Since it was launched four years ago UKRunChat has made quite a splash. 50,000 plus followers on Twitter make sure no runner goes short of advice or encouragement. We talk to co-founder Joe Williams…
One of the great things about the world of running today is the number of ‘ideas’ that imaginative individuals have had and then turned into brilliant projects. parkrun must be the ‘daddy’ but there are lots of others. Veggie Runners, conceived by fabulous mother and daughter team of Jayne and Bibi, The Good Gym, and Peter McHugh’s RunFast concept all come to mind. One of our favourites is UKRunChat, the online community set up by Jeff Weigh and Joe Williams in 2013 and now with a busy website, an active real world community and 50,000 plus Twitter followers.
We asked Joe Williams the secret of their success and he highlighted that UKRunChat had quickly established a reputation as a safe, supportive and informative environment for running enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes and abilities to come together to share news, opinions and advice. Their flagship event is the twice weekly UKRunChat Hour which happens on Wednesday and Sundays on Twitter. The Twittersphere really gets buzzing as the UKRunChat community fires off hints, tips and suggestions about training, kit, events and routes in response to requests for information and advice.
The big Wednesday and Sunday shows – get involved using the hashtag #ukrunchat – is at the heart of what UKRunChat is all about but there is much more. An active website which hosts a busy forum, regular competitions, links to blogs, and an ‘ask the experts’ section.
And it’s not just a digital world. Offline UKRunChat aficionados meet up for runs, at events and socially. Joe and Jeff have organised a number of weekends across the country bringing together hardcore ‘chatters’ in a relaxed environment – think long runs, yoga, bake-offs – where people can share their passion for all things running.
Now the guys are involved in organising major events – Shrewsbury and Oswestry Half Marathon are races with growing reputations.
Meanwhile thousands across Britain are heading out for their regular running fix, meeting buddies, logging miles, posting selfies, and chatting online.
Joe Williams told runABC: “It’s been an amazing experience creating and building UKRunChat. The best bit has been seeing so many people from different running backgrounds coming together and sharing their love of running and encouraging and supporting each other in achieving their goals whether that is their first 5k or their first ultra.”