This week’s Run Dem Crew was a celebration. Season 17 began, and there were long queues out of our home at 1948 down Bateman’s Row. It was great to see some old faces back for the new season, like Rachel Bonner and Leanne Graham, and I managed to chat to a couple of the new recruits, remembering how it felt when I walked through those doors for the first time. Claire McGonegle had worked her magic and brought with her the very limited edition Run Dem Crew vests that people ordered a while back- big ups to her and everyone else involved in making this happen. I believe registration is now locked off, so thank you to Martin for making it run so smoothly.
As we queued to sign up, the Youngers were selling some delicious homemade cakes. They’re raising funds to help them get to the Copenhagen half marathon, which is a Bridge the Gap event. Chatting to Holly last night, I learned that some of them have never run a half marathon, some of them have never even been abroad, and they’re hoping to be able to get the race entry fees, flights and accommodation paid for to go and race in September.
I have to say Eugenie’s walnut coffee cake was absolutely delicious and I wasn’t the only one asking them to do another bake sale next week. Holly told me they’re going to do a range of different fund-raising activities, but they were well supported this week and were able to raise £200. During Housekeeping, Sean spoke so eloquently about the impact the Youngers project is having, so let’s keep the support coming, people, as we all know how positive an experience a Bridge the Gap event can be.
However, last night was, above all, about celebrating the achievements of the women and men in the crew who went to Oxfordshire last weekend and ran either the 100K or 50K versions of the Race to the Stones. To put 100K in perspective, it’s more than two marathons run in one go. Sorrell came quietly into the crew a couple of years ago, joining the Elites with Jules and quickly establishing herself as one of the strongest runners. Last year she surprised herself when she won the 100K Race to the Stones comfortably. But she was disturbed on the start-line by how few women were participating. She wondered why this was and if it could be changed…
Fast forward to 2015 and Sorrell set up WMNRUN100 with the aim of narrowing the gender gap in endurance sports. It’s testament to how inspirational she has been that she was able to inspire 52 women to sign up, train and duppy up the race. These women are literally changing the landscape of endurance running and it was wonderful to hear some of their experiences and stories as their medal speeches were read out.
Sorrell spoke of the visible transformation of these women as they crossed the finish line, and they all seemed to have an aura about them on Tuesday. It was also moving to hear Nadia and Nanna articulating exactly what Sorrell has unlocked in others.
“I thought I was awake…
you woke me up
you made the world alert and aware
for pushing us over the edge”
A special shout out must go to Tilda and Sanchia, who must surely be the first ultra runners to ever broadcast an MTV Cribs edition while running an ultra- check them out on Instagram here. Sorrell set out to increase the participation of women in Race to the Stones, but I’d be interested to know how much she was able to increase the participation of black and minority ethnic runners in the race also. Make no mistake- the crew movement and WMN Run 100 are helping transform the face of distance running. I’d also like to salute everyone that went out there to cheer; it must have had such a positive impact on these warriors.
After all the emotion of Housekeeping there was still time for a quick run down to City Hall and back, where Francina put the crew through their paces with a mini strength session. No run for me again this week as I have a cold. Hopefully next week…