Steve Cram is known to millions as one of the world’s greatest middle distance athletes, he was holder of the world records for the 1500m, 2000m and mile events – he also won European, World and Olympic medals. Now he’s known to many more as a TV commentator.
Perhaps less known is the fact that 9 years ago his brother Kevin died whilst out on a training run. Despite being 400m away from where he lived – it took nearly two days for his family to be informed – as he was carrying no identification. Out of this developed the idea of Cram Alert.
It’s very sad about your brother passing away on a run, how long was it before the idea of ‘Cram Alert’ came into your head?
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It obviously came out of my brother’s death and I started to hear and hear more and more stories of people running or being out on a bike, for example and then something happens and they’re not carrying any ID on them. So I started to have tags designed that you put on your running shoes for those taking part in my charity events.
And gradually we started to develop something that would work in case something happened across numerous scenarios – something that would get information to your next of kin and to the emergency services and that’s what Cram Alert is.
How do you keep in shape these days?
Well, I was not in my best shape last year. I had a couple of injuries from earlier in the year, which I never really got sorted out. Normally I run primarily to keep in shape.
How do you keep motivated to train?
You’ve got to give yourself some targets or challenges… everything I do these days is slower than what it used to be! So I’ll ask myself what is the lowest benchmark that I am prepared to drop to. I think that it’s really hard to get into a routine when there is nothing (a goal) at the end of it. Every year I set myself some goals. Last year I launched the Kielder marathon in February and I stupidly said at the launch that I would run it.
It’s a beautiful marathon and come October I was on the start line. But I’d had Achilles tendon problems that meant that I’d hardly done any training. I went to India for the Commonwealth Games with the BBC, didn’t workout there and three days later I was running the marathon! I was only going to do half the distance, but I kept going as I was feeling good. I got to 17-18 miles and I was stuffed! I suffered greatly after that but I got round. This year I’m not sure what I will do, but I’ll set some targets.
As well as running what else do you do to keep fit?
I have a road bike and a marathon bike and a rower. As I live in Northumberland I use the mountain bike the most. I do get on the rowing machine occasionally especially in the winter.
Do you have any aspirations to challenge Steve Backley in the 40-44 age category?
Oh, yes I’ve been challenged many times by Steve. But I’m not getting anywhere near his times, so I said to I’ll happily take you on over 2hours!
Do you miss competing?
Umm, yes, I do miss being in that type of shape, but I don’t compete because I’m not in that shape anymore, if you understand what I mean, but I’m competitive with myself. I got injured quite a lot last year because my mind is not slowing down as much as my body! I keep going out for runs and think I’ll run that time and of course I can’t. I am a pretty competitive person… if play golf I want to win.
Would you have trained differently now, if you had your time again?
I think we have a lot more knowledge now, on the sports science and nutrition fronts for example and that this would have made a big difference to my competing. I think I would have had a lot less injuries, but I don’t think that I would have trained any less or more. I could have trained smarter. Improved nutrition and surgical techniques would have helped a lot. I think that I could have had surgery earlier in my career, as techniques now are less invasive. It might have rectified a couple of things.
Did you have any role models and you’re obviously one yourself?
“I’m always keen with young runners to show them people who look like them, who run like them and who are successful. Hopefully it will make them think if they can do it so can I”
For me I had Brendan Foster living around the corner from where I lived (fellow BBC commentator and 1976 Olympic 10k bronze medallist). It really made me think, well maybe I could do that. I’m always keen with young runners to show them people who look like them, who run like them and who are successful. Hopefully it will make them think if they can do it so can I.