What started as a hashtag has become a movement; UK Run Chat is a voice for running. The twice-weekly Twitter chats (known in the community as ‘ the fastest hours of the week’) connect runners from across the UK, allowing them to offer advice, encouragement and much more, while the Instagram contains pithy quotes and support to its followers. Far from the highly curated social media presence of many fitness-industry influencers, the UK Run Chat community is built on inclusivity, with runners from all backgrounds and with all levels of experience. The UK Run Chat team also work closely with professionals, including coach Martin Yelling, GP Dr Juliet Mcgrattan and physiotherapist Chris Skitt, who provide expert advice via their social media channels.
But it’s not all tweets and inspirational memes – the UK Run Chat presence expands far beyond the bounds of social media. Now an official affiliated club with England Athletics, members regularly meet in the physical world for races and training runs, most notably as a crew of fancy dress unicorns at the Surrey Bacchus Half Marathon each September.
The UK Run Chat team took over the Shrewsbury Half Marathon in 2016, and in April this year launched the Oswestry Half Marathon, which sold out. Reviews were great: runners declared it ‘a joy’ and ‘a fantastic event with a unique medal and a brilliant atmosphere’.
UK Run Chat’s growth from a simple conversation point on social media to a fullblown powerhouse of a community has been remarkable, and we have no doubt that the future is looking even brighter.