Spottydog & Big Cat take on the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run

Run, run, as fast as you can; you can’t catch us, we’re the Spottydog & Big Cat clan.

On Sunday 7th May, we’re running the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run fundraising for Birmingham Dogs Home. For 130 years, they’ve helped rescue, reunite, and rehome stray and unwanted dogs across the Midlands and South Staffordshire.

As a charity, they receive no government funding, relying solely on the generosity of the general public. Costing over £2.6 million every year to keep their doors open, any spare change is vital. You can donate to our cause here.

We’ve been working with this incredible charity since the pandemic, raising awareness with our claw-some PR skills. Last year, we took on the Birmingham 10k to support them, and this year we’re back with a bigger team! Before we hit the start line, hear from our team of runners to find out their inspiration, top tips, and training regimes.


I had a ‘love hate’ relationship with running. I loved the thought of it but hated running. However, taking inspiration from behavioural science, I’m now loving it! Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Signing myself up to an event meant I forced myself to prepare for it (who wants to go into an event without doing any training?)
  2. Implementation intention – it’s not enough to just have an intention to run, I needed to be specific about when and where e.g. on my Wednesday lunch break
  3. Running with a friend – although most of my runs are on my own, I have started running with a friend. Talking to each other takes your mind off running!


  1. Went for the jugular, 10K run to start off hahaha! Then do smaller runs up until the big day!
  2. Cut a few pounds to make it easier on the body!
  3. Keeping track of my times! Incremental gains! 


My 3 and a bit running tips are:

  1. Variety – I run every 2-3 days and like to mix up my runs: a longer, steady run at the weekends; a ‘sprinterval’ run with 10 short, quick segments; and a tempo run, which is middle distance at a really annoying pace – which allegedly has strong cardiovascular benefits. I have found that this variety makes running more interesting and mixing it up is better for improved all around fitness.
  2. Go off road – I find pounding the streets incredibly dull (unless it’s a speed run day) and love to find and run local trails or hills. Being a bit nearer to nature and a more varied terrain is better for my sense of wellbeing and joint health.
  3. Strength and conditioning – on the days I’m not running I try to do a bit of light stretching and body weight strengthening exercises. Even ten minutes working on your core or leg strength will pay dividends on the road or trail.

My final, and most important tip is to listen to your body. If you’re over training – as I often do in the final few weeks before a race – it is better to back off, to fight another day than get an injury that could mean you’re out of action for weeks or months.


We first started to work with Birmingham Dogs Home during lockdown, when their donations had plummeted, and yet they were busier than ever. We decided that we had to do something to help! Ever since, we’ve provided ‘pro bono’ PR support, landing them in prime-time TV and radio slots, helping raise much-needed awareness and drive vital funds. It really is the most rewarding work you can do! But it’s not just PR-ing them, getting our ‘paws’ dirty and taking on a team running challenge to raise pounds for them is another super-rewarding way that we can do our bit. I’m looking forward to wearing the Birmingham Dogs Home T-shirt with pride on 7thMay!


My journey with running is a lot like learning to swim: throwing myself at the deep end, telling myself my loved ones are drowning, and going full-pelt to save the day. I signed up for a 5k fun run several years ago, having only ever run for the bus, and had just a handful of weeks to make it work. Bitten by the bug and driven by my marathon-running grandad’s mentorship, running has positively boosted my mental and physical well-being. Every mile I run, and every PB I beat, encourages me to keep going and keep working through the ‘pain cave’, and taking on the Birmingham 10k for the Birmingham Dogs Home is the latest challenge. If there’s anything I love as much as running, it’s doggos, so like Hannah Montana or a loaf of Hovis, this is the best of both worlds.


Birmingham Dogs Home cares 24 hours a day, every day of the year, for stray, abandoned and relinquished dogs across the West Midlands and South Staffordshire. So, while long-distance running might not be my forte, a 10km run — approximately 75 minutes of pain, sweat and tears — is nothing compared to the incredible work the charity does. This year will be my second time running for the charity and I can’t wait to cross the finish line with the rest of the pack knowing we have done our bit to help the hundreds of dogs residing at the charity’s two rescue centres. Go team!

You can help us support Birmingham Dogs Home and cheer us on by donating here.

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