the most endurance on the pitch.
But two moments happened in recent years of my running life involving inspirational runners. In 2007 I cheered on Paula Radcliffe when she won the NYC Marathon and my hunger for racing returned. And a few years later, upon reading Born to Run, I discovered Scott Jurek and my intrigue for ultra-running grew from there.
I’ve been fortunate enough to run some huge races, Leadville, Tahoe 200 and UTMB stand out instantly, but it has to be Western States 100. It was my second 100-mile race but my first with Team Novo Nordisk.
With a high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, the medical director warned runners the day prior to add 5-6 hours to our goal time. My goal was sub-24 and I refused to pay any attention after 6-months of training. Sometimes it pays to be stubborn and with the help of my now wife, Tiffany, and teammates, I ran sub-23.
Biggest hero in life:
My Uncle Dave. He always had a positive outlook on life and told really bad jokes. But unfortunately he lost his battle with Leukemia and Lymphoma after an 8-year fight.
He made it to 60 years young, which was to be his last goal he set himself, so whenever I get the opportunity, I always request bib number “60” for my races. I think of him on every run.
Favorite hobby when not running:
Spending time relaxing with Tiffany, our dog, Miles, and seeing friends is always a nice change of pace from working full-time as a contractor in NYC and training.
But we also love traveling and planning out the next adventure. There is a great quote: ‘collect moments, not things’. And that is exactly what travel and life is all about for us.
Night owl or early riser:
Being a New Yorker, you have to be both. But I am most definitely a night owl.
Favorite ice cream flavor:
Strawberry and Cookie Dough in a tie for first. The Bent Spoon in Princeton is a must for ice cream fans. It serves up some crazy flavors.
Favorite spot to get coffee:
Anywhere but Starbuck’s. When I travel, I like going wherever looks fun and trendy. Tiffany and I just found a place in Soho that has a photo booth. It doesn’t get more fun or trendy than that!
Favorite place you’ve visited:
Wow. You know I love to travel right? I’m going with Telluride, Colorado, and Patagonia.
I know you don’t want two answers, but I’m comprising…
Country you’d most like to holiday in:
Right now, the 2017 big trip it’s a toss up between New Zealand, Canada and Iceland. Pretty much anywhere with mountains.
English. I’m also known for a really bad attempt at Spanish when I travel.
I fall across a new favorite quote almost weekly and I’m not even on Pinterest. I’m going to have to pick my own, which is “Run diabetes, don’t let diabetes run you.”
Top “Bucket List” Item:
Hardrock is arguably the hardest 100-mile run in the world, which takes place in the San Juan mountain range of Colorado.
It takes many years of entering the lottery just to get selected, but that’s just part of the magic of the race.