When two inclusive running communities from opposite ends of the globe connect - one from London, the other in Sydney - only powerful things can happen.
Run Grateful x The 440 Club
Published November 22, 2023 . 5 min read
The 440 run club's Trent Knox and Run Grateful's Mark White led a 24-hour RUN GRATEFUL event in Bondi on November 18, 2023.
"If we can MOVE, CONNECT + REFLECT daily, we give ourselves the best opportunity to navigate life."
Mark White, Founder of Run Grateful
It's the middle of the night on a Saturday in November, at a pitch-dark Bondi Beach. Not normally up at this hour, Kinsey Yuen is doing his best to stretch out tired quads while lying across a public picnic bench, not far from waves crashing on the shore. A local surfer who's never run 5km before, Kinsey is two-thirds of the way through no small feat. He's one of almost 20 men who've joined a 24-hour RUN GRATEFUL event, running one mile, every hour on the hour; covering marathon distance (42.2km) over the course of an entire day.
Founder of London-based initiative Run Grateful, Mark White, is co-hosting the event alongside Bondi local Trent Knox - the co-founder of an Australian running community known as The 440. As Mark approaches Kinsey for a friendly vibe check, Kinsey bursts into laughter. "Running ain't no thing!" is his raw, enthusiastic response to Mark's "How ya feeling?"
The 24-hour RUN GRATEFUL event has brought together a group of almost 20 men. To conquer the night. Celebrate camaraderie. To run parallel to one another. From day, to night, and back to dawn. All in the pursuit of highlighting mental health and fortitude - and the positive impact that running and gratitude can have on both.
The event - part of Mark's mission to share the strength of 'The Grateful Mile' across the world - is a collaborative moment that blends seamlessly with The 440's run club model: an open-invitation event held every Saturday at 5am, bringing people together to start running in the dark and finish together in the light.
"More than a run club, we're a community that starts their day in the dark."
Seven years into their journey, The 440 have grown from a small group of friends running together on Saturday mornings at 5am, to a collection of 440 Run Clubs located across Sydney and beyond - all offering a moment for people to move, to connect, to begin the day in a way that will ultimately make them feel good - in every sense.
"We try and inspire people to get up and start their day in their dark, to get up before sunrise and get their day off on the right foot," explains Trent. "I started The 440 seven years ago by accident. I was going through a dark period in my life, that had been going on for many years. I was trying to get myself out of it and started doing hill sprints at Bronte Beach, not far from Bondi. A small section of the main street in Bronte has a looped 440-metre hill that I would tackle alone.
"After a few months, I set up an Instagram account called The 440, and the movement grew and grew. Seven years later, it's more than a run club. We meet every Saturday morning at 5am, at that same hill loop in Bronte, for a Run, Dip, Sip - running, swimming, coffee. Everyone's welcome. You can run one lap, or you can do ten. You can run, you can walk, you can come and just hang out on the fence and take photos and watch what it's all about. More than a run club, we're a community that starts their day in the dark. We inspire through storytelling, through face-to-face interactions and conversations. Running is accessible for everyone. It's something we often tell ourselves we're not - but the reality is we're all runners. And it's good for us - it's freedom, it's connection to your body, it allows you to explore, allows you to let go of stress or worry. And it's fun."
— Mark White
"In between the miles we've got breathwork, yoga, ice baths and chats."
As relief in between running one mile on the hour, every hour, participants had the opportunity to rest and reset in a variety of ways - from a healthy lunch and open-air yoga session during the day, to breathwork sessions during the night and enjoying the use of ice baths as part of their recovery.
"As you can see, it's a hot sunny day in Bondi, and while we're running we're going to be building up lactic acid and burning a lot of energy, so it's good that we're getting ahead of recovery by setting up an ice bath session midway through the day," explains Neil O'Sullivan, mental health advocate and co-founder of local infrared sauna and wellness studio Nimbus Co.
"For running or any kind of cardio exercise, an ice bath is great for recovery, but you don't need an expensive set-up at all. An ocean dip can be classed as cold immersion therapy if it's below 14-15 degrees Celcius. Your shower at home is another option - there's a Wim Hof 20-day shower challenge that takes you from 15 seconds of cold water in the first week to 60 seconds by the end. You'll be getting all the benefits however you go about it - muscle recovery, reducing stress and regulating the body's fight-or-flight reactions."
MOVE, CONNECT AND REFLECT
The event brought together 20 men, each with their own 'why' - and ultimately to bring focus to the benefits movement and gratitude can bring to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
"I'm doing the run to actually inspire my kids, to show them that hard things are achievable and that the body and mind are capable of more than we might believe," says Ben Pollitt, participant and P.E Nation's Head of Product . "The opportunity to get around others and openly share is a good thing; getting to a point where men are comfortable to talk about what's going on in their life can only be a good thing - we need to do a bit more of that."
P.E Nation is proud to have supported the participants of the RUN GRATEFUL event.