The story behind London’s best running hub: London City Runners

Druid Street in Southwark on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays has become London runners hottest spot. On these days, London City Runners club opens its doors to the enthusiasts of the sport. And the club is now about to embark upon its most exciting journey. I caught up with the LCR founder Tim Navin-Jones to find all about it.

London was UK’s most active area for running, according to data released by the app used to track athletic activity, Strava. Not surprisingly, the London community of runners is growing in numbers. Place that stands out for weekly runs is London City Runners, a club which has been founded over eight years ago by a running enthusiast Tim Navin-Jones. Ever since, the club has seen more and more people joining Tim for the runs along the Thames.

The LCR community meets every Tuesday for either 5-, 6-, or 10-kilometre run, Thursday for an interval session, and a 10K session on Sundays. The best thing about London City Runners is its accessibility; it’s free and anyone can join — from first-time runners through marathoners and people who run ultramarathons in past.

I spoke with Tim about what’s next for the club.

MK: Tell me a bit about yourself and what’s the story behind the London City Runners club.

TNJ: Back in May 2010 I had joined another running club in London. It took me a long time to get there after work to train for my marathon. I couldn’t quite believe that there were no clubs in central London despite there being so many amazing routes along the river. The idea was born! We had about five people at the initial run. I put adds on notice boards and in the local paper and it’s grown ever since.

What is it that the club does?

We now do tours, couch to 5k programmes, workshops, socials and of course our usual weekly runs sometimes attracting over 100 people.

LCR has recently had quite a HUGE announcement — tell me more about it!

We’ve been moved on from previous places we’ve outgrown eight times. It was clear that we could either let the club fizzle out or take a leap of faith and secure our very own place. From what I can see there’s nothing quite like this in the world so it should certainly make it unique. Hopefully it will become a real centre for our thriving community of runners.

LCR’s new space in Druid Street, SE1

How can people get involved with the club’s new, exciting journey?

Kerry [Tim’s friend who helps with the operations-side of the LCR — MK] and I are about to start a crowd funding campaign as we’ve had to use a lot of our own saving to make this happen. People have been fantastic at offering their skills as carpenters, illustrators etc We really want our members and the general public to get behind us in creating something really special so we ask that they give really generously, both their time and finances.

What’s your highlight of running the LCR?

Just knowing that it has such a positive influence on so many peoples lives. Running is the most fantastic drug. When the endorphins are going on once you’ve finished it really makes people a good version of themselves. It’s a fantastic way of combating mental health issues, obesity and loneliness which in London is a very real part of so many peoples lives. If I didn’t see the good it was doing there is no way I would have had the energy to continue volunteering three times a week for almost 9 years!

The club has outgrown eight places and it’s now hoping to get its own (photo courtesy of Kerry Jones)

The crowdfunding page launched this week. Any support will help the club realise Tim’s vision and keep London’s best and biggest running hub, well, running. You can donate and learn more here.

The London City Runners is also open to anyone, so come along to any session. Find out more information on the club’s website.


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