The Guardian

The Guardian 

‘People found my voice and connected with it’: the rise of in-app running coaches’

NEWS AND Press05

If you started running during lockdown, you might have occasionally heard a little voice in your head telling you to stop. But for an ever-increasing number of people, that naysayer is being drowned out by someone else. He’s called Beefy.

Beefy – or Cory Wharton-Malcolm, as he’s also known – is a real live running coach who lives in Sydenham, south-east London, but he’s also a disembodied voice, travelling with millions of people at once, telling more times than the talking clock. This version of Beefy lives in your phone, and as you plod your way up that hill and think fondly of the sofa, he says things like “thank you” and “run easy” and, for some reason, you keep going.

Wharton-Malcolm, 41, is one of a myriad of pre-recorded coaches who have become a staple of lockdown exercise for adherents all over the planet. Fitness apps were huge business before solitary exercise became our only hope of leaving the house – but now they are bigger still, one of the winners of the pandemic, and the super-enthusiastic voice in your ear is the breakout star of the genre.

The thinking behind the apps is simple enough. You pick a distance or a time, from a few minutes to a marathon. When you hit certain waypoints, the music fades, and up pops Beefy, or one of his colleagues or competitors, to tell you how wonderful you are.

Track Mafia x Patta x Nike CollaborationTrack Mafia x Patta x Nike Collaboration

Track Mafia x Patta x Nike Collaboration



Nike Run ClubNike Run Club

Nike Run Club

Hackney HalfHackney Half

Hackney Half

The Tub Hub PodcastThe Tub Hub Podcast

The Tub Hub Podcast

Learning CurvesLearning Curves

Learning Curves

Track MafiaTrack Mafia

Track Mafia