We first met Alex back in February of this year at one of our run club events, and it didn't take long before he was steering the ship of the Monday night 5Ks. Alex is blessed with a real knack for getting people taking their first steps as a runner, and through the Monday 5k has helped a huge amount of people progress and make running a part of their weekly schedule. Several years ago Alex lived and worked in St Petersburg, Russia where he became part of the Mint Running Club. A plan was hatched to bring Mint RC to London and from April this year the Monday session from Mile 27 has become a Mint RC event.
A Monday regular, and experienced runner Matthew Foulds became a leader of the group over the summer and together they have created a welcoming club that hosts several sessions a week across London. This month, we sat down with Alex and Matt to get to know them & the Mint Running Club London community. Enjoy!
"We mix up routes, try to keep things interesting, but it boils down to a sharing culture where everyone actively cares about those they run with."
M27: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat guys! We'd love to hear a bit more about you and your running.
MATT: I run to take in some of the most amazing locations I can get myself into whether it is in Dartmoor, the Cairngorms for pure ruggedness or NYC for the NYC marathon experience. I run to clear my mind and I look to get something different out of each run. Probably the easiest way to describe myself as a runner is as an explorer!
ALEX: I am very much a city runner. In 2013 I moved to Russia, didn’t know anyone or the city I was living in. I joined a crew (Mint Running SPB) and quickly learned about the city, made great friends and started to improve my spoken Russian. For me, as a runner, the sport gives me a real and close relationships to the people and city around me.
M27: What do you enjoy most about leading the Mint Run Club crew?
ALEX: My favourite aspect to leading the crew is the strong two-way supportive relationships we’ve built. Seeing runners grow in distance, speed and desire is hugely rewarding, particularly when you know you have contributed. And by the same token, their energy and commitment drives my running forward.
MATT: I enjoy the social aspect of the crew. Everyone is very supportive of each other's achievements. Monday's tend to be 3-4 mile gossip sessions.
"For me, as a runner, the sport gives me a real and close relationships to the people and city around me."
M27: What sort of people come to the Mint RC session?
MATT: I feel the group dynamic has changed over the last few months. They were what I would call sociable joggers at the beginning, but now they are much quicker. They're still a supportive and sociable bunch they have always been but as runners some of them have really progressed and it is a joy to see.
ALEX: As Matt said, the dynamic of Mint has changed over the last year. Our runners are all sociable and supportive of those around them, but the appetite and drive has led to our runners wanting to move faster, run longer and engage with more people and the wider running community. I know Matt and I drive leadership, but we have many leaders in the group now. That said, we always accommodate newer runners who are looking to up their run game.
M27: Why do people come back every week?
MATT: As I have mentioned before Mint runners are very supportive and sociable and I think that is why people return week-in-week-out.
ALEX: I think the supportive, sharing culture at Mint, driven by all members, not just the leadership, keeps people coming back. We mix up routes, try to keep things interesting, but it boils down to a sharing culture where everyone actively cares about those they run with.
If you'd like to attend a Mint Running Club session, head over to their Mint Running Club LDN Facebook group for all the details and discussion!