Beyond the Singlet makes its much-anticipated return with male club captain Gareth Holden.

Gareth running Melbourne Marathon last October where he clocked a very impressive 2:48.55

Gareth moved to Melbourne from the UK in 2022 and has quickly established himself at the heart of the club both on and off the track. Gareth completed his first marathon at Melbourne Marathon last year, and despite stating several times since that he would never be running one again, is down to run again this year as a pacemaker.

Thanks for joining us today Gareth!

How did you get into running?

Good question, it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t running! I’m pretty sure I rocked up to my first primary school sports day and came 3rd in the 100m. Being a sore loser, I came back the next year and made sure I won it. I was hooked on athletics from then on. Joined my first club in high school and competed in 400m, 400m hurdles and the triple jump at the junior level in Ireland. I kept going when I moved to London for university after the Olympics in 2012. Inspired by the likes of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, I joined Belgrave Harriers and even ended up becoming the Club Treasurer after a while. My favourite thing about this sport has always been the club scene. Even in a largely individual sport, I always feel like the level of support and camaraderie you get from your teammates is unrivalled.

How did you come to join Richmond Harriers?

Coming from the UK club scene, I was eager to find a similar set up on moving to Australia. I actually found Richmond Harriers after searching for “running clubs near me” on Google maps. A 5-star review from Michael Johnson was enough to get me along to a Wednesday run. Despite being a 400m sprinter, Joji somehow convinced me to keep going for 16km which I’m pretty sure was my longest run at the time. Almost 2 years and many long runs later, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

You hail from the UK, what have you found to be the biggest difference in running events in Australia?

I only got into long distance running when I moved to Australia but I’ve been to a handful of cross-country events back home and there’s one obvious difference…the weather. Somehow after every cross-country race here, we’re able to take a respectable looking team photo. In the UK, there’s not an inch of your body that is not covered in mud. I’ve even seen people lose shoes to the earth trying to battle through boggy fields.

What running shoes are you currently wearing?

For training, I can’t see past the Saucony Endorphin Speed range. I’ve lost count of how many pairs I’ve had. They’re my go-to shoes for day to day running. For racing, it has to be the Nike Vaporflys.

Headphones or no headphones when running? If yes, what 3 songs we would find on your playlist?

Headphones always if I’m running on my own. I do actually have a playlist specifically for faster runs…top 3 songs would be: Eminem – Till I Collapse, Fort Minor – Remember the Name, Kanye West – Black Skinhead. Guaranteed to result in PBs.

Besides running, what are your other hobbies?

Living in Australia for the last 2 years has given me plenty of opportunities for my favourite hobby of all. I feel very lucky to have been able to see so much of this part of the world since I moved here with my wife Emma in 2022. We’ve made it our mission to travel as much as possible and as of now, we’ve just got WA left to do to complete our Australia bingo card. When not running or galivanting off around the country, I try to keep up with practicing the piano. I took lessons as a kid but these days I try to learn songs I actually like listening to…less Beethoven…more Billy Joel.

What’s your favourite running memory?

I actually met my now wife at my university athletics club so I think, for the sake of my marriage, that has to be my answer here. All these articles are saying run clubs are the new Tinder…I like to think I discovered this a long time ago.

Do you have any target races coming up?

Not so much a target race in terms of hitting a goal time but I’m very much looking forward to running my second Melbourne Marathon in October. This year, I’ll be pace-making for the first time which I’m unbelievably excited about. If anyone is looking to run around the 3:30 mark this year, I’m your guy!

What running event is top of your bucket list?

I would absolutely love to run the London Marathon next year. I’m hoping to grab a qualifying spot when the entries come out in July. The atmosphere looks incredible and, having lived in London for 10 years, it would feel very special to be able to take to the streets and (hopefully) come out with a PB.

Categories: Beyond the singlet


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