Run Henry, Run!

Tuesday 12 April 2011


Henry Holland stretching out in his studio before a training session
photography by yasmin coke
report by yasmin coke

After a gruelling six-month training regime, an expanding collection of leggings and countless bags of Jelly Babies to keep up his energy levels, Marathon day is fast approaching for designer Henry Holland.

As runners hit the streets of London in their thousands this Sunday for an exhausting 26 and-a-bit miles, Holland will be amongst them. Together with Agyness Deyn and David Gandy, the designer has signed up to be part of team ‘Oxglam’, Oxfam’s fashionable marathon team, raising money for projects in Honduras, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, supporting people who are trying to work their way out of grinding poverty, through farming or running small businesses.

With just a matter of days to go until the big day, we caught up with Holland in his studio to chat about all things marathon.

How has your marathon experience been so far?

It’s been such a big commitment; training has taken up half of the year. I started running once a week with my trainer in October after fashion week and she didn’t take it slow with me at all. At first it was about building up my fitness and strength and over the past few weeks it’s been hardcore.

Any highs and lows?

I’ve had so many highs and lows. The highs happen when I’ve just finished running a long distance, I want to tell everyone; my friends and my boyfriend get really bored of me. I’ve now done 20 miles which is the longest you’re supposed to run before the day, now I know when I reach that point again, the final six are the last push. I’ve also never been able to eat so much pasta without feeling guilty; it’s been really good! And the lows, when you get up in the dark, it’s hard. When it snowed really bad I was still running up Primrose Hill and it wasn’t very fun. Lately I’ve also got tired of being healthy and good all the time, I gave up smoking and drinking on New Years Eve and fell off the wagon this weekend and had a couple of drinks. It’s all going to be worth it in the end though.

Do you have a personal finish time?

Three and a half hours is my aim, anything better than that is a bonus!

Any fashion dilemmas for the day?

I’ve been deciding whether or not to wear a hair band and if I should get a fake tan? In theory, before I start I’m going to want to look good, but once I get going I just won’t care, I’ll just want to stay alive! I’m trying to work out if I need a bum bag to keep all my necessities in and a stash of Jelly Babies. I’ve also been wearing leggings and knee high socks, I’m aware I look so ridiculous, it’s embarrassing! I don’t think I’ll continue wearing the leggings once I’ve finished!

What’s on your training play list?

I have to have music to keep me going, I’ve being listening to Nicki Minaj, Rhianna and a bit of Beyonce- strong women to get me though!

Is anything making you feel nervous?

I’m worried about going to the toilet. A handy tip for runners, if you see someone pouring water all over themselves it’s to hide the fact they’ve just gone for a wee, so stay clear! I don’t think I can do it. I’ll have to take a pit stop.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you finish?

Have a drink and a cigarette! I’m going to Miami for a holiday and a wedding a few days after, so I’ll totally relax.

Have you had a training buddy?

I’ve mostly trained on my own; I just circle around Regents Park and pass the same people about 5 or 6 times. I have been training with Aggy a few times but she’s slower than me! Haha, just a bit! She has been training really hard, I’m really impressed. We’ve been having competitions, I’ll call her and say I’ve done 15 miles and she’s only done 10.

What’s going to keep you going if you hit the wall?

The people I met in Tanzania and the Oxfam project I’m raising money for, finishing for them is the most important thing.

And some fashionable marathon tips?

Leggings! I’ve noticed everyone is really into their leggings when I’ve been running in the park. Don’t run in glasses, trust me, you’ll end up with a bruised nose. Wear a head band and try to hide, let’s face it, you just can’t be fashionable when running the marathon!

Good luck Henry!

Click here if you want to make a donation to the Oxglam squad.

Henry completing another crucial stretching session in his leggings

The feet that will carry Henry 26 miles…

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