Rachel Mackie - founder of Run Redbourn!

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 July 2020

Rachel Mackie was named winner in the Harpenden #sheinspires awards

Rachel Mackie was named winner in the Harpenden #sheinspires awards

Penny Bird

We spend five minutes with Harpenden’s winner of the #sheinspires awards

Rache Mackie says running can offer friendship, fitness and fun as well as space to thinkRache Mackie says running can offer friendship, fitness and fun as well as space to think

You won the Harpenden women #sheinspires 2020 awards, tell us about that.

It was a real honour to receive the award. Among the nominees were some fantastic, inspirational women. It’s fantastic that [awards founder] Penny Bird is shining a light on the women in the Harpenden community who, alongside their daily commitments, contribute so much to other people’s lives. I am delighted that so many people in and around Redbourn enjoy being a part of the Run Redbourn! group and voted for me.

What inspired you to set Run Redbourn! up?

Following the birth of my second son, I took up buggy running. Carla Ryan-Griffiths, a wonderfully inspirational person with whom I ran, had set up a challenge she named the positive-a-thon. This was all about feeling positive through running. The challenge was to run for 25 minutes each day for a month and record your progress and share it with others. It became evident how running can create positive mindsets and generate a sense of community. My aim is to bring those who run together and to inspire those thinking about starting to run to do so.

What’s the ethos of the group?

We are a community of people who share a similar interest in running, however, you do not need to take part in the group running to be part of the community. There are many runners who love to run solo but can share their experiences and provide advice to others within the community. We have group sessions on many days of the week and at times to try to fit in with people’s lives. Although we have some wonderful runners, the group does not take itself too seriously and the focus is more on the spirit of running than it is on results. There is no membership fee and everything we make from events goes to charity or back into running the group.

What do members get out of it?

For some, running can provide much-needed headspace and a time to clear their mind of lingering negative feelings or help gain clarity on a situation. For others, running can offer friendship and a sense of belonging and purpose. Alongside this, running is also a great way to stay fit without too much expense and get out in the fresh air, exploring your local area in ways you may never have done before.

Your favourite experience so far?

My fondest memory is when we took over our local parkrun, St Albans. Our group provided all the volunteers for that week. The group really came together en masse and so many people baked cakes for the runners and brandished varying ‘musical’ instruments, including the now famous tin whistle, which always makes an appearance at our events now.

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