I always thought running clubs were for people with yearly subscriptions to Runner’s World – you know, “real” runners. “I own running shoes” runners. Usain-wannabe runners. So knowing I lacked both the speed and stamina of these committed pavement pounders – who, for all I knew, went to bed on an IV drip of Lucozade -you can appreciate I was reluctant to join them. That is, until, a friend talked up the virtues of Run Dem Crew, a free club aimed at cool creative people who simply like to run. Never one to turn down “free” and “cool”, I decided to give it a whirl in the hopes I could step up my running game without fear or trepidation.
I loved it.
We met at Mile End stadium and a few other newbies were in the mix meaning there was none of that “so you’re the new kids, huh?” vibe going on, and the others who’d been with RDC for some time were only happy to fill us in on how all it worked. After a quick warm-up with founder Charlie Dark, Runners are divided into different groups according to their level: Tortoises, Hares, Greyhounds, Cheetahs and Elite. I opted for Tortoises – slow and steady – and roughly 10 of us started off on a 45 minute run around Victoria Park. To be honest, running in one accord can be challenging; there’s that pressure to keep up with everyone else, but at no point did I ever feel I was out of my depth. Breathless? Yes. Uncomfortable? A little bit. Yet even when the faster groups zoomed past us, we’d be greeted with nothing less than cheers and encouragement.
The great thing about RDC is that it feels like a real community; there’s nearly an equal number of guys and girls, and post-run, one of the members handed out pieces of homemade cake, while others were talking, cracking jokes or picking up their RDC tee-shirt as a reward for being involved for at least 5 weeks. So if you’re keen to get in shape, step up your fitness, or simply want to hang out with new people, this is the crew you’ll definitely wanna roll with. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
Run Dem Crew meet up every Tuesday in East London – for more info, visit the Run Dem Crew website.