I’m a runner: Clare Grogan

Photo by Ben Knight

I hated school PE. I think the trouble in Scotland is that it was done outside in freezing weather and we wore gym tunics. It all seemed like an act of terrible cruelty.

Running happened quite quickly in my 20s after I got interested in keeping fit. I found it the easiest form of exercise to maintain.

In the 80s, when I was touring with Altered Images, going for a run was a great way of exploring a new city. Because the whole day would be focused around the gig in the evening, I could escape for a bit.

I never enter races. I have no inclination to ever run a marathon, either. I’m selfish about my running; it’s purely ‘me’ time.

I’ve done a five-mile run five times a week for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been tempted to run further, but I mix the routes up around the parks or down by Camden Lock, close to my home in London.

It’s lovely watching the changes of the season where I run, especially on my route through Highgate Wood. I’ll run in whatever weather, so I guess I’ve got my childhood in Glasgow to thank for that.

I persuaded my husband to start running and we sometimes run together. I feel I should be quicker than he is, because I got him into it, but that’s not going to happen.

I often use my runs to learn my lines for something I’m appearing in. I feel a bit like a crazy lady, running along and talking to myself, but it’s productive use of the time.

Normally I run on my own, in the morning and without music. I do go once a week with my running pal, Christine, and we’ll thrash out life’s problems together.

I’m a real believer in the mental health aspect of running and the chance to think things through. Often I go out with a big weight on my mind, not knowing what to do; by the end of my run I’ve worked it out.

I never put pressure on myself with my running. I go at my own pace. You need to do it for yourself and only for yourself.

Our 10-year-old daughter, Ellie, really wanted to run with me for ages. The first time we did it she thought she was dying of dehydration before the first mile, but when she realised I wasn’t going to stop and wait she did three miles. I was so proud of her.

Being a singer, running has been brilliant for my lungs. I still do several big gigs each year. I love that I can sing for an hour and rush around the stage and not be out of breath. It’s basically me showing off that I can still do it, thanks to running.

My favourite...

Hero: Being a fellow Scot, I loved Liz McColgan’s gutsy running. I also admire the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes, but they’re on a different running planet to me.

Route: I used to do a travel show and did some amazing runs around the world. One of the most memorable was along the sea wall that protects Samoa’s capital, Apia.

Gear: No-one will ever get running fashion tips from me. I usually wear an old T-shirt and baggy shorts or jogging bottoms. But every six months I buy a new pair of Nike trainers.


Clare supports the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.