A lap with Philippa Bowden

by admin
A lap with Philippa Bowden

We chat to the extrovert content creator who is making waves in the marathon

Philippa Bowden’s energy lit up phone screens far and wide as athletics fans tuned into Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs. The charismatic 28-year-old was creating social media content for one of the calendar’s most exciting meetings, a near-perfect antidote to the fact she wasn’t competing herself.

“I had an absolute blast talking nonsense and hyping up the day on socials, but damn did I miss being out there running…” she wrote on Instagram post-event.

Bowden had good reason. One week earlier, that same joie de vivre had powered her to a podium finish and a 2:29:16 personal best at Copenhagen Marathon (May 14). It was a five-minute improvement on her 2022 debut marathon in Seville and a more accurate reflection of her talent and potential as a full-time athlete and member of Team New Balance Manchester.

“I think having some experience helped,” she reflects. “But it’s the little things in training that are the big things – and there are so many of them that I’ve put in place [since joining Team New Balance Manchester] – like weekly massage and figuring out my fuelling.

“But there’s also been a bit of a mindset shift; I’ve changed my life to build it around running so it makes you take all of the little things seriously. I know that if I improve all those tiny areas by 1% that becomes a 10 per cent improvement and seeing that work has been really cool.”

Philippa Bowden (Sparta Billeder)

Bowden is a self-confessed extrovert, but also a romanticist. When her secondary school PE teacher ran the London Marathon, she thought it sounded like an amazing thing to do. She had wanted to run a marathon ever since.

“I had big goals for Seville…but I wanted to have fun with it as well,” she says. “I didn’t want to have such a serious, pressured experience that if I didn’t hit the times then I didn’t enjoy it. I wanted to continue running marathons, and I think if you make sure you have a positive first experience, it lays the path to enjoy it for the future.”

A lot has changed for Bowden in the past 15 months. Since making her marathon debut last year, she has renovated – then sold – her home in Reading, given up her full-time job as a civil servant in London, joined Team New Balance and relocated to Manchester.

In the midst of the madness, she enjoyed a track summer that brought a series of PBs, in addition to competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the European Cup 10,000m. Most recently, her performance in Copenhagen has added fuel to the marathon fire.

Being part of Team New Balance Manchester means Bowden is being guided in-person by Helen Clitheroe – who had previously coached her remotely – and she has benefited her in terms of feedback. Sessions are more controlled, while having time to focus on other aspects of training, such as gym work and strength, has made a significant difference.

Bowden lives and breathes the sport. Her life outside of athletics, specifically her content creation, is focused around running and sharing the joy of what she does. “It’s a way to connect with people that watch the sport, as well as people that run in the masses,” she says.

“Even when I get to the point when I’m not running fast anymore, I’d still love to work in the running space, so, providing some hype around athletes at that time and creating content for other people, or to jump on the commentary bandwagon. I’m such an extrovert and I just love jumping in on the energy of competitions.”

Looking ahead, she wants to “have a bit of fun on the track this summer” and would like to make the British team for the World Half Marathon Championships in October. The marathon is never far from her thoughts, though, so don’t be surprised to see her at the Valencia Marathon in December.

» This feature first appeared in the June issue of AW magazine, which you can read here

Subscribe to the AW Newsletter

Source Link

You may also like