Runners who share their love of running and their stories - their individual journeys and challenges

Meet Team Iffley

Welcome to #TeamIffley, our brand ambassadors. A group of runners who compete over a variety of distances and terrains and at a wide range of levels, but who all share a passion for running.

Cameron Saunders

Executive Runner

Combining running with his daily commute, Cameron loves being able to switch off from the daily noise and experience "the exhilaration and Zen of running."

I’m a forty-something professional and father of three. I grew up between the sea and the country, and always enjoyed hiking and country walks but hated cross country runs and exercise. It took many attempts to learn to enjoy running and make it part of my daily and weekly routines, but once I’d built that foundation I never looked back. By combining running with commuting I found a way to make running a habitual part of my daily routine, creating continuous improvement – whilst making it more enjoyable. I run to keep fit, but also I want to keep fit so I can run with ease and for pleasure. I’m also food obsessed and love to cook fresh, healthy, nutrient rich food every day – after all, you run what you eat! You’ll find my recipes as well as musings about running on my new blog at cookandrun.co.uk.


Why I run

I love to be outside in the fresh air but I don’t have the time or patience to walk, and I don’t see the point in being on a road alongside cars – running for me is all about being at one in the natural world.

Biggest challenge to date

Running a 100km ultra run around London, twice the longest distance I’d run previously.

Current running goals

To run a marathon in 2 hours 45 minutes, and to complete an accredited cross country ultrarun of 50 miles or more.

My running philosophy

I think of running as part of a way of life, that can readily fit into hectic work and family schedules – I always try and make it a productive and enjoyable alternative to commuting to work, or having an unnecessary lie-in when away on a work trip (or holiday).

James Beckinsale

Coach, Founder of Optima Racing Team & 2016 Kona Ironman Qualifier

James’s main long-term goal is “to be 80 years old still coaching happy athletes!”

James’s love of sport began at a young age, spent boxing. Later he joined the armed forces, where he discovered his love of teaching PT. He started triathlon as a pure novice in 1995. In 2000, he founded Optima Racing Team, his aim was to coach a group of like minded individuals within a team environment. He has enjoyed coaching absolue swim, bike & run novices to the pinnacle of the sport. Helping Gillian Sanders to the 2012 & 2016 Olympic Games has ensured James has developed his coaching to the highest level in the elite side of triathlon.


Why I run

I run as I love to be fit and healthy, it’s also my time and it gets my creative juices flowing.

Biggest challenge to date

Coaching athletes who don’t prescribe to normal teaching methods and finding ways to get the coaching across.

Current running goals

To not get overtaken by all of the youth/ juniors girls in the club!

My running philosophy

Go hard or go home!!!

Tim Lambert

Ultra Runner

Inspired by Dean Karnazes, Tim loves “long and slow races in stunning environments all over the world – my dream scenario.”

I am not a natural runner. Running at school was punishment for not doing other sports well, not something of a sport in its own right. I first ran long distance as a bet. Being a layabout at the time, I think most of my friends thought betting against me on finishing the London Marathon was money in the bank, but they forgot I am stubborn and belligerent. Finishing that race wasn’t an epiphany, however- I didn’t run a step for five years after. It was having children that got me running as I simply didn’t have time for the gym anymore. By chance I stumbled across ultramarathons and I haven’t looked back since. I run the blog www.fromsofatoultra.com and if I can run ultras, anyone with the right attitude can.


Why I run

I run because it’s the closest thing I have found to true freedom. The feet can take you places any other land-based mode of transport, no matter how expensive or advanced, simply can't.

Biggest challenge to date

Running a 100 mile race in tribute to a friend. His whole family were there to support me and failure was not an option.

Running goals for 2017

Getting fit again after a poor end to 2016 and returning to the mountains in summer of 2017 for races, adventures and good times.

My running philosophy

Don't take running too seriously. It's the purest form of movement there is, so let it set you free, not restrict you.

Shaun Dixon

Elite Runner, Coach & England International

“I'll never lose the desire to run- I will be buried in a vest and shorts.”

I love long distance running. I live, work and breathe it. I started running as a teenager because I loved the visceral nature of competition- there's nothing quite like racing across a muddy field in the middle of winter. I went on to compete internationally for England and Great Britain as a Cross Country and Mountain runner.

I now coach runners which brings a new level of interest and intrigue. Running is more complex than I ever imagined, and am fascinated by the wide range of factors which contribute to and affect performance.


Why I run

Running is part of my identity. Being a runner has shaped my adult life and I am a happier more productive person as result.

