As a two time-star baker and youngest ever Great British Bake Off winner, Peter Sawkins is no stranger to competition. This year he’s swapping the heat of the Bake Off tent to work up a sweat — taking on the virtual Edinburgh marathon for calm. We caught up with him to chat running, dealing with anxiety and, inevitably, cake.
Peter’s a pretty busy guy – aside from winning The Great British Bake Off, studying for exams, and being a badminton whizz, he’s taking on the virtual Edinburgh Marathon in 2021 to support CALM’s life-saving services. Why? As if an international televised competition wasn’t enough, he fancied a challenge.
“I play badminton, and this year has been, well, obviously a lot of things have changed and we’ve not had any competition in the works. So there’s a group of us that have been running together – and we’ve really enjoyed that. So we thought we needed a bit of a challenge. We kind of encouraged each other to take part in the marathon so we could have it to work towards.”
Running a marathon is nothing new for Peter who has been running on and off since he was a teenager – taking on the Edinburgh Marathon Hairy Haggis Team Relay in 2017 with his family. In fact, running, and any kind of exercise, helps Peter to manage when things get a bit much – and it doesn’t get much tougher than Paul Hollywood blind judging your rainbow bagels.
“Being in the competition was so much fun, but it was quite intense. When I was In the bubble during the competition, I made sure that I got out for a run. I did a workout after every day of filming – even if we’d had a long day, I’d still make sure that I got out for at least a 20 minute HIIT session, just to clear my head.
“And then, when the show was being aired on TV, it’s quite stressful being watched by close to 10 million people a week. It’s quite a distracting thing. The one time that my focus would be completely taken away from it was when I was in the gym, on a run, or playing badminton. And I think that’s so powerful for me. It really helped me in that journey. I remember when my name was released as winner my phone was going crazy with friends saying ‘Well done’. It was amazing, but I just had to get out for a run. No headphones, just locking in on doing something completely different to calm myself down and cool my nerves.”