27 Apr In the Spotlight – Bethan Apglyn
First of all, thank you Jon for the nomination!
When did running begin for you?
Running began for me in March 2016, when I was still living in Seoul, South Korea. I had just finished my Master’s degree and wasn’t really doing much day to day, so when my Venezuelan friend Antonio posted on Instagram “Who wants to do this 10k with me in 3 weeks’ time?” I just thought “Stuff it, why not?” ….even though I had never really run before (oops). Three weeks later (having done the first part of couch to 5k) and we were there on the start line.
(Pic at the start of my first 10k with Toni who I have to thank for the start of my running ‘career’)
My only goal was to get round without completely dying, and wasn’t even thinking about the time (also didn’t have my trusty Garmin in those days), so when Toni cheered me across the line and I looked up at the clock and saw 1 hour 1 minute, I was both pleasantly surprised to have run that time, and gutted that I hadn’t tried “just that little bit harder” to run 59 minutes 59 seconds! This meant that I would have to have another attempt of course!
(Looking at the clock after my first 10k – I promise I was much happier than I look in this pic!)
Just as a side note, this 10k was held on the same day as the Seoul Open Marathon, and as the three of us made our way back to the subway full of pride that we’d run 10k, we came across the marathon course, and I can remember thinking “Wow – that is something that I could never ever do!” (LOL, if only I’d known at that time!).
Fast forward another 2 months or so and some “proper” training, I did my second 10k paced by the excellent Hayley (not his real name – just a nickname that stuck!) and managed to knock 5 minutes off my previous time to finish in 56.32. Another 2 months later, my first half marathon, and we all know what comes next – a long and dangerous path towards a serious running addiction!
(With Hayley after my second 10k race)
(With Hayley and another friend Hyejin after 10k number 3)
Why do you run?
I have two main reasons to run (apart from to eat more cake!), the first one is that I love a challenge – I really enjoy being able to train hard and see the results from the training. The second one is that I love the social aspect of running – I love being able to meet up with friends on “chatty runs” and putting the world to rights. I do sometimes feel sorry for Joe Turner when he comes on a chatty run with Kate Cheshire and me though as he usually has to put up with lots of girly chat (he says he doesn’t mind)!
(The usual chatty run culprits)
What race or moment in your running career holds the most significance and why?
I thought quite hard about this question as there could be a number of candidates, but I think it would have to be the Tokyo Marathon 2019, where I ran my first ‘Good for Age’ time. When I first joined P&D, I always thought that GFA was something that is only achievable by ‘elite runners’ and was always in awe of those who had run a GFA time. It wasn’t something that I thought I would ever be able to do (and was happy enough that way), so being able to run it in Tokyo for the first time after all the hard training (thank you Hanson’s Marathon Method!) was such an amazing feeling. We won’t mention anything to do with cut off times that year though! In addition to this, being able to see the ‘bloody awesome’ Lisa Cleary and Andrea Hurman get their Six Star medals at the same race definitely made this a special one.
Which race was the most memorable?
I felt like I had to add this question! While Tokyo probably held the most significance, the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea was definitely the most memorable race I’ve taken part in! Starting and finishing in a stadium with 50,000 people in was just surreal, and being able to run through the streets of Pyongyang, chatting to families who had come to watch the race, made this an incredible experience.
Shout out to Joe Turner for running his first ever marathon there in an awesome time, and sorry for laughing at you for being unable to walk down stairs the next day (we’ve all been there haha)!
Who is your running inspiration?
Ooooh a very good question! I suppose I take little bits of inspiration from everyone and it would be very difficult to pick just one. Two people who should probably get a mention are Mr Ben Butler-Madden as I watch how hard he trains all the time, with some amazing results, which inspires me to do the same. The second person is actually a random stranger on social media, who happened to post about her first marathon which she ran in 6 hours or so and her journey and hard work to get her time down to around 3 hours 40 min. It was through her that I first heard about the Hanson’s Marathon Method, which I tried and found that I clicked really well with, and have been using ever since. We now follow each other’s running journeys on Instagram, and I loved seeing her go sub-3.30 recently to qualify for the Boston Marathon, so hope I can do the same!
(With Coach Ben at Central Park in New York)
What golden piece of advice would you give to other runners?
I would probably say find what works best for you personally. There is so much different advice out there, and while it is good to listen, not everything works for everyone. Personally I find that a balance of competitive running and social running is what works perfectly for me, and I would never give up on those chatty runs! 🙂
Good question! I’m not sure if any of us know exactly what’s next at the moment, but if all goes to plan, I would like to qualify for, and run the Boston Marathon (Covid-19 ruined this year’s attempt!) and to run the Comrades Marathon next year in South Africa. Shorter term though, a club run with P&D would be amazing!
Who would you like to nominate?
I would like to nominate the lovely Cath Barker, as I’m always trying so hard to keep up with her (but usually failing as she’s too speedy!), so would love to know her running history!