Runners: Sam Lloyd-Perks

The Runners profile is posted at the new Running Shorts on Friday mornings. Today, meet Sam Lloyd-Perks, a native of England and a Winston-Salem resident.

Runners: Sam Lloyd-Perks
Sam Lloyd-Perks winning the Anthem Star 10K on April 17 in Roanoke, Va., in 35 minutes and 59 seconds. Jones Racing Company of Greensboro timed the event.

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The Warmup






Wife, Kiley; married April 2.

"My family back home; they're all back in England. So they'll probably give this a read when it pops up. My parents, Debbie and Steve; my little brother, Charlie; my grandparents, Fred and Norma; and my uncle and auntie, Steve and Alison."

Day job

"I'm a full-time running coach (Team Homestretch). So I just coach for a living. That's all I'm doing right now. I did work at Fleet Feet and coached there for a while. But since May, I'm currently under kind of a weird visa situation where I'm waiting for my green card to come through. So I'm not technically allowed to work anywhere right now. I'm just coaching as a hobby basically."

Why I run

"My reasoning has changed over the years. I got into this sport for pure passion and love for being quick and good at something. It was something I was always good at. When I was in college, I went through a period where I wasn't enjoying it as much because it felt more like a job. I imagine a lot of NCAA athletes go through the same thing.

Sam Lloyd-Perks: 'I love being on this awesome journey where you don't know where it's really going to go.'

"When COVID hit and our senior year got canceled and I graduated without finishing my last track season, I moved to Winston and then I had to figure out, 'Do I still want to do this?' And 'why do I still want to do this?' And it took me a lot of soul-searching and a lot of deep conversations with myself on long runs. 'Why are you still turning up and running 14, 15 miles on a Sunday?'

"And I figured out it's just pure passion. I love the sport. I love everything about it. I'm fortunate that my job now is helping other runners, and that's something that I really enjoy and thrive at. I love being on this awesome journey where you don't know where it's really going to go. There's a lot of exciting stuff that could happen that you think won't, so it's crazy."

My runner's high

"It's setting a PR or doing something I didn't think I could do. I had a few scenarios this year where I wasn't expecting to have a runner's high after a race. And then I did and it makes you feel alive again. It makes you really see your passion for the sport. In college, I was always a consistent 32-minute 10K guy, then you leave college and you lose your training group and start training on your own and you start working 40 hours a week, and I was working on my feet for most of the week as well. I honestly didn't think I'd ever run into the 32-minute range again. And then I did my first 10K of the season in January in Tennessee, and I ran a 32:50 on a hilly course. I couldn't believe it. I had the biggest runner's high I've had in probably two years, and my wife was at the finish line. We both looked at each other like, 'How did I just run that quick today?' Could not believe it. It's the nice little surprises that running throws at you that gives me that runner's high."


What I'm doing when I'm not running or coaching

"My favorite thing to do, and I tell my wife this every day, we live for the evenings where we can both finish work, and we can just sit down and watch a box set or a Netflix series. Just chill out. We're very chilled, relaxed people. Our jobs are pretty busy. We really love those moments where we just get to hang out and relax.

"She loves British television, which is good for me. So we're watching a series called 'Hustle,' which is basically a bunch of hustlers and scam artists and how they do all these different kinds of scams. It's just genius. We're really hooked on that right now. I think we've watched 13 episodes in about six days, seven days, maybe."

His thoughts on "Ted Lasso," whose second season will stream on Apple TV+ beginning July 23:

"It's absolutely brilliant. It's hilarious. It's funny because there's a lot of stereotypes when I got here about Americans and football and soccer, as you guys call it. And just seeing an actor basically go through all those same scenarios was hilarious. It was brilliant."

Running tribe

"We've formed a little group on Sundays, and I mostly train on my own for the week. But I have a Brazilian teammate and Team Homestretch runner, JR Brigido. He's training for the Chicago Marathon. We do a lot of runs together. Got a few high schoolers as well. My wife. And also I like to train with Molly Nunn and Gabriella DeLay; we hook up every now and then and get some long runs in and some miles."

When I run

"It's a mix. Some days I have to run twice, so it can be mornings and evenings. But typically at the summer, it's got to be early morning. The heat and humidity; my British body doesn't handle it well."

My favorite surface

"It's got to be road. I absolutely love the roads. I was a road runner before I ran track in America. And then I didn't get to run roads for like two years and then I started again. I think the road is just awesome."

Workout I hate

"I'd probably say hill repeats. Since I was a junior, every coach I've ever had has always known that I hate hill repeats, so they always put hill repeats in the workouts."

Workout I love

"I love threshold tempo work; that's my sweet spot. My main strength as a runner is just being able to grind out pace for a long time. Anything from six to seven miles at half marathon pace or even 10K pace. A good workout I like to do for a 10K is 20 times 400 off 200-meter jog recoveries. It's a lot of laps, but it's good fun."

Hype music

"I always like listening to DMX the rapper, who passed away recently. 'X Gon' Give It To Ya' or 'Party Up' are my two go-tos."

Pre-race meal

"I was kind of notorious for this back home and over here. Because I raced the 10K a lot, my go-to meal was always a big pepperoni pizza. People were amazed that I can eat as much as I could for such a small, skinny guy. But a big pepperoni pizza the night before a race or the day of if it's an evening race."

Post-race indulgence

"The older I've gotten since I left college, I do enjoy a post-race beer. A light lager will do me just fine. Or a Guinness if I can find one."

