John Gandy runner

Member of the Month #8

We love to showcase our wonderful members and this month we’re meeting and greeting John. Based in Wirral, John shares his love of PB&J sandwiches, his ambition to run in the Swiss Alps and the how you can help to protect the rainforest.

Name: John Gandy (he/him)

Hometown: Wirral

Current location: Wirral (I haven’t lived here forever, I did move away for ages!)

Occupation: Data Manager

Running style: Slow & steady, making friends at the back of the pack

What’s your favourite book about running? 

Probably still Born To Run by Christopher McDougall – it’s a classic for a reason! But I’ve also loved every book I’ve had from Bookhounds so far, including some I might not have heard of, let alone read, without being a member.

What’s your most unusual mid-run snack?

I always get the same cravings on ultras – salt & vinegar crisps, ginger nut biscuits and cola. It’s pretty much the only time I eat any of them! My wife is American and so I also appreciate the culinary wonder that is the PB&J sandwich, which is actually great race food.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten post-run/race?

Hard to beat the Hardmoors vegan chilli.

Tell us about a memorable run you’ve been on and why.

I did the Dales Way Challenge with Punk Panther a couple of years ago, 82 miles. I only made it 55 before hallucinating that there were houses in a river and then falling asleep against a hedge, but I learned a lot about myself as a runner on that race! And about napping at checkpoints (that is, that I should nap at checkpoints rather than in hedges). A valuable DNF.

Recommend a race for other Bookhounds to try.

There are so many great races these days, but I try to do at least one Punk Panther race every year. They’re a great bunch with some absolutely stunning (and well-organised!) races in and around Yorkshire.

What’s on the top of your running playlist?

*Checks Spotify* Hamrer Hippyer by Heilung. Although Easier than Lying by Halsey is probably getting the most play right now! I have eclectic tastes…

Who is your ultimate running hero?

Penny-Flo the Bookhounds hound is number one of course. Scott Jurek was an early inspiration (especially as a vegan runner). My long-time running buddy Sara is high on the list. Nicky Spinks, Jasmin Paris, Eddie Izzard. But if we’re talking heroes? Penny-Flo.

Cat or dog?

Guinea pig.

Shorts or leggings?

Depends on the weather! But leggings, probably. Ideally with pockets.

Tea or coffee?

Tea at home, coffee when I’m out.

Where’s the first place you ran post-lockdown and future travel plans?

The first place I ran post-lockdown was in North Wales, around Loggerheads and Moel Famau, which is a lovely spot. But once we’re allowed to travel further afield freely? I’ve never seen the Alps and we’re hoping to go to Switzerland next year for a family holiday. I’ll be packing my trail shoes!

Where can other Bookhounds connect with you?

On Instagram at @rewild_runwild, or hopefully at a race one day! I’m also raising money for Chester Zoo’s ‘Race For The Rainforest’ campaign, with the aim of planting and maintaining a “wildlife bridge” across a former palm oil plantation in Borneo, to reconnect two sections of rainforest which have become separated. I’m running a mountain trail marathon, a road marathon and a 54-mile trail ultra in the space of a month, it’s a lot for me and a big challenge!

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