Where We Train: Shropshire, United Kingdom

Published 10 Jul 2024

Marc Scott may have recently swapped running in the picturesque Bushy Park in London for the leafy Shropshire lanes of the English West Midlands, but what has remained consistent is being able to access a high-quality training environment to meets his running requirements.

A top performer on the track, Marc claimed the 2022 World Indoor 3000m bronze medal and also boasts a 5000m personal best of 12:57.08 before the NN Running Team athlete specialised as a road runner from 2023.

Clocking up high mileage in pursuit of his marathon dreams, it is imperative the 30-year-old British athlete has a stable and secure training base to best deliver on his talent and across his two years on the NN Running Team via two training locations, the 2:11:19 marathon runner has been very fortunate.

Based up until earlier this year in the small Surrey town of Horley within a mile of Gatwick International Airport just south of London, the location served multiple training benefits.

“Being so close to London made it handy to meet up with top-quality training groups,” he explains. “Every Tuesday I drove for track sessions at the Sir Mo Farah Athletics Track at St Mary’s University in Twickenham and each Friday I would carry out a tempo run or threshold session at Bushy Park.

“I would drive to a local forest for a training run on a Sunday and I’d do the rest of my running in and around the streets of Horley,”

Meeting up with a group of runners based at St Mary’s University including Tokyo Olympic steeplechaser Zac Seddon – the quality of the training group is high – which Marc insists serves several advantages.

“It is far easier to train with other guys because we then all take a turn to share the workload,” adds Marc. “I have learned from training as part of the NN Running Team in Kenya that everyone comes together and takes their turn at the front as part of training. This philosophy benefits not only me but the whole group.”

His Friday tempo runs at Bushy Park would follow a similar trend. With his coach, Chris Jones, often following on his bike, he would connect with several other runners to “share the workload” at a training location he found genuinely uplifting.

“The park itself has wide tarmac paths which meant we never felt in danger of getting involved in an accident or that we were in anybody’s way,” he says. “While even if the weather was bad, I could always find a loop which was more sheltered or protected from the wind. The park was also very flat, which was another advantage as it allowed us always to do very good quality work.”

With more than 300 deer roaming Bushy Park and from time to time training groups from Australia and Kenya also carrying out sessions there, Marc admits he was not short of inspiration.

“Bushy Park is a real haven for runners,” he adds. “It is great to see the running community regularly connects there and it certainly gave me a lot of motivation.”

When based at Gatwick Airport, Marc runner used to regular carry out his long Sunday runs of up to two hours on the trails of Swinley Forest near Bracknell. Meanwhile, The remainder of his runs at that time were on the local country lanes with the convenience of starting and finishing his training at his front door.

Earlier this year, Marc underwent a relocation to the village of Shawbury in Shropshire around 200 miles north west of Horley into military accommodation following a reposting of his fiancé’s job in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

While the pace of life in the West Midlands – close to the Welsh border - is a little more sedate, Marc insists he is very lucky to once again enjoy a quality training set up.

“A lot of the country lanes, especially the B roads are traffic free, which is really nice,” he adds. “I also have the option of getting among the softer gravel and hard compact trails which makes for a nice training surface for the longer or tempo runs.”

For his key track session he will travel once a week to either the nearby Shrewsbury or Telford tracks, which he insists draws some “good calibre” athletes to train alongside.

Meanwhile, for his weekly tempo run he uses a local route which he insists is ideal for his training needs.

“I have a half a mile loop which can be extended to a three quarters of a mile loop, which gives me different options,” he says.

Carrying much of his running solo he has developed into a local personality thanks to his training and running profile.

“I think I am only one or two regular runners in the village lots of people know who I am and they are always really courteous in giving me plenty of space when they drive past in the car.” 

His Shropshire base offers the perfect springboard to success with Marc adding: “I love the fact I don’t have to deal with much traffic when training and the fact the area is very flat is also ideal for marathon training. I don’t have as many people to train with here compared to when I was at Gatwick Airport but the quality of the training routes more than make up for that. I never struggle to get out of the door to train.”