Brush with greatness

"This is a story that I told a lot to my old teammates. They'd roast me about it a lot when I was back home in Cardiff. But when I was 17, in the closest city to me (Worcester City), there was a big 10K and Paula Radcliffe came and ran. She was the big race ambassador. And she was toward the latter end of her career. But I got to race against her and actually beat her in the last three kilometers. As a kid, you've watched this lady on the TV, and you're like, 'Wow, all right, Paula Radcliffe; she runs a 2:15 marathon.' A British icon, really, for running. Next thing you know, you're alongside her, about seven kilometers, and you go and she doesn't come with you. And she was amazing. I got to speak to her after the race and got a photo with her, and she was really nice. And she's a real great in our sport."

Paula Radcliffe with Sam Lloyd-Perks.

Worst running mistake

"And it's a mistake I see a lot through coaching is just running too hard on your easy days. Thinking that because you're on Strava, every run has to look good. I see it all the time and as a coach and as a friend to some people, I'm always kind of pushing them in the right direction. I'll use the Jack Daniels calculator and say, 'Hey, this is your pace range; stay in this, and you'll run better.' I made that mistake a lot when I was a junior."

Last race

Rotary Club of Kernersville Fourth of July 5K (16:20.7, 10th place).

Next race

Beat the Heat 5K's N.C. USATF 5K Championship, Saturday, Winston-Salem.

"Hopefully marathon training (Richmond) will be starting the week after."

The Cooldown

How I got here

"I'm from kind of a smallish town called Kidderminster just south of Birmingham, in England. I grew up there but spent a lot of time, my teenage years and early adult years, in Cardiff, which is the Welsh capital.

"I went to university in Cardiff. And I was part of an elite/semi-pro running group there. And it's almost like a done deal where when you graduate from Cardiff, we go to America, or you stay with a group. A lot of people go to America, so I went with that decision. It was something I wanted to do since I was 16. From the age of 16, I was getting letters from coaches about scholarships and coming over to run, and it took me until I was 21 or 22 for it to actually happen. I came over to run track and field on a scholarship, to get my master's degree as well. I ran for Lincoln Memorial, which is a smaller (NCAA) Division II school in Tennessee, for two years. ... I got my MBA, so business administration. I did an undergrad in sports science, so I wanted to go down the business route. I run my own business now. I like being able to balance sport and business, balance both sides of it.

"My wife's actually from Clemmons. When COVID struck, I couldn't go back home to England. The borders were closed basically. I had nowhere to go, and she was my girlfriend at the time, and she and her family took me in fortunately. And I ended up in King just down the road from Winston-Salem. Started working in Winston, and I've been here ever since."

What I'm anticipating at the Olympics

"The event that I've been looking forward to for probably about two or three years now is the 10K. Obviously it was my main event for a number of years, so I like seeing what people can run. I was hoping Mo Farah was going to be there; sadly, he didn't make it. But it's still going to be a stacked field."

About England's loss in the European Championship

"My wife and I watched it here. And we were really looking forward to it. And I knew as soon as we scored so early that we were going to lose because that's just the British way. It's just the English way. It was a good game. It was an entertaining game. We didn't play the best football in the second half. But you know, we just made our first major championship final in 55 years. So for me, I can't have any complaints."

What the pandemic took away, what the pandemic gave me

"I felt like I'd lost everything for a moment. And then you soon realize that actually better stuff is just around the corner.

"It was my senior year, I'd flown to America, and my aim was to get better. That's all I wanted, to run faster. I went through indoor season and I was PRing, I was running times that I'd never run before at that time of year, and I was getting ready to head to outdoor season, really drop my times, hopefully go sub-32 minutes for the 10K. That was big aim. And then COVID hit.

Sam Lloyd-Perks: 'I was in a bit of a dark place for a period just because I didn't know what I was going to do.'

"At my school, they were like, 'Yep, that's it. Goodbye.' Like they didn't really give us a handshake or didn't really thank us for anything or didn't really support us. They just sent us on our way. So I was in a bit of a dark place for a period just because I didn't know what I was going to do. I was in a country, away from my family, didn't know what job prospects I had, didn't know where running was going. A few months later, I found my way again. I've been happy ever since. It actually worked out for the better.

"And I found my wife. You can't get much better than that."

What I've learned about myself from running

"Running has humbled me as a person. When I was in high school or middle school, I was probably a little bit more – what's the word? – confident. That awkward age when you're a teenager and you're a little bit overconfident for no reason, really. But then you grow older. The sport humbled me. It taught me confidence in different ways. It taught me that if I want something, I can go and do it. And I've taken that into my everyday life. When I left the running store, I took a chance and left my job to form this running coaching business. If it wasn't for running, I wouldn't have had the confidence to do something like that. The way this sport is, it teaches you that through hard work and through discipline, you can get where you want to be."

Words to the wise

"Be patient. A cliche that I heard a lot when I was a junior, and I hated it, was 'trust the process.' But through coaching and through maturity in the sport, you learn that that advice really is one of the best pieces of advice you can get. Just be patient, trust the process, trust that you're going in the right direction. I always use the phrase to my athletes that Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't expect to run 26 miles tomorrow. We're going to get there. We're going to build you up gradually. Patience and trust in the process is key."

Previous Runners profiles:

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Runners: Lisa Barefoot
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Runners: Chris Elliott
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