Monday, 16 July 2012

Bridging the Gap

This is a public service announcement. What follows below is an entirely sporty post. There is only a minimum of vintage style. But it is a good one. End of announcement.

In my life as a vintage girl, writer and bloggy type, I do get invited to lots of fun things. I don't usually have to do anything to earn these invites, simply by being myself, and having a not-inconsiderable number of blog, Twitter and Instagram followers is enough. But the events of the other weekend were earned, and the amazingness of it all will stay with me for a long time!

You may recall me mentioning that I was a volunteer mentor for the RDCYoungers project - a scheme tied in with my running family Run Dem Crew. A small group of young men and women were picked to go through this project, to be trained in running and set creative tasks, with a number of older and peer mentors to offer practical advice and moral support along the way. I didn't do much actual running training with the Youngers (and in fact did barely any running training myself, not the best example to set!), but I did provide plenty of advice... and helped them in other ways. Logistics (driving stuff across London), promotion (tweets of particularly good work they do) and help with blogs and CVs. I'm not going to be modest here, helping these youngers towards achieving the potential that's well within them has made me feel really warm inside. But they put in the hard work themselves, really; and the culmination of all the effort was last weekend, which was the Nike+ British 10k race, and the second instalment of the Bridge The Gap Project... London Calling! It. Was. BIG.

The first Bridge The Gap weekend was in Berlin, when RDC and several other Nike Sportwear international running crews met up to run the Berlin half marathon. I couldn't go, and felt like I had missed something huge (mainly because I had). But being a mentor for RDCY meant I got invited to some of the super secret stuff that was taking place, from the Friday when teams arrived from eleven countries around the world' to the Sunday, when Nike put on a massive party.

We had teams from Athletics Far East (Japan), Begins (Beijing), Moskva River Runners (Moscow), Red Snakes (Milan), Tiber Track (Rome), Paris Running Club (duh), Graviteam (Berlin), She Runs LA, The New York Bridgerunners, Patta Running Team (Amsterdam) and Kanan Crew (Mexico). If you run in any of those places, look them up and join!

It's fair to say, it was a momentous occasion, and an honour to be invited to marshal them all from Shoreditch to the Leake Street tunnels under Waterloo, for a super secret drag race.

The fastest and most furious from each team attached a 'Sparq Chute' to their waists, and ran hell-for-leather down the graffiti tunnels. The She Runs LA ladies took the women's prize, and one of our own took the men's!

It was an amazing night, even though I didn't run. Have a look at the Nike Sportswear Facebook album for more, if you like!

On Saturday, as you know, I was at the Chap Olympiad, so no running for me! Sunday was the big one, though. The one I had most definitely not trained for. The British 10k! Sounds a bit weird to say I hadn't trained for a six mile race when I can do a 13-miler, but shorter distances are faster and harder. I wanted to run it in under 50 minutes. I didn't manage that, coming in in 50:34, which is still pretty good, considering how much it hurt. Had my red lippy on all the way though, despite the sweat and the rain!

That picture was taken at about 7k, I was in massive amounts of physical and mental pain, but with the cheering squad out in force, I mustered up a grin and a pair of gun-fingers. Never underestimate the power of race support, and encourage your family and friends to turn out to cheer YOU on if you're running a race alone. It makes SO much difference! I wish I'd paced a Younger through, I started out running with a fellow crew lady Petra, but she dropped back around halfway. So it was a lonely race with much chafing. But with aforementioned lippy intact! Sweat with Swagger!

However, don't wear shorts you've not trained in, that's my number one race tip at the moment ;)

 Charlie Dark and the Youngers give the signal

Being a VIP at a race makes such an amazing difference, though. We had a fancy hotel to chill in before and after - with food, sports massages and music. I don't want to sound too smug when all the other runners had soggy bags and a damp goody bag to take home, so let's just say it was a real honour.

The Youngers outdid themselves, and I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them.

