Dark Horses



Over on The Woman Mail, Simon talks about running ultra marathons across the South Downs, growing up in Germany and following Spurs.

1. What are your sporting passions?

I’m a hugely passionate sports fan. My first love is football – following Tottenham Hotspur over land and sea – and after that rugby union, cricket and rugby league.

Having said that, discovering new sports is a pleasure in itself: for instance, I’ve recently got into Formula E and am fascinated by the way they’re creating that whole world from scratch.

2. How did you first get into sport?

From as early as I can remember I played football. I was fortunate enough to spend six years growing up in Germany, as my dad was posted there by the army, which gave me a very good schooling in the beautiful game.

3. Do you also participate in sport?

I’ve always played football and cricket. Then in the last few years I’ve found myself getting into running. In fact, I ran my first ultra marathon at the start of the summer, the Race to the King, 54 miles across the South Downs.

It was a gruelling event in blistering heat but I survived to tell the tale and can just about contemplate another one. That’s one of the great things about sport: the opportunity to test yourself and set new targets all the time.

4. What is your most cherished sporting memory?

My first north London derby at Highbury in 1984, aged eight. We lost. But I was hooked.

5. And your greatest hope in sport?

That the brands and rights holders in sport put the fan first. A worrying trend of late is that fans are an afterthought. In the business I am in, I’m in a fortunate position to try and influence this.

6. If you could change one thing about sport, what would it be?

It would be ensuring that all children all over the world have access to facilities and the encouragement needed to play sport. I couldn’t imagine a childhood without sport but too many kids are growing up without the incredible benefits it brings.

All the glitz and glamour of the big occasions are for nothing if we don’t bring the next generation through.

Graeme Rutherford