Darts, Ten-Pin Bowling, and Opera Singing

NOVEMBER 2021: Tony Adams has been training for many years with RunBrighton.

He was in the official pace team for the Brighton Half Marathon, in October, and I am delighted that he is now joining our ambassador team this winter.

Have you always been a keen runner, and have you been involved in other sports in the past, Tony?

Ha ha ha! No, I’m relatively new to any form of exercise. My only claim to fame in that arena is that, in 1972, I came 11th in the All England Schoolboys Ten-Pin Bowling Championship. I’ve also scored 180 in darts twice. (As you can see, I’m really scraping the barrel for sporting prowess.)

How and when did you first get into running?

I was 53 when my first child, Charlie, was due. So, it was time to get myself into shape. If I was going to be the oldest dad at the school pick-up, I wanted to be the fittest. I began going to Bootcamp on Hove seafront, three times a week. But it wasn’t until I signed up with RunBrighton, a year later, that I ran more than a mile. Now, seven marathons (and many half marathons) later, Charlie is 12, and I’m three-and-a-half stone lighter.

What motivates you? Do you aim to finish your races in a specific time, or is it more a case of running to enjoy the experience?

I guess my main motivation is keeping as fit as I can for my age. But there’s no better motivation than raising money for a fantastic charity to help you through those last mean miles of a marathon. Despite the fact that my competitiveness is stronger than my ability, my aim has shifted from ‘must beat a time’ to ‘do as well as you can, but enjoy it’!

And you were one of the 3-hour pacers in the Brighton Half Marathon, last month. How did you enjoy that?  

That’s really been a game changer for me. Pacing the 3-hour runners, with the wonderful Chloe, was my happiest ever race… helping and supporting some wonderful people, hearing their moving stories & motivations, and chatting and smiling all the way round. That’s how I want to run every time I put on my Brooks, from now on.

Other than pacing the Half, what other memorable running experiences have there been?

Ah, there are so many! But there’s absolutely nothing like running in the dewy South Downs on a still, sunny, summer morning. (I’d recommend 5am.) My mantra at these times is “One day, I won’t be able to do this – but not today!”

And what are you looking forward to most about the RunBrighton ambassador role?

What, other than the huge fee for turning up?! Ha Ha. Helping people to reach their goals, finding out more about my fellow runners, and having a bloody great time!

What’s the next key race in your diary, Tony?

Hopefully, Mike, you’ll let me pace the Brighton Half on 27th February 2022?

On Sunday 20th March, I shall be running The Moyleman. It’s a fantastic race, up and down the South Downs around my home town of Lewes. It finishes in Harvey’s Brewery, and you get a free pint and a pizza! But you have to book very early as, understandably, it sold out in 2 hours, this year.

How do you spend your time when not running?

I live in our lovely house in Lewes, with my wonderful wife, Katherine, and two fantastic sons, Charlie 12 and Thomas 10. (As you can tell, I’m well contented.)

For the last 28 years, I’ve run my catalogue design agency, TA Design Ltd, from offices in Western Road, Hove. Since lockdown, we now all work from home, which allows me more opportunities to walk my cavapoo, do the school run, and pop out for a run on the Downs (20 yards from my front door) when the weather is kind.

My other great love is singing. When I was 40, I joined a ‘Singing for Beginners’ evening class, in Hove… only because ‘Life Drawing’ was full!

I’d never sung before but, since then, I’ve been the lead tenor in many local, amateur operatic productions – in fact, a couple in Italian. I regularly sang at ‘Spaghetti Opera’ at Al Duomo’s restaurant. I’ve crooned with 20-piece Big Bands and performed as Cabaret Divas in the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Yesterday morning, on the first group run of our winter training, I attempted to get the 4:45 group to sing the Brindisi chorus from La Traviata – but for some inexplicable reason they didn’t know the words. But we’ll get there!!!

Anyway, I have to go now, Mike. I’m due at a rehearsal in Southwick for a Christmas Concert.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Tony, I had no idea you could sing… or play darts… or ten pin bowl! Thanks very much for agreeing to be a RunBrighton ambassador, and good luck with your own training towards The Moyleman. (Yes, of course you can be a pacer in the Brighton Half again!)

By Mike Bannister