From the Heart of Midlothian to cameo appearances in Taggart. Jamie Darling tells how his brother-in-law encouraged him to join the Hoppers. Read on to find out more about Jamie, his running memories and more.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and lived in Edinburgh until I was 19, Dad worked in a kilt factory and Mum was an actress. Our house was slap bang in between Tynecastle where Hearts FC play (I was passionate and would watch them a lot) and Murrayfield Rugby Stadium so a good place to live looking back. I moved down to Shoreham at the age of 19 having met my wife on holiday and we have two beautiful daughters.
When did you first start running?
With our primary school being right next to Murrayfield we would scale the wall at lunchtimes sometimes and would end up getting chased by the security people so that was good for speed work and great fun.
When I moved down South I joined the football team of an insurance company I worked for in Worthing and I’d do a bit of extra running to complement football training but looking back I wasn’t in any way serious about running at that stage.
What made you start running?
It was probably around the age of 35 when I was really busy with exam study and work that I stumbled across the true benefits of running. I had taken to walking in the countryside as a way of managing stress and anxiety levels and one day during a walk, when walking wasn’t doing enough for me, I instinctively started running. It led from that moment really and opened up a whole new world.
When did you join the Hedgehoppers and why/what made you become a regular?
Shortly after doing the London marathon in 2011, my brother in law Matthew who had been running with the Hedgehoppers suggested I come along. I feel that I float in and out of the club a little bit because other stuff gets in the way but when I’m running with the Hedgehoppers I think this is it, I love this and I want to do it all the time.
Best thing about being a Hopper?
I like the fact that you have your rocky stalwarts but your newbies who join each year too so the club feels like it’s always evolving. I like the sparkiness and the positivity of the people and the feeling of connection but I’m also inspired by runners abilities, many of whom are incredibly humble.
Favourite running memory i.e. that WOW moment?
Has to be running past Buckingham Palace and turning into The Mall on the finishing straight of my first London marathon.
What’s the longest distance you’ve every run?
Just the 26.2 miles for me but I really fancy going longer and doing an ultra just to see what happens so have been tapping up the knowledge of one or two Hoppers of late.
Favourite running event and why?
I love the Lake District (and can highly recommend Richard Askwith’s book ‘Feet In The Clouds’) and try and stop off there to do a run when I drive up to Scotland to see my folks so I’ll say Great Langdale half marathon – Britain’s hilliest half marathon on road.
Please tell us one thing about yourself that people may not know?
Because my Mum was an actress (she was on Emmerdale for a while) she would get me and my twin sister onto telly programmes too when we were wee and we got small parts on the likes of Taggart and Take The High Road.