Running’s changed. It’s no longer just a hobby, an activity—something to suffer through to shed a few pounds. Spurred by a few visionaries in cities around the globe, our sport has become a culture. A lifestyle. A gathering place that celebrates diversity and strength. In this series, in partnership with Jaybird, we speak with some of those visionaries to find out why the best way to tap into the rhythm of a city is on two feet. Here, in their own words, is what it’s like to run in their world.
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I started running because I wanted to get fit but couldn’t afford a gym. And once I started, everything about me changed: my demeanor, my physical appearance. And I knew I wanted to share this transformation with the London community.
But I never identified with the traditional runner image. And because running, and exercise, really, is so important, especially for young people, I wanted to create a community that welcomes people from all different backgrounds: different socioeconomic classes, races, gender, sizes.
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I often like to stop mid run and take a moment to think about how far I’ve come. It still trips me out that after so many years of inactivity I’m now so immersed in the exploration of getting from point A to point B. Still so much to learn and adventures to be had but enjoying the sense of peace and contentment the latest chapter in my life is bringing. So shouts to each and everyone of you out there doing da ting. Stay positive, stay humble and most of all stay open to change. Embrace new experiences and challenge your curiosity on the daily. Each day is an opportunity to surpass the events of the day before so keep chasing the light . Stay awesome people and have a positive week. #rundem #rundemcrew #goodvibesonly #crewlove #letyourmindrunfree #lululemon #lululemonmen
That’s how Run Dem Crew was born, in 2007. We were one of the original run crews, and now there are crews all over the world. We’ve broadened what running culture looks like.
For the full video, and to view the rest of Jaybird’s Run Wild series, click here.
And because of my running and the connections I’ve made through members of Run Dem Crew, I’ve experienced the city of London in a whole new way. I’ve seen a side of this city that no one else has.
I WANTED TO CREATE A COMMUNITY THAT WELCOMES PEOPLE FROM ALL DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.
I run either really late at night, like midnight or 2 a.m. Or really early in the morning, like 4 a.m. London comes to life at those times—when the rest of city is sleeping. I’m not concerned with distance or time, things I would have worried about at one point in my running career. But now, I’m a more mindful runner. I take in the darkness of the city in those off-hours. I look for that meditative flow when I run, along the river and canals or through the park. That’s not to say I’m a passive runner. I don’t jog. I push the earth down with my feet.
It’s important to be mindful of your surroundings. I am inspired by what I see. And for me, it’s not about what’s going on inside the watch. A lot of runners focus on the speed and the distance, whatever the watch is telling them. And as soon as they see the number, the run becomes a lot harder than it needs to be. Running is about a feeling and to be in tune with the senses.
As a DJ, poet, producer, and founder of Attica Blues, music is very important to me. I often run with music, but not all of the time. Runners should be comfortable with hearing their own breath as a soundtrack, too.
But music can be a training partner. My runs have inspired much of the music I’ve produced. London is a very musical city, and when I’m running at night, when it’s quiet and dark, listening to music while traveling from point A to point B is very exciting.
WHEN RUNNERS LISTEN TO MUSIC, IT SHOULD HAVE TEXTURE, COLOR. IT SHOULD INSPIRE.
When I take music on a run and when I’m looking for a musical track to run to, I want something that makes me feel good. Sure, if you pump up the music and make it more energetic you may be able to run harder. But I want music that gives me happy memories, so when I am in a race I’m taking those happy memories with me.
I’ve designed a playlist in partnership with Jaybird that will take you on a journey. But you don’t have to start at the beginning. You can drop in wherever you want. I want to introduce people to new London-centric sounds, so some of the tracks may be brand new to them. The music reflects every phase of my running adventure, so I can’t choose a favorite song. They each serve a purpose.
When runners listen to music, it should have texture, color. It should create a space for you to run in. It should inspire.
Run Dem Crew started in a kitchen, at a dining table. So after a run, we always eat. I’ve never been to a Run Dem Crew session where we don’t eat. Because of where we’re located in London, we eat a lot of Thai and Vietnamese food.
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Run Wild Track 2 sneak peek! After tuning up in Park City, Knox Robinson (@firstrun) heads to London to meet up with famed DJ and runner @daddydarkrdc and @run.dem.crew. Get ready to explore London’s rich running culture in the next installment of #runwild. Coming July 12! Did you miss Track 1? Visit the link in our bio to see where it all began.
And where the magic happens isn’t necessarily on the run. It’s before a session. It’s after a session, when we’re eating. We make running a part of your life, so it’s as normal as brushing your teeth in the morning.
THROUGH MUSIC, RUNNING, GOOD FOOD, WE BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER.
We have people in Run Dem Crew who don’t run. But they want to be a part of our community. And that’s what’s so important about having a space for people from all walks of life. And London is a city that has all walks of life, but often, the running community doesn’t reflect that.
Through music, running, good food, we bring people together. People who are different colors, classes, and creed come together to share moments. We celebrate each other, our successes.
Our London group doesn’t conform to the idea that unless you’re running a certain time or distance you’re not a runner. That’s ridiculous. I have so much respect for someone who runs a marathon in seven hours—just as much respect as someone who can run it in two.
Run Dem Crew began as a solely running-focused group but has evolved over the years into a community with many touch points. Our purpose is to inform where running is going, not to replicate what is already happening. We’ve evolved into a crew of movement practitioners with participants from many different disciplines. Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Yoga have been absorbed into our daily practice and we are always looking to see in what ways we can remix running culture.
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Stay tuned for future installments of Run in My World as Men’s Health and Jaybird explore other global running epicenters and how their communities are evolving the sport.
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– Brought to you by Jaybird –