Find your running tribe ahead of the London Marathon

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A record-breaking 100,000 runners are limbering up for the return of the London Marathon on Sunday. And it’s inspiring even more to get reacquainted with their trainers.

“Running has never been more popular,” says Nick Anderson, from trainer specialist Saucony UK.

“This is in part due to lockdown, as when gyms closed many people took it up.

“But it’s also because more and more people are realising just how easy it is to have a go.”

The benefits of running for health and fitness are endless.

“It improves cardiovascular fitness, helps weight management and provides a mental health boost too,” says Anna Kosciuk, sport scientist at

Running with friends is a wonderful alternative to going for coffee

Ian Allerton

“Running is often prescribed by health professionals as a strategy to fight symptoms of depression and a way to manage stress.”

But if 26.2 miles feels a bit daunting, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways to have a go without taking part in a marathon.

“Participation is what counts – not performance,” says Lisa O’Keefe, director of insight at Sport England.

“You don’t need to run a marathon to be a time as boosting endorphins runner.

“There are lots of ways to try it – join a local running group (find yours here), sign up for a Parkrun nearby, or use a running app like Couch to 5K.”

The possibilities are endless. The only question remains – what kind of runner will you be?

The commuting runner

Too busy to fit in a run? Then try the run commute.

“Running to work is a great way of maximising the time you have available to you,” says Nick.

“It’s the ultimate in efficiency,” adds Ian Allerton, race director at LimeLight Sports Club. “Exercise and commute done in one.”

If you don’t fancy running the whole way, try part of it, or the last mile.

“Not only will you save on commuting fees, but running means you’ll skip the traffic too,” says Ian.

The fell runner

Whether you live in the countryside, or fancy travelling, fell running will immerse you in nature while boosting your fitness.

“This is great for those with a sense of adventure,” says Nick. “And what could be more inspiring than running over hills?”

And it comes with added health benefits.

“Fell running improves balance, and running on grass is better for your body than pavement pounding,” says Ian.

The Saturday runner

This is now probably the biggest tribe of all.

“Running with friends is a wonderful alternative to going for coffee – you catch up while getting those endorphins going and boosting fitness too,” says Nick.

“Meeting others to run keeps you accountable, so you’re more likely to do it,” says Ian. “You meet people with similar interests too.”

The goal-setting runner

Goals are motivating and inspiring, and make training measurable, whether you’re aiming for a longer distance or faster time.

“Goal setters simply want to be a better runner tomorrow than they are today,” says Nick. “Goals give you the impetus to push yourself. And reaching your target gives a sense of satisfaction,” adds Ian.

The family runner

“Running is something you can easily do as a family activity,” says Nick. Not only is it a good way to instil healthy habits in children, but it’s a great way to get everyone outdoors.

“You don’t have to run for miles, do a lap around the park – or try speed races on a playing field.

“It also gets the family away from screens and is a real bonding experience,” says Ian.

The racerunner There are races of all lengths and styles to try.

“Entering races is great for competitive people,” says Nick. “Each race gives them something to aim for, so it is very motivating.”

They can be a fun way to explore other places too.

“You meet other people in the running community and form new friendships – you’ll be amazed who you meet on the start line,” says Ian.

”You can catch up with friends at the same time as boosting those end

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