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Runner-turned-rockstar combines his passions, reviewing music while running

Former Welsh 800m indoor record-holder Jimmy Watkins has crafted a funny niche for himself in the world of running

Photo by: Instagram/Jimmy Watkins

Some people dream of becoming professional athletes and others wish they could be rockstars, but Welshman Jimmy Watkins can say he has done both. Now, he is combining his two careers to create something unique: videos in which he reviews music while out on training runs. He started this quirky mid-run routine early in the pandemic to make running more fun. Finding he enjoyed it, he’s kept it up. This sounds strange (and, to be fair, it is), but it’s hilarious to watch, and Watkins’s videos have garnered attention around the world. 

In the mid-2000s, Watkins was one of the best 800m runners in Wales. He represented Great Britain at the 2006 world indoor championships, where he ran the Welsh indoor 800m record of 1:47.23. He moved on to the finals, where he finished sixth. Today, he is still sixth all-time on the Welsh 800m list with his outdoor PB of 1:46.33. Despite his big runs at the worlds in 2006, Watkins fell out of love with the sport, as he explained in an interview with World Athletics. He ran one more season, but after 2007, he left the sport. 

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When he retired from professional running, Watkins turned to music, and he eventually became the frontman for two rock bands: Future of the Left and The Vega Bodegas. In an interview with the BBC, Watkins said he lost the love for that career, too. “Same as with athletics, I realized that wasn’t for me,” he said, “so that ended as well.” 


In recent years, Watkins found his way back to running, and he rediscovered his love for the sport. He said he rarely listened to music while running before COVID-19, but when runners started “getting a bit of a bad name” in the early days of the pandemic, he started to lose the passion for running once again. To combat this, he began listening to music. When a friend told him he should film himself and review the songs he listened to, he decided to give it a shot, and now that he’s made a name for himself in this new world of running music reviews, he said he doesn’t plan on giving it up any time soon. 

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