WSR Ambassadors

Zoe Dunne

Trail runner, cheerleader, mummy, equestrian, Spartan

What do I do? I’m a self-employed Girl Friday (no that’s not like Hooters!). I do whatever needs doing: freelance admin, project management, consultancy, bookkeeping, etc. I used to have a ‘proper’ career and then I had kids and my life goals and priorities got realigned. Some things are more important than status.

Where do I hail from? Originally Poole, but I’m now living in the wilds of Shaftesbury, near a hill made famous by Hovis.

Why do I run? You obviously haven’t met my kids! It’s the only way to escape… Only kidding! I run to still get out and explore the countryside, stay sane and sleek.

I didn’t start running properly until 2019; I had successfully lost a LOT of weight and set my sights on becoming a Spartan (in Obstacle Course Racing) and learned to weightlift, with a PT and everything. I got pretty ripped for a middle-aged mummy. Then, said PT pointed out I may have the strength for the obstacles, but what about the running in between? ‘Oh crap, I genuinely had overlooked that!’ So I took to the trails (partly because I knew the bridleways, but also so no-one local would see me dying 0.5 miles into a run!).

Why do I love it? What’s not to love? I get fitness, fresh air, see amazing sights, meet extraordinary people doing inspiring things. It can be shared with everyone and anyone: young or old, friend or foe. It also still ties in with other aspects of my life: family, horses, OCR, rural life. I’ll admit it wasn’t love at first sight with running; it was a slow burn but it’s here to stay!

My favourite WSR race is the Bell Race at Sydling St Nicholas. It was my first-ever intro to WSR in 2019 and my ears haven’t stopped ringing. What an introduction it was! Already bruised and battered from a Spartan event the previous day, watched closely by a 7-year-old child, I joined the weirdest and most wonderful warm up you could never imagine on the village green.

What have I achieved in my running career? Not as much as many… yet! But I have goals and ambition and plenty of new discoveries to make along the way. I only ran my first race in 2019 (don’t tell anyone, but it wasn’t a WSR event) – a 10K – then I arrived at Moreton Frolic a few months later with a target of 10 miles only to complete an ‘accidental marathon’ with just a brief interlude sitting in the river between half-marathons. I was aiming for a whole marathon in one attempt at the Ox Races in May 2020, but plans change and involve so watch this space…

Lydz K-B

Lydia, aka Lydz, is always 21… so don't even ask

I used to run many years ago, but didn’t take it seriously. I had no watches or gadgets; I just ran, but not for long. I then moved around a few places for work reasons and boredom and dropped the running.

However I moved down to Poole from London when I was pregnant with my second daughter, and about a year after she was born I wanted to get fit so decided to start running again. It all started with just one simple lap around where I live – less than a mile – and then I saw a local 5K race event so decided to give it a go! Once I finished, a friend said I did good and I should try a 10K, so that was it.

I started booking more races and I then came across White Star Running and booked my first event, which was Bad Cow Frolic.

I enjoyed the relaxed fun atmosphere, the encouragement, the people and I ended up running my first ‘accidental marathon’ and got my first marathon medal.

From then I was hooked on WSR events. I love the Cider Frolic; it’s usually always hot and great fun.

I love camping with the kids and it’s brilliant to combine this with running; it makes it a fab weekend. So since that 5K, I have done several marathons and ultras now, including WSR and events in Scotland on the Isle of Arran and the New Forest.

I run my own freelance business offering professional massage and some beauty treatments, and I’m a makeup artist too. I love food, cooking yummy vegan dishes. I do tend to waffle on a lot, so just tell me to ‘shh’!

So about me in short: I love running, cooking, dancing, walking my dogs, being with my daughters, music and having fun… oh and a good chat 😉

Lewis Mutton

lewis mutton
A programmer who runs!

My name is Lewis and I’m a web developer from Poole. Yeah, that’s right a programmer who runs 😮!

I try to break the mould and not to fit the assumed persona associated with programmers (somewhat successfully I hope!). I’m reasonably social, I’m a Scout leader, I play darts, I eat and drink too much, and I run to try and counteract the negative impact my other interests have on my health…

I love to run to get outside; I spend 5 days a week sat in front of a computer working, so running is my escape from the screen where I think about nothing!

