Session leaders & coaches

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. "

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. "

Claire Frogley (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"As a teenager I was a swimmer with flippers instead of feet and permanent goggle imprints hiding behind my glasses. I avoided running at all costs – especially the dreaded school cross country. Skip forward 20 years and after the birth of my twins in 2010 I was desperate to get a bit of fitness back and a little ‘me time’ too, so in a moment of madness I went for a jog around the block. A few weeks later I realised my legs were still attached and I hadn’t collapsed yet so maybe running wasn't so bad after all! Later that year I signed up for a Race for Life 5km in Milton Keynes and I survived! I carried on running for a year or so and completed a couple for 10km races and eventually a half marathon fundraising for the British Heart Foundation. For various reasons; life, work and a lack of motivation got in the way and I stopping running.

In November 2015 the club started a Gentle Pace Group and with a nudge in the right direction from my family I decided to give it a go and have another bash at this running malarkey. This time the bug has well and truly bitten and I am hooked! I have now run approaching 10 half marathons, countless 10km and 5km races and thanks to the encouragement and support of the club my times have come down dramatically. In addition I was totally overwhelmed to have been awarded ‘Club Achiever’ of the year in 2016.

I have benefitted hugely from running and the support of the club so when the opportunity to take the Leadership in Running Fitness course came up I jumped at the chance. I really look forward to supporting others and seeing them benefit from their own achievements in running as I have.

P.S. I’m the one they call ‘Froggles’! "

Richard McMahon (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"As a teenager I used to represent my school in the 400 yards (not metres – that’s how long ago it was…) however I don’t think I ever won any medals at the district athletics meetings. I joined the cross country team when I was in the sixth form, but in hindsight I was pretty awful (I was once told by another runner that the only thing that kept him going was that I sounded so dreadful he thought I was about to give up!). I did not run regularly again until I was in my mid fifties. I was doing a job that involved spending a lot of time at a desk, in my car and staying in hotels, so I was overweight and particularly unfit. My wife suggested the Couch to 5K (C25K) programme, and my ambition was to be able to do a Parkrun without stopping. After completing C25K and regularly doing parkrun I started losing weight, increasing my distance and entering races. I thought about joining a running club and having seen how friendly and devoted to completing the race the BDRC members were at the Helmdon Hurler, I decided BDRC was the club for me!

I have become addicted to running and love the positivity and inclusivity of the running community. I particularly enjoy supporting and encouraging new runners.

I am honoured usually to be the last BDRC man home in training and races, with my nose running faster than my legs!"

Gareth Meade (UKA - Leadership in Running Fitness)

"Hi I am the one they call Meadster. I didn't do much running in younger years, just swam competitively for Northampton and Northants. After I left school I didn't do any exercise until I took up Scuba Diving in 1987. Within 4 years I became an Instructor. Whilst diving I didn't do much exercise other than lifting a small weight in my right hand (Beer). I started to find I was struggling with my breathing underwater as I was so unhealthy. In 2004 I realised I needed to do something, so with some encouragement from friends (that already ran) and work colleagues that ran, I tried my first Blisworth Friday 5. Moving on 3 years I did my First London Marathon.

I have now run most distances between 5k and 100k. Over the years I looked at joining clubs but didn't fancy any. In 2016 I contacted BDRC and was immediately encouraged to come down and meet the club by Gareth and Dawn. The members were so friendly and reassuring that I thought this was the club for me.

Two years later my running has become stronger and so much more enjoyable. Thanks to the help and encouragement from the club, I have just completed my first three Ultras. Now I feel its time to give a bit back and to try and help encourage other club members to meet their goals. Its great seeing others achieving and watching them grow as runners"