Out of office – Chris Barrow from marathon running to cycling

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Marathon running, cycling and travelling, this week we hear from one of dentistry’s most physically active people – Chris Barrow.

Please introduce yourself

Chris Barrow – dental business coach since 1996.

What do you get up to in your spare time away from dentistry?

I’ve been a committed runner since 1978 (35 marathons under my belt) and occasional cyclist. So I’d say that my #1 love outside of work is exercise.

As I’m getting older, there is a steady transition away from the distance running due to quite a few niggling injuries I’ve picked up in recent years. The cycling has been the saving grace in that respect.

In 2018 I really did enjoy Lands End to John O’Groats. And, COVID-willing, plan to reverse the journey in 2021 with my friend Sheila Scott.

Investing in a Wattbike in 2019 was hugely beneficial during lockdown and throughout 2020.

#2 love is reading good literature – history, natural history, science fiction, science fantasy, historical fiction – and the occasional business book.

#3 – I do love a good box set.

Are you a foodie? Why and what particular food do you go for?

Can’t cook, won’t cook (honestly – I’m useless). But I do love my food and drink. And thank God I’m married to a naturally talented person in that respect.

We both enjoy a multitude of dishes. Another COVID phenomenon was the decision to subscribe to Hello Fresh midweek. One of the highlights of a challenging year.

Are you into any sport? If so what sport and why did you get into it in the first place?

First things first – I was totally rubbish at school sport. I was the lad left standing against the wall when picking the sides.

It became a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more I didn’t get chosen, the worse I became when the game started. It was usually football but I flailed and failed at most sports.

Much later I started to ‘have a go’ when I was in an environment where the ridicule stopped. Eventually I played five-a-side goalkeeper for many years in my 20s (sometimes being shorter helps) and squash and volleyball to a pretty good standard in my 30s.

What type of television/movies do you like – any guilty pleasures?

As stated – a good box set doesn’t go amiss. Streaming TV has accelerated the evolution of excellent drama of all types.

My working life is spent ‘on stage’. So my private life is based largely around our home and immediate family. I simply don’t have a social circle outside of dentistry.

An eclectic taste for drama and the guilty pleasure is a weekend evening on the sofa with a good glass or two of red wine and the inevitable question: ‘Shall we watch another one?’ because there is no alarm call the next day.

Do you like to travel and do your hobbies take you anywhere in particular?

Pre-COVID I spent four days a week living out of a suitcase. Although I miss the human interaction, I don’t miss the transport or the hotels.

Equally, I enjoyed the opportunity to work overseas in the last 10 years. I’ve enjoyed seeing India, South Africa and Australia from that perspective and making many new friends.

Even so – Annie and I like to travel and I have always invested time and money in regular trips abroad for rest and recreation.

High on our list are the Greek Ionian Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Northumberland coastline and Scotland.

Why is it important to have hobbies away from dentistry?

In my case that should read ‘away from coaching’ and the answers are obvious. I’ve met plenty of workaholics over the years and have noticed that, no matter how big the list of achievements or the pile of money, they are usually still searching for something that is missing.

The rest of us know what that is.

I was once asked: ‘What was your best ever business decision?’ My answer in 1996 – the decision to take 12 weeks vacation every year for the rest of my working life.


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