It is the simplest most accessible of sports and running has now taken me to some of the worlds most far-flung places , given me wild adventures and made me dig deeper at times than even my craziest kayaking Epics… it is a sport where anyone from any walk of life can enjoy themselves, just go find a pair of trainers and then only you set the limits of what you can achieve or where you can go !! but first you must have the desire , the energy and ultimately the motivation to keep at it and this , not the running is the hardest part ... where do we find this motivation ?
Urban Running with the RunDemCrew ……………..
Rhalou had asked me to come and run with her friends in London on her “RunDem” night , I will tell no lies here , I was apprehensive to say the least and not keen on the idea at all, mainly because I’m no road runner and when I do hit the tarmac it’s on country lanes with some of the most beautiful views in the U.K , not the traffic congested streets of our busiest city , but I really wanted to keep her happy and she was certainly keen for me to come along , so the week after my Himalayan100 race I arrived at the Nike1948 concept store in Shoredtich to run with London’s coolest running collective the RunDemCrew and despite my reservations I was both inspired and impressed !! What I found was a group of like minded people from all walks of life , they group together depending on their pace then head out into the London streets for 6-7 miles of street running, but this is not where it ends , definitely not !! the feeling I had when I entered that room in Shoreditch was one of excitement , friendship , mutual respect , support and admiration , family even , there was a real warmth here and noticeably so …….
On my arrival Rhalou led me in to one of the large rooms that Nike uses as a showroom , we grabbed a seat and I started to take in where I was , there must be nearly 100 runners gathered together , a buzz fills the room and Charlie Dark the founder is the guy standing in front of us , he’s cool , articulate ,a natural motivator and in his eyes I see the delight when he begins to talk , first he searches out new members and we introduce ourselves so everyone knows our names and what we do, RunDemCrew is about familiarity , he then moves to the runners who recently ran in races , individually they are congratulated , awarded their medals , the whole room claps at their success , there is an intense feeling of encouragement , affection and admiration , I have rarely witnessed such a good predilection to outwardly good feeling from so many at one time. Rhalou tells me about the RunDemCrew youngers project , a main part of RunDemCrews focus and one of Charlie’s great loves is to promote running among young people , to give them reason , interest and motivation to run ,to make them proud , help them to achieve and ultimately to give them the strength to avoid some of the pitfalls of life … My father has run a boxing club for over 30 years , I have seen what this takes , respect to any organisation or individual who has the strength and is prepared to give the personal sacrifice needed to achieve this .. respect to Charlie and all at RDC.
Eventually Charlie explains the groups , you join Tortoises, Hares, Greyhounds and cheetahs depending on your pace .. I joined the greyhounds for my inner London running experience and I was shown my leader for the night and told to follow him out into the street in preparation for our run , every group has a leader and rear guard (someone experienced runs at the back to make sure no stragglers are left behind) … perfect I thought !! I’m just back from the Himalayas and if my legs go to Jelly at least I wont have to find a taxi to find my way back to 1948 🙂 … My run was to be the “Bridge run” , from Shoreditch we would cross the Thames , run the Embankment and head back over Tower Bridge .. I was expecting traffic , more traffic and even more !! but what I found was a beautiful brightly lit run through some amazing architecture and across a spectacularly lit Tower Bridge .. at night it is a real eye opener and I was enjoying myself immensely ,at this point taking in one of the sights of London by running over it at night with newly made running friends was feeling rather special :).. I’ve worked in London on and off for years , I thought I had seen most of what it has to offer a long time ago , my night-time endeavours were normally seen through a taxi window , with an inebriated mind while falling about Knightsbridge with my customers , recently though I have seen a side to London that is very normal yet ultimately fantastic , this run was one of those fantastics !! After the bridge we followed the streets, underpasses , high-rise buildings , roundabouts and they all seemed to have a unique beauty when seen at night , a little rain helped make it all nice and shiny and soon we had arrived on the final stretch home , I was looking up a long street finishing at 1948 .. everyone is expected to give it their all up here and we sprinted home , the Cheetahs had made it there first and were lined up cheering us home .. it was uplifting , a great experience and the best part for me was running with these urban runners, everyone so friendly , everyone made me feel very at home from start to finish , thank you very much , if ever there was motivation to run , then it is right there at 1948 Shoreditch with Charlie Dark and his Run Dem Crew !!!
remember all my blog posts are my own experiences and my interpretation, if you feel I’m wrong say so in the comments and we can also learn from your experience ………”
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