Originally from Worcester, Becs (Rebecca) Gentry is a Peloton Tread instructor currently living in New York. Gill Bland spoke to the UK athlete about her own running and British marathoning in general.
In 2019 she ran Hong Kong, Boston and New York marathons, jumping from 3:29 in her 2016 London debut to 2:37:01 in New York for 18th place in the race and 18th fastest performance in the UK. Not only that, but she ran a half marathon PB (1:16:46) in the first half of the race!
Becs was brought up as a multi sport athlete and has also run ultra marathons. Now she’s focussed in on road running and has been training in a way that we don’t often see, running a high percentage of her 100-120 mile weeks on a treadmill.
That’s predominantly because when she teaches runners remotely via the Peloton platform she runs for at least 60 minutes each class and then goes outside at other times to do tempo and long runs. Not only does she have to run on the treadmill but she has to be able to talk too, so that adds its own training benefits. We caught up with Becs in January to find out more about her marathon journey and what she plans for 2020 and beyond.
Fast Running: What were you most excited by in your running or training last year?
Rebecca Gentry: I was incredibly excited to run NYC Marathon as my home race. Having moved to New York at the end of May 2018, it fast became a very special place and having cheered until I lost my voice at the 2018 race I was so inspired by the community to shine as well as I could.
I trained in a very different way for the race due to my role as a Peloton Tread instructor, finding myself completing some very high mileage weeks and a lot of double or triple run session days but always luckily felt strong. I was certainly driven to deliver my best possible race by the community and the crowds on the day.
FR:What are you most excited about looking to the year ahead? What are your key goals?
RG: My main goal is to stay fit and healthy. Following a very busy year with three marathons, one ultra marathon and a half marathon, as well as teaching over 340 Peloton Tread classes, my body was in need of a break from running as I was stubborn to accept that at the end of 2019.
Having taken that time now I have seen such a shift in my energy and mindset that I am committed to ensuring my training cycles are clear and supported with recovery. My focus is going to be on the half marathon distance for 2020, which is new, but thrilling to see where I can challenge myself over the shorter distance.
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There are no words, just deep gratitude. • NYC Marathon 2019 2:37:01 • Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way, through my training to cheering your behinds off today. The streets of NYC were alive and I know that’s what got me to a 12 minute PR. • I ran with a smile. I truly flew. I am so freaking proud of myself. • 📸 @christianbrecheis Mile 21
FR: What do you think about the women’s marathon scene in GB at the moment? Who are you most excited by?
RG: I think the GB women’s team is in a great place right now, I am very excited to see Charlotte Purdue perform in 2020. She is seriously such a strong runner both mentally and physically. Jess Piasecki (Coulson) has shot to the forefront of the spotlight with her insane debut marathon performance in Florence (ed: 2019 when she ran 2:25:29 in her first completed marathon), setting her straight in as the third fastest British female of all time. I see no reason why she can’t shine to the top.
FR: Why do you think the GB women had such a great year last year?
RG: I think every year in sports the athletes grow and learn from the past. Sports as a whole has migrated to a more holistic approach to training and perhaps the intense scrutiny and pressure being taken off the runners gave them the chance to settle back into doing what they love – running and training hard – and their passion and spirit was able to shine through stronger.
FR:Who do you think is flying under the radar but destined to surprise everyone this year?
RG: Jess Piasecki – her journey from cross-country to 26.2 is epic and I can’t wait to see what she has in store to show us for 2020.
FR: What do you think about the decision not to preselect anyone for the Olympic team
RG: I am sure it is a very detailed decision making process. There are a great deal of talented runners out there and so I am sure the team will be populated by those the coaches deem to be the best and strongest to represent the country.
FR: Will you be running the London Marathon and if so, are you willing to share your goal for it?
RG: I will not be running it this year – I considered it for a while after NYC and was contemplating going for a sub 2:30. However, I sustained a minor foot injury which put me out for eight weeks, and I do not think I could perform my best in the timeframe now.
FR:What shoes do you train in and race in?
RG: I run in Nike Turbo 2 Rise or Nike React Infinity and race in Nike Next%
FR: Are there any supporters that have helped you over the last year that you’d like to mention
RG: Nike Running both in LA – specifically Blue Ribbon Sports – and Nike NYC have been incredible support to me, ensuring I have the right kit to train and race in, and of course Peloton who are always there to support my running and my recovery.