A new campaign fronted by Runsome and Runner’s World has established a network of running enthusiasts across the UK, to become the world’s first ‘Running Mayors’. Running Mayors will advocate running for sport as well as a form of active travel. A key aim of the project is to position running as a viable alternative to the car for short errands and local trips.
We therefore take great delight in announcing that our very own Robert Short has been appointed as Bolton’s Running Mayor. Robert is a keen, talented and enthusiastic member of Bolton Harriers. Robert’s partner Katie has also become a very welcome new recruit to the club.
He heard about the initiative in January and wanted to get involved and applied immediately. His success has just been confirmed.
Robert said; “I’m delighted to have been appointed to this role, it gives me a great platform to share my positive experience of running and influence others to take part. Running has really benefited my physical health and mental well-being. I’ve made so many friends through training, racing and volunteering in the running community. I have seen many people change their lives for the better by taking up running. Indeed my own club Bolton Harriers, with the help of a Sport England grant, are looking to come out of lockdown and welcome new members”.
And that’s not all, Robert’s ambition as a Running Mayor also encompasses his care for our environment. Robert explains “I want to contribute to environmental sustainably in any way that I can. Currently, emissions resulting from transport cause air pollution and contribute to climate change, so promoting active travel is a really positive step”.
The RunSome campaign is urging government to include running in its £2bn active travel funding, alongside walking and cycling, and looking to double the number of people running everyday tasks within the next 12 months.
Running is an efficient mode of urban transport – it’s cheap, it’s typically twice as fast as walking, often faster than driving in congested cities, has a low carbon footprint and aids our mental and physical health. With a quarter of UK journeys a mile or less (Sustrans) and over two thirds of car trips in UK cities under 3 miles (INRIX) there is much potential. Cities worldwide are adapting streets for people to enable more journeys on foot and bikes. If the UK’s 11 million runners ran just one or two everyday journeys a week rather than drive, it would be significant, enabling us to navigate our cities more healthily and sustainably.
As individuals and as a network the Running Mayors will make the case to city leaders and mayors for why runners — too often invisible in discussions about how we live and move — need to feature in their planning and design of places and services, not least in terms of active travel.
The Running Mayors will also work with other local stakeholders to champion a range of topics that they care deeply about – for many that also includes improving safety and security for women when running, walking and cycling — be that through better lighting, upgrading routes and pavements or buddying up scheme.