OH WONDER interview – Runner’s World, March 2020 issue

LONDON ELECTRONIC POP DUO JOSEPHINE VANDER GUCHT AND ANTHONY WEST ON RUNNING ON TOUR

JVG: At school I hated athletics with a vengeance. Plus I was so into music I just wanted to go to gigs all the time. So basically the whole of my teenage years I never ran, which is kind of crazy when I look back at it.

AW: When you’re a kid it’s one thing or another. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t really do athletics because I’m into skateboarding.’ It was that and then BMX for me. You didn’t dabble.

JVG: I discovered running at university when a few of my mates started going on casual runs. Then we took a trip to Paris to do the Half Marathon. When I came back I joined Run Dem Crew in Brixton.

AW: When I was 17 I got a knee injury when I was hit by a car on my bike. That kind of sucked but it did help with running because I had something to overcome. The doctor said, ‘You shouldn’t be running long distances.’ I thought, ‘Nah,’ and trained for a marathon.

JVG: . I ran with Run Dem Crew for about two years, which was really useful for getting out of the house and meeting people rather than sitting in my bedroom writing songs. The spirit, the energy and the atmosphere there is so celebratory.

AW: My rehab was eight months and I did my first marathon, Berlin, when I was 21. I find it easier to have goals to work towards. I’d find it hard just to go out and run 15k unless it was gonna be worth something in three months.

JVG: I really like feeling strong. Running for me used to be very externally motivated, to help keep my weight in check. As you get older you appreciate what your body can do a bit more. Just being able to run and feel invincible – that feeling is so addictive.

AW: I did Stockholm when I was 24. The second one felt a lot easier. But I haven’t done any marathons since we started touring. Time zones are a bit of a bugger. It’s hard to stick to a routine.

JVG: I think marathons are so traumatic that I’m happy to leave it at one! I did London in 2013. But classic competitive me, I wanted to do sub-4, so I ran five times a week for about eight months.

JVG: I did three 22-mile runs while training. After one, in winter, I got on the bus, so broken. This woman came up to me to ask if I was okay and offered me some money! She thought I was in real despair.

AW: Our new album comes out in February and we start a new tour in March. We’re both really up for running on this tour. We’re doing quite long stints in each country so we’ll have time to adjust. It’s a great way to see a city.

JVG: We don’t tend to run together. If we do, it means Anthony’s going really slowly. He’s got long legs – that’s his excuse. But we’ll do nostalgic runs together. We’re going round Central Park tomorrow.

AW: I’m not so interested in the stats any more. I think because I’m so tied to technology in my job, I don’t listen to music or wear a watch when I run. I just run free!

JVG: I listen to music when I run. It helps me feel more energised, and it’s a great opportunity to check out new stuff. The new Coldplay song [Orphans] is really good for running – so life-giving. I did two laps of the park just with that on a loop.

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