I’m a runner: CeCe Sammy

Photo by Tom Watkins

I grew up Trinidad, where I lived until I was 15. Life there is all about being outside and enjoying the fresh air. That sense of being active outdoors and running about has always stayed with me, even when I came to London to study classical music.

I was a backing singer for Diana Ross when I was 17. In a funny way, that got me into running. I needed to be more in control of my breathing while singing, especially on stage; jogging was how I learnt to control it.

Running has been part of my life for more than 20 years. I try to run most days – usually for about 25 minutes, or longer if I have time. With a hectic schedule in the UK and in the US, running is something I look forward to after a long flight.

Going for a run has always been my way of recharging my batteries. I don’t wear headphones – music is what I do for my job – so instead I simply observe nature as I run through parks or the countryside. It’s the time when I can switch off from everything.

I’m never afraid to tackle a hill when I’m out running. My sister, who I run with sometimes, says in a different life I must have been a goat because I always pick the hilliest routes, anything that really challenges me.

In 2011, four months after having my daughter, I suffered a brain aneurysm. A blood vessel ruptured and I was in the hospital’s high-dependency unit for a month. It took me a year to recover, learning to walk and talk all over again. I now never take being able to run for granted.

During my recovery I remember taking my first steps, then walking faster, before slowly jogging. Understanding my body from my years of running meant I knew I would eventually get that fitness back.

In my job as a vocal coach, I encourage those I’m helping to run. I’ve worked with groups such as S Club 7. I got them to jog on the spot and sing, and eventually run outside, too. I showed them that running, like singing, is about controlling your breathing.

The LA Marathon goes right past my apartment but I’ve never had the desire to do a marathon. Running for me has always been about relaxing and escape rather than chasing times or doing loads of miles.

When I’m involved on shows such as The Voice there’s nothing better than going for a run at the end of the working day. I’ll go out whatever the weather, but I prefer it if there is still a bit of daylight to run in.

I love lots of the running gear you can get these days, but I’ve been caught out sometimes. I’ve made the mistake of buying some kit, such as a clingy top that looks great, but turns out to be totally impractical – if you’re a woman – once you go for a run in it.

My favourite…

Place to run: When I’m in Los Angeles I love hitting the popular hiking trails, such as Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park. In London it’s usually around Hampstead Heath, a place I never get tired of.

Food: My stomach is a bottomless pit after a run. I usually have a smoothie, apple juice or Weetabix and fruit. I believe in eating well and exercising; they help me think clearly about things.

Tip: Although it seemed an odd conversation at the time, my younger sister told me about nipple cream, which can be a godsend if you’re a female runner who suffers from jogger’s nipple.


For more details on CeCe Sammy, visit cca-entertainment.com.