This Mum Runs is a mission-driven global running community creating meaningful connections for women, enabling them to support each other to be more active, more often, for life. A nationwide network of digital communities, mobile app, free twice-weekly runs, coaching programmes and more.
Why was This Mum Runs created?
I started This Mum Runs by accident - completely inactive, with no idea how to change it.
Having been sporty at school, studying sport at university and then working in the health and fitness industry - when I became a mum I completely stopped exercising for four years and genuinely didn’t believe I could get started again.
I also had back surgery which meant relearning how to walk - I had lost all my fitness, my confidence, felt terrified of looking stupid and had no time to fit it in anyway!
Gyms and fitness apps didn’t fit what I needed to fit exercise around my life. The pressure to lose weight or hit performance goals was really off-putting and I couldn’t see women like me anywhere in the available products.
Out of desperation, I put a post on Facebook looking for an unfit mum to start running with. When 75 women I had never met before turned up to meet me for a run, it was a real lightbulb moment - lots of women were feeling exactly the same way!
We wanted to meet again the following week so I went home and set up a Facebook group and This Mum Runs was born.
Now This Mum Runs is the largest on and offline running community for women in the world, with 83 digital community chapters, 1,000+ trained volunteers leading free weekly runs around the UK and a running app with 50,000 monthly active users.
We are recognised by Facebook as one of the most impactful communities in the world, and are on a mission to create a world where all women enjoy the life changing benefits of being active.
Our aim is to create meaningful connections for women that enable them to support each other to be more active, more often, for life.
How important is the self-affirming aspect of This Mum Runs?
For us, listening to what women wanted and making sure that being part of This Mum Runs was a self-affirming experience was always at the heart of what we do.
By creating and curating safe digital spaces, women felt a deep sense of belonging that has enabled them to share their fears and challenges, as well as what they need to help them to become more active.
What they told us was that they wanted less pressure, not more; encouragement to move for the joy of it and for the headspace, not for the competition.
So we designed programmes that took all the pressure away - focussing on time moving, not pace or distance - and offered them at a time that worked for women. It sounds simple, but it had a radical impact.
Working closely with the women in our community - face to face, and using a range of online tools - we designed, launched, iterated and relaunched a range of programmes that aimed to not just get women moving, but to keep them moving for the long term; to change how they felt about moving their bodies.
This is what a member had to say about being part of This Mum Runs:
"Being a part of the TMR community has helped me to understand that staying active is not about running faster or further. Time out of the house and moving more every day has helped my stress levels and I feel happier - doing something for myself (when juggling everything else feels so overwhelming) has kept me sane."
An important thing to note is that needs change over time - as women go through different life stages, or faced with outside challenges such as the Covid pandemic - and in our digital community we’ve created an insight rich space that means we can listen to women’s changing needs and respond or innovate quickly with programmes and initiatives designed to meet women where they are at, with what they need now.
What would you say to other people thinking of starting their own group or changing something in their local areas?
That’s easy! Invest in creating a meaningful digital community where women feel safe, supported and empowered; an insight rich space that enables you to really listen to what women need, and co-create programmes with them that they will enjoy and engage with for the long term.