After the race, I actually took my sportweared self to the Chap Olympiad second day, where I took part in a little skit! I was kicked out of the Cucumber Sandwich Discus for wearing Lycra, and stretchered off to the gin tent to be given Bloody Mary from a blood bag! I can't find a good picture... boo!

Courtesy of the Chairman

The evening saw us go to the Nike Fuelfest at Battersea Power Station. I am now the proud owner of a Fuelband, which is part fancy pedometer, and part a personal challenge to be more active, that sees me bopping around my flat trying to up my activity levels enough to hit my 'target' of 3000 points per day. If you're competitive (with yourself) and want to be more active generally, I encourage you to check it out! You can hit your target in all sorts of fun ways, including at the Chap Olympiad! ;)

ANYWAY, look at the stunning photos of the Fuelfest on the Yinnyang blog, should you wish to see some (I only appear from the back and with my eyes closed, but all the shots are amazing!).

The weekend ended on Monday, when I got to noodle about the NikeiD studio at Boxpark and design my very own pair of Air Safaris, to which I have tried to add a vintage flavour. You'll have to wait and see how they turned out (as will I!), but here are some photos of me doing said noodling.

 More smoothing serum would not have gone amiss...

Me, Youngers, Run Demmers and Bridgerunners!

That's enough sportswear talk for today, I think! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I was honoured beyond belief to have been invited to take part in this groundbreaking international event, and to have seen the change in the RDCYoungers throughout the project. Even fancy Fuelbands don't beat that feeling. I can't wait to see where they all go from here.

And I hope I get to hang out with more of the inspirational runners from across the globe who were to a person awesome, funny and GORGEOUS.

Until next time, runners...

Fleur xx

PS. Before I go, there's a new, currently very small retro ladies running club that's just started in London. There's a Twitter account @RetroRunnersLDN for you to follow, which will keep you informed of runs. If anyone out there want to join in, then get in touch. And if ANYONE has a shop, pub, cafe or anywhere open in the evening that a small number of ladies could leave a bag for an hour, please get in touch about that! It's the only problem the amazing organiser Natasha is having (and the reason I haven't gone along yet). More on this very soon.


  1. What a great event - and you even manage to look stylish when you're shattered! Nice job :)

  2. Amazing photos! You look beautiful even when running!

  3. Well done! Hard earned success = satisfaction! :)

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  5. That's great that you've helped to encourage young runners. I love being able to share and excite people and help them see what they can achieve

  6. Wonderful you're doing it. And yes, still gorgeous, even running :)

  7. The Tea House is entirety at the disposal of the retro runners, should they want it sweetie x

  8. I just think you were awesome! Yes I know just how warn it feels when you help someone. I used to work around children at the Boys and Girls club in Escondido, CA It was so much fun, but my back gave out one too many times at work, and we relocated to Santee. It was the best job and also the hardest one I have ever had. I made a difference in a lot of kids lives, and I miss that so much.

  9. Been reading for a little while, but first time commenter. Have heard of RunDemCrew but never knew that they did things like this - good on you for being a mentor, sounds great! I was also at fuelfest, good night all round and well done on the 10k time.

    I run a running blog, but being a lover of the 40s & 50s, I've decided it's about time that I also set up my own fashion blog and I was wondering if you would mind very much if I were to link you from my new site? It's a work in progress at the moment, but I know it's courtesy to ask first :) Keep up the great work, I love seeing what you're wearing!

  10. Wow, sounds amazing and inspiring! I can imagine you make a fab mentor. Well on the 10k and looking ace at the same time. Really want one of those Fuelbands!

    Random question, do you happen to know where you can get coloured/patterned leggings/sportswear in the UK? I've been searching (probably badly!) but have only found stuff in the US. I'd like something not black and thought you may know!

    The vintage running club sounds great. My Grandmother was an athlete in the 30s and compete in the 1932 & 1936 Olympics, 1934 Empire Games and various other things. I'd love to have a reproduction of her kit. We have a letter that tells her to attend Harrods to be fitted for what I think was probably for the '32 Opening Ceremony - rather posh! I wonder where they go now, probably not Harrods anymore!


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