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 stop me going crazy, that would also help keep in touch with my running family, I started making dresses.
The idea first came to me last year, when myself and good friend Crustie would wear dresses and skirts we'd bought from abroad to running events. People always commented and wanted to know where to get them, but were reluctant to shop outside the UK.
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. At that point, having run about 80 marathons that year. I carried on at the same pace until November, when a fall while walking the dog resulted in a slight niggle in my hip. The niggle turned to a severe pain and 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, Crustie remarked that she had been searching online for running dresses, with little success, and I decided to revisit my earlier plans to make my own.
I began working out of my living room - the only place in my house with enough floor space to set up my cutting table, and my office (that's actually a shed) in the garden.
With a rather small house, which I share with my husband, son and Snoopy, my only personal space was this decent sized shed. While it was initially set up for me to do my day job, which involves working on a computer, this was pushed aside and provides space for my sewing machines.
However, it was not ideal and in the summer of 2017, Shedquarters was built. Although I have allowed the rest of the family half of the 24x12 foot building, there is plenty of room to work and store the wonderful fabrics waiting to become dresses, skirts and other garments.
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 embarrasing 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!