Tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you been in Brighton and what do you like about living here?

I’m Tommy, I’m 43 and I work as a vet. I’ve lived in Sussex for 17 years. I don’t live in Brighton but travel in from the sticks for running.

How long have you been running, and what is it about running that you enjoy?

I started running just over a year ago as a friend asked me to run a half marathon with her. She then broke her toe, so it turned into a solo effort! My first real training happened over the winter, with long trail runs in the mud and often rain. It was a bit of a grind! I enjoyed it, though and once I’d run my race (the weekend before I went into lockdown) I realised I needed to keep going.

What made you decide to join Frontrunners and how did you hear about the club?

I joined in September 2020, after the first and before the second COVID lockdown. I’d been running in the summer as part of my keeping-sane routine. I’d heard about London Frontrunners and was really pleased to hear there was one nearby. The officers were really welcoming when I made contact.

Have you run any races before? Have you signed up for any upcoming events and what are your goals?

I ran with the club at a trail event in Plumpton over 16.9 kilometres and had a brilliant time; it was hard, but the views, banter and cakes were magnificent. This coming year I’m signed up for the Plumpton and Brighton Half marathons. I ran the Cambridge Half in March 2020 and got in in just under 2 hours, albeit with a lot of pain! I want to get it down to below 1h 45. I’m looking around for picturesque 10k runs. I’m really looking forward to a bit of running tourism, visiting UK and European cities for races.

How have you managed to stay motivated during recent lockdowns and have you participated in any Frontrunners or other online challenges?

Running got me through both lockdowns. Solitary runs got me out of the house in the spring and summer – running near home in the countryside in the week and then when we could travel on the Downs at the weekend. It was great to be away from my computer and in nature. By the second lockdown I was with Frontrunners and really enjoyed the buddy system of running with one other member of the club. It was so nice to talk to a new person every week and a long run gives you lots of time get to know them.

I got stuck into the 12 days of Christmas challenge, resurrecting my singing voice (never to be repeated!). It was great seeing everyone taking part on whatsApp.

Why do you enjoy being a Frontrunner?

The club is really friendly and there’s a big variety of people – I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. I’d worried about being out of my depth or feeling pressure to perform, but there’s none of that. My running has improved, especially over longer distances. I really like the combination of structured training on club nights and longer runs at the weekend. Even during lockdown the Zoom strength training sessions are a pleasure (sort of – ouch!).