- Tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you been in Brighton and what do you like about living here?
Hello, I’m Brandon, I’m 30 and work in Tech Education. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, I lived in London for 4.5 years and like many others in the Club heard the siren call and made the pink migration down to Brighton during Covid times. Whilst the beach and creative city vibe was a big drawcard for living in Brighton it is the small similarities to Melbourne (pace and a bit of the weather) and being able to walk (or run) everywhere as well as the people I’ve met that have made me enjoy living here the most.
- How long have you been running, and what is it about running that you enjoy?
Sports are a crazy big thing when growing up in Australia so I’ve always dabbled in running around in some capacity since I was a kid through Cross Country, Track, Basketball, Netball and Cheerleading, though never actively trying to run a great deal. I tried a little bit in the first lockdown with my housemate as a way for us to get out, but nothing really ever stuck until I joined the club and started running in April 2021. I enjoy the variety that running can bring, from long distance, short, fast, slow, with people or alone. I enjoy trying to be a bit of a running generalist and aim to try all things. Though running with people for a half-marathon distance at a Brighton Sunset would have to be when I enjoy it the most. Even more so if it’s hot enough for a swim afterwards.
- What made you decide to join Frontrunners and how did you hear about the club?
Let’s just say it was definitely a choice to move to a city and live alone when I knew nobody and couldn’t meet with people during Covid. I did a Google search and learned about the club and then one night a member of the Club on Grindr told me about it. Work got a little busy and Covid got a bit intense as Clubs were not able to meet so I kind of chickened out.
Though after a pretty dark Winter for my mental health I made the choice out of necessity so I could meet people to socialise as a first priority through running and getting fitter a close second. After weeks of stalking Instagram, I plucked up the courage and from the first session because everyone was so welcoming and great I kept going. Though after my first run with the club I couldn’t walk for a week and then the second week it was the end of the Winter race series where I struggled to complete 5kms by only being able to do 2.5kms. I’ve improved a lot and it’s all thanks to everyone at the club for being so supportive.
- Have you run any races before? Have you signed up for any upcoming events and what are your goals?
My first official race was the Phoenix 10km in July 21 and since then I’ve done the London Pride Run 10km, Brighton Marathon 10km, the Brighton Half Marathon and then last month I did my First Marathon in Brighton. I did a Mothers day Charity run in Melbourne and so far for this year have the Royal Half Parks, another Phoenix 10km and the Rainbow Run.
My goal was to do the Marathon before my 30th, now that I’ve done that I want to focus on improving my overall fitness and strength so I can get another sub <20 5km and improve my overall times. In the back of my mind, the whisper of doing another marathon is in my ears. Maybe in London or Paris.
- How did the COVID-19 lockdowns affect you and your motivation to run?
Like many others, the lockdown was very tough on one’s mental health. However, the lockdowns eventually paved the way for me to focus on my health and gave me a path to start focussing on running. While Covid was pretty horrific I’m so glad it’s brought me to running.
- Why do you enjoy being a Frontrunner?
With no real representation and no role models, I often shied away from playing sports or being active as these environments just didn’t feel safe in Australia as sports are very much tied to very toxic masculine ideals and more often than not homophobic environments. It’s the contrast of being a Frontrunner that I enjoy the most as it means that aside from the wonderful people I’ve met and become very close friends with, I enjoy it because after all the travelling I’ve done, isolations and lessons learned it feels really great to just belong in a place with like-minded individuals to just be somewhere without any artifice or agenda and just be there to have a good time, learn from each other and just run.
- Are there any resources or things you’d recommend to any new or current runners?