We Run Together
Being a RunPal is a little strange.
Anyone can become a RunPal. Our newest member is only 3 weeks old as we write this, but we also have RunPals with four legs, two legs, buggies, wheels, fast, slow, young and old. We welcome every ability, however fast or slow - time does not matter when you’re a RunPal. Though, if you want to go a little bit quicker or a little bit longer, you’ll find support like nowhere else on our Facebook group page.
We run regular weekly sessions, we tour Parkruns together, enter events, volunteer and do just about everything inbetween. If you’ve ever been to an event where RunPals are supporting, it’s highly unlikely you would have missed us. If you didn’t see us, you would have heard us.
We host regular monthly challenges that run through our Facebook group, with the common goal of working together and encouraging each other to push yourself at your own pace. Sounds all lovey dovey, but it’s true! Just watch the love being shared on the group pages and you’ll see what we mean.
So if you want to join, well, congratulations, you’re now a RunPal.
Head over to our Facebook Page where most of the action takes place!
How it all began
It’s a short story, but we wanted to share it.
Not wanting to sound lke some sort of murder mystery, it all started one cold winters evening (November 2017 to be precise) when RunPal Matt signed up for a night run at the Mavericks Dark Series. As it was an off road run, he thougt he needed to get some training in cross country at night. So, a quick facebook post to some local pages and we had four people turn up for our first ever RunPals Run.
From then, things started to blossom. A cold December’s morning, 5 of us ran across the South Downs to a pub - I mean, what better way to have a running social right? We had all sorts of abilities joining in the run, but we ran together. Something that is incredibly important to us RunPals; running together and having some fun.
Fast forward a month to January 2018 and we started our first online challenge - how many kilomteres can we achieve in January. We were hoping, as a collective, to reach over 1,000km… we passed that in 10 days and ever since, our numbers have been growing. Every month in 2018 we started a new challenge and it was as though people were creeping out of the woodwork from all across our community wanting to get involved. And involved they were - achieving first time 5km’s, first time 100km months and some even pushing over 250km in a month. The support from our wonderfabulous RunPals community has been incredible.
Then Matt met Ria.
Earlier that year, Matt (me) was taking part in our local Parkrun and there was some woman breathing down his neck… I pushed on… I wouldn’t let her pass. We all know Parkrun is not a race, but unbeknown to me at the time, she was actually keeping me going at a steady pace (and I think we were both secretly racing)! I got to the finish and exclaimed in great (inner) glory that I managed to fend her off for the final lap, only realising after the run, that she had to stop and tie her shoelace… Still, winning is winning right? That woman is now one of my best pals and is the amazing Ria. Our friendly rivalry continues to this day, but we’ve learned to relax a little bit and actually enjoy running with each other and helping encourage others to do the same. I would say we have run more events together now as opposed to against each other ;-)
Keeping things in the family, Ria’s husband Jon, famous for, well, his incredible ability to wear his wife’s Tikiboo leggings (but also his incredible knowledge of all things fitness; training, technology, events…) and his amazing ability to encourage and inspire every single one of us RunPals means we grew our team a little bit more at the end of 2018.
We now have our awesome children also taking part as MiniPals who regularly run Junior (and adult!) Parkruns and can often be seen in their high vis jackets, volunteering at various events. As one of the RunPals said to me a few weeks ago, “I never thought I would make new friends in my 40’s!” And whilst that’s true (and not all of us are in our 40’s ;-) we have made some incredible friendships with our amazing RunPals. We’ve entered new disciplines (anyone for swimrun?) that maybe we wouldn’t have before.
Fast forward a few months again and we had over 250 pals joining us online and at various free run group sessions and events that we all partake in. We honestly couldn’t believe we have got to where we have today without the amazing support of our wonderfabulous RunPals community. Seeing our RunPals tops popping up across the country is handsdown one of the most humbling things we’ve seen. People really believe in RunPals and what it does for them. I don’t think everyone knows exactly how much it does for us too.
It’s often asked, what we want of RunPals, where do we see it going. It’s actually quite simple… at it’s core, we just want to get people active. Get them running. Meeting new pals everywhere we go. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first 1km, your 100th 100km. Or if you just love volunteering or cheering. Getting active in our communities, the world over, encouraging people to be healthy and active, is all we care about.
We hope to see you out in the world soon.
Matt, Ria, Jon, Bex
and ALL the children ;-)