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The Running Mayors Network is an initiative to champion the role of running in our cities & places. 

Running Mayors inspire more people to run local, everyday journeys. This is running as a form of active travel, as an alternative to jumping in the car, as well as for leisure and sport.

Running is a visible part of every city - think of its streets and roads, pavements, parks, paths, canals and riversides. Yet running is invisible in discussions about how we live and move among decision makers like city and transport planners, Mayors and place leaders. Until now.

Running Mayors will provide a voice and a human face to champion running in a place they know and care about - the city or town where they live.

Running Mayors are ambassadors for the RunSome campaign, which has been co-founded by Runner’s World and the running and cycling business Active Things. RunSome has a brilliant group of campaign partners, friends, ambassadors and advisors.

Running Mayors will advocate for running as an antidote to some of 2021’s toughest challenges - such as isolation, inactivity, pollution (through car dominance) and winter blues.

Running Mayors are encouraged and empowered - individually and as a network - to increase the visibility of running as a form of healthy, active travel. Running as local transport as well as for leisure and sport.

Running Mayors are change-makers who increase the visibility and possibility of running everyday journeys, who identify barriers and who champion and share solutions.

Mission

The Running Mayors Network exists to enhance people’s lives and improve our places by inspiring & enabling more of us to enjoy the benefits of running as a form of active travel and as a pastime.

Vision

More people will run their everyday journeys and that all running is made more inclusive and accessible to all. The Running Mayors Network will transform attitudes to running as active travel. They will contribute to a healthier & happier population, and less car-dominated cities and places.

How to apply?

We want to hear nominations for yourself or someone you know to be your local Running Mayor. You don’t need to be rich, famous, devilishly good looking with countless social media followers, but we would like to understand how and why you've positively influenced people, and why you believe that running, and more people running local journeys in particular, has potential as a force for good.

When to apply?

We’re inviting our first batch of applications by January 31, 2021. The incentive for applying now is that we and you won't know whether the role of Running Mayor will have been filled if you wait for a later batch. So for that reason we have made it simple for you to apply.

As a network Running Mayors campaign for change that makes running, and runners, more visible and better heard in our towns, cities and places.

Running Mayors believe in:

  • Active travel and running as an alternative to car travel for most short city trips
  • Taking the initiative, not waiting for things to happen
  • Building alliances and working with others to make things happen
  • Opening up running to more and different people, and to champion the simple joys and positives that come with running

Who is a running mayor?

A Running Mayor is passionate about running!

They might not run the fastest or the furthest, but running mayors are certainly among the most enthusiastic. We’re looking for people who love to run as part of their everyday routine—to the shops, to the park, home from work, to take the dog for a walk or meet a friend.

A Running Mayor is connected with their community

Running Mayors will provide a voice and a human face to champion running in their own town, city or neighbourhood. That’s why we’re looking for people who are connected with their community—perhaps they’re a member of a run group, residents’ or parents’ association, or know the neighbours through their school.

A Running Mayor is a good listener and an enthusiast

Being a Running Mayor means listening and talking to all kinds of people about—you guessed it—running. We’re looking for runners who are approachable, and able to connect with a diverse range of people. Successful candidates will feel excited about talking about running, with its benefits to people and places, with anyone, be that a local politician, a beginner or journalist.

A Running Mayor wants their area to be fairer, cleaner, healthier and happier

Running Mayors understand the role that running, as active travel, leisure and sport, can play in making their area stronger. They are passionate about environmental sustainability, all forms of active travel, mental health, social justice and making sure their neighbourhood, town or city is a welcoming, safe and joyous place for everyone to be outdoors and active.

As Running Mayor, you will:

Promote everyday running

A Running Mayor’s ultimate responsibility is to promote running as a way to see people, get places and to do things in their area. Successful candidates will spend as much of 2021 in their running shoes as possible, and will be excited to swap out some of their everyday car journeys to #runsome instead. They’ll use their connections in their community to inspire others to do the same.

Advocate for better running infrastructure in your area

By running, walking and listening to others, you’ll understand which routes are empowering and joyful and the ones that -- right now -- are better avoided if possible. As Running Mayor, you’ll be responsible for advocating for the latter to disappear from your area forever. This might mean speaking with local authorities, businesses or organisations to ensure they know what makes good and welcoming places to run and champion why this matters.

Encourage your community to take up everyday running

A Running Mayor will not only love running, but they’ll love to inspire others to do so too. As Running Mayor, you’ll be responsible for reaching out to new and diverse groups and communities in your neighbourhood and making sure they have all the support and encouragement they might want to take up everyday running.

Champion the goals of the RunSome campaign

Co-founded by Runner’s World and Active Things, the RunSome campaign brings together over 30 different running and related organisations and brands to inspire more people to run some local trips and commutes. The campaign’s primary goals are to:

  • Double those who run everyday journeys to half a million people in the UK. To collectively deliver a 10x increase in the number of run trips we do
  • Change national and local government policy to include running within active travel strategies and funding
  • Lasting, positive financial impact on the running industry and wider running community - by inspiring more everyday running journeys & commutes
  • Reach 10m people through grass roots, social media and other forms of campaign outreach

Frequently asked questions

Is the role of Running Mayor paid?

No, there is no financial payment. Candidate Running Mayors should be motivated by the opportunity to create change. At the same time, friends and partners of the RunSome campaign, now and in future, may well find good reason to give Running Mayors the chance to test and enjoy products and services, but that should not be an expectation or primary motivation.

What support will Running Mayors receive?

You'll become part of a network of change makers. You will inspire and support each other. We will invite alliances and new ways of working, and shall provide materials and tools, including a shared workspace with images and content to support this.

What role will Runner's World play?

As a co-founder of the RunSome campaign, the Runner's World team is engaged and supportive of what Running Mayors stand for and aim to do. One of the team will be among the judges, and others may believe in the role so much they themselves apply!

I live in a village, can I apply?

Yes, we are looking for Running Mayors to represent the full diversity of places. We simply ask that you apply to be a Running Mayor of somewhere you live, that you appreciate and want to make more runner-friendly.

How do I apply?

We invite individuals to apply for the position of Running Mayor directly with using our online form. In this we ask that you share 2-3 things that you'd intend to do or make happen in the role, as a headline work plan, and also get endorsement letters or emails from a couple of local stakeholders.

Can I nominate someone?

If you're proposing someone you know, you need to say why you believe that person would make an amazing Running Mayor, give an example or two of what they've done to champion running, and have - at a minimum - discussed the idea of them being a Running Mayor to them to both get their buy in, and to do justice to the application.

What’s the commitment?

We recognise that we all have busy lives and being a Running Mayor will be an extra commitment. That said the role is very much part time and is expected to fit around work and family and active life. If running is part of your life already, the lines will likely be a bit blurred. Have in mind something like three hours a week, for example, be that enthusing at your local parkrun or run club, engaging parents at the school gates, meeting local representatives, speaking to media or hitting up the social media channels.