I’m a runner: Sandi Thom

Photo by Ben Knight

At school in Scotland I was a slightly chubby kid who hid behind a shed when my classmates did cross-country. I would only pop out once they had run a lap. I was never into athletics in any shape or form.

I started running after moving to the US. I lived in Malibu, California, for five years, until October 2015. While there, I hired a personal trainer to teach me how to run. I wanted to start running for many reasons, including fitness, self-esteem and confidence. And I wanted to be more active.

My first goal was to run from my house to the local Starbucks. At first, I’d stop for a glass of water before heading back. It was 3.5 miles in total, with a big hill to climb on the return run. I was really chuffed when I could easily run the route.

I got obsessed and began exploring the canyons in Malibu. Going up Bonsall Canyon you climb to about 1,000ft up sandy, rocky paths. It was really hardcore, but hugely rewarding at the same time.

I also used to enjoy a nine-mile circuit. I often saw Flea, the bass player with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, out running.

I’ve done a few half marathons, but mainly I run 5Ks and 10Ks. I get really competitive and try to run much too fast, trying to overtake runners who are better than I am.

I always treat going for a run like heading out on a little adventure. Once, after I was back in Scotland, I went for a short jaunt and ended up doing 17 miles. My mum was about to send out a search party, but my tour manager eventually found me.

At times in my life I’ve been super-fit and at other times really unfit. So I know now that when I run, everything about me works 100 per cent more efficiently. I feel happier, perform better and can even string together a more polished sentence.

I’m into running on my own. A thousand things are going round my head, but I really like it as my time to think and escape.

Thanks to various techie gadgets I can be anywhere and still find a run to do. It’s great using apps to find somewhere to run if I’m in a town or city anywhere in the world while I’m on tour.

I will always run. As well as really enjoying being out there, it can stop me from becoming lethargic. Running gives me the momentum to take on a challenge, be it a running one or in life in general.

My favourite…

Hero: Eddie Izzard for all his marathons [43 in 51 days in 2009, 27 in 27 days in 2016]. I stayed in the same hotel as him when he was playing at a festival recently. I was too shy to speak to him.

Music: After learning about the app FIT Radio I run to drum-and-bass music, which is perfect, as it is 165 beats per minute. You soon get into a rhythm and a meditative state.

Running shoes: I wear Nike Free trainers, which feel very low to the ground. At first I felt flat-footed and it seemed harder to run, but now I think they actually help my running.


Sandi’s new album, Weapons of Past Destruction, is out soon. Visit her website.