To most people Valentine’s Day means spending the day with a loved one and declaring your undying love, however… I went down the pub with several of my fellow Alton Sports Ambassador friends. We met at Farnham station, drank some coffee and boarded a train to London.
Today we were to be guests of New Balance at their pop up running pub for the London Marathon – The Runaway! We all felt like country mice running through London to the venue, there were so many people and traffic was very heavy, especially when you are used to rural country lanes. The run was just under a mile and we were all smiling, we arrived at the pub & immediately I felt like I was in an episode of Minder. Apart from the New Balance logos around the place it looks like a typical pub, down to the carpet that I think my nan & grandad had in the 70s.
We were met by three members of the New Balance team who took us round the Pub and also showed us the pub party trick of opening the duke box and revealing a staircase down to a basement. Down the stairs we saw perfection, the room was decked out with running machines, kettle bells, a yoga area and lockers so club runners can leave their kit while they went for a run.
Time for shoes! We got to try on some of New Balances range and see their equipment designs for this year’s London Marathon. I tried the 1080 shoe from the current range & they were superb, very bouncy just as I like them, we will be going for a run later. After a coffee break, we were shown the marketing campaign for this year’s London Marathon. The campaign is based around real people actually using the equipment to train for a big event. The video was very inspiring and it was very refreshing to see normal people and not perfect bodied athletes making it look easy, the four months building up to a marathon are not easy!
After a moment of reflection on what New Balance have achieved we left the safety of the pub to go for a run around London. Wow lunch time sure is busy in our nation’s capital! The amount of people was just incredible, however we stayed together as a group and got lots of photos of the sights, we even saw the Queen! Or maybe she came out to see us?
We ran past Parliament and Buckingham Palace and just for me we did the final leg of the marathon. I am running the London Marathon 2019 and I am looking forward to it and doing that journey for real. We finally returned to the pub for a pub lunch and a gentle Q & A with the New Balance reps. I have to say that we all enjoyed our day out at the pub and I recommend if you find yourself in London before the Marathon, that you do check it out. What could be better – running and beer!
Dave Warman – Alton Sports Ambassador
Running Coach and CoFounder of RunFitMum
Me and running
I came to running late in life. I was the sort of child who avoided cross country at all costs, it was only in my late twenties and early thirties that I found running, here was a sport that we free, easy to do and involved being in the great outdoors. But when I got married and started a family it was one of the first things to fall by the wayside.
Fast forward five years to when my two daughters went to nursery and I started to have the odd hour to myself and that is when running really became a part of my life. Now, a further five years on, running is a key element of my identity. In fact, I love it so much that I have trained as a running coach and with my friend Caroline Eaton, I have co-founded a running club called RunFitMum.
RunFitMum, crept up on us really. Caroline and I met at the school gates. We were both getting back into running after kids and things very quickly spiralled. At first it was just a matter of encouraging a few school mums to take part in a Race for Life. Then one night in the pub we started talking about what we were going to call ourselves, afterall we needed club vests for the next race!! Before we knew it we had over 100 members and things needed to be a bit more official. So we became England Athletics Run Leaders and the journey towards an official Run Club continued. Today we have over 300 members and run weekly courses focused on speed, strength and perhaps most importantly introducing women to running. We also have five free club runs every week for our members to come along and join.
Our focus as a club is very much on women who are coming back to fitness after having a family. We are not all about PBs or how many races you have done (although the odd PB is very much celebrated), We are more interested in overcoming the many hurdles that family life throws at us to try and help women carve out a bit of time for themselves. Just an hour or two a week can make such a massive difference to both our physical and mental well being.
I know that I was always much too intimidated to join a running club when I first started running, particularly when I came back to it after kids. I worried about pace and whether I would keep up and I was worried about my new body and whether it would let me down. So we make a big effort to make sure that RunFitMum is as supportive, warm, inclusive and encouraging as possible with a focus on fun rather than speed. Afterall the old me didn’t realise what I was missing out on. Running with RunFitMum has shown me that companionship, support, laughter and encouragement are much more important than speed and are just some of the many benefits of club running.
For more information on RunFitMum contact Sasha Cowley or Caroline Eaton on Sasha@runfitmum.com or Caroline@runfitmum.com
Find them on Facebook or check out the website: runfitmum.com