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Crystal Palace businessman, Glen Keegan, has just run his 100th marathon and has a dedication to make: ‘This 100 Club medal is for all my wonderful clients, colleagues and family, who’ve ribbed and supported me in equal measure over the past 12 years of running. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through all the hard yards.’

DOING THE HARD YARDS f you’re up and about early enough, you might see Glen running into work at Words & Pictures, the creative design and print business in Stoney Lane he has owned and managed for the past 20 years. The dawn pavement pounding is part of a punishing up-to-50miles-a-week training schedule. ‘It has to fit around a lot of other demands – I’ve got three daughters to look after and a busy business to run,’ he says. ‘My wife works shifts as a midwife and it’s usually me in the kitchen of an evening, so I do a lot of my running very early.’ The marathon madness began at the age of 40. A dream Glen had always had, he knew it was now or never. After some serious training he ran his first marathon in Dublin in 2004. Glen acknowledges that a mid-life crisis may have created the initial urge to run, but after the first one, he was hooked: ‘Next thing I knew I’d completed 10 marathons and haven’t stopped since.’ Longer distances then started to appeal (like nonstop from Birmingham to London, even across the Namibian Desert). At Tooting Bec track Glen clocked up 110+ miles during a 24-hr ‘ultra run’, his dad supplying drinks and yoghurts to keep energy levels up. After that one ‘it was two weeks before I could get my trainers back on again …’. At the end of May, Glen joined the elite 100 Marathon Club after completing the Kent Road Runner Marathon. Just like the first time, his wife and daughters were there to cheer him over the line. So, is that it now? Er, no. ‘I run with people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. There’s a great feeling of camaraderie and I want to be part of



that for as long as I can,’ says Glen. ‘Every marathon there are people running the 26 miles for the first time. The look on their faces at the end is still a thrill. Anyone can do it, you just need to believe.’ Words & Pictures has been in Crystal Palace since 1981, initially in Church Road, then Westow Street, before moving to Stoney Lane in 2014. Clients include big names like Penguin and Random House: chances are that book advert you saw recently was designed by Glen and his team. As well as creating business cards and stationery for big cheese clients, Words & Pictures also serves us locals and is very much at the heart of Crystal Palace’s creative and business community, providing much of the artwork for the annual Crystal Palace festival. Turns out running a business and running a marathon have a lot in common: tough times are always hard but knowing that you’re surrounded by a great team is what gets you through. ‘We have a laugh, we keep each other going,’ smiles Glen. Of course design and print has been revolutionised since the early 80s (remember Letraset, people?) and there’s a world of possibility in the industry now everything is digital. ‘Crystal Palace too has been transformed,’ says Glen, ‘and with rents rising it can be a struggle for local businesses. But there’s a real buzz here, and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.’ Words & Pictures Ltd 8 Stoney Lane SE19 3BD

The Transmitter Issue 40  

A South London Magazine

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