When did your love for running begin?
It’s funny, I ran on and off when I was younger but never really loved it. I wonder if things would have been different if the profile was the same as it is today, with parkrun UK, and so many events around. I ran my first couple of races without a lot of training, as personal fitness tests – I didn’t love running.
In 2009 I ran my third half marathon and realised how unfit I had become – I decided to take up running at this point. Over the next couple of years I worked hard improving my 10k and half marathon times, and I loved the thrill of the PB. I was loving running.
However, injuries struck and I started to fall out of love and, with children, my training and ability to run changed and I slowly stopped enjoying it. Previously, I had loved hitting PB’s, so without this running just didn’t feel the same.
I took up pacing in 2013 and in 2014 I paced London Marathon for the first time. This really was the moment I started to love running. It didn’t matter about my PB’s, as I’ve helped thousands of people achieve theirs, and join them on their journey.
You ran your first London Marathon dressed as a rhino (for Save the Rhinos charity) – how was that?
At the time it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but it was amazing! I had been trying to get into London for years and, with no luck, I bit the bullet and entered for charity. I decided to raise money for Save the Rhino and they introduced me to the idea of the rhino costume. I love a challenge, so once I knew about the costume there was no way I would be doing it without.
You’ve ran over 50 marathons across the globe – what’s been your favourite city to run in?
For me, it’s always London. I ran my first marathon in London. I got my PB at London. London was the first marathon I paced. The support is fantastic and not rivaled. Chicago comes very close for support and I have New York coming, but London holds such a special place in my heart that it will never be beaten as my favourite.
What events have you run this year?
So many events to list! With 10 marathons, a double marathon, an Ironman and a handful of half and 10k events. On top of this I have paced 16 events, with 2 more to go.
What’s been a personal highlight?
There have been a few highlights for me…first of all pacing 10 marathons, including London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. Pacing four World Majors was very special and something I’m really proud of. I have also paced Paris, Amsterdam, Limassol, Liverpool, Manchester and Richmond.
I also completed my 4th Ironman in Ironman Vichy, a personal challenge to push my body to the limit.
How is life as a pacer?
I absolutely love pacing and I love spending time with runners to help them to hit their targets. I’ve experience lots of races, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! I personally care about peoples experience and it means so much to me to get it right. So I am always very nervous and I work so hard to keep my pace accurate and be vocal – to try and remove stress from others.
I have also paced lots of events – which is great, but it comes at a cost. Travelling around the country (and the world) is not cheap! So, although I don’t pay for a race entry, I spend a lot of money on travel and accommodation and will often make sacrifices to be able to afford to do this. I just love those four hours running with a group of runners and helping them hit their goal.
I get asked about pacing all the time, so I created this blog:
Just remember it’s not your race! It’s for the people around you. So I do everything I can to make it a great experience – from the brief at the start, to encouraging throughout, and importantly keeping a steady consistent pace.
Where has it taken you?
All over the country and world wide. I’ve paced in Limassol, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Porto, Chicago and New York.
What’s the plan for 2020 (so far)?
So far much of the same…I always like going to the same good marathons, such as: Limassol, Manchester, Liverpool, Berlin. I really hope to be back at London too and hope to pace London Marathon every year until I can’t run any more! I have been invited to go to Chicago again and I have been invited to numerous other international events – but it is a balance. I need to ensure its affordable, so the reality is that I’ve had two big years and I can’t run them all. Physically I can, logistically I could do my best, financially I have to be sensible. I’ve also booked my 5th Ironman.
You’re a fantastic iTAB advocate (thank you! ) – what is it you love about the iTAB?
Thank you so much. I love displaying my times on my medals, especially for the marathons I pace or key achievements. I know iTAB do inserts for many medals – which is great, but I love having them on the ribbon so they can be displayed for all to see.
Where do you keep all your medals?
At the moment it’s in transition. I have a number of hangers in a hallway, but I have a box full of medals that don’t fit and I’m not going to keep putting them on the wall. I have a cabin in the garden, so when I find time I will put up some poles in there. I have the idea in my head and I cant wait to organise and sort them out – it’s going to look amazing!