If he’s not at work in his suit supporting our customers in the hospitality sector, you’re likely to find Grant Seaton donning his running gear.
Having given up smoking a decade ago, the 44-year-old has put his focus on pounding the streets – and raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.
The Senior Business Lending Manager, based at our head office in Kingstown, Carlisle, tells us a little bit more about his fitness journey.
How did you get into running?
“It wasn’t something I’ve always been into – around 10 years ago a close friend of mine had Hodgkin Lymphoma, and I wanted to do something to help her fundraise for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Around the same time, I found out I was to become a dad, and that was a motivation to stop smoking and start running.”
How many marathons have you done?
“I’ve done three full marathons. I’ve also ran the Great North Run for seven years in a row and plenty of other events and half marathons all over the country and in Europe.
“I was supposed to be doing the London Marathon, but after two postponements I recently completed the virtual London Marathon with some runners for the Calvert Trust.
“We did this at Watchtree nature reserve. It was good to do it with other people and have that bit of support.”
What do you enjoy most about running?
“Running is great and there are lots of benefits. You can do a mindfulness run, or after a hard day at work you can think it over while you are running.
“There are social benefits too and there is a good online community where you get to know people and then end up meeting them at events.”
Which charities do you run for, and how much have you raised?
“I have run for a different charity for each of the last 10 years, but it’s hard to say how much I’ve raised. Some of the times it comes from being sponsored for events, but I also raise money with lots of other people and organise different fundraising events.
“You can’t just keep raising money by doing a run – it gets to the point where people start crossing the street to avoid being asked for donations – so I try and do many different things for the charities.
“The ‘third sector’ needs our support now more than ever, and that’s the main motivation for doing this. I try to do things each year to spread the message of the charities, though running is the thread that runs through pretty much everything I do.”
How often do you train each week?
“Looking after the kids can be time-consuming, so it’s sometimes in the morning before work or sometimes in the evening when I can get out running – just whenever I can, really. I aim to do 40 to 50 miles a week, usually over five sessions.
“The club I’m part of, Annan and District Athletics Club, hasn’t really been running throughout lockdown, but it’s starting to get back together now.
“At the moment, I’ve got a personal coach, so this is the first time I haven’t just trained by increasing the distances – I’m doing some high-intensity training and strength and conditioning training. I felt dreadful after running 25 miles the other day, but he said it’s because he’s working me hard. Hopefully it pays off.
“I’m currently feeling the fittest I’ve ever been, even though I’m not at my fastest.”
How did the virtual London Marathon go?
“All was going really well with my run and I was on target for a PB, however at 18 miles things started to get tough and an injury hampered the last 8 miles. Thinking about the charity and all off the great donations pushed me on though and I finished in 4 hours 8 minutes.
“£2,500 was raised for Calvert Trust Lake District and I can’t thank everybody enough. Rosie from the charity stayed throughout and offered support and supplies and ran a few laps. Simon from the charity also joined me for the last 8 miles which was really needed. Thanks also to everybody at Watchtree who were there on the day; especially the people who were encouraging me as they saw doing the laps with my official running number on.”
Where would be your dream place to run?
“I want to do more European city visits, though the one that really interests me is in Tromso, in Norway. You run over bridges across fjords – it looks spectacular. Maybe that’s one for my 50th.
“I’ve never been to New York either, so when I finally go, it would be good to sign up for the marathon and do a bit of sightseeing while I run.”
How has it been working through the Covid-19 pandemic?
“It’s certainly been a challenge. My team and I have thousands of customers in the hospitality sector, so when the lockdown was announced we were inundated with calls and emails from local businesses needing help and advice. Some of the stories were quite harrowing to hear. Many of our customers were making final preparations for Easter and the start of the tourist season, and then suddenly saw their entire year’s bookings and income disappear overnight.
My team personally spoke to every customer that got in touch, arranging over 1,000 mortgage payment holidays and providing other types of financial support to many hundreds more. I was incredibly proud to be part of a team that put so much effort and commitment into supporting our customers when they really needed it.