What’s the story behind Midnight Runners, how did it start?
Midnight Runners was founded in London in 2015 by two friends who were unmotivated to train in the British winter and decided that by making that social commitment to run together would mean more KM's under their belts! A quick post on meetup.com and the two of them were joined by 13 other runners. Just like that the beginnings of Midnight Runners were formed!
What’s the demographics of your typical runners?
Our demographic is typical of your young urban millennial - 24-34, international and motivated to meet new and exciting people in the awesome cities they call home. We have people from over 120 countries as regular members. In terms of running ability we are complete mix: we have semi-pro athletes right down to people training for their first 10km. That is what makes our group so unique - an ability to bring a wide range of people and abilities together in a shared passion for running and fitness. It is also worth noting that 60% of our runners are female.
What makes Midnight Runners different from other existing urban runs?
Midnight Runners is an incredibly open running community. We don't do pace groups and everyone is welcome. We also run to music played through portable speakers which allow us to ditch the headphones, making music social but also encouraging people to interact. We also throw some exercise stops in. Anyone that has been to our flagship BootCamp run with Music will know that we love burpees as much as we love running. All in all it creates a high energy, positive environment where you can be yourself. Beyond our weekly meet ups we are also blessed with an incredibly inspiring group of members. Our runners have taken on wild challenges, raised thousands for charity and we even organised a marathon in a war zone - Somalia's first in 26 years to prove that wherever you are in the world you should be able to run.
How does Midnight Runners sustain financially: do you rely solely on sponsors? Can you tell us your sponsors and partners?
We generate all of our income through sponsorship. Our main partner is Reebok who joined us in 2017 and who we have a great relationship with, allowing us to be independent whilst supporting us on our journey to bring running to more people around the world.
You've brought Midnight Runners to many metropolitan cities including London, Berlin, Boston, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Sydney and now Hong Kong. What do you find is a commonality amongst these places that in turn enables the concept to thrive?
We are present in an incredibly diverse group of cities but what strikes me the most is how for the most part we have way more in common than things that divide us. What we have noticed as we grow is that people are really looking for opportunities to connect in real time with people away from a screen. Of course social media has been a great tool at bringing people together but it’s almost gone too far. We are now actively seeking social contact with likeminded people. We start every event at Midnight Runners by getting people to introduce themselves to two people they have never met before, and in doing so we immediately breakdown the barriers between our runners. It has had some impressive results: marriages and babies being the most obvious!
Hong Kong is the first Midnight Runners location in Asia. Do you find it any different than other locations? Have there been any challenges?
Apart from the heat.... no! In all seriousness I have found Hong Kong to be an incredibly open and forward leaning city with a really dynamic culture of trying things out. People here are receptive to change and that is all we really ask - come down too one of our events with an open mind and I am 100% sure you will leave with a smile on your face!
Apart from the regular Midnight runs, you have also hosted Midnight2Midnight (M2M) to raise fund for charities. Can you tell us more about M2M?
M2M is our way of giving back. We always want to be a positive force in the cities we call home and this global, 24-hour charity event allows us to do just that. We will run from Sydney to San Francisco for 24 hours, raising money for 1% for the Planet which is a global charity that provides funds for environmental charities.
What’s next Midnight Runners?
Despite our global nature we are still a grassroots, volunteer led organisation and for that I am really proud. We have a team of 130 Crew Captains who, week in, week out, create amazing running events to that get people together and make them fitter. That is why Midnight Runners is still authentic whether you show up in London or Boston. I would like Midnight Runners to continue to grow in this vein so that we can help more people fall in love with running, motivate people to make positive changed to their lives and continue to build dynamic communities that inspire, challenge and are places for people to belong.