Find your Vitality – the long-distance DJ

Taking on the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon made me a better DJ


So this may sound strange to some of you, but if I didn’t run so much, I wouldn’t be able to DJ as I do. As a young-at-heart woman over, um, 25 (cough), standing on your feet playing tunes for hours-on-end can really take it out of you. I DJ twice a week, sometimes more. Every set is a minimum of four hours, and often I have to do two gigs back to back, which means DJing for 8-9 hours, straight. This is where endurance training in the form of long-distance running comes in. Long runs, several times a week, makes me match-fit for my DJ lifestyle.


I have run four marathons, but this was before I discovered I had some DJ skills (and people wanted to pay me for it, who knew? *Disclaimer: I was a vinyl bedroom DJ for years…). I did, however, realise that if you can take on such an epic commitment as a marathon, you can translate this over to other areas of your life. Since completing these marathons I have not been afraid of taking on challenges such as an MA and now a PhD, while working full-time. Stuff not for the faint-hearted. Now I can take on the academic distance, which involves just as much blood, sweat and tears. And this now applies to my burgeoning DJ career.


I remember my first long DJ set three years ago. I left with backache, sore feet, and was utterly shattered. After that I got back into running again, properly. Even though I still ‘dabbled’ (a few 30 minute runs every now and again) I had slacked off a bit in favour of spin classes and weight-training. Running longer distances on a regular basis totally improved my DJ stamina. I not only became stronger physically, but I also felt better emotionally. There’s something about being high after a long run that’s similar to how I feel when I play an amazing new tune that I’ve just discovered – loud. And the adrenaline that pulsates through your body when you’re screeching through your 15k mark is not dissimilar to how it feels when you get a full room going nuts mid-set. The buzz, the sweat, the grins, the pure feelings of joy – despite the fact that your back is starting to ache and your feet hurt. You stay in for the long haul, and you’re loving every minute of it. At the end of your set – like your long run – you feel an amazing sense of achievement. I have a fag after every run, just like my DJ sets…


Training for the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon really put me through my DJ paces. This was my first half marathon in almost six years. And it was tough. There were times when I took on too much. Three weeks prior to the race I ran 21k and then went straight off to DJ for five hours. I was happy but exhausted the following day. However, six months ago there would’ve been no chance I would’ve managed it. I simply wasn’t fit enough. By race day I was ready, and I’d been up late DJ-ing the night before. This was my 10th half marathon, and by far my favourite. The music on the route was invigorating, particularly the steel band, and the experiential moments of water spraying over you and motivational touch pads really helped me get through it. Even in my mid 40s, I can still got the same race time than I did in my late 20s. So there.

So thank you Hackney Half, for not only motivating me to re-gain my fitness, and my general well-being, but for also making me a better DJ.




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