The search for the world’s very first Running Mayors is almost coming to an end. As governments and local leaders begin to re-imagine our cities and towns in response to COVID19, a new campaign asks: shouldn’t runners feature in that vision too? To do so, a new network of Running Mayors will advocate for running as an antidote to some of 2021’s toughest challenges – such as isolation, inactivity, pollution (through car dominance) and winter blues.
Successful candidates will become part of the world’s very first cohort of Running Mayors and will join a dynamic network of city change-makers. The role of the Running Mayor will be to provide a face and voice to champion running in a place they know and care about – the city or town where they live. The brief is simple – to inspire more people to run local, everyday journeys, to identify barriers to doing so, and to champion and share solutions. This is promoting running as a form of active travel, positioning it as a viable alternative to jumping in the car, as well as running for leisure and sport.
Would-be Running Mayors stepping forward to apply for the role include Sheffield’s Danny Bent, who in December 2020 mobilised over 15,000 people from 185 countries to take part in a charity run; Sikh long distance runner and community figure, Usingh Bolt in Walsall; and BlackGirlsDoRun running group co-founder, Tasha Thompson for the London Borough of Brent. Each passionately believes in running as a force for good and are committed to broadening the reach of running – for its mental, physical and environmental good.
The Running Mayors network is a programme of the RunSome campaign. Co-founded by Runner’s World and active travel app Active Things, the RunSome campaign brings together a growing alliance of over 30 businesses and brands to give everyday runners and wider running community a voice in how we shape our places.
Campaign supporters include five-time Olympian Jo Pavey and London’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Will Norman.
Five time Olympian Jo Pavey: “I’m thrilled to be involved in the RunSome campaign and to support Running Mayors. Encouraging people to make some everyday trips in an active way is great for both health and wellbeing and the environment.”
Andy Dixon, Editor-in-Chief of Runners World, comments: “Running is a healthy, safe and fun way to get places, see people and do things. It’s a feel-good thing, so important to our mental health and wellbeing. To run is part of who we are. We just designed it out of our daily lives, and now it’s time to design it back in again. Running Mayors will be vital in helping us do just that.”
RunSome campaign co-founder and Active Things CEO, Scott Cain, adds: “Runners are a visible part of the public life of every city. Think of the parks, the river banks, the bridges and roads, and you’ll see people running, just as you see cycling and walking. Yet runners are invisible in terms of urban design and the active travel debates about how we live and move. Running Mayors will change that and be a vocal champion for running in their communities.”
Anyone interested in finding out more or applying should visit http://www.runsome.org
Initial applications close at midnight on January 31st 2020.