Alex Gladley

runner  vegetarian from birth 

Alex is a UK-based marathon runner with placings at some of the top events in his home nation and abroad. While he has tackled distances as short as 5000 meters, his prowess truly shines in the full 26.2-mile marathon distance.

  • Winner, Edinburgh Marathon
  • Second place, Vancouver Marathon
  • Marathon personal best 2:20:22
  • Vegetarian from birth

Reflecting on his accomplishments, Alex shares, “Getting Second place at the Vancouver Marathon in 2022 was a big breakthrough for me, and it felt all the more special as I lived there at the time. I’d love to return at some point and I might just aim for the top spot next time!”

Building on his success, Alex went one better and clinched victory at the Edinburgh Marathon in 2023, describing it as an absolute buzz. I will never forget running down the final straight and crossing the line. The crowd was going crazy.”

Subsequently, in December 2023, Alex achieved his personal best time of 2:20:22 at the Valencia Marathon. When we caught up with him, he had just completed the 2024 Belfast Marathon, posting an impressive time of 2:20:33, narrowly missing his previous record.

Vegan runner

Alex has been raised vegetarian since birth and has never consumed meat. His journey towards veganism began in 2018 when he started phasing out dairy, eventually adopting a strict vegan lifestyle in 2019.

“I’m primarily vegan for the animals,” Alex explains, reflecting on his transition. “As I became more aware of the brutality of the dairy industry, sticking to a vegetarian diet started to feel hypocritical to me. It became clear that I needed to eliminate dairy from my diet if I was serious about animal rights.”

The transition to veganism coincided with a period of intense focus on Alex’s fitness journey, and he quickly noticed positive results. “As I was deciding to go vegan, I was also diving deep into health and fitness, hitting the gym 5-6 times a week,” he recalls. While dairy had been a significant protein source during his vegetarian years, Alex began feeling a pull towards cleaner, less processed foods, finding himself drawn to beans and pulses.

The release of the documentary “The Game Changers” further fueled his motivation. “Around this time, ‘The Game Changers’ came out, and it really inspired me,” he explains. “Seeing others thrive on a plant-based diet made me question why I couldn’t do the same.”

These days, his diet is diverse and encompasses “absolutely everything that excludes meat or dairy.” His meals feature a range of options such as tofu, chickpeas, lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and, when available, tempeh or seitan.

“I enjoy exploring cuisines from all corners of the globe. During a recent extended stay in Mexico, I was pleasantly surprised by how effortlessly I could maintain a vegan diet there; it has become my favourite culinary style.”

His vegan diet fuels a demanding training schedule which includes running 5-6 times per week. “Usually I’ll do 2 quicker interval sessions a week as well as a long run, and then shorter runs on the other days. I also do some core and strength work at home, just using my body weight.”

Alex has noticed a significant shift in societal attitudes towards vegetarianism and veganism since his childhood. “It felt more challenging back then,” he reflects. “I used to feel apprehensive about disclosing my vegetarianism to others.” However, with the rise of documentaries like “The Game Changers,” plant-based lifestyles have become increasingly mainstream. Alex has observed that his training partners and coaches are now more curious than critical, with many even experimenting with reducing their meat intake.

At age 34 he’s still got plans. They include a sub 2:20:00 marathon, just 22 seconds away, and a place on the British Masters Marathon team. He won’t be slowing down anytime soon.


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