I originally started running as a student to try and counteract my calorie intake through excessive alcohol consumption. I was predominantly running on a treadmill at the gym but… treadmills are boring. I don’t really count this as running.

In 2014, after graduating, I moved to Plymouth where I’d been studying. I continued my treadmill bashing until I was introduced to Storm Plymouth in 2016 – I joined and entered my first-ever race within months and discovered parkrun.

Through Storm I was encouraged to enter my first marathon as part of a club holiday to Rotterdam in 2017.
I was also introduced to White Star Running through Storm, entering my first-ever trail marathon at the last Bovington Marathon in 2017 where I ran alongside other club members and was amazed by the support from the White Star team – even at the back of the field where we were due to an injury picked up on route.

As I write this I have completed 20 marathons (10 of which were White Star Running races) with the long term goal of 100+.

I’ve since moved back to Poole, the area in which I grew up, and have joined the awesome Lytchett Manor Striders.

I love to set myself challenges. In 2018 I decided I was going to run 100 miles every month of the year. In 2019 I ran my first 50-mile race completing the Chiltern Wonderland 50 in just over 9 hours, and completed my first double marathon weekend at the Invader completing over 40 miles in the Frolic. (I would say the Invader Frolic has been my favourite race to date 🙂.) In 2020 I completed my first 100 miler doing the North Downs Way 100.

The recent arrival of my first-born son is sure to make a cute cheerleader at upcoming events so look out!

That’s enough of the life story for one day!

Jim Whitmarsh

Grumpy Grandad

My name is Jim Whitmarsh (aka the Grumpy Grandad!). I’ve been a contract gardener for 30 years . I live in Hedge End, near Southampton. I’m a member of the 100 Marathon Club. and Hedge End Running Club. I have run 278 marathons and ultras. My next WSR marathon will be my 50th marathon running the beautiful countryside of Dorset.

I am married to Angelina, coming up to 38 years. I have two kids, Emily and Shaun, and a granddaughter called Bella Mae.

Imogen Testa

Known as Imi; runs with dog Murphy

Hi I’m Imi! I first found White Star Running while trying to flirt with Lee on his training runs for some marathon he was doing. Turns out it was Larmer. I ended up running it as well and we’ve been together ever since – oh, and Lee’s still about too!

I’ve done most of the White Star Running marathons now (although Ox is still on my to-do list) and a few Frolics, but I also enjoying marshalling more and more. You get all of the fun, without the sweary bits and blisters.

My day job is as a self-employed massage therapist, which means long hours and not as much training as I’d like, but I can take time off pretty much when I want to to come down south for running and drinking and to catch up with our White Star family. Events are soooo much more than just ‘a run’ and always a chance to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.

Hannah Slater

From Beaminster… likes hills

I live in Beaminster, Dorset, not far from the amazing Jurassic coastline. I work for KONG Company, so basically I get to play with dog toys for a living.

I have been back running for three years now. I’m a true trail runner at heart and have vowed never to do a road race again! I live for hills, adverse weather and feeling alive! Running makes me feel better, brighter, like a fog has lifted, giving me time to switch off and just be in the here and now.

I am a recent member of Bridport Running Club, who have helped me pick up the pace this year immensely. To start with I used Weymouth parkrun to set myself mini goals. I have competed in, or rather completed, five 5Ks, 14 10Ks, two 10 milers in the dark, and the WSR Larmer Tree Half Marathon – so far!

My biggest challenges to date have been the Keswick Mountain Festival in 2019, and more recently the Lamer Tree Half in 2020, a thoroughly enjoyable day out in the countryside and even coming in well before my goal time.

In my head an ultra is calling, but I will have to see if this unfolds in 2021… maybe a little too ambitious!

Debi Fisher

Cat lover, runner and pizza enthusiast

My name is Debi, from Bedford, home of Bedford Blues RFC and Paula Radcliffe. I work as a senior buyer in manufacturing.

