The couples interviewed will each have a set of questions sent to them and the answers sent back to me separately – this will allow me to see how aligned they are with their responses 🤯…
Couple in the interview spotlight
Alex (A),32, Marketing Manager and Xavier (X), 35, Interim Corporate Venturing Consultant (E) Editor
How did you both meet?
(A) We met ‘serendipitously’ on a dating app
(X) Via a dating app
How long have you been together?
(A & X) Just over 3 years
How was it doing this as a date idea instead of, say, drinks at the pub?
(A) It was great for a number of reasons; we are always looking for more interesting and exciting ways to spend our time. It’s not to say there isn’t a place for drinks at the pub [ (E) yes true, love a good pub night out too as well!] but life is all about living and you need variety to feel like there is freshness in everyday. Secondly, doing sport for a date is a fantastic way to feel like you are sharing a common goal and also the endorphins released make for a much more exciting high than the two gin and tonics!
(X) No day can properly represent a relationship. Instead this date idea simply continues to reinforce what we value as a couple, which is in part being humble, being able to have fun under any conditions (including a 10k rain run on Valentine’s night), doing things that keep us engaged, and doing it together – with and for each other.
Do you train together, and why do you or don’t you?
(A) Not as usual – we often focus on different sports and my schedule means I like getting out to run super early when Xavier is still in bed. That said, it makes it more special when we do exercise together.
(X) Bit of both, probably mostly apart. To compensate for the physical variance between her and I, I tend to run slightly faster so I’m the one wearing a 10kg vest; but it does mean that sometimes I really struggle to keep up which creates a great dynamic.
Did you discuss how you would run the race (eg. same pace, no discussion) or did you instinctively run it together at a pace you were both comfortable with whilst out there?
(A) I cannot remember 100% but believe we decided to run together (we started late) and kept a slow and steady pace. Xavier did ask if we should ‘go strong’ at the end and we sprinted the last part together.
(X) We swapped ideas on what to wear before the race began but nothing too strategic; the objective was to do it and let the exercise act as a sort of active meditation.
Like many runs, you find yourself holding on to thoughts or emotions you don’t mean to be holding on to, so you process them and move on to freeing up your mind-space a bit more. Running is great way to do this as it involves your breathing and can put you in an endurance mindset.
At difficult times, how have you supported each other?
(A)We are still learning how to better support each other, hopefully we will never stop trying to better understand ourselves so we can be their rock when needed. At its simplest this can involve simply baking some banana bread and sitting down for a cup of tea together! [ (E) love this! Bit of cake and tea!☕]
(X) After 3 years, I guess a lot can get done without talking 🙂 so really we non-verbally kept the pace above our comfort zone and made sure to not miss out on opportunities to have fun like engaging with the very energetic stewards, skipping past puddles and really sprinting on the last 2 to 300 metres. [ (E) He must have thought I was talking about difficult times during the race and not in his relationship. Doh! Should have said ‘in difficult times’]
What are the positives about your partner?
(A) He’s wonderfully unique, fantastically determined, and awesomely intelligent and makes me want to be the best version of me.
(X) I’m very grateful to have noticed such wonder when I did; and to still treasure it as I do.
What’s a piece of advice you would give about relationships to others?
(A) Life is not a contest with other people. Always strive to be the best possible version of yourself first and all your relationships (romantic, personal, professional) will be more profuse.
(X) I don’t know that there is such a thing given how specific each scenario is but what I would say is that as much as you might learn over time about who you are and how to behave in a relationship; there are the fundamentals and general principles that you can be lucky enough to stumble across or get inspired to live by but as the saying goes ‘you can make a good living out of a formal education but you can only really make a fortune through self-education’ so I would rather try to act, think and do as best as I have figured out; I am a firm believer that nothing beats the strength, beauty and fun that comes from living authentically even if you find yourself believing what you believe strongly because you have supporting arguments that validate your thinking, but if new insights come in that indicate you should revisit that validation and without feeling that you are going against yourself just because you’ve evolved to see a more fitting perspective. I guess it’s the consequence of inductive thinking whereby you can be sure of something but not 100.00% sure. [ (E) Going off on a tangent I feel but had to include as there’s some good spiel in here!]
(E) I love how even though it was a race (one that involved a downpour of rain!); they stayed together and finished strong as I saw at the finishing line. From their answers, they‘re very in tune with one another and support each other. Xavier seems like a deep thinker and Alex I think takes him out of that depth so that they can enjoy life’s simple things together too! Hearing that being the best possible version of yourself in a relationship is by far something everyone should consider doing in my opinion but also being able to show your worst side and knowing your partner is still there for you no matter what, really shows how strong a couple can be 💪🏋️♀️