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iTAB Star, July 2022

Bryony Seabrook from Norfolk, UK.

“The Cheapest antidepressant and drug you can probably get!”

iTAB Star Bryony Seabrook has channeled her grief of child loss and miscarriage into running. Since starting out she’s not only completed race events like the London Marathon, she’s also raised a whopping £46,000 for Tommy’s along the way.

‘Getting out there. Freedom. Silence. And the wind and the fresh air in my face.’

Bryony, on the best thing about running.

Hey Bryony!

Hey iTAB!

So, why do you run?

I started reading after we lost our firstborn son Dylan. He was still born in 2012. And I started running as a way to channel my grief, I suppose a bit of a healthier way than all the alternatives. I’ve kind of not stopped since and we’re 10 years down the line and I’ve done numerous races and half marathons and it basically is the cheapest antidepressant and drug you can probably get out there and it makes me feel great. I love it. I absolutely love it.

Who do you run for and how much money have you raised?

I run for charity called Tommy’s, they exist to help save babies’ lives. They research baby loss and we have raised nearly £46,000 in 10 years. My target for the next year or so is getting to £50,000.

Best thing about running?

Getting out there. Freedom. Silence. And the wind and the fresh air in my face.

Best run ever?

It’s not a hard one, the London Marathon. That’s one of the best days of my life.

You finish your run. You look at your GPS watch, and it reads 4.9k. Do you stop running or do you run and round it up?

Absolutely! Run around the close, run past my house three times, do anything to make it that even number.

What are the benefits of running for you?

For me personally, running is probably the only time I get me for myself. I’m not particularly good at doing things for myself, not for my family or fundraising. It’s my own time. It’s my headspace. It allows me time away from the screen, away from working.

How does running make you feel?

I feel a bit invincible. The thing I always say with running is it’s never the hardest thing that I’ve done. You know, we’ve lost our son and two other babies went to soon of ours, so my point is how much it hurts. It’s still not the hardest thing that I am doing. It makes me feel strong.

What’s your greatest running achievement?

It absolutely has to be the London Marathon. I never in a million years dreamt that I could run 26.2 miles, and I genuinely didn’t stop running. I didn’t walk a single mile of that course. However, I would also say my first half marathon which was the Great North Run in 2013, because it was kind of my first race, my first big thing. What a feeling! if that feeling after that race could be sold, the world would be an amazing place.

When you get tired what stops you from quitting?

The one thing that drives me is my son Dylan. He’s the reason why I’m doing it. The fundraising drives me on, the knowing that me doing a really hard race, or a really hard run, might save one family from perhaps going through what we have, there’s no bigger driver than that.

What’s that feeling like when you cross the finish line?

Euphoric, I think. Absolutely on top of the world. In those few seconds as you cross the line, particularly if you’re in a race like Landmarks or the Great North Run, and the crowds are crazy. My goodness, those seconds as you cross the finish line are kind of a weird mix – so emotional, so joyous, you didn’t know that those two things could go together at the same time. Even just thinking about it gives me the tingles!

How important is the running medal?

So important. I cannot stress how important that is. I don’t need a finishers T-shirt, I need the medal.

‘Euphoric. Absolutely on top of the world! Even just thinking about it gives me the tingles!’

Bryony, on the feeling of finishing the Great North Run.

What makes for a good medal?

I’m looking for it to be different and for something to show what the race was, or perhaps what location it’s in. My favourite is always going to be the London Landmarks Half Marathon because they’re always so different. There’s Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s, you can’t better them. They’re fantastic!

How does it feel to put that medal round your neck? 

It’s feeling the weight of that medal. You’ve finished, you’re absolutely shattered, your feet are throbbing, you’ve got this medal around your neck, and all those months of training are worth it.

Three words to describe how you feel when running?

Strong. Invincible. Joy.

How much of running is in the body and how much is in the head?

I would say 99% in your head. Absolutely. And that is my biggest enemy. That’s the hardest thing I battle with, and probably a lot of runners would say the same. I genuinely get my husband to get me out the door, forcefully sometimes. You can use any excuse in the book if you had gets too busy, knowing full well that when you’re out there you think to yourself ‘Why don’t I get out sooner? This is lush!’.

How would you describe the legions of organisers and volunteers who put on running events?

They’re Superheroes! Incredible!

I think it’s important to get across how much work goes into them. It’s one day, and the amount of hours and the amount of volunteers that are behind that event! I’m not sure people understand the gravity of that. I’ve seen Lia, the director of London Landmarks and how much work she puts in, and how quickly that’s taken off for a new race. All the volunteers behind it, you can’t do it without the volunteers. Like I said earlier, I have been part of Team Tommy’s and cheered alongside them when I couldn’t run one year. It was really interesting being on the other side because you need the crowd, you need the volunteers.

So even if perhaps you’re not a runner, if you’re interested or you have family members taking part, go and volunteer! Go and get involved because they can’t happen without the massive amount of people behind them.

How would you describe the running community and your bond with it?

I think it’s an incredibly important group. There are so many groups out there, in person running groups or virtually. It’s all so supportive and time doesn’t matter, even though you know it really does.  Time doesn’t matter, distance doesn’t matter. It’s the fact you’re getting out and you’re doing it. You won’t regret it. Just getting out the door is the hardest bit. Walk, run, it doesn’t matter how you do it. I think the feeling of doing it is what I would want to get across to people. The feeling when you finish that achievement is something that you can’t describe, you just have to experience it.

Favourite running buddy?

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a solo runner. I’m not particularly sociable when I run. However, I do run once a week with a very good friend of mine Sarah and it’s more of a chatty run, we run about three miles on a Tuesday night and chat. It’s also very special to me to run with my mum. She started running by doing the ‘Couch to 5k’ and she now has just done a half marathon with me, and that was extremely special.

Favourite running event?

So many! The London Marathon. That day is one of the best days of my life. Great North Run with the red arrows flying over as you finish, and London Landmarks, you cannot beat the crowds at that half marathon.

Future running goals?

I want to do a different marathon, I don’t want to do London again because of my memories of that incredible day. I want to do Brighton. I perhaps want to do something like the Great Wall of China race – something really bizarre and a really big challenge. Boston Marathon…I’ve got many many goals!

What’s the last iTAB you ordered?

The most recent one is for this year’s London Landmarks Half Marathon, annoyingly I was about a minute of a PB.

Why did you want to get an iTAB?

First of all it personalises it with your name and time. But for me it helps with the memory of that race, and makes it just that bit more special. Of course, it also comes down to PBs and times. We’re all so competitive, you’re competitive with yourself. For me it’s thinking ‘ok, so I was a minute off my PB in April, so when I get to Royals Parks I’m going to order the iTAB’, because then it also holds me accountable’.

If I’ve got something coming up with my time on, I’m gonna goddamn train hard to try and get that PB!

Thanks Bryony, you’re a star!

To support Bryony’s cause, go to Tommy’s to donate:

Thanks to everyone who helped to organise the interview:

Lia at London Landmarks

Nasima at Get the Affect Communications

Lynsey at Sizer PR