I’ve come a long way from the Caribbean to the West Midlands, in many ways more than one.
I have never in my life run in shoes. Most of my childhood was spent barefoot as it was always more comfortable than having my feet squashed into shoes. Being barefoot suited my fearless nature. I used to run and bare back ride wild donkeys from my house near the dormant volcano to the side of the Atlantic coast - two to three miles of mostly trail and pitted road. I climbed mango trees barefoot and I used to run cross country barefoot also – which remains the norm in Nevis.
My wife Susie, ran in Luna sandals back in the Caribbean and has always encouraged me to get back into running due to my build. I was not interested.
In 2015 we made a move to the UK and Susie continued to try and get a reluctant me back running. In Susie’s words, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!” In 2018 I decided to listen to her and went out for a run, and it felt amazing. I started running in Vivobarefoot shoes and then on to Luna sandals.
I love running because it makes me feel free and so alive. I did a few marathon distances and decided that that was not enough for me. During the first lockdown I really increased my mileage and during the second did some solo ultra running. A 50k followed by a few more, and I found I had found my niche and my tribe.
I have never been one for quiet subtle clothes – I love the amazing splash of colour that Flanci brings to my running (and my Instagram J). Every runner does amazing things and should revel in their personal achievements and ability in fun activewear.
The running community is an amazing thing. There is an ongoing Barefoot Crew 5k group where we go out and do a barefoot 5k or more every Thursday. That’s where I met Vic (The Happy Runner – another amazing Flanci Ambassador!). Vic sadly due to recent Covid travel restrictions was unable to do an ultra she had entered and I willingly took her place. How hard could it be afterall? I loved the 41 mile race, finishing in a decent time was amazing too. I’m planning a 100k next, and from there – who knows?
I was introduced to Flanci by a friend when completing a virtual marathon earlier in 2020. I am predominantly a power walker although I do enjoy running. I started walking in 2011 when a friend suggested we enter the Moonwalk, a breast cancer charity event. I trained and completed the marathon, from there on things just progressed. To date I have completed over 150 events including 26 marathons and 3 ultra-marathon!! These have included New York and Berlin.
As an older lady I'm never going to be the front of the pack but I do get enjoyment from walking and running. I'm a run director at my local park where I love meeting and encouraging fellow runners. I also have a love/hate relationship with distance walking, which means I usually hate it around 18 miles but love when I cross the finish line. I've been successful in gaining an entry to London marathon so training is starting for this as well as another 52.4 ultra in June.
Flanci skort's are my favourite although I do love my Flanci capri's and leggings. I'm an average size woman who feels comfortable and confident in all my Flanci gear.
I am so proud to be an ambassador and look forward to supporting this brand for years to come.
Liza started wearing Flanci whilst training for her second London Marathon in early 2019. Since then not a day has passed where she hasn't been running with the bright colours of Flanci. Among other achievements, Liza has completed three marathons, countless halfs and 10-mile races; she is an avid parkrunner, dropping her personal best from over 30 minutes to 23:08. She has proudly worn Flanci all over the south of England, at White Star Running events among others, and has also taken the bright colours of Flanci to the Golden State in the USA, running a Parkrun and club race in San Francisco, California, as well as at the inaugural RunFestRun festival, in May 2019.
Netty Stevens Just at the turn of the millennium, Netty was a busy working mum to 5 children with hardly a minute to herself. Then within the space of a month she lost the sight in both of her eyes. At the age of 34 her life had changed beyond anything we can comprehend. As is often the case in these situations, her life spiralled downhill into a dark world and severe depression along with contemplating suicide.
After several years and a good talking to by her son she picked up the pieces and started to rebuild her life, learning braille and touch typing within a fortnight and then became a trained councillor. Running still wasn't on her radar at this point though. After 18 months Netty was encouraged to start training with her first guide dog Beattie and this dramatically changed her life and outlook - her confidence gradually returned along with her bubbly and outgoing character. However the enforced sedentary life that visual impairment brings about, meant Netty had put more than a few pounds on and she wasn't happy about it - this is where the charity Guide Dogs came to the rescue again by providing her with a 'My Guide' to go to the gym. Netty loved the gym but wanted to try running, joking "she would love to run the London marathon one day".
In 2015 she was introduced to her first guide runner and attended her first parkrun and was bitten by the running bug. Until the Corona virus disrupted everything Netty had hardly missed a Saturday morning parkrun. Her unique personality shone through especially on occasions where fancy dress could be worn - school boys, nurses, bank robbers, fairies and witches - you name it, Netty has the costume. She has also played her part volunteering at parkrun - marshalling, finish tokens and even been the Run Director. Netty was in her element, she loved the running community and they loved her.
