Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 13, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home SportGlobal The Running Revolution: How Running is Taking Over the World

The Running Revolution: How Running is Taking Over the World

Having recently got into running, Ben Scott discusses its dramatic increase in popularity and suggests ways that you too can get involved.
7 mins read
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Image: UrbanSportsClub, Creative Commons

In an era defined by the pursuit of fitness and well-being, running has emerged as a leading trend in the world of physical activity. Professionals, influencers, students, parents, grandparents, and big-time brands are all flocking to the new running scene. Once considered an introverted activity for the dedicated few, running has surged in popularity, becoming a ubiquitous symbol of fitness, self-improvement and community. But what is driving this global rise?

Once considered an introverted activity for the dedicated few, running has surged in popularity, becoming a ubiquitous symbol of fitness, self-improvement and community.

Most recently, we can turn to professional Kenyan runner, Kelvin Kiptum. On the 8th of October, Kiptum made history in Chicago by breaking the men’s marathon world record, surpassing his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record by an impressive margin of over 30 seconds. The 23-year-old was “absolutely thrilled” to complete the marathon in an incomprehensible 2:00:35. Pro runners like Kipchoge and Kiptum remind us that the pursuit of excellence in running is not limited to the track but is also attainable on a personal level. Their inspirational stories serve as a source of inspiration for runners of all levels, encouraging them to set their own goals and strive for greatness in their running journeys. 

William Goodge is one of many content creators credited for bolstering the running community

However, we cannot just limit running influencers to the pros, as social media stars too play a big role. In the age of social media, influential figures and fitness enthusiasts can spark trends and movements with a single post or video. One such individual who has left a significant imprint on the running community is William Goodge. Goodge most recently completed and documented his 56-day, 3100-mile, “The Run Across America” in remembrance of his mother who died of cancer 5 years ago. Running over a marathon a day, Goodge not only outperformed his targets, but looked good doing it, with a sponsorship from REPRESENT CLO. The collection, “Represent 247” subsequently gained prominence within the running community and has seen a huge increase in sales for running clothing.

Another brand, Puresport, with its eye-catching designs and high-quality sportswear, has captured the attention of runners worldwide. Their products, which include supplements, activewear, and accessories, combine style and functionality, making them a popular choice among those who seek a sense of fashion while pursuing their fitness goals. As more people turn to running for both exercise and relaxation, the demand for stylish and comfortable running attire continues to grow. Brands like REPRESENT CLO and Puresport continue to push running forward.

Back to social media, TikTok has emerged as a powerful platform for promoting running as a daily activity. Users on TikTok share their running journeys, workouts, and tips, using creative videos to motivate others to adopt running as a part of their everyday lives. The short video format is well-suited for showcasing running routines, and it allows for quick and engaging content that resonates with a wide audience. Jonny Davies, an influential figure in the world of running and fitness, gained widespread recognition for his innovative “Running the Tube Line” series on TikTok. Through this captivating series, Davies embarked on a mission to run the length of London’s iconic Underground lines, showcasing both his impressive endurance and immense fundraising. His TikTok videos have not only inspired countless individuals to incorporate running into their daily lives but have also offered a unique perspective on the intersection of urban exploration and physical fitness, making Jonny Davies a prominent name in the online running community.

But it’s not just Jonny who inspires new runners on TikTok. Users frequently post “day in the life” videos that include their morning runs, pre-race preparations, and post-run cool-downs. These videos provide a glimpse into the real-life experiences of different level runners, making the sport relatable to viewers who might be considering taking it up. Additionally, the platform’s algorithm encourages interaction and engagement, meaning that running content often reaches a broader and more diverse audience. This has had a significant impact on encouraging people from all walks of life to give running a try.

The rise of the half-marathon has also become a defining feature of the current running landscape. Half-marathons have evolved from being a niche endurance challenge to a mainstream fitness goal, capturing the imagination of runners around the world. The rise of the half-marathon is a testament to the ever-expanding appeal of running. It offers a unique sense of achievement and a goal that pushes runners to surpass their limits, making it one of the most significant trends in the running community. If you’re eager to join the half-fever, the Exeter half marathon, “The Great West Run”, is open to sign ups on https://www.thegreatwestrun.co.uk for race day 26th May 2024.

