Tom’s Run Club: making running more accessible, one step at a time

Two housemates have launched a running club to prove the sport does not need to be governed by stop-watches and personal bests.

Tom Payne and Shubho Hassan, both 24, moved into a flat together in the Old Kent Road, Bermondsey, two months ago.

Mr Hassan, who works in digital marketing, said: “When I met Tom I was so unfit.

“I was living such a lazy lifestyle. My job is very flexible so I’d get up late and work on my laptop and go to sleep.

“Tom’s training to be a personal trainer and before we moved in together he said he was going to make me more active.

After moving in together, Mr Payne encouraged Mr Hassan to get more active (Picture: Shubho Hassan)

“Suddenly I was being woken up by a text from Tom each morning at 6am asking if I was up and ready to go running.”

Mr Hassan said they would go to their local park, Burgess Park, each morning at 7am for the run.

He said: “The first day I was terrible – I was so out of breath.

“But it only took a few days before I started to improve and actually enjoy it.”

After a few weeks of running every morning at the same time and place, the housemates decided to set up a running club.

Mr Hassan said: “We set up an Instagram and got about 20 friends to follow it.

The two young men combined their skills in social media and personal training to set up the club (Picture: Shubho Hassan)

“Our first session was in November – no one turned up.”

Determined to keep going, the two young men posted a video of the next running club, explaining that no one had come along to the first session. 

The video went viral, racking up 245,000 views on Instagram.

Mr Hassan said: “We were flooded with messages from all across the world encouraging us to keep going – the whole thing just blew up. It was crazy.”

Mr Payne and Mr Hassan have now been running every day at 7am for 45 days in a row. 

Their Instagram is followed by 4,386 accounts at the latest count, and their WhatsApp group chat has 230 members.

Now, Tom’s Run Club has established regulars with some runners coming from as far as Camden (Picture: Shubho Hassan)

Their morning runs are now joined not only by people from the area but also by runners from across London, including Clapham and Camden.

Mr Hassan said: “We’re all about accessibility. We run for half an hour at a slow pace. We don’t care how much distance we cover and if people need us to slow down we can – some people walk part the way.

“It’s about running, not winning.”

Mr Hassan said starting the running club with his housemate has changed his life.

He said: “I feel like I have extra hours in the day.

“Me and Tom have also got closer – we motivate each other and the whole thing has developed our friendship.”

After many requests from their social media followers, Tom’s Run Club will be hosting its first event – featuring their usual 30-minute run – in Regent’s Park on January 27.

Pictured top: From left Tom Payne and Shubho Hassan in Burgess Park (Picture: Shubho Hassan)

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