I’ve been running on and off since probably about 2011, but didn’t start running properly until I joined my running club Bedford Harriers in June 2018.  Before I joined my club, I used to ferry my boyfriend (also a runner!) to races up and down the country.

One race in particular stood out for me – Edinburgh Marathon 2018. I was standing in the crowd, and the atmosphere was electric, there was such a buzz, and I felt so proud of him, and I just remember thinking I want to be part of this. 

I very nearly missed it, because I nearly got forklifted onto the back of a truck while sat on a portable loo (more on that story later 🤪). The second we got back, I emailed my club about joining and here we are.

So far my longest race distance is a half-marathon. I was training for Brighton Marathon 2020, but unfortunately that was  cancelled and I’ve chosen to postpone to 2021.

My biggest achievement in running so far is knuckling down on my 10K time. I did my first 10K race in September 1018 and clocked in at 1hr 11 mins. For ages I was desperately trying to get a sub hour. Even as recently as June 2019, I still couldn’t crack it at 1.02.28. So I went away and I trained my socks off until October 2019 when I smashed my target coming in at 56.52, and then further beat my record in December 2019 finishing at 54.34.

I love running because I love the way it makes you feel. I think there are a lot of people who would agree that their daily stint of exercise is one of the main things keeping them happy right about now.

Before I ran, I spent a lot of time editing my photos to make myself into at least a 4/10 prior to posting, but since running I’m proudest of the no makeup, red-faced, sweaty photos where I look half dead, and have sworn at least five times climbing up a hill. After years of feeling self conscious of my appearance, I love running photos because instead of giving a toss what I look like it’s a celebration of what my body can achieve.

In terms of White Star Running races, I haven’t had the pleasure of taking part in any yet – Covid put a hole in 2020 plans – but from what I’ve seen Giants Head has a firm place on my list!

Lee Pullen

Not a nurse

I from Oxford, but moved to Dorset in 2012.

I am married and I have a young daughter. I have been running and racing properly since 2016. The Dark Ox was my first-ever race in May 2016. Dorset Invader was my first-ever half-marathon in July 2016, and in October 2016 I did my first marathon: the Bournemouth Marathon.

I am a proud runner for Lytchett Manor Striders, running with them since January 2017. That year I was first in my age category in our club championships.

I have run seven marathons – Bournemouth twice, Purbeck Marathon and then four WSR marathons in 2019. Three of those four were part of the Wyvern Marathon series and I came 2nd overall. I also did a solo Frolic that was equivalent to a marathon in 2017.

I have done quite a few of the WSR events now. Lamer Tree Marathon is my favourite marathon and special one to me. Dark Ox is still my favourite WSR race. The venue and time of the year is great for both of those events.

I do some cycling too.

Most of my miles in training are done on tarmac, flat routes and mostly to work and back.

I’m an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP)… basically a theatre nurse, but we aren’t allowed to call ourselves that! We train solely in theatre and once qualified we can also go to work in intensive/critical care and some other departments. I have been working at Poole Hospital since 2014, doing orthopaedic trauma scrub and I do some anaesthetic assisting too.

Gina Dearing

Known as G to family and mates. Scouser to most others!

I’m 48 years young and currently live in the Swinehill (translate to Swindon). Been here about eight years now, but was in RAF Lyneham for 15 years before that as my other half was based there in the Army.

We met when we were both serving in Abingdon, but I left in 1996 after having my son. I had always ran because it was a given being Military, but never liked it.

I started to run to lose weight, but then got pregnant again – this was a BOGOF one this time so I defo needed to get out more and run! Not only to shift my fat ass, but to clear the brain and waft the smell of babies’ puke and poo out my pores! Pity it doesn’t get it out of your nails too 🙄

I realised I was enjoying it, so I trained for my first half-marathon, which was going to be Swindon. Unfortunately, I had a bicycle accident and broke my arm and that’s when shit hit the fan! Big time.

I won’t go into all the years of hospital appointments, but let’s break it down to ‘they thought I had cancer, but I had two prolapsed discs, a cyst in my spine and MS’! Don’t do things by halves, me. So anyhoo, I was told never to run again, which I took notice of. The end.

