HOKA Commits to Funding Plan For Two London-Based Grassroots Running Clubs
HOKA is changing the way brands connect with grassroots communities. Ahead of their inaugural sponsorship of the Hackney Half Marathon, Hypebeast teamed up with the sportswear label to tap two London-based running clubs that are making a change -- committing to funding growth within the community.
Having covered East London’s Queer Running Club, this episode visits Run With Purpose -- a running club that’s formed around men’s mental health. Whether it’s being in the outdoors or keeping your body moving, there’s no denying that running has benefits on both physical and mental well-being. Launched in 2019, its first-ever run attracted 30 attendees at Alexandra Palace, and co-founder Joel knew he had created something special. “One morning after a run, I get this idea to start a community of runners, for men specifically, to tackle mental health.”
The club now meets up fortnightly at Hyde Park in central London and it is “about any guy showing up and being valued, being listened to and finding a space to be themselves.” However, one thing Joel stresses is that “we are not professional counselors, we are professional listeners,” and it’s this feeling of collectiveness and community he hopes to instill into the members of RWP explaining, “What matters most is creating an environment for people to talk about their stories.” Having that support system that gives members the platform to express their experiences and feel comfortable in knowing that there’s always someone there, is something he’s most proud of. “Yes, I can get through this and I’ve got a community of guys that are on this mission with me,” he says.
It’s not all about the sport at Run With Purpose. The club takes regular breaks, works on breathing techniques, and are sure to be there for each other. “The breath work and the stops came from creating a holistic experience,” Joel says. Championing these grassroots movements, HOKA is offering a funding plan to support RWP and invest in its community plans. Being acutely aware that they’re not healthcare professionals, just a team of dedicated individuals that have formed a support group for one another through running, he explains, “With HOKA’s funding we want to host workshops with mental health specialists.”
The main standout from the collective is its T-shirts and by running in unison, these pieces are a display of the power of coming together. “We get so much support from the people that see us,” he says. “Through the T-shirts, they see that unity even more.” As well as creating workshops, the funding will help expand the RWP messaging saying, “We want the guys to carry the Run With Purpose message wherever they are.” Whether it’s through inspirational quotes and positive affirmations emblazoned on T-shirts, hats, wristbands, and more, Joel aims to tap into, and spotlight, the well-being of all men.
Check out the Run With Purpose HOKA visuals above and to join the runs, visit the collective’s website. For more information on HOKA’s Hackney Half partnership as well as to shop its latest running gear, head to the brand’s website.