Tattoo anatomy: European Beer Mile record holder bares all

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Tattoo anatomy: European Beer Mile record holder bares all

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Find out the stories behind the skin art of the most heavily-tattooed man in British middle-distance running – and the new European record holder for the Beer Mile (watch his meticulous pre-race preparations) – Dale King-Clutterbuck

I’ve got two sleeves, one is done and the other nearly finished. One of them is all an old London theme because I’ve always been very obsessed with that era – mainly because of the funny stories that my family told me.

My grandad an uncles are Cockneys and were bit naughty back in the day. Some of their stories are hilarious. I think that must be why they all moved from Hackney and then Stratford, east London to Essex to try and keep out of trouble. I think the way they are rubbed off on me a bit as I was growing up because I really did look up to them. But my mum is a very smart and by the book woman, who had top jobs in the City and would clip me around the ear when I was getting up to no good.

It was my PE teacher Mr Brandon who got me in to running, so they were the two people that had their hands full keeping me on the right path growing up.

Other tattoos I have are a lion with a crown on my leg to symbolise the family name on my mum’s side, which is King and has recently been joined to mine: Dale King-Clutterbuck. I have Mexican candy skulls with patterns on my legs for no other reason than I just have a thing about skulls. I also have a boat on my leg because my grandad, Micky King, was an idol to me and always had big boats on Canvey Island. I’m also from Canvey Island, Essex, so it’s just a way of remembering how funny he was.

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Moving back up, I have a big clock on my chest as I used to be a bit of a ticking time bomb growing up. I’ve matured and learned how to control that side of me now whereas in the past I could lose my temper. Now I’m so much calmer, rational and diplomatic.

I still have that switch inside me but it will take some real doing to turn it on these days. I had to grow up basically and stop being a bull in a china shop. The pivotal moment was when I read Vinnie Jones autobiography and he said that Guy Ritchie said something like, ‘Vinnie, everyone has a devil on their shoulder and it’s like a dog, and you’ve got to keep it in its kennel’.

To me, it was the best analogy ever and so relatable, so I took it on board and worked out how to keep my dog in its kennel.

Follow Dale on Twitter: @KingClutts
Feature image from Matt Yates