Sport Tech Hub Alumni Scott Cain Launches RunSome Petition to UK Government

Sport Tech Hub alumni, Scott Cain launches RunSome petition calling on the UK Government to include running in its £2 billion active travel plan, whilst also increasing investment and support to increase social prescribing on the NHS.

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What is the RunSome campaign?

RunSome is a Nationwide campaign coalition of running enthusiasts, brands, clubs, tribes and organisations whose goal is to inspire more of us whoever we are and whatever we look like – to #RunSome everyday journeys, errands and commutes.

How did RunSome come about and link to Sport Tech Hub?

The campaign is convened by Active Things, previously known as RunFriendly, and Runner’s World UK, the UK’s biggest running media brand.

Active Things, a Sport Tech Hub Cohort 2 Alumni, was deigned to create the digital infrastructure for urban mobility using technology to tackle key challenges around active travel.

Since October 2019, Active Things have in collaboration with London Sport via Sport Tech Hub’s second innovation programme cohort, have worked with London based:

  • Leisure providers such as Everyone Active and GLL.
  • Active travel teams within local authorities in Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hackney, Harrow and Haringey.
  • Plus corporates such as PwC and Decathlon.

These partnerships have resulted in the creation of a large network of facilities that cover over a third of London boroughs supporting Active Things’ “Shower-On-Demand” service. While:

  • Motivating people across the London to run, walk or cycle to their destinations.
  • Providing additional income routes for leisure operators, gyms and hotels.
  • Improving the capital’s air quality by encouraging Londoners to walk, run or cycle to destinations.

The RunSome campaign enhances the work carried out to date and the integration and lobbying of active travelling as a means to support people, businesses and the environment.

Petition to UK Government

The RunSome campaign has launched a petition calling for proper recognition to the positive role of running for the nation’s wellbeing.

With the petition calling for ‘social prescribing’ of running due to its proven benefits to mental health and for running to be recognised as active travel alongside cycling and walking.

Part of the petition is also calling for increased funding for a range of community running initiatives given their benefits to mental health during the pandemic.

Research has shown that 95% of people who have run during the Covid-19 lockdowns claim it has played a role in managing their mental health*, however at present, the government does not include running within its £2bn Active Travel strategy, which sees investment into facilities and access for both walking and cycling.

Kerry McCarthy, Runner’s World Commissioning Editor and co-founder of the RunSome campaign, said: “The benefits of running and mental health have long been proven, but the last 14 months have unquestionably accelerated the awareness around that link – and now we’re asking government to recognise that and fund running appropriately.

We’ve seen how the government’s Active Travel funding has helped attract more people to cycling and walking with the likes of dedicated routes and new facilities, but to date, running has been completely excluded from those cash injections.

That’s why we’re asking as many people as possible to sign our petition, and we’d urge everyone who’s looking to keep active and enjoy the life-changing experiences of running to do just that.”

One high-profile name who has already pledged her support behind the RunSome petition to government is broadcaster and mental health campaigner, Charlie Webster.

“Running has helped my mental health from a young age, as a teenager I would literally run out overwhelming feelings –anger, anxiety, frustration – and go from being pent up, and at times flat, to feeling a little lighter and for that moment at peace,” said Webster.

“I’m delighted to be joining forces with RunSome, a grassroots movement accessible to all, and help promote the benefits of running and mental health, but also to highlight the need for the government to include running in their Active Travel funding. Running can and does improve mental health.”

* Research findings from Runner’s World poll in May 202

Summary and benefits of what the petition is asking for?

  • For the Government to officially include running in its £2 billion Active Travel strategy.
  • For the Government to fund a ten-fold increase in the social prescribing of running, via GPs and other link workers.
  • For increased funding for a range of community running initiatives given their benefits to mental health during the pandemic.
  • Proactive approach to prediction made by the Centre for Mental Health at the end of 2020, which forecasted that an extra 10 million people in England will need extra mental health support.

About Active Things

Active Things creates digital tools to help users ride bikes, run and do active things outdoors. Active Things brings these elements together in an easy to use system app. Their future focus will be on creating secure bike storage that is easy to access both flexibility and on demand via their app. 

About Runner’s World UK

Runner’s World is the world’s biggest running media brand. Runners World offers advice, inspiration and motivation on a range of topics such as nutrition, injury, health and gear. It speaks to people  interested in running in all abilities from beginners to elite athletes.

Holly Smith

Project Support Intern
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