Said no female ever!

I did 5Ks, 10Ks and a few half-marathons with friends at my running club and decided to venture to marathons. Loved it so much I went for ultras. This is how I met Kelly (she was at my run club); she heard I was doing this and asked to train with me and then introduced me to WSR. It’s made running easier for me – not on the running side (because erm, hills) – but the fact I can bring family who are non-runners and they are made to feel part of it all. They are just as excited as me to go, probably for the drinking, defo for the company but almost positively for the booze.

Who doesn’t want to experience Kev’s Barrel, barn dancing, dinosaur spotting, Fake Kelly, Catherine’s amazing costumes, Ben’s crocheted mangro… and much more!

Kasia Lubowiecka

Runs 100 mile ultras for fun

My name is Kasia and I’m a White Star Running Ambassador. In my non-running life, I work in an office – Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 kind of thing. I live in Guildford, Surrey (I don’t keep my horses here, that would be Princess Anne!).

I’ve been running for a while now, but my marathon adventure began in 2015 at a White Star Running event – The Ox. After that I started doing a marathon per month and soon after two, or three a month, completing my 100 marathons in just over four years. My 100th marathon celebration was at another WSR event – Moreton Marathon – and it was absolutely fabulous, by far the best running day ever!

After that I did a few grueling 100 milers, which I also found fun (each to their own, as they say). You can find some of my write-ups here:

All WSR events are my favourite, but if I had to choose one, it would be Giants Head Marathon. The route is stunning (a lot of it on private land that you wouldn’t see otherwise) and the people of Sydling St Nicholas welcome runners to their village like they’ve known us for years. To finish off the event, there’s a barn dance and some epic ice cream!

Running is my way of seeing new places and meeting new people. Running with WSR provides much more than that – you will gain a whole new running family and friends for life! See you on the trails!

Kelly Henly

From the beautiful scenic town of Swindon

I’m a 40-something-year-old ‘afleete’ from the beautiful scenic town of Swindon. I live with my partner Alex and I have four children. I work for a snack and sandwich company on the outskirts of Swindon, and have done for the past year.

I took up running nine years ago after getting really bored of watching Jeremy Kyle every day while on the cross trainer! I did my first WSR race in 2016 and never looked back – well, only to take in the beautiful views from them there Dorset hills!

Since then I’ve completed 27 marathons and eight ultras. My greatest running achievement was back in 2018 when I took part in Endure 24 as a solo runner, completed 85 miles and came in 7th place.

I have also been known to do a countdown or two on the White Star Running Facebook group over the past few years.

Nicky Chrascina

Runs with Billy, a crazy vizsla

I’ve been running for around 30 years and completed my 100th marathon/ultra at the Giants Head Marathon 2019.

Nicky loves trail running despite not liking hills at all, which does make me wonder why I love WSR events so much! I have a weakness for Prosecco, cider and gin, so it’s probably the Love Station™ that keeps me running rural. Much of my running is with Billy, my crazy vizsla, who can often be found at WSR events too.

I retired from the corporate world in November to work full-time on my funky activewear business, FLANCI, with my hubbie, Alfie.

Olivia Higginson

Blogging runner

My name is Olivia and I can’t believe that I was chosen to be an Ambassador! I feel very honoured and can’t wait to tell more people about how epic White Star races are.

I run because I love it, it’s a part of me, and because I am able too. I run to keep my mental health happy. Whether it’s road to trail I don’t mind, as both have their place. However, it’s either an age thing or a pos- injury thing, but trails are more fun! You can take your time, look at the views and walk the hills.

The running community make up a big part of why I love running: my friends at Honiton Running Club, plus all the runners I meet at parkruns and races. I’m a sucker for a fabulous medal and White Star definitely have the best.

I don’t just run now, because I had four years out due to a combination of injuries, which was hell. Now I run plus I go to the gym, spinning and I’m a warm-weather bike rider. New for 2020 is I that attend Crossfit Exe, which is fun, the people are super friendly, it is good for me and it’s satisfying to do exercises you don’t like!

