Adrian Rutledge


The boy from Balham, Adrian Rutledge shares his story about how a health scare and then badgering from Griz eventually led Adrian to joining the Hedgehoppers.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself? i.e. where you grew up, family etc.

I come from an Irish catholic background and was born near Balham ‘the gateway to the south’!

I have two sisters (one of whom lives in sunny Donegal) and the other in Brighton. I also have a brother who lives and works as a Barrister in London.

We grew up on a council estate in south London and my mother did a grand job bringing up 4 children on extraordinarily little money.

In 1991 I met my wife Rachel in Nottingham where I was studying for a MA in social work. After travelling around Brazil, we lived and worked in London for a couple of years before moving to Brighton and Hove in 1996. We married at the Pavilion and had two children, Lily and Oisin who are now young adults.

I work full time as a practice manager in children’s services managing a fostering team of supervising social workers based in Horsham. For my sins I have worked for West Sussex County Council for over 20 years!

When did you start running?

I started running eight years ago. I was beginning to look like Mr CREOSOTE because I had not done any exercise for over 25 years, so I started running slowly at Hove parkrun to try and get fit.

Unfortunately, one evening in October 2012 I had an angina attack and was taken to hospital and had a stent fitted into my heart artery. I remember at the cardiac rehab classes the nurses advising us all that we should take up an exercise activity we were likely to continue with so I decided to dedicate myself to running and have not looked back since !

When did you join Hedgehoppers and what made you become a regular?

I think I joined Hedgehoppers in 2013 after meeting Griz several times at Hove parkrun where she would badger Steve and I to join the hoppers saying they were a friendly group of runners who ran on Downs during the summer months. I decided to wait until spring before going along to my first Tuesday night run and indeed, I was welcomed by Ann, Griz, Sally, Roy, Peter, James, Richard, John, and others. However, it was a bit of a shock running up those hills for the first time something I still have not recovered from!

Best thing about being a Hopper?

The Hoppers are a friendly group of runners who do not take themselves too seriously and just enjoy coming together to have a run. Having a regular event or training session motivates me to get out there running and if I do not, the catholic guilt soon kicks in!

The Hedgehoppers have also been a springboard to other running events such as the West Sussex Fun Run League, 1Ok’s, half marathons and marathons. Being part of the Hedgehoppers has given me the confidence to take on challenges such as marathons (although I do remember saying I would never run one!) and as a result to date I have ran 7 marathons and 14 half marathons!

What is your favourite running event?

Originally, I was going to say the 2019 London Marathon mainly because it took me 4 years to gain a place in the ballot and I ran my Personal Best! I also raised money for the British Lung Foundation and ran the Marathon in memory of my mother who had unfortunately died the October before. However, on reflection I really enjoyed the Beachy Head Marathon back in 2017 mainly because I hardly trained for it, took my time completing the course and enjoyed taking in the wonderful views of East Sussex! To top it all the run was finished off nicely with an enjoyable stodgy school dinner with Peter and James!

What is the longest distance you have run?

The longest distance I have run has been the Three Forts Marathon which is over 27 miles and I am told is classed as an Ultra!

Do you have a nickname and how did you come by it?

I do not have a nickname as such although I do have a Gmail account starting with adethebabe. I was first called Ade the babe by a fellow student at Kingston Polytechnic back in 1985 and it has somehow stuck!

Please tell us one thing about yourself that people may not know.

When I was 19, I studied for a B.A. honours degree in fine art painting at Kingston Poly. I do not really paint or draw now but I do have a few old pictures hanging on the walls in my house although Lily is a much better artist than me so we have her work hanging on the walls too!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Portslade Hedgehoppers is a great club and I would urge anybody interested in taking up running to join as the hoppers always make new members feel welcome!

Running has probably prevented me from having another heart attack and I could not have kept up my running without the support of the mighty Hedgehoppers!!