How to support your local community

Today is a big day for two, very special running communities — London City Runners and Run Talk Run. This post explores how we can all support local communities and causes so they keep thriving.

London City Runners, ran by Tim Navin-Jones and Kerry Jones, had its modest beginnings. It was just Tim and a few friends leaving their belongings at his flat and going for a run. It’s now one of the most popular and lively running hubs in London. It’s free to attend and anyone can join — regardless their running level. Some City Runners complete marathons in less than two hours fifty minutes, some have only just completed Couch to 5K course, also organised by the club.

In the last years, the club has been scattered around the pubs and kept growing out of them due to huge popularity. Last summer it got its own home, an arch on Druid Street, London SE1. The Bermondsey clubhouse has now a thriving bar and is a place to meet other runners. This was the effort of the community too — Tim and Kerry ran a fundraising campaign and got a lot of help from the the runners, who keenly volunteered behind the bar and helped with other chores. Today, the club celebrated its first year in the arch.

I interviewed Tim about the club’s story last year.

Run Talk Run is a global mental health support community. RTR uses running as a way of helping others talk freely about their emotions and be open about their mental health. It’s a physical and virtual running community, organising regular 5K runs across UK and the globe.

As its founder, Jessica Robson, told me she experienced struggles with my mental health since her early teens and it motivated her to create this community. The main goal of Run Talk Run is to reach as many people as possible who are struggling with their mental health. Today, RTR celebrates its second anniversary.

I interviewed Jessica about the Run Talk Run initiative earlier this year.

Despite the fact that behind our communities stand leaders with big hearts and strong characters (I’m looking at you, Tim, Kerry, Jess), they’re only human. They get tired and they usually run those initiative after their day jobs. They need our help. Here is how we can all make their lives easier.

Using expertise

For those working in communications, it can be as simple as talking to a few journalists and helping out with publicity. Spend an evening on researching the key journalists, write a compelling pitch, and try arranging for an interview. It can really make an impact.

If media relations is not your thing, local communities always need experts in other areas. Accountants, lawyers, electricians. Keep an eye out and see how you can contribute.

Investing time

Volunteering can be hugely important for some communities. London City Runners has a bar, which needs people behind it. If you’re a more experienced runner, you can even get involved with leading some of the sessions — either a Couch to 5K programme or Thursday interval session. Speak up, flag interest, get involved.

Word of mouth

Finally, it’s important to keep talking about the communities we’re part of. A lot of people can get involved with the communities and causes just by hearing about it from their friends and colleagues. Those initiatives are too good not to be talked about.

Big congratulations and thank you to Tim, Kerry, and Jess for doing amazing things!

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