Run With Me is changing, but just a little bit. When I started out I wanted Run With Me to be a platform through which travelling runners could meet local runners, and get a local running experience. However I wasn't sure where to start, so on a housemate's suggestion, I created a Facebook group. In Stockholm. And Run With Me Stockholm was born. It was August 2014.
We slowly built up a name for ourselves as a great starting point for people new to Stockholm, whether that was newly arrived expats who had moved to Stockholm, or tourists passing through who wanted to experience the city on foot. We took tours, we ran socially, we trained at the track. On we went through 2015, meeting wonderful people from all over the world, some stayed, and many left back to their respective homes :(
In 2016, Hudson approached me in Singapore. He liked what he saw from Run With Me Stockholm and wanted to get involved in something similar, so we started Run With Me Singapore. It had its own website, its own tours, and Hudson had his own way of doing things, but it was still true to Run With Me. It had the same mission, the same values, and the same spirit. He offers twice weekly runs around Marina Bay Sands, and has started a local community group too.
Next came Johannesburg. In spring 2017 I introduced Jono and Hans to the idea behind Run With Me and they embraced it with open arms. They set out to be the first running tours provider in Johannesburg, a beautiful city, but one that is considered a bit dangerous by many tourists if they do not know where they are going. Jono and Hans wanted to offer people a run through the JoBurg suburbs, or a trail run through the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, situated 45 minutes outside the city. And that's what they are doing today, connecting visitors to the places they are passionate about, while running.
In the summer of 2017 we had visitors from neighbouring Norway. Little did we know they were on a reconnaissance mission. Håvard and his friend took a running tour of Stockholm with one of our local guides Max, and shortly after that reached out to us. Inspired by the tour and idea they were interested in offering something similar in Oslo. After a short chat with Håvard we realised he was perfect for the job, and went through the process to set up Run With Me Oslo. Shortly after this we had Laura visiting Stockholm all the way from Sydney, and for the first time we were able to refer someone across from Stockholm to Oslo.
As we have started to grow into a network of Run With Me cities, it makes sense to consolidate ourselves into one place, and to re-visit the original goal for Run With Me, which is to be a space that people come to when they are in a new place, and are looking for a local runner to connect with.
Right now we are four cities some miles apart, but I have no doubt we will be more. We are opening ourselves up and lowering the barriers to new city leaders. We are looking for passionate runners who love to meet people, and to show off their home city. They might be people who have taken a Run With Me tour before, or run with one of our community groups, they might be friends around the world, they might be strangers who stumble across us, they could be you.
And as more people join the Run With Me community I have no doubt we will continue to evolve, and there will be more opportunities to connect, and to Run With Me.