Hi Stephen, tell us a bit about yourself?
Originally from Nottingham, after spending some time up in Leeds and then living in Australia for a little while, I eventually moved down to London 5 years ago.
I’m a Digital Project Manager for a charity, 9-time marathoner, triathlete, running coach and Captain of LDN Brunch Club in my ‘spare’ time.
Why did you start running?
I only really started running when I moved to London. Initially, it was to get a better idea and understanding of my new surroundings and a low-cost way to keep fit. After a while of running around Hackney and East London, I eventually started to run-commute to and from work. From there, I started running with a number of different running crews and clubs across London.
When did you run your first marathon? What made you sign up?
When I entered my first marathon, the 2014 Paris marathon, it was really just for the personal challenge. I never really considered myself as a long distance runner and generally always fared better performance-wise at shorter distances (this is still the case). Combining a marathon with a trip to Paris was an added incentive. I actually didn’t enjoy that first marathon at all but, it did give me a good starting point to then build on and a time to try and improve on.
Can you tell us a bit more about the LDN Brunch Club?
LDN Brunch Club was established in summer 2014, as a group of friends training for half marathons and marathons got together each week to run and socialise with a post-run brunch. With an increase in the popularity of non-traditional running clubs, our community of like-minded people grew steadily over a number of months. Three years on, we now have 60+ club members and partnerships with a number of restaurants and organisations across London.
How is LDN Brunch Club apart from other running clubs/communities in London?
LDN Brunch Club hosts members only runs every Sunday morning from Department of Coffee and Social Affairs and regularly host open sessions for non-members including Run & Yoga (in collaboration with Fat Buddha Yoga) and Run & Brunch in collaboration with some of our restaurant partners.
Our aim is to inspire and promote a healthy balance between fitness, diet and busy London life.
What motivates you to run now?
My motivation hasn’t really changed since I started. Running is still my favourite way to explore the city and still is a great way to keep fit.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some great people through running over the years. Training and running with others, combining my other loves of travel and food have kept the interest going.
Why are you running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon?
I remember going down near Tower Bridge to watch the marathon when I first moved down to London. From that point and from when I started running myself, London Marathon is always a highlight in the calendar. The whole city comes out to support and it’s the one time of the year it’s acceptable to speak to strangers on the tube.
This will be my third time running London and although I’m not racing for a time this year, I’m expecting there to be a huge amount of buzz around this year’s event with Olympic champions Eliud Kipchoge and Sir Mo Farah taking part.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start running for the first time?
Start easy and build gradually. I think a lot of people think running is about pushing yourself as much as you can for as long as you can. Find a comfortable pace for you, don’t worry about what other people are doing, and stick to that for a couple of runs a week. After a few weeks go a little further, go a little faster or add in an extra run, don’t try and do everything in one go. It takes time. Make sure a good warm up and stretching post run are also part of your routine.
If you can run with friends, you’ll find it much easier to commit and find the run much more enjoyable.
Can you tell us a bit about the running clubs this spring with Holiday Inn?
Building on our aim to inspire, the collaboration with IHG and Holiday Inn was a great way for us to be able to bring what we do to more people and to help give a little support to those training towards London Marathon this year.