She went on to join her local Club Notfast competing for them in many races over the last few years. She has had lots of support from them with many club members becoming her guide. Netty likes to give back to her club too, so she trained as an England Athletics Run Leader a few years ago and loves taking out the newbies on the 'couch to 5k' sessions. She also takes care of organising all the training plans for the club and has been their secretary for the last two years. That dream she had of one day running the London marathon was fulfilled in 2017 and again in 2019 where she raised over £4000 to name Guide Dog puppy. Netty's fun personality is infectious, she is also a true inspiration and will make a fabulous Ambassador for Flanci.
Flanci-fan Lisa Jackson is a rather surprising cheerleader for the joys of running. Formerly a committed fitnessphobe, she became a marathon runner at 31, and ran her first 56-mile ultramarathon aged 41. But unlike many runners, Lisa's not afraid to finish last – in fact, she's done so in 25 of the 110 marathons and ultras she's done so far.
Having co-authored the best-selling Running Made Easy (which extols the virtues of run-walking and had sold over 110,000 copies), the self-styled 'World's Slowest Marathon Correspondent' went on to don fancy dress to cover marathons for Women's Running magazine in cities as diverse as London, New York, Athens, Berlin and Boston. She wrote about her quest to join the 100 Marathon Club, a goal she achieved in 2016, in her best-selling book Your Pace or Mine?, which has won three Running Awards and has recently been released as an audiobook.
Now a columnist for Runner's World, where she writes the Flamingo Diaries column, Lisa has also written about running (and other subjects) for The Independent, The Guardian online, Reveal, Prima, Psychologies, RED online and Mumsnet.
Lisa has also been a speaker at The National Running Show and Chris Evans' RunFestRun, and been interviewed on numerous podcasts, including Running Commentary, Bad Boy Running, Runner's World UK and Behind the Life.
Lisa’s philosophy is that running really isn't about the time you do, but the time you have while doing it, and she firmly believes you’re never too old, unfit, unathletic or curvy to run.
‘I love the fact that Flanci makes runners look good, no matter their size, and their vibrant colours are the perfect match for my fancy dress hats. I am delighted to have been invited to become an ambassador and look forward to flouncing about in my fab Flanci kit!’
My name is Meg, I love to run.... loads, it makes me feel happy specially when running in bright colourful kit. I am very passionate in fitness and I am a personal trainer and run coach so I forever on the move, I am very known for wearing bright bright as they say it matches my personality. If you see me at a race or parkrun always come over and say hi!! I am on the gram 26.2_marathon_girl.
Devon born ultra marathon and endurance athlete Adam Holland, has won more marathons/ultra marathons than anyone else in the UK. This puts him in the top five in the world for marathon wins: he has run over 346 and counting, of which 121 were under 3 hours. His fastest marathon to date was achieved at the Loch Ness Marathon in 2018, which he completed in 2 hours 24 minutes.
Adam also has several Guinness World Records and when he was just 23 years old, he completed 100 marathons making him - at the time- the youngest person in Europe to achieve this. He is also the fastest person to run 10 marathons in 10 days, with an average time of 2 hours 45 minutes and is the England Athletic 50 km champion for 2017.
However, his greatest feelings of achievement come from inspiring others to run and getting out and enjoying the sport with his friends in the running community.
If you can't catch him, you can follow Adam on social media:
Somerset based Michelle owns a gym, is a sports massage therapist, with 2 sons and 3 dogs. She also is a CrossFit coach & Somerset's only Dogfit trainer.
She is also an endurance athlete who now mainly concentrates on Canicross, Bikejor and Urban Mushing. If you have any questions about running with your dog, Michelle has the answers.
Being active is the largest part of her life. She's completed 4 Ironman Trialthlons and over 22 marathons.
Andrew is a young athlete from Salisbury who runs middle distance on the track and 5k and 10k's on a regular basis.
He's represented Wiltshire in both Cross-Country and Track, racing 1500 and 3000 and up to 6km XC. He trains regularly and runs with his Mum sometimes, even pushing the pushchair, in which his soon-to-be adopted brother smiles and claps the whole time.
Andrew is looking forward to lots of running in the coming year, and hoping to smash his PB's and meet lots of inspiring people along the way.
I am on a journey to the 100 Marathon Club and along the way have chosen to do some crazy challenges of 50 miles 100 miles and 10 marathons in 10 days. My goal is to try and encourage and motivate others to either start running 5k or to take up some bigger challenges which if I can do then anyone can.
I'm originally from sunny Plymouth in Devon but left 18 years ago to start working in Heathrow Airport, 6 years ago I moved to Kent and that's where I am now, working as a Civil Servant.
I'm very active, I've completed about 15 triathlons, mainly sprint but 2 Olympic distance, but decided to concentrate on running as I've always struggled with that. I joined a local running club 2 years ago this September and I am now a team leader with them. I run twice a week with beginners and existing members and also do races with them and plan the routes for their longer runs at the weekend. I also love trail running and go to North Wales running and walking when I can.
As well as running I love any cardio class at the gym, I'm an open water swimmer and I'm attempting to walk the southwest coast path (over a few years) with my husband.
I'm currently training for Bournemouth Marathon. It"ll be my first marathon and I'm raising money for the Kent based charity Ellenor.
