As part of our We Run As One campaign we’ve been talking to Mark White, who founded the running community Your Town Runners and more recently set up Run Grateful – an initiative that encourages people to run one mile every hour for 24 hours, dedicating each mile to someone or something the runner is grateful for. Mark launched Run Grateful during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and it has been going strong ever since. He tells us more here.
How has this year been for you – what challenges have you faced, if any?
This year has been tough, adapting to what life has thrown at me, postponements of events we had planned, work plans cancelled, community projects put on hold.
How has running helped your mental and physical health during the last 18 months?
Running, as always, has been a constant reminder that I am lucky enough to be able to move in this way and reflect on what I can do, rather than what I can’t. With this mindset I created Run Grateful during lockdown. It has spread far and wide around the world, connecting others to the power of movement and gratitude.
What does community mean to you? How important is it in your life?
Community is huge, to have opportunities and spaces to relate and identify with others, to feel uplifted and inspired. To share experiences and go on a journey with people is an energy that, when tapped into, can absolutely empower us to be more and do more
Are you part of the wider running community?
I am proud to be a Your Town Runner. Your Town is a community of runners I founded back in 2015 and has grown to be a great thing! Now in multiple towns we invite others to connect with where they live through the power of running. I am also proud to be part of the global running community through Run Grateful, to connect with others from around the world. Seeing and hearing their gratitude and running stories inspires me to keep pushing.
Why do you think people should take up running?
You never know where it may take you! For me, running has opened up parts of me I never knew existed and I encourage others to explore what it could unlock for them.
Have you run The Vitality Big Half previously? If so, what did you think of it?
Yes, I ran it in 2019 with other Your Town Runners and loved it.
Why do you think people should get involved in The Vitality Big Half?
For a challenge, an opportunity to experience something new, and a chance to move in ways others wish they could.
Why is it important for you to be part of this event and come together with others to ‘run as one’?
It’s always incredible to feel the energy of these events and see others alive and in the moment, to remind ourselves we are not alone.
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s The Vitality Big Half?
Doing some more grateful miles.