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#RunSome and the New Running Mayor of Leeds

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There are so many reasons to run – some personal like stress relief, and some universal like reducing car dependency. There are some more obvious like increasing fitness, and others a little more tougher, like chasing a world record.

However, sometimes it can be tough to get going.

Running with a group of friends, or being part of a running community can be a massive help with motivation and support. As well as this, if your place of work supports and encourages running, as well as the brand you follow and interact with, it can be that little bit easier to get out.

Enter the #RunSome campaign, and the newly appointed Running Mayor of Leeds, Gemma Bridge.

Gemma Bridge Runsome

#RunSome is a coalition of running enthusiasts, brands, clubs, and organisations. The campaign aims to inspire more of us to run some everyday journeys, errands and commutes. For instance, running to the shops, to work, or to see friends. By deciding to run instead of drive, even on a couple of trips each week, you will be supporting your community, the environment and yourself. And best of all, you’ll arrive happier and feeling good.

As part of the #RunSome campaign, and to help us all to #RunSome everyday commutes, journeys and errands, a network of Running Mayors has been introduced. This network is an initiative to champion the role of running in our cities and places. The Running Mayors act as ambassadors for the #RunSome campaign, providing a voice to champion running and increase the visibility of running as a form of healthy, active travel.

Leeds City Centre

Gemma took up post in March 2021. She is passionate about running, well connected across the city and wants to help Leeds become a fairer, cleaner, healthier and happier place to live, work and play. As Running Mayor, Gemma is working as a campaigner for change, she is looking to make running, and runners, more visible and better heard in Leeds. In her role, Gemma has three focus areas: 

Enable a wider diversity of voices to be heard

Everyone who would like to share their opinion about running should have the ability to do so. As Running Mayor, Gemma will work to ensure all voices can be heard by engaging on social media, hosting community engagement events, by reaching out to and talking with community groups, and by arranging regular discussions with existing running networks.

Help runners to feel safe

Safety when running is essential. Surveys and discussion events will be hosted to explore what factors affect feelings of safety when running. Additional activities to boost running safety will also be encouraged and facilitated, such as reducing litter, setting up running buddies and sharing well lit running routes.

Encourage workplaces to embed running in the workplace

Running should be considered as part of workplace active travel plans. It should also be encouraged by workplaces due to the beneficial effects on mental health, social cohesion, fitness, and productivity. As Running Mayor, Gemma will host forums to speak to businesses and their employees to explore the opportunities and challenges to running. She will also explore what interventions can be put in place to support running, such as the installation of showers and changing facilities, the development of lunchtime run clubs, and increasing connections between workplaces and running clubs.

Running up steps in Leeds

As with any ambitious plan, making running easier for people in Leeds is not something that any single Running Mayor could achieve. So, in her role, Gemma is looking to build alliances and work with others to make things happen. As part of this work, Gemma is linking up with Discover Leeds, to highlight brilliant spaces to run and explore, and Run Leeds, to share running routes and connections with local running clubs.

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