Run Dem Crew is a collective of creative runners who meet every Tuesday to explore London by cover of night. To those on the outside, it can be hard to understand what’s so special about the crew and what makes it different from an ordinary running club. I’m hoping my posts will help change that. Over the remainder of the summer, I’m pledging to celebrate each Tuesday session with a blog post, which will ideally come out on the following Wednesday. To kick things off, I’m going back to the last session, when we ran the legendary Beat the Bus race.
Beat the Bus has it’s origins in the foundation days of the crew, when OGs Jeggi, Ed and Charlie used to race the 55 bus from Old Street to Oxford Circus. This time 120 of us would be racing the bus, with a wide range of ability levels. In Run Dem Crew we see the city as our playground and gym, setting unorthodox running challenges as a means to explore London and develop as runners.
Beats by Dre are keen to tap into the running market, and had approached the crew to test out their new wireless earbuds and signature pill speakers, although I’m not sure they had in mind Alex Holley’s interpretation of this offer, above. Chris Adu had made two awesome summer mixes available for free download, so it was good vibes only. When running alone I prefer to listen to the sounds around me and my breathing, but when you’re taking over the streets of London town running with a sound system raises the excitement level nicely. Running with music brought back the hype I felt when I ran with Bridge Runners in May.
Hundreds of Beat the Bus & Run Dem Crew stickers had been printed up, so we left our tag by sticking them all over the route in places which will be seen by runners but from which it will be hard to take them down. Perhaps you’ll see some when you’re out and about. There’s one on the bus stop outside my house, which brings a smile to my face every day.
I ran with the Cheetahs and we had an absolute blast. For me, this was quite an easy pace, so I was able to chat loads to my good pal Alex Lodge and plenty of other faces in the crew. It was a beautiful, sunny evening and we picked the bus up on Old Street. The driver was an absolute legend, allowing some of the slower members of the crew to ride part of the way for free, and posing for photos in the roadblock we created at the finish on Oxford Street. At Run Dem Crew no-one is ever left behind, and while it was easy for the Cheetahs and faster pace groups to beat the bus, what was more important was the sense of family from all of us crossing the finish line with a smile and being together.
At Oxford Circus we mobbed the bus when it finally arrived in scenes of joyous celebration. The message to the passengers was clear: on a hot, beautiful day, why not walk or run through the city? It’s quicker, healthier and more enjoyable than being cooped up in a scorching-hot vehicle.
When we run to Oxford Circus it’s become a crew tradition to run into the middle of the crossroads when all the traffic lights are red to pose for a crew shot. There is a 20 second window within which to get the money shot. Props to Mark Whitfield for this traffic-stopping beauty. Afterwards we ran back to base in Shoreditch, many of the groups taking on and beating another bus.
This event was so much fun. It’s right up there with the night we ran to the newly opened Olympic Park and took over the adventure playground like Peter Pan and his lost boys. This Tuesday the Youngers are organising another exciting event. I can’t wait to see what’s in store. You can read about it right here on anotherwisemonkey this coming Wednesday. Catch you then.