Run Dem Crew
1053. Charlie Dark
Charlie Dark, from London, founded the ‘Run Dem Crew’ in 2007, a pioneering and diverse alternative running club where its members meet up every week to exchange ideas and get fit.
The group has over 500 members and have inspired young people from across the capital to complete triathlons, marathons and qualify as swimming instructors, as well as helping them achieve their creative potential. In 2012 Charlie co-founded ‘Bridge the Gap’, an international alliance of urban running crews which spans cities including New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. More recently Charlie partnered with the sports brand ASICS as part of the ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’ campaign, advocating the positive impact sport can have on mental health. Charlie’s work has since inspired numerous other sport based community projects including ‘Swim Dem Crew’, ‘Bike Dem Crew’ and ‘Strong Dem Crew’.
In a personal letter to Charlie, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your dedication to establishing the alternative running community ‘Run Dem Crew’ has resulted in nurturing and inspiring the next generation of athletes. You have created a positive and supportive environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can explore their sporting potential and exchange creative ideas.”
“I’m very honoured to be nominated for this award and extremely pleased that the efforts of myself and ‘Run Dem Crew’ have been recognised by the government especially in the current climate of unrest and uncertainty amongst young people that we find ourselves in. From our humble beginnings all those years ago we’ve tried to create a positive space for people to come together to explore London and to reconnect with other members of the community in an intergenerational environment that both inspires and provides a catalyst for positive change. This award will hopefully open the doors to conversations with those who hold the power to get our message out to an even wider audience and we look forward to seeing what the future holds now that it’s attached to my name.”
Pictured: ‘Run Dem Crew’ in action (photo credits: Simon Roberts)