Mitchell Bunn is on the road to glory. Pictures: SUBMITTED.

With the GEAR 10k little more than a week away, Gavin Caney speaks to MITCHELL BUNN, a young man who should be among the front-runners

Running, erm, runs in the family for you doesn’t it? 

Yes, running and fitness in general plays a big part in my family. Dad has been playing football since his youth up until recently and now keeps fit with weight training. 

Mum decided to give running a try in 2014 and hasn’t looked back since, running six marathons and countless 5k and 10k events. 

My eldest sister, Shez, balances strength training and running leading to recent PBs (personal bests). My middle sister Georgia runs regularly and made very quick progress in her first year of running and the youngest of my older sisters, Lou, has recently joined her local gym too.

Is it fair to say taking it seriously is a more recent development?

Yes, my week used to revolve around football. If we didn’t have a game, I would pop down to parkrun for a rare run. 

Confidence in football was always a struggle for me and this was something I never had to worry about with running. You’re only ever running for yourself. 

Recently, after a couple of on and off seasons in football, the balance of the two wasn’t working. I wanted to invest everything into one and decided to fully commit to running. 

Although I do miss playing football at times, I believe it was the right decision for me.

What is it that you enjoy most about running?

There are countless reasons as to why I enjoy running and why, every day, I lace up my trainers and go for a run. 

From nailing a session, the atmosphere of race day or achieving a new PB. 

However, to me the best thing isn’t the actual running itself, it’s how running gives the opportunity to meet so many great people.

You’ve made real progress over the last 18 months. Where have you gained your knowledge and inspiration from?

Being surrounded by Renegade Runners members has been vital in my progress. 

There are too many people to mention who have helped me but the man behind the group, Matt Pyatt, must get a special mention. 

I’ve always looked towards Matt as someone I want to be able to train with. His level of consistency and ethic towards running is second to none and something I’ll strive to replicate. 

Our team work at track and parkrun has been key to many of my best performances and I hope this is something we can continue to do for as long as possible.

Mitchell Bunn with his girlfriend Cassie Moden.

There’s too many achievements to list already, despite only being 19. What’s been your favourite? A debut sub three-hour marathon in York? Countless King’s Lynn parkrun wins? A Sandringham parkrun course record? Or something else?

My favourite would have to be York marathon. I often see this as one race where I should’ve been capable of more but looking back, in some ways it was my best. 

I was spent by 15 miles on the day for a few reasons and the last 10k especially must be the most pain physically and psychologically I’ve been in. 

The perseverance to get through it was what makes it the most special to me, with
sub-three being a bonus. 

Your girlfriend Cassie Moden is a keen, and excellent, runner too. How much does the love of your sport affect your relationship?

Cass and I met at parkrun in 2019. We have shared many great moments through our love of the sport and it has a very positive impact on our relationship. 

We run together regularly and are always supporting one another, which makes so many runs more enjoyable. 

I believe we wouldn’t have achieved half of the things we have so far if we hadn’t met. 

To say meeting Cass is the best thing that has happened since I started running is an understatement and I can’t wait to see what more we can accomplish in years to come. 

It’s the GEAR 10k next week, on Sunday May 1. You came seventh out of 1,550 last year, an incredible achievement. What are your hopes for this year?

Gear 10k is a special race around King’s Lynn in which thousands of runners participate every year. 

I managed a time of 35:28 last year, becoming my best performance for this event, my previous efforts being 47:43 (2018) and 45:52 (2019). 

I have recently broken the sub-35 barrier (34:23) in a solo effort during training and the minimum I want next weekend is to put down a sub-35 effort in an official race. 

Ideally, I want to be pushing as close as I can to sub-34 but only time will tell. 

Finally, you’re so young and have years of running ahead of you. What’s the long-term goals for you? Any bucket list races?

If I were to list every goal, I’d be talking all day so I’ll name a few major ones.

I would like to break the current King’s Lynn parkrun record, which is a rapid time of 15:31, to race abroad and to run a time that would qualify me for a championship entry into the London Marathon.

The current standards for that are a 1:12:30 half or a
sub-2:40 marathon. 

These are massive tasks, but that’s the way goals should be. I truly believe if I can stay motivated and focused I will one day cross these off my list.

The facts are…

Name: Mitchell Bunn

Date of birth: May 10, 2002

Birth place: King’s Lynn

Grew up in: Sutton Bridge

Secondary school: Peele Community College

Club: Renegade Runners

Selected PBs: 16:06 (5k), 34:23 (10k), 1:16:15 (half marathon), 2:57:08 (marathon)

Sporting hero:
Sir Alex Ferguson

Instagram: @mitch7runs

• Bunn was a winger when he played football but was comfortable anywhere across the front line. He played for Cambridge United youth for the last couple of years of football being his main sport (2016-18).

• After taking 21 minutes to run 5k in 2014, it wasn’t until 2019 that Bunn could consistently run
sub-20 minutes across the popular parkrun distance.

• The Renegade Runner admits he has a childhood comfort in the form of a blanket (more of a rag now) that he’s very attached to.

• He’s currently studying level two fitness instructing and level three personal training.

• Bunn hopes to one day set up a running website where he could help coach people to improve and achieve their running ambitions.

Quickfire questions

Restaurant or takeaway?

Film or series?

Bath or shower?

Tea or coffee? 

Sweet or savoury? 

Summer or winter? 

Day or night? 

Holiday or staycation?

Favourite food: BBQ chicken pizza

Least favourite food: Quiche

Favourite TV programme: Gogglebox

Least favourite TV programme: TOWIE

Favourite band/musician: Dermot Kennedy

Least favourite band/musician: Little Mix

Favourite film:
Harry Potter

Least favourite film: The Lost Daughter

Answers in italics