Running is not just about individual accomplishments, it’s also about fostering a sense of community.

However, running is not just about individual accomplishments, it’s also about fostering a sense of community. Running clubs have emerged as a powerful force in the running world, bringing together people of all skill levels who share a common passion. These clubs offer more than just regular group runs; they provide a network of support, friendship, and encouragement. Joining a running club can be a transformative experience, as it allows runners to connect with like-minded individuals, share their successes and setbacks, and draw motivation from the collective energy of the group. In Exeter, the up and coming brand Gravitate has just launched a local run club and people can get involved through their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gravitatesport/

If you’re not quite ready for the 13.1 miles that a half-marathon demands, a local parkrun (a 5K event) is a great way to spend you’re Saturday mornings. Locally, in Exeter the Riverside parkrun (https://www.parkrun.org.uk/exeterriverside/) is a fabulous circuit along the quay with easy access. The Exmouth parkrun (https://www.parkrun.org.uk/exmouth/) also offers great views and a flat run if you’re able to drive or train down to the coast. All standards are welcome, and you’ll be provided with official times if you’re looking to track your progress. 

For those who are new to running, embarking on the journey can be both exciting and daunting. To address this, running plans and resources have proliferated online, offering guidance on how to start running and progress toward becoming a dedicated runner. These running plans are designed to cater to individuals of varying fitness levels, from complete beginners to those looking to advance their running skills. The Couch to 5K (C25K) program is widely recognized as an effective way for beginners to transition into running. It provides a gradual increase in intensity and duration, enabling newcomers to build up their running capabilities progressively. Get involved in the C25K here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/

In addition to these plans, there are numerous mobile apps and websites that offer customized running programs. The popular fitness-tracking app, Strava, has played a significant role in the running boom. The app allows runners to record and share their workouts, connecting them with a global community of like-minded individuals. Strava’s features, including tracking routes, setting personal records, and participating in virtual challenges, have made it an integral part of the modern running experience, fostering competition and camaraderie among runners around the world. 

If you’re looking to get into running, investing in good-quality running shoes is paramount. The right shoes are an essential foundation for any new runner looking to avoid injuries, and reap the benefits of support, cushioning, and stability. Here brands like Nike, Hoka, and ON, provide the best range of shoes for all levels of running. Testing your gait at local running shops is also a great way at finding the right pair for you. In Exeter RunnersNeed will get you on your way, see https://www.runnersneed.com/stores/exeter.html?utm_source=ExtNet&utm_medium=BrightLocal. Once you’ve got your shoes, you’ll be looking for somewhere to christen them and here, I would highly recommend taking advantage of Exeter’s quay.

As someone who got into running largely from boredom and a need to exercise during the pandemic like so many others, I must say it’s great to see friends and family start hopping on the trend. I cannot recommend running enough as an escape from work or stress with all the health benefits that come as an added bonus. I’d also challenge any new runner to set targets of races which progress in length, and parkruns here are an excellent start. Completing my inaugural half-marathon this summer was a truly life-altering experience and a brilliant way to challenge myself and really see what I was made of – I am in admiration of all those who can accept the challenge or go even further. But I can understand how daunting a race is to a new runner and this is where the community needs to put more effort in. Bringing in new runners through easy to follow plans, clubs, events, videos, and Tik-Toks are essential. If you’re looking to become a better runner, I would look to plans on the Nike Run Club app or Strava to guide training. More technically perhaps, the best advice I could give is you have to run slow to run fast: weekly easy runs maintaining a low heart rate will build your aerobic capacity and allow you to run at higher splits for longer. Of course, if you’re just looking for a way to fill time or get outside, then yes casual running is fantastic, but I would challenge you to start planning your runs and setting some goals. 

There has never been a better time to join the running revolution and experience the joy, camaraderie and sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

Nevertheless, as the running community continues to expand, it’s evident that this trend is here to stay, transforming lives and inspiring people to embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a complete novice, there has never been a better time to join the running revolution and experience the joy, camaraderie and sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

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