Biggest challenge to date

In 2014 I was selected to run for Great Britain at the European Mountain Running Championships. However the greatest moment of my career turned out to be the most heart-breaking. I took an early tumble, injuring my hip. I wasn't able to complete the race, and had to watch my teammates pick up a team silver without me.

Running goals for 2017

I have 2 goals. The first is to run a great marathon in April at the London Marathon and the second is to pull on an England vest again. If I accomplish the first the 2nd shouldn't be too far away!

My running philosophy

As a coach I'm always banging on about consistency. If you want to succeed you need to be in it for the long haul- weeks, months and years of consistent training will make you a stronger runner.

Running is a mental as well as physical sport. You have to relax and enjoy what you are doing- putting pressure on yourself is not a recipe for success. Find enjoyment in the process not the end result.

Gillian Sanders

Olympic Triathlete - 2012, 2016 Olympian & 2014 Commonwealth Silver Medallist

"A bit of this, a bit of that, then suddenly it's race season."

Gillian Sanders is a South African triathlete who lives and trains in London. She took up triathlon in her youth under the influence of her father and older sister, who both competed in the sport. Gillian is a lawyer by profession but in 2011 took the brave decision to give up her legal job and focus on full-time competition. After training full time for only 18 months she competed in the Women’s event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Gillian won a Silver Medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She became a double Olympian competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics & is now training toward the 2018 Commonwealth Games.


Why I run

I love the escapism and sense of adventure that it gives me - just putting my running shoes on and letting my mind wander, taking in everything around me, the sights, the smells and the feeling of being alive!

Biggest challenge to date

As an elite athlete I am tired most of the time, it's a huge challenge knowing that this is normal and digging even deeper when you think that you don't have anything more.

Current running goals

Improve myself even more. No matter who you are, you can always try to improve on what you are doing. I strive to be faster and stronger, mentally and physically.

My running philosophy

Relaxation is key. When I'm running my best, I'm usually relaxed. Consistency in training is also super important and is one of the most important elements in getting fit, staying fit and improving.

Tom Wheatley

All Rounder

Combining running with all sorts of other physical activities, Tom ”loves running as a way of exploring new places and enjoys nothing more than spending my Sunday doing any race I can find.”

Up until my late twenties I had no interest in fitness or running. However, a New Year’s resolution led me to join the gym and sign up to a 5k. I suddenly realised I could actually run and since then have gone on to race in over 150 events, qualify as a PT and set up a health and fitness blog.

My relationship with running and fitness is about balance. I work in the city in digital publishing, an industry that generally includes things that go against a healthy lifestyle. Because of that I’ve had to learn to fit exercise around doing the others things in life I enjoy. Running just seemed to be the perfect solution.


Why I run

I run because I love the feeling of testing myself; I don’t race to win, but to see how far I can push my abilities.

Biggest challenge to date

The Madrid Marathon; not only is it one of the most elevated road marathons, I also desperately wanted to beat a running partner I’d never won against before. I finished ahead of him, but it was really hard.

Current running goals

This year I plan to run the Glockner Trail in Austria, my first attempt at an ultra-marathon and by far my hardest challenge to date.

My running philosophy

To challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of. You don’t have to be training for the Olympics or a marathon, you may only have time to run a mile once a week, but when you do, use it as an opportunity to see how far you can go.

Steve Skinner

Community Runner

Steve enjoys the social side of running and exploring London on his runs “Having friends achieving awesome times and completing big challenges inspires me.

I'm 25 years old. I grew up in a small market town, Holsworthy in Devon, but moved to London in 2013 to work in a running specialist store. Working for Run-Fast/The Running Works I help manage our elite athletes, help organise the City of London Mile and lead group runs from the store. When I'm not running I enjoy sketching, listening to music, cooking with my girlfriend Lorna and watching films and tv series. Due to growing up in the countryside I've always enjoyed being outdoors. When I was younger I took part in various sports, including: football, golf and tennis. I remember enjoying running cross country at school but due to playing football I only started running more when my uncle wanted to do our local half marathon, The Ruby Run. Since then I've run a lot of miles and raced a lot but my running journey has only just begun which is exciting.


Why I run

I run to challenge myself, keep fit, explore and have fun with friends.

Biggest challenge to date

Race to the Stones 100k, because I'd only completed a handful of road marathons beforehand.

Current running goals

Sub 2:45 in a marathon, possibly in Boston if training goes well.

My running philosophy

Train hard and race hard, but have fun and enjoy the journey.

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