I spend a lot of time outside by the water and have recently started volunteering with the RNLI - I'm hoping to be called up as crew soon.
My name is Justyna and I work as a Technical Director for ITV News and Channel 4 News. My running journey began when a few of my newsroom colleagues persuaded me to sign up for my first ever Half Marathon in Paris.
Being told by a doctor as a child that I would never run long distance due to severe asthma I was very happy to prove them wrong! Since then I’ve completed a few more half marathons, 10k runs, Tough Mudder and the London Marathon. I am about to run the Sofia Half in Bulgaria, followed by a half in Valencia and then a full marathon in Lake Garda - there is a bit of a theme going on there!
I certainly take running with me everywhere I go and I love doing it in happy, colourful active wear.
Vicky is from Worcestershire, married with 2 teenage children and works as a Midwife.
She absolutely loves running and challenging herself. In the past 2 years, she has run 3 marathons, done 2 OCRs and recently completed the Threshold trio of Ultras of 2x double marathons non stop and 100k all within 5 weeks.
In the week she often run leads a Women's running group supporting and encouraging women to complete their very first 5k.
"I just love the running community, the support and motivation it brings is amazing. A mile is a mile and that's an achievement to be celebrated whether it's walked or run. Just moving more has the most incredible benefits mentally and physically and my aim is to get the message out there to have fun and move more as it will change lives”.
Vic Izzy Owens (The Happy Runner)
Inspired by childhood tales of her father's running days, Vic Izzy Owens, aka The Happy Runner, often dreamed of running fast along the pavements of London, her hometown.
However it wasn’t until much later in life, in 2017, when she lived in North Wales that Vic decided to take up running and started training for the Manchester Marathon. Upon completing Manchester Marathon she decided to explore trail running and a few months later took on the brutal Excalibur Marathon. It took her almost double the time she expected, but with steep climbs and stunning views Vic knew she had found what she was looking for. By the end of that year she smiled the entire way through her first ultra, Rat Race's The Wall, 69 miles along Hadrian's Wall, and started her ultra running journey.
In September 2017 Vic took on what she calls ‘her first real run’, the King Offa's Dyke race: 185 miles from Chepstow to Prestatyn. Before this point she has only ran 69 miles. That year Vic was the only female finisher, and with tired navigation errors made the run 200.2 miles. Mentally and physically exhausted she crossed the finish line and vowed never to run again. This vow lasted about a week. Vic completed King Offa's Dyke again in 2019 smashing her previous time by 3 hours.
In 2018 Vic enjoyed running with Ultra Great Britain and completed Chester 100 as second female. Feet in blisters and incredibly sore she vowed never to wear running trainers again. This time it was a vow she kept and upon returning home she binned her high spec trainers and traded them in for Luna Sandals and Vibram Five Fingers. Now she mixes minimalist footwear up with her barefoot running and to date has run marathon distances fully barefoot.
In 2019 Vic took on The Monarchs, and spent 5 days on the trails running further then she has ever run before. It was the most amazing humbling experience of Vic's running to date. She has vowed to go back and finish the route, a vow we think she will be keeping.
Barefoot running, and switching her diet to plant based, has changed Vic's running. Connection to the ground and her environment is of primal importance.
On Saturday mornings you will find Vic down at her local Parkrun in Conwy, wearing her FLANCI shorts and being a guide runner her younger brother Alexander who lives with severe brain damage. During the week she enjoys running Canicross with her springer spaniel Bella and family run nights with her two children Sophie and Olly.
Why is ultra running so special to Victoria? “Placing your feet on a path of adventure is vital for the soul, each step moves you closer to a moment of truth, a moment of rawness, a moment of peace. People you meet in those moments shape and change your life. Pace is irrelevant, if you run then you are a runner. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy your moments”
Follow Vic, aka The Happy Runner, rocking her FLANCIs on social media:
Louise is a mum of two girls, and is a Lifeguard and Swim Teacher living in Wellington in Somerset.
She considers herself to be a fun runner, but is a little bit competitive underneath the smiles and silliness.
With over 20 marathons, 25 half marathons, and 4 half Ironman distance triathlons under her belt, she can be deceptively serious about her swimming, biking and running. She got into running in 2014 to loose the lingering baby weight once her youngest started preschool, fell in love with it and has gone from strength to strength. Running all distances from 5k at parkrun to 30 mile ultras, she always does it with a smile and a sense of fun (and often in fancy dress or “Flanci dress”!!). Branching into triathlon by accident in 2015 and then using it as a way of cross training, she has covered sprint distances through to 70.3s and is contemplating a full Ironman distance in 2021.
Louise loves the social side and is never happier than when running with friends, and prefers the trails to the roads. You can follow her exploits on her public Instagram account.
Lou also loves to crochet bobble hats, and was the inspiration for our bobble hat design leggings. If anyone would like a chunky stripy or similar hat, please contact Lou via her instagram page.