A BIRMINGHAM man hopes to replicate the highs of winning a bronze medal in an international Frisbee tournament by achieving his goal of completing the Great Birmingham Run half marathon this autumn.
Dave Povey represented Great Britain at the recent World Ultimate and Guts Championship in London, where his Men's Masters team finished third.
Dave is one of the team captains within the British squad, and will follow up his team's achievements – they were only the third British team to win a medal at a World Championships – by taking part in his first half marathon on October 16.
The 34-year-old, who lives in the centre of the city, decided to take part after seeing a friend participate in last year's event, and decided to take on a new challenge.
Dave said: “This is my first running event. My friend took part last year and I watched on and made fun of him, for finishing in around two hours.
“He said ‘well, you do it then' so I decided to take part. I'd kind of forgot about it in a way, with the Worlds and everything. This is my first go at a half marathon. I live in the centre of Birmingham and I've seen it a couple of times, the atmosphere looks great, the environment looks great, it should be quite the occasion. I thought I'd give it a go.”
Ultimate Frisbee is a sport which has developed rapidly over the last decade, and is tipped to be one of the next sports to be incorporated into the Olympic schedule having been given IOC recognition recently.
Ultimate is a non-contact field sport played by two teams of seven players, where the object of the game is to pass the disc all the way up the field and to catch the disc in the end-zone.
With the sport of endurance running relying on natural aerobic fitness, the short, sharp nature of Ultimate is where David excels, which has resulted in a step-change in training for the half-marathon debutant.
He explained: “They are wildly different in terms of preparation. For the Frisbee it's lots of gym work, explosive, plyometrics that kind of stuff, but for half-marathons it's long-distance running, getting my aerobic capacity up a bit.
“I'm fairly fit anyway through competing and playing so I don't think that's a problem, but it is very different. I've got a few months of different training, as well as taking it easy after a busy 18-month schedule.
“I couldn't train for the half-marathon during the season because it's the opposite to what I was training for. Now, I've finished playing for this season so I've got a bit of time to think about doing some longer runs. It's the polar extreme.
“It's also appealed to me because it's very different. It's the opposite of what I do normally and have done for 15 years.”
Although Dave has not set himself any hard and fast targets, he would like to dip under the two-hour barrier, long considered the benchmark between good and very good distance runners.
“I'm only really aiming to get round in one piece,” he said. “Less than two hours perhaps. I've never done anything like this before, I look at it and think – I'm fairly fit and healthy, I have to be to be an elite at the sport I play, I think I should be able to get round in less than two hours.
“My mate did it in a longer time last year and I took the mick out of him, so I have to beat that or I'd look a little silly. It's a bit of a personal thing but I thought I'd give it a go.”
If he achieves his goal, 2016 will go down as a very good year for Dave following his success on the Frisbee field.
And he added: “It was incredible, it's still not really sunk in yet. When you build up to something for so long, then it finishes and you're left thinking ‘oh, it's done now'.
“I remember finishing our final game, winning and saying ‘what's next?' – but that was it. It's a very strange feeling but one of pride. The experience doing it was great, there were a lot of friends and family there which was nice.
“It felt a little like the London 2012 spirit with having the tournament in our home country, with a decent crowd.
“It was a phenomenal experience. I made sure I cherished it all, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's very hard to put into words how much it meant to us all.”
The Men's Masters team is for players over 30, so Dave's chances of representing his country in an Olympics may appear slim – but he's proud that the sport is making great strides towards taking pride of place on the world's biggest stage.
“It's grown lots,” he said. “When I first started playing in 2001, there was a juniors programme for U19s only if you could play a little but, but now we have U17s, U19s, U20s, U23s, U24s, boys, girls, men, women, mixed – it's exploded.
“As my generation start to become teachers, they've taken it into their schools and colleges. Kids and parents love it, they want to take part.
“Because they self-referee, it teaches kids a lot about respect, fair play and sportsmanship. It's only going to get bigger and bigger from here. It's a whole different landscape from when it started.
“The next step is hopefully the Olympics. They're pushing for 2024 acceptance, they're getting there, the WFDF have done a lot of good work to get to that stage.
“It has so many of the Olympic ideals in it that I think it would be the perfect Olympic sport. It's got a lot going for it and if it could be an Olympic sport one day that would be great.”
But first of all, it's the small matter of a half-marathon for Dave, who adds: “I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be very different, but I'll be in Birmingham, a city which I love to live in, having the crowd on my side, this is what attracted me to it.
“Having it in Birmingham is going to be great. It's going to be a challenge but I need challenges right now.”
Dave is raising money for Cancer Research. To donate, visit justgiving.com/DavePovey
To sign up for the Great Birmingham Run, visit greatrun.org/Birmingham