I have run races of all distances, from a mile fun run to a 50K ultra, and loved them all for different reasons. My true love though lies with the half-marathon and so I am hoping to run 100 half-marathons before I’m 40 in September 2022. I am currently on 31 and time is ticking by with no races (in 2020).

In the non-running part of life, I live in a glorious part of East Devon. I’m a sports therapist, gym instructor and a water fitness instructor. I’m very lucky to be able to blog about all things running (see I can’t write more than two sentences before running comes up!).

PS. I am weirdly obsessed with pineapples.

Ciaran Considine

Air Traffic Controller by day… and sometimes by night too!

Hi there! I’m Ciaran from Wiltshire, via London and rural Ireland. I’m an Air Traffic Controller by day… and sometimes by night too. I have been running for about four years, and do a bit of cyclo-cross as well. I live below one of the famous White Horses in the Marlborough Downs, so I go out my front door and straight uphill normally!

I run and volunteer at my local parkrun – Marlborough Common – and enjoy a little bit of parkrun tourism now and then. I even managed to run one in the snow of Helsinki in February 2020. Having moved to the area last summer, I also joined a running club for the first time – Pewsey Vale RC. From many avenues and thanks to a lot of warm, welcoming faces, I’m appreciating the social aspect of running like I hadn’t previously.

Having started at a very low base, running has been great because progress has been encouraging me to keep pushing. That running can be enjoyed with a group of friends, strangers who become friends, or indeed by oneself, appeals greatly. I’m definitely most proud of sharing the joy of running with my father. After coercing him into joining me for Christmas Day parkrun in 2018 while I was over in Ireland visiting, to my delight he has persevered.

I entered my first race last year, the Run Jurassic Marathon – tough but everyone was so friendly and a it was a truly rewarding experience. The medals really are the best! I have the racing bug now; among my plans I was hoping to enter qualifying events for the Three Peak Challenge 2021 this year – we shall see about that now! Another goal has been to organise a couple of friends into some friendly competition at the Ox Frolic!

Lee Masters

Marshal, helper, general dogsbody

Hi! I ran for about five years as a kid and 15 as an adult, but I’m now pretty much retired to marshal, helper, general dogsbody. 

When I’m not running or helping at races, I can be found wandering the Cotswolds, which are conveniently on my doorstep.

My favourite White Star Running race was East Farm Frolic – my first post heart attack marathon

My most memorable race ever is the Lakeland 50. I pretty much walked it after being told for two separate medical reasons that I couldn’t. Couldn’t, not shouldn’t. Damn M.S.

I’m Bristol born and bred, but not afflicted by the full accent. I’m often found loitering at running events in various disguises like the Grim Reaper and a Crafty Fox. I have plenty of time for anyone who pushes their limits at running regardless of ability/speed.

Oh, I’m a gashead. Come on you blues!

Denise Barnes

#FOMO made me do it!

Hi I am a Bournemouth Jogger living in Poole, Dorset, and have been running for seven years. A spontaneous decision in 2012 saw me sign up to the 2013 Bournemouth Marathon with zero running experience and the outlook of, ‘How hard can it really be?’

Turns out, quite hard, and I never wanted to run again! It took a whole week for the Bournemouth Joggers Running Club, who I had joined in 2013, to convince me to sign up to another race and I haven’t stopped since!

Fast forward to today and I am a qualified LIRF and I have completed 22 half-marathons, 12 marathons, 1 ultramarathon and a few 10K to 10-mile races in between.

My favourite running adventure has to be my 24-hour Go Wild Gorilla Hunt, which involved running around Jersey at night to find model gorillas in October 2019, with Becca, my running buddy, some hi-vis, four Topic bars and a random Strava map sent to my Garmin F5 for support.

When it comes to organised races, you can’t beat a good White Star Runnig Frolic in the countryside. Here is where you will find all kinds of runners, including those who have never run off-road before or have recently completed a Couch to 5K course It’s great to see them achieve what they didn’t think was possible, and I hope as a LIRF and White Star Ambassador I can encourage more non-runners to put on their trainers and give it a go.