In November 2006 Larry was advised to stop running due to biomechanical issues. At the time, he took the advice on board and reluctantly stopped competing as an active athlete at Woodford Green with Essex Ladies athletics club. Ironically, after a six or so month break from high intensity track based training, his biomechanics settled down. He adapted his training regime to include more flexibility; pilates; core stability and cross training. Quite quickly he was back competing in many events and in July 2008 he won a bronze medal at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Slovenia. Nowadays he is still competing regularly in club races for local club Ware Joggers and his race times based on the World Masters Athletics percentage rankings still rate him highly amongst UK athletes.
Below is an article about Larry’s running career that one of his fellow Woodford Green club members – Tony Maxwell – wrote back in November 2006 when it looked like Larry’s running days (at any level!) were over……
Larry joined Victoria Park Harriers as an 18 year-old in 1981, and later moved to North London AC Starting his athletic career relatively late meant he never competed in the English Schools championships. Larry had a very successful career with these two clubs (Running very close to 4 minutes for mile – metric equivalent – 1500m in 3:42+) before joining Woodford in 1990 at the age of 27. He was coached by John Sullivan for much of his career, and at his best trained with Olympian Steve Crabb from Enfield. He later joined Ken Leader’s training group at Enfield and latterly was self coached.
Larry was hugely respected within the middle distance fraternity. He trained very hard, but very sensibly, knowing what was best for him. In the winter during his best years he would run 80 miles a week, and preferred short recovery sessions like 12 x 400m (30 seconds recovery) in 61/62 seconds. In the summer his favourite training session was 3 x 500m (15 minutes recovery) in 64/65 seconds.
Very refreshingly, Larry thought winning was far more important than the finishing time. Winning gave him a great buzz. He believed far too many athletes got wound up about times. Running was about winning, and if not winning then coming second. A frequent racer, it is surprisingly that Larry was never made a Life Member of Watford Harriers, in recognition of the number of Watford Graded Meetings he competed in throughout his career.
He was instrumental in recruiting Matt Davies into Woodford, meeting him at BMC fixtures. A chance meeting between Matt Davies and Matt Shone led the latter to joining Woodford. Larry is a very friendly guy, and this was the reason that the two Matts were attracted to Woodford. He is very knowledgeable about middle distance training and racing. He was an excellent racer, never rushing off with the initial pace, but biding his time to make his fast finish to take him past his ailing rivals. Presumably Kelly Holmes learned how to run even paced from the Woodford maestro. Never more apparent was the importance of even paced running than when Larry was a veteran. Often well off the pace at halfway, whether 800m, 1500m, or 3000m, he would gradually make his way to the front of the file, ready to strike for home.
His record in the BAL was exceptional. Larry was a Team Manager’s dream. An ever present and willing to double up if necessary (even to run a 5000m, against his better judgement) Larry’s record set an example to his team mates. He competed in 36 BAL matches during the 1990 – 2003 period, in addition to those in which he represented North London AC.
Larry regards his most memorable race as the one when he beat Steve Ovett in the Scottish Championships in 1990. His best championship performance was winning the GOLD medal in the Scottish 1500m the following year. Despite running for Scotland on several occasions between 1989 and 1991, visiting far flung places like Iceland and Austria, he was never selected for the Commonwealth Games. Perhaps his Scottish accent was not broad enough! He also represented the AAAs, the Southern Counties and Middlesex (having won Middlesex titles at 800m, 1500m, and 5000m during his career). He also toured with GB and South of England teams.
As Larry approached 40, Dave Barrett, the then holder of the club veteran records looked over his shoulder. Well he might as Larry quickly established himself as the leading M40 in the UK recording 1:59.70 and 4:03.90 for 800m and 1500m.
He was not a fan of cross-country, turning out occasionally, but successfully, in the Met League. He won 19 Chingford League races (11 on the road) beating Frank Seal’s record from the 1950’s.
On the road Larry won the prestigious Wolverton 5 road race twice, in 1990 & 1991. He also finished second behind Justin Hobbs in 1993, and in 1994 he ran 30:59 to place 30th in the AAA 10km, just ahead of Chris Brogan (31.03), John Sear (31.35), Darren Wright (31.38) and Steve sear (31.34) – Woodford’s sixth position being our best in a national road race for many years. In 1995 he returned to the Wolverton 5 and finished third behind Spencer Duval and Kadessa Tadessa. One of his best road runs was his 23:09 in the VPH 5 in 1991.
As a veteran he has been a member of three WGwEL teams that placed in either SoE or national relays: 2003 SoE M40 3rd, 2004 National M40 2nd and 2005 M40 3rd.
He has run two marathons, his best time coming in the 1999 London Marathon where he ran 2 hrs 39 mins.
Tony Maxwell – first published in WGwEL newsletter in Nov 2006
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