Becs Gentry, Coach And Ultra Runner
COACH, ULTRA RUNNER, INFLUENCER ( AND THIS MONTH’S COVER STAR)
WHAT STARTED as an escape from work stress has become a full-time vocation for our cover star. Becs Gentry is now a Nike+ Run Coach, ultra runner and inspirational force for running via her social media accounts. RW caught up with her between hair and make-up and hill sprints. HAVE YOU ALWAYS RUN?
At school I ran athletics and cross-country, but then uni took over. Then, when I had an office job, I needed some meditation. I moved to Brighton and started running on the seafront, and it freed my mind. It became an obsession, I was getting up at 4:30am for long runs on the South Downs before catching a 7am train to London. One day the penny dropped and I thought, ‘I’m in the wrong industry’.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL OF ULTRAS? Running is typically a solo sport, whereas ultras introduced me to running in a team, which I loved. Plus, once you’ve got your head around the distance, you can take it at whatever pace you want and with that mindset they’re very enjoyable. You can stop for cake, meet people and enjoy beautiful places. HOW MUCH SATISFACTION DO YOU GAIN FROM GETTING OTHERS RUNNING?
The coaching side is why I get up every day. I love seeing someone go from hating running to loving it, doing races and getting all the benefits. And it drives my running because I know that what I do can inspire others – people following me on social media, or people I train.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE SOCIAL – AND SOCIAL MEDIA – SIDE OF RUNNING?
It can be positive in terms of inspiring commitment, but the downside with groups and social media is there can be a lot of pressure. The pressure of being judged for being there, for pace, mileage, this need to always take pictures, for proof. It can be positive, but it can also be demoralising and dangerous. It makes people run through injury. So I really encourage doing some sessions with just a basic digital watch, for yourself and not for public consumption.
WHAT’S THE BEST RUNNING ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
To take every day as it comes: don’t compare yourself to the runner you were yesterday and don’t foresee the runner you may be tomorrow. That session on your training grid isn’t set in stone. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t run. Don’t go off and eat five pizzas, just train another way and restart the next day.
FOLLOW BECS ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM @BECSGENTRY. READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AND SEE MORE PICS AT RUNNERSWORLD. CO.UK/BECSGENTRY