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The accountant - Issue 1 of 2021

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  • 29 Mar 2021 09:00 | Anonymous

    The Accountant – Issue 1 of 2021 (MIA Publication)

    The Accountant catches up with professional accountant and avid runner Simon Spiteri.

    What is your training routine?
    A typical training week involves 130 to 140km of running. Besides running, my training routine also involves bi-weekly core workouts and cross-training which usually consists of cycling in winter and swimming in the summer months. The training is usually split over 10 sessions from Monday to Sunday, comprising two ‘quality’/ ‘hard’ workouts during the week and a long run of approximately 20-25km on Sunday morning.

    What was your greatest success so far?
    Running is about breaking mental barriers. Breaking the four-minute barrier in the 1500m was for me a big mental barrier which made me become a stronger athlete both mentally and physically. I had been chasing this goal for several years, so when I finally managed to make it amongst the ten fastest times registered by a Maltese athlete in such an event, it became a personal success and a memorable experience which I look back on with satisfaction.

    What’s your biggest challenge?
    Early sessions in the morning especially when it is cold outside.

    What’s your greatest desire for this year?
    COVID-19 has restricted racing, especially abroad so the focus right now is on building a solid base of training so that when international races resume, I will be in the best shape to perform. Should the travel restrictions be eased in the second half of 2021, my goals are to qualify for the ‘Championships of the Small States of Europe’ in San Marino, and the ‘World Mountain & Trail Running Championships’ in Thailand.

    What is your long-term goal in the sport?
    The ‘Games of the Small States of Europe’ in 2023, which are being held on home soil. I still have vivid memories of watching the 2003 GSSE games from the stands when they were held in Malta. From that day onwards, the GSSE games became a personal obsession and a dream in my running career. Unfortunately, due to some personal setbacks I have never had the opportunity to qualify for these games, but the 2023 edition is a great motivator to realise my goal of representing Malta.

    How do you strike work-life balance to juggle your career as an accountant whilst keeping your commitment to the sport?
    Balance is important in whatever you do. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to balance work, training and a social life. I try to wake up early in the morning and get my training done before work so I can be more flexible in the evenings, where I can either catch up with work or spend time with my girlfriend and family.

    Flexibility is also key to finding the right balance between life and work. In that aspect, I must say that I get a lot of support from my current employer (Epic Communications Ltd). Flexible working hours allow me to juggle my training plan, sometimes starting work early in order to put in a long session in the evening or the other way round.

    Is it a widely practiced sport in Malta? Is it growing in popularity?
    After football, I believe that athletics and running in general are the most practised sports in Malta. In recent years we have seen an increase in running not only as a competitive sport but also as a way to a healthy lifestyle. If one takes the Malta Marathon as an example, which is the most popular running event on the island, in 2020, we had over 1,700 Maltese runners taking part in either the half marathon or the full marathon. If one looks just 10 years back, in 2010, we had 50% of the 2020 runners taking part in the two events.

    Although I believe we are still behind other European countries, a shift in mentality amongst the Maltese can be observed as more people are taking up sport as a way of life to keep fit and healthy. If one drives down to Ta’ Qali or Sliema promenade on a Sunday morning one would see a good number of people walking, running, cycling or practicing other types of sport.

    Do you see a parallel between sport and your profession?
    Yes, running helped me not just become physically fit but also mentally stronger. I believe that running and sports in general helps to train one’s mind. Two aspects that I apply in my profession, and which running has helped, are tenacity and self-confidence. I believe that running helps me cope with failure or rather, difficulties, and to refuse to give up when obstacles crop up in my daily work.

    One secret running tip that you think everyone should know...
    Double knot your shoe laces and pass it underneath the lace cage, and you will never have to stop to tie your laces whilst running.

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