You may recently have seen that my story featured on the Aftershokz UK website blog page, which you can access here. However, the article which I wrote was edited and so I would like to share with you the original, unedited version below.
I have always had a passion for dance music from an early age and remember listening to some of the early 90’s classics (artists such as Haddaway, Living Joy & Snap!) whilst at Primary School. This love for music continued through school where I would often be found listening to cassette tapes on my walkman and then into my college days where I would listen to compact discs on my discman! At the age of 19 I decided to invest in my own DJ equipment and enjoyed mixing as a hobby and later joined the DJ society at the University of Plymouth. As a committee member I organised a weekly night at the Student Union and could also be found playing various forms of dance music at venues across the City. Upon graduating, I studied a one year audio production course at a local college in which I produced my own tracks, designed my own website and helped local artists to record their music – I ended up achieving a distinction grade.
It was in 2011 when I got my biggest break, completing a Ministry of Sound DJ Academy course at the London Superclub which led to me providing a number of warm-up parties for the brand. Later that year I landed my own weekly residency at a bar a little closer to home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent where I would play a mix of house, commercial dance and R&B.
It wasn’t however until 2012 that I realised that the sport of running would have such a big impact on my life and of those around me. I was so inspired by the success of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics that I decided to contact my local athletics club, Tonbridge AC and go along for a couple of sessions. Those couple of sessions continued twice weekly for well over a year and it was at the start of 2014 that I discovered that a new parkrun would be starting up in Tunbridge Wells but that it required a volunteer Event Director to help with the organisation. I bravely stepped up and with the help of a number of other individuals from the local community, this free, weekly 5km parkrun saw it’s inaugural event take place in April of 2014.
This progression towards the sport of running and the activity of volunteering led to me taking “early retirement” from my DJ’ing career in 2015. The following year I qualified as an England Athletics Leader in Running Fitness and set up my own running group, “RTW runners”, a group which caters for people of all ages and abilities. The year 2016 also saw the parkrun event being awarded “Best Group” at the Council’s local awards – recognition for all of the hard work that our volunteer team had put in to creating a fun, friendly and social activity for the local community.
In 2017 I gained further qualifications in the form of Coach in Running Fitness, Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer and later that year I launched my own Running Coaching and Personal Training business, “Plega Fit” whilst still working on a part-time basis in my existing job which I continue to do to this day.
My personal music listening experience these days is provided by my MP3 player and a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, which I wear on all of my solo runs. I have compiled a running playlist of dance tracks which I have collected over the years and I do not get tired of hearing them wherever I run. I can recommend a few big tunes to the community as follows; Steve Angello – “Knas”, Avicii – “Street Dancer” and Basto – “Gregory’s Theme”.
As you can see, music has played a key part in my motivation, relationships with others and as a form of expression. I’m sure that you can relate and I would love for you to share your story with me and the Shoksquad community!