Tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you been in Brighton and what do you like about living here?
I was born and raised in Hove but now live in Worthing. I spent most of my life in Sussex but have spent 10 (non-consecutive) years travelling and living abroad. Now I’m back, I love being nestled between the South Downs and the sea. Brighton is such a cool city to be close to. It is diverse, unique and vibrant and there is always something exciting to be doing. There are always good views on a long run as well.
How long have you been running, and what is it about running that you enjoy?
I remember joining a lunchtime running club at school and one day just couldn’t stop running. The teacher had to physically restrain me, as I loved the freedom of it and refused to stop. Once they realised I enjoyed distance running, I was encouraged to do all the 800 metres, 1500 metres and cross country run for the school and have run independently or as part of a team ever since.
I often find I can get into a meditative state when running and it really clears my mind. I also have some really creative ideas when running too. It is as good for my mind as it is my body. It is also a great stress reliever!
What made you decide to join Frontrunners and how did you hear about the club?
I wanted to join Frontrunners when I first heard abut them in 2019. However, I was reluctant because the I found the idea of meeting a group of gay men daunting (primarily due to my own insecurities). Then 2020 happened and I didn’t give it much thought until 2021. I saw a Frontrunner Facebook story and recognised one of the faces from Grindr who lived in Worthing! I reached out to him to discuss running and after a few runs together, I went with him to my first Front Runners training session and could not have been more wrong about finding the team daunting. I found each and every member to be kind, open minded, considered, friendly and welcoming. I absolutely love going to training each week and this is the most social running club I have ever been a part of. It’s fantastic.
Have you run any races before? Have you signed up for any upcoming events and what are your goals?
I never ran a marathon before joining Frontrunners and last year I entered and completed the Brighton Marathon in a respectable time. I said once was enough but now am in the ballot for the London marathon and will be doing the Brighton Trail marathon as well. As my running is improving and I am becoming more accustomed to the enjoyment of distance running, my goal for this year will be to run my first official ultra-marathon. I also want to achieve a park run in under 19 minutes. My PB (since joining Frontrunners) is 19.06, so it is within reach!
How did the COVID-19 lockdowns affect you and your motivation to run?
In 2020 I suffered with a mental breakdown. I lost my job and my fiancé and nearly lost my home. Partly because of the isolation, due to some PTSD and partly because I drank too much to deal with the isolation and PTSD! I gave up drinking for good and focused on exercise. Running became a beacon for my recovery and has become my new addiction ever since. One I won’t be giving up anytime soon! The endorphins I get from running really help my mental health and I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally for doing it.
Why do you enjoy being a Frontrunner?
I enjoy it for the running, for the social aspect and the camaraderie. I enjoy being around likeminded individuals who support each other and accept each other without prejudice or judgement. It is also a lot of fun and motivational being around other runners who want to improve themselves and encourage the improvement of others. I feel like I’ve found my tribe with this team and am proud to wear the purple jersey and be known as a Brighton & Hove Frontrunner.