This month we are introduced to Andrew Noyons (Jonesy) who is not your a-typical athlete. He is more comfortable in flowery shirts and corduroy than in figure hugging lycra and is so understated that he does challenges without telling anyone.
Jonsey served in the Army and obviously developed his mind-set to undertake endurance events during his training, as he has only started them since. He has a natural level of fitness that belies his love of Guinness, allowing him to pick up training as and when. He, like many others, has to find time to do any training amongst his busy work schedule in the City; made slightly trickier for his current challenge, a solo swim across the channel. There are not many places that you can undertake simulated practice in London. The Ruislip Lido doesn’t really cut it.
In the recent past, since 2010, he has achieved success in the Westminster to Devizes Canoe Race, New York, Zurich and London marathons, Tough Mudder, Marathon des Sables and the Arch to Arc.
The latter, which I was not familiar with, starts with an 87 mile run from London’s Marble Arch to the Dover coast, then the athletes must swim across the English Channel to the French coast, and finally finish with a 181 mile bike from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. For this challenge, the clock starts at Marble Arch and stops at Arc de Triomphe Jonsey didn’t mention his time, but it would not surprise me if it was up there.
When someone is quite so modestly blasé about challenges like these and is not good at self promotion, it is difficult to coax answers to questions. So whilst it might not give you an in depth look into the mind of an endurance athlete it certainly gives me encouragement to quit whining and yapping on at people and just get on and enjoy it for what it is. What has always struck me about Jonsey, is that regardless of how tired he is, however hard he has worked and will have to work in the future he always has a smile and a quip that will dissolve any fatigue and spur you on, through example and admiration.
1. Of all the challenges you have undertaken what was the darkest moment and how did you overcome it?
The hardest one I did was Devizes to Westminster race … a 125mile non-stop canoe race and the longest in the world. We did it in 24hrs and the cold was by far the biggest problem. Chill blains and blistered hands etc.
What got me through it was a stereo I attached to the deck of the boat, blasting the residents and bystanders of Henley with Boys to Men. They pretended not to enjoy it, but they did really.
2. What is your motivation to succeed and where do you source your inspiration? That is a difficult one. I don’t know really.
3. What is the one piece of advice/tip you would give a new runner? Get some comfy tunes and Boys to Men on the sound system.
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 167.72
Miles to go: 937