HOKA Is Changing The Way London’s Run Clubs Can Support Their Local Communities
Hypebae follows Queer Run Club’s weekly routine.
Wanting to spotlight the grassroots collectives making a change in their respective communities, Hypebae teams up with HOKA ahead of its debut sponsorship of the Hackney Half Marathon. Supporting two running clubs that have started from the ground up with a mission to promote inclusivity, the brand has committed to allocating funding to grow its community-led initiatives.
Despite being one of the most accessible sports, running can also be one of the most daunting to take part in. Whether it’s finding time around a busy schedule or even acknowledging the dangers of running alone at night time, it’s this apprehension that prevents people from experiencing the physical and mental benefits of the sport. Through the power of collectiveness, these local running clubs have been formed to break barriers and create a safe and inclusive space for people to feel comfortable in reaching their goals.
In this episode, we follow Queer Running Club — an East London-based club designed specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community. Since launching just over three years ago, QRC’s ethos is rooted in community and inclusivity – allowing people from all walks of life to feel safe, connected, and respected. For its founder Kole, starting the club was a way to bring like-minded people together and establish a positive association with running. “All the clubs I was attending as a long-distance runner felt really disparate, there was a lot of competition and not much sense of community,” he tells Hypebae. “My main aim for QRC is that we stick together.” As well as connecting with new runners, they leverage their platform to bring attention to charitable causes, raising awareness for a range of issues.
The club gathers every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at their meeting point of Brunswick East in Hackney Downs. The group starts by going around and introducing themselves, stating their names as well as their pronouns to “inspire a familiarity between the runners.” After warming up, they run as a unit, sticking together for the full course as Kole explains it’s to “encourage each other and experience [it] together.”
For any runner, the marathon is the ultimate show of your commitment and practice, the QRC is no different. This year, 20 members made their way to Berlin to compete in the city’s half marathon, raising money for trans people’s gender-affirming surgeries that might not be able to afford it. Being based in East London, the Hackney Half Marathon is just as important for the collective. Being one of the most vibrant and diverse competitions in the capital, HOKA has announced that it’ll be an official partner for this year’s event.
To celebrate these grassroots movements and invest in their future, HOKA is changing the way brands work with running communities by offering a funding plan to support QRC. For Kole, this investment will continue to help the cause and give space for more people to get into running. “The HOKA funding means we can run together more,” they say. “It means I can train other runners to become coaches and it also means we can dedicate more time to fundraising.” As well as the aforementioned charity QRC helps raises money for, the community also supports Mermaids, a trans helpline, and Albert Kennedy Trust, an LGBTQIA+ homeless shelter. “I currently organize all the fundraising events in my spare time and would love to be able to dedicate more time to it and have a team of people to help,” Kole explains.
To sign up for its Thursday runs, visit Queer Running Club’s website. For more information on HOKA’s Hackney Half partnership as well as to shop its latest running gear, check out the brand’s website.
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