This record label chief is running for your life

This record label chief is running for your life


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2014

Rebecca Allen is head of Decca Records. She has a diary that bulges at the seams and a young family that demands what’s left of her time. So why is she running the London Marathon (on Sunday, April 14)? Cancer, that’s why.

We asked Becky (r.) how the training’s going.

rebecca allen



– why are you doing it, Becky?

I turned 40 last year and found myself facing a mid-life crisis. As a mum of 2 young daughters and the General Manager for Decca Records my life is pretty full on. What could I do to combat my mid-life crisis? An affair was never on the cards, I’m too cowardly for a tattoo and I hate motorbikes, but I needed to do something to mark this milestone and face the fear I had of turning 40.

Over lunch with one of my artists Katherine Jenkins, she talked about how she had run the London Marathon back in 2012. Her journey leading up to the marathon sounded incredible and I immediately felt inspired by her. Katherine’s father died of cancer when she was very young, it was a devastating thing to happen to a young family but MacMillan Cancer Support helped them through this difficult time. Katherine raised a staggering £25,000 for the charity and I immediately knew that I had to do something positive with my mid-life crisis. Within my own family we had also very sadly lost loved ones to this terrible disease – the work MacMillan do to support people is powerful and I felt it was a cause that I wanted to support.

Katherine very kindly called the charity and asked if I could represent them at this years London Marathon, which they agreed – then the enormity of what I had agreed to do dawned on me!


– what’s the hardest thing about it?

I was a total beginner when I first signed up. I could manage to run 3 miles at a push but to run 26 miles – wow I had no idea how huge this was going to be. The training takes over your life, the constant need to keep building up your miles, week in week out, whilst holding down a full time job and being a mum became very stressful. All I could think of was when my next run would happen, fitting it into my busy life and could I push it to keep building up the miles. As a novice, the injuries I sustained in the first few months were disheartening and I felt I was never going to make it. Now I am 3 weeks away from The London Marathon – this weekend I ran in a 16 mile race and it felt fantastic. I now believe I can make it, if I can run 16, I can make 18. If I can run 18 then I am almost there. It has been an incredible journey to get to this point and I am praying that I don’t get injured within the next 3 weeks. There are days when I think a tattoo would have been easier and less painful but I have raised almost £2000 for this fantastic charity and this keeps me focused.

– what music gets you through?

Listening to music has really kept me going on the longer runs. I could never run without it, I don’t know how people do! I plan my music compilations very carefully because it really helps my mood when the going gets tough. Rousing orchestral film scores by composers such as John Williams, Ennio Morricone or Hans Zimmer lift my mood and I escape into the worlds they create. I also love listening to the soulful voice of Jon Newman, who always makes me smile and in the darkest moments when I need something with a bit more pace, I turn to Leftfield’s seminal album Leftism. I also love the discovery of music on a run – shuffle is one of my favourite things. There are moments on a run when the sun comes out and a track comes on your iPod that you had forgotten about and bingo!!! Any suggestions always gratefully received!

Becky’s fund-raising page is right here. Please click and give generously.