BETTER KNOW A STABLEMATE—JAMES HOOPER
“Oh, you beauty!”
What is your name?
What is your favourite colour?
Red—purely football-related. I couldn’t dare admit I actually like blue.
What is your favourite word?
“Picturesque”: no exciting reason, it just sounds good. Although, should I say “run”/”running?”
Who is your favourite musician?
I’m very appreciative of music. It can transform any situation, but I would not say I’m passionate about it (unless it’s rap). I can listen to most things. My favourite is Dua Lipa. (Which comes as a surprise to friends and family initially.)
What is your most marked characteristic?
What talent would you like to have?
Not losing my keys and wallet would be nice. I’ll go for something more impressive, like speaking a foreign language.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m currently studying for an MSc while working full-time. For someone who hated school as much as I did, I can’t believe that I’m just a dissertation away from finishing it.
Who are your heroes in history?
Steven Gerrard is an easy choice. I’ve got huge admiration for Novak Djokovic and, of course, Eliud Kipchoge. It was a book from Djokovic that eventually got me running.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mum and dad. I am so lucky to have them.
What is your idea of happiness?
Lots of running, food, and warm weather. But, even more importantly, the wellbeing of, and time with, my loved ones. I will add that if someone wants to pay for me to go back to Disney World, I’ll take that, too.
Where would you most like to live?
New Zealand appeals to me, though I don’t give moving much thought.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Friends and family would say running gear. I’ll say, whatever my girlfriend wants to buy for the house next.
What is your most treasured possession?
A grandparent’s watch passed down to me.
Why did you start running?
I was in bad shape mentally and physically. I read a book by Novak Djokovic, where he discussed his career and eating habits. As a tennis fan, it was interesting, but he talked about making changes to make your life better. He talked about using exercise to achieve something.
He specifically mentioned a marathon as an achievement, so I told myself, I’ll try the London Marathon one day. Turns out getting an entry was actually harder than running it. But I managed both and turned my life around—all thanks to running.
What does running mean to you now?
Everything. I wouldn’t be who I am without it. It clears my head, lets me eat too many biscuits and crisps without too much damage. I love it. I’m a better, happier, and more confident person when I run.
What do you like about Stazza’s Stable?
Stazza makes me a better runner! That’s of course only half of it. I like the community feel that The Stable promotes. I remember on the weekend of the virtual time trials, I had a look on Strava and genuinely felt more motivated for my run because of the buzz and excitement from everyone getting involved. I can be a bit rubbish at getting involved myself, through being either busy or shy. But it feels nice to be part of a group.
What is your motto?
Do not be sorry. Be better.