Marathon Talk Episode 23: Tom Williams, parkrun COO

Long-time Marathon Talk listeners will be treated to a familiar voice this week, with the welcome return of former co-host: the wonderful Tom Williams!

Tom joins Deena to guest host an episode packed with news from around the marathon world. We have the announcement of the elite field for the forthcoming Bank of America Chicago Marathon, news from the US Olympic Trials in Orlando, and Tom shares with us some grand race plans of his own.

And in a throwback to times gone by, Tom then also stars in our interview section, where he joins forces once again with Martin to discuss parkrun’s landmark achievements, the value of volunteers, and majors aspirations.

Listen on





In this episode of Marathon Talk:

  • 0:00 - Starting the show with a focus on Tom’s major impact on the global running community, and his time-pressured race plans
  • 9:20 - Wrapping up the biggest stories, from the continued wait for Kiptum vs Kipchoge, to the sweat-inducing start time announcement for the US Olympic Trials
  • 22:40 - The long-awaited reunion for Martin and Tom, as the former Co-Hosting pair cover the parkrun landscape, huge global milestones, and Tom’s lessons & moments of pride in his accomplishments

Episode keywords

Marathon talk, abbott world marathon majors, marathon running, distance running, endurance marathon, marathon training, endurance training, london marathon, berlin marathon, boston marathon, chicago marathon, tokyo marathon, new york marathon, six star finisher, parkrun, tom williams,

Episode highlights

“These are real world problems for everybody, trying to stick with their training program while they travel, work and manage their family. There's just so much to balance or integrate as we make sure that all of our passions and pastimes are touched upon.” - 5:45 - Deena Kastor 

“Kipchoge is like the ultimate athlete really, you feel like he can win anywhere. He's confident, there's no weakness, but he and Kiptum aren’t about to race so we're getting ahead of ourselves a little bit here.” - 10:15 - Tom Williams

“The selection process in the United States, because of our trial system, they have to be ready for an A+ marathon twice in a very short amount of time. Whereas a selection process, although it can get political, really gives athletes time to focus on that one major race; the Olympics.” - 19:50 - Deena Kastor 

“It's been quite a journey. This is my 13th year working for parkrun, and pre-COVID we were up to about 400,000 people taking part a week.” - 29:50 - Tom Williams

“Volunteering is so life changing. We had no idea, and we completely u-turned on it quite a few years ago, and we actually started engineering in more volunteer roles.” - 35:00 - Tom Williams

“If I hadn't done any, I'd do London or New York. They're both incredible. I’ve done London probably 10 or 11 times. It's just amazing. New York was just amazing too.” - 45:30 - Tom Williams

Links & references

Abbott World Marathon Majors

Martin Yelling

Deena Kastor


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