Coaches and Captains

Gareth Bowden (UKA - Coaches in Running Fitness)

"I came to running in my mid twenties, I had spent my childhood years as a circus acrobat mainly walking on my hands and so rarely used my legs in my youth. After I was forced to abandon my life under the big top following a particularly nasty human pyramid collapse ( it was never proven that I was to blame ) I took up a post testing strong french cigarettes which unfortunately had a detrimental effect upon my health and with the rich french diet that came with it I became disastrously unfit. As I approached my 26th birthday I decided to remedy the situation and cut down on the cigarette testing and decided to do some exercise, having been born with an acute allergy to bicycles and not having webbed feet I tried running, something I had never previously enjoyed.

My first run was probably not even half a mile and nearly killed me, but I persevered and over the coming weeks I lost weight, felt fitter, smoked less and entered the New Forest marathon so I had something to keep me going. So six months later I completed my first marathon in 3:45.

Over the next few years I quit smoking completely and ran off and on until after a break of eighteen months or so I joined BDRC in the March of 2014. I had always had a desire to run ultra marathons and the boost running with the club gave me the platform to do so and in September 2014 I competed in the Ladybower 50 mile race which was just over 51 miles long on a flat smooth course around a beautiful reservoir in the peak district, I managed to win the race in a new course record of 6:21 and had the pleasure of returning in 2015 to defend my title with the company of several club members who took part in the 20 mile race on the same day. Being with the club has taken my running to a level way beyond what I thought I was capable of and most importantly immensely good fun."

Ian Mariott (UKA - Coaches in Running Fitness)

"Hi my name is Ian (Mazzo) Marriott, I live in Brackley with my wife Laura and our 3 girls. I began running in 2013 to help me lose weight and become fitter as I had just turned 50. A few months later in June 2013 a friend persuaded me to enter a local 10k race which I completed albeit I had to walk some of it. I was hooked and I set myself the challenge of completing a marathon which I did in Manchester April 2014. Shortly after that I joined BDRC and haven’t looked back since, I have completed several more marathons, two ultras (so far) and numerous other race distances.

The Club asked if I would like to complete the Leadership in Running Fitness course in 2016 which I was happy to do and now lead some of our Tuesday and Thursday training sessions. "

Dawn Breward (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"Never one for team sports, however I enjoyed running and athletics at school. I’ve always loved keeping fit, Spinning, Circuits, Aerobics and Step were my favourite things to do.

After my son was born I found it difficult to get the classes I enjoyed so started running with a friend who was also in the same position. Soon we were up to 3 miles but never ran further. I really wanted to improve and take part in events and join my best friend in the North east for the Great North Run.

Just before I turned 40 I joined BDRC and my running improved week on week. I completed my first half marathon within 5 months and that year did the Great North Run for the first time in a Sub 2. I’ve gone on to do so many more short races, relay events, half marathon’s, marathons and June 2016 did my first Ultra. This has all happened with the support and encouragement from the wonderful friendships I’ve made at the club. Running is a huge part of my life and I hope to be still doing it into my seventies.

It’s great to see new members of all ages and backgrounds, sporting or non sporting joining in and contributing to the club. Everyone brings with them something different and I truly hope the club continues to grow. "

Keely Weir (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"Hi my name is Keely. I have always been active and would consider myself fairly fit. So having completed 6th form, having had a couple of gap years and nearing the end of my teaching degree, when my then fiancée (now husband) suggested we went for a run together I happily put on my gym gear and trainers. Within five minutes I was sulking it was too hard and making my way back to my front door to sit and wait for my fiancée to return with the front door key. However, over the next few weeks I found myself a little mile circuit, starting with a run, walk, run, walk approach I built up to running the full mile. I completed a Race for life 5k and Sports Relief 3Miles, although I enjoyed these events I found them hard work and didn’t love them, but continued to run a little.

Getting married, moving house and having a baby made running a little more challenging, I entered Silverstone half marathon in 2013 as a reason to get out running. Having completed this I was gently nagged by members of BDRC to come along and try a session. A few months after my half marathon I nervously headed to the leisure centre and embarked on my first club run, which was Hinton out and back. I got home and felt like I was a rubbish runner but also really encouraged by everyone to stick with it.

Move forward a few years and I enjoy running (mainly for fitness) and love the running club, I may not be the fastest runner, running the longest distances. I may not be able to attend every session and occasionally I feel like I have never run before. But the great thing is that none of that matters, everyone at the club is so supportive and everyone has their own goals. In 2015 along with a few other members of the committee I planned and introduced the Gentle Pace Group to the club sessions and completed the Leadership in Running Fitness course in early 2016, now leading some sessions I enjoy supporting and encouraging others who come to the club. "

Michael Bishop (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"My fitness journey began when I was taking my GCSE's. I remember studying over summer and snacking a lot. Inevitably the pounds piled on so I started some cycling out to Croughton and back. The first run I did was a 10k for the Joshua Foundation charity in 2006 where I supported a couple of friends. We did a lot of walking and a little bit of running.

I didn't go back to running until many years later when I was geared up for a cycle ride and only got half way up my road before I was reminded that my bike was not roadworthy from the year before due to a mangled cassette and lots of wear and tear. I needed to burn off some energy that day so I went for a run instead. As I was a bit strapped for cash at the time running became my ‘go-to’ exercise. Always one to take an all-or-nothing approach and not knowing about building up the distance I often came home with a limp. However, I quickly got into it and signed up to do the Blenheim 10k in 2012. I achieved a time of 52:06 at the event and it took me about 3 years to beat the time.

I joined the running club in 2014 after bumping into BDRC at the lake whilst I was jogging with one of our dogs. Since joining the club I've made many new friends and lost 2 stone. 2016 was a fantastic year for me churning out a total of 48 personal bests and I completed my first marathon in 04:35. A self confessed lover of running I also get great pleasure out of seeing others achieving their goals and seeing how much it means to them. "