Well, it’s actually just me…
I’m a one-woman operation, although my dog Snoopy does help out by keeping me company all day.
I decided to start this business when injury forced me to make a dramatic shift from running two to three marathons a week to total rest. Needing something to keep me sane, that would also help keep in touch with other runners, I started making dresses.
The idea first came to me last year, when myself and a good friend would wear dresses and skirts we’d bought from an Australian website to running events. People loved them and wanted to know where to get such dresses but were reluctant to shop outside the UK.
And so it began
In the summer of 2016, I bought some fabric and set about researching how to make activewear. I discovered that it was a lot more work than I imagined and required a special type of sewing machine called an overlocker. With my race calendar pretty full, I put the idea on hold and didn’t really expect to take it any further.
I ran my 100th marathon on 17 October 2016 and joined the prestigious 100 Marathon Club. Having run about 80 marathons that year, I carried on at the same pace until November. I fell whilst dog walking, which resulted in a slight niggle in my hip. That niggle turned to a severe pain. On 28th November, I dragged myself around my 100th marathon in 365 days and admitted defeat to the injury.
The following months were pretty hard. I was unable to even walk without help. While dog walking in the lead up to Brighton Marathon, a friend remarked that she had been searching for running dresses. She’d had little success, so I decided to revisit my earlier plans to make my own.
I began working out of my living room and my office (that’s actually a shed) in the garden.
With a rather small house, my only personal space was this decent sized shed. It was initially set up for me to do my day job, which involves working on a computer. This was pushed aside and provided space for just one sewing machine at a time.
It was not ideal and in the summer of 2017, Shedquarters was built. I now have plenty of room to work and store the wonderful fabrics waiting to become dresses, skirts and other garments. There is also enough space to allow one or two more people to work with me when the time comes…
What’s in a name?
I am very lucky to have a lot of helpful and imaginative friends, and it was one such person, Rich, who came up with the name ‘Running Afrock.’ I knew instantly it would be my brand name and a quick google search revealed it was a unique term.
Much of my running involves a lot of fun, laughter, singing and general tomfoolery. The statement ‘you’re not taking this seriously, are you?!’ is often heard when I’m running with my friends. I remember one embarrassing occasion when a passing cyclist chastised me for singing along loudly to Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Song at a country park! We can definitely be described as ‘running amok,’ and given that I often run in a frock, it seemed doubly perfect!