London has recently hosted its biggest weekend of running and there will have been 100 runners with an extra spring in their step after an inspirational ‘Women Run Strong’ event in the capital on Friday 21st April.
Deliberately timed to invigorate and empower runners ahead of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April, Women Run Strong was hosted by endurance runner Susie Chan and US blogger and runner Kelly Roberts, in association with Strava.
Tickets for the free event were snapped up within one hour of the working day as runners of all abilities signed up to an evening with their running heroes, and they certainly weren’t disappointed.
The event began at 6.30pm with a pre-marathon shake-out run led by Susie and Kelly along Tower Bridge, covering a 2-3 mile route through local London streets and past the iconic Tower Bridge. The bright sea of runners was a spectacular sight crossing the Thames and a fitting start to the one weekend of the year when London is all about running.
The runners returned from their run to The Running Works in Aldgate, where food, a glass of bubbly, a fun social evening and a lively panel discussion awaited.
Joining Susie and Kelly on the panel were California-based trail, mountain and road runner Devon Yanko, who has run more than 30 marathons and 30 ultras since 2006, and Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, a keen runner and carer of her daughter with autism.
What followed was a fantastic and honest discussion between these four inspirational women and the audience of runners, who varied in ability but who all shared a common love of running. Feedback from the night was hugely positive and it was the perfect preface to marathon weekend.
It was impossible not to be inspired and uplifted by Women Run Strong with Strava, and the scene is certainly set for more events in the future given its huge uptake and overwhelming success. If Susie and Kelly have helped their audience to cross the finish line of any race, be it the Virgin Money London Marathon or any other, then their job of giving runners the confidence to believe in themselves, no matter their ability, has been done.
Susie Chan is an endurance runner who runs from 1 to 100 miles at some of the world’s toughest ultra-marathons and endurance races, including the legendary Marathon des Sables and the World Marathon Majors. She was pacing the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon at 4 hours. Follow Susie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and read all about her adventures on her blog: susie-chan.com.
Kelly Roberts, better known as @KellyKKRoberts, has a mass social media following. Kelly documents her running journey on www.runselfierepeat.com and her new podcast by the same name, and she is much-loved for her honest and inspiring attitude in encouraging others to embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves. Follow Kelly on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.