We learn about Vertex33 (formerly RunForYemen) from its founder, Zak Timol. As well as advocating for change in the running community, Zak is Creative Director for his fashion label Velsvoir. He tells us how the foundations of Vertex33 lie firmly in the belief that cumulative goodwill can make a difference, and why he’s really looking forward to this year’s The Big Half.
How has this year been for you?
It started off on a much brighter note than 2020. I felt inspired by the community around me, but the inevitability of the momentum dropping ultimately carries a challenge to build yourself back up every time.
How has running helped your mental and physical health during the last 18 months?
Running has been instrumental in my mental and physical health. It gives me a renewed sense of purpose every time I set off for a run and helped immensely with the encouragement and inclusion of the community. Having people across the world come together to run, inspire, and share their movements was really beautiful.
What does community mean to you?
Community is at the heart of everything we do. It is the collective journey that means most to me. Having a community to support causes via running for social good only works because of the community spirit, support and teamwork. This is true for all strata of life and work, be it personal or professional.
Do you feel part of the wider running community?
Yes. Vertex33 (formerly RunForYemen) was built on the foundation that cumulative goodwill can lead to change. We put energy towards causes around the world through running. By leading campaigns, we aim to provide a platform for an inclusive community driving change through positivity, support, and collaboration. The support from the running community is particularly important and the strides being made to be more inclusive and diverse are great to see.
Why do you think people should take up running?
Running has been proven to have multiple benefits, both physically and mentally. Whether solo running or with a friend or group, being out in the open with nature also has important benefits.
Have you run The Big Half previously?
I ran The Big Half last year and it was the most wonderful experience. I vividly remember the buzz from all participants and almost dancing the first 10K with a friend. Then finding such open and encouraging fellow runners all the way through made it a treasured experience.
Why do you think people should get involved?
Whether you are seasoned pro or just starting out, The Big Half provides a welcoming and encouraging experience. Most big races can seem daunting and a bit intimidating, but the running community always supports each other and that’s the beauty of The Big Half. An iconic route though some of London’s historical landmarks!
Why is it important for you to come together with others to ‘run as one’?
It’s important to always support each other. To be inclusive, encouraging and ultimately keep the running community’s perspective fresh.
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event?
I am truly looking forward to seeing my fellow runners throughout and soaking up the atmosphere once more. I think it will be even more special considering the year we’ve had and I for one can’t wait!