RunThrough at 10 years old
RunThrough is a big name in the UK running scene. In fact, the first ever booking made on findarace was for a RunThrough race so they’ll always hold a place in our heart. This year is their 10th birthday and it’s fair to say they’ve done a lot in those 10 years.
From humble beginnings a decade ago RunThrough has grown to be one of the most well known Race Organisers in the UK. Founded by ex international runners and university friends Ben Green and Matt Wood, over their different brands they now have around 50 full time employees with 1000s of part time staff around the UK.
They organise more than 200 events across the UK every year under the RunThrough name and support hundreds more event companies, charities and corporates with putting on their races. In addition to that they have launched their clothing brand, RT Kit and offer workshops and retreats through their Runner Retreats business.
We caught up with Matt to hear about his experiences over the years.
Jacob: Congratulations on the big birthday! Can you take me back to how it all started?
Matt: RunThrough started back in 2013. Ben Green (my Co-Founder) and I talked a lot about how we could create a better experience for runners on race days. We decided to put our money where our mouth was and invested our life savings into buying equipment and putting on our first event at Bushy Park. We were both working at the time; Ben in finance at Unilever and I was running a digital marketing and web development agency. For the first couple of years we ran RunThrough alongside those before taking the leap and going full time in 2015.
J: And why racing and mass participation?
M: Ben and I were both former international middle distance runners, we met on the track whilst studying at Loughborough University. We’d attended and organised 100s of events before we started RunThrough. The goal was to professionalise the regular club running event as well as building a real sense of community around them.
10 years later we’re able to help inspire an active nation through running along with building the UK's largest and most inclusive running community with over 150,000 runners coming to our own brand events every year.
J: Have there been any particular highlights for you since you began?
M: There’s been lots. Running is such a positive force so just being there at races, seeing people achieve their goals is always a highlight for me.
In terms of the business. Organising our first ‘large’ event at Hampton Court Palace was super exciting and felt like a real step up. Also, putting on our first events at football clubs, zoo's, theme parks, town centres, city centres and iconic locations across the UK. It's never ending and all equally enjoyable.
J: What about specific moments, anything particularly funny or memorable come to mind?
M: All the usual event organiser issues you can imagine, some funny and some not so much... but it's how you learn from them that has made us evolve.
J: A lot has happened since you started. Do you feel there have been big changes in the world of mass participation over the years?
M: The racing scene in the UK has changed a lot. I’d like to think that we’ve helped shape it and create a friendlier and more inclusive atmosphere. Racing can be intimidating but I think more and more people are thinking ‘yeah, i can do that’ which is brilliant.
I hope that we’ve been part of that change. We’re also the first event company to truly have a UK wide foot print with the volume and quality of events we have.
Runners have more choice now than they did a decade ago which means to stand out you need to be offering something that runners love. The world of mass-participation is constantly developing because of the competition within the space which is great for the industry.
J: What is it now that you enjoy most about your work?
M: Ben and I just love being around racing. We love running/endurance sports, it's in our DNA from childhood to elite level and back to more recreational running. This isn't work for us, it's our life and we don't want to do anything else.
J: You mentioned before that there’s a lot of choice for racers these days. What do you think it is about your races that keeps people coming back?
M: We have something for everyone with the variety and amount of events we put on. The community and the care and attention we put into everything we do means that people always want to come back to do their next race with us.
J: After a tough few years during covid and lockdowns are you seeing any changes?
M: Yeah, it was tough when your whole business had to shut down. We know that millions of people picked up running through the various lockdowns and it's been great to see new people join us.
It's still taking time to see people who ran with us before to come back, but we feel like it's getting back to normality now.
Runners know the value that races have for improving PB's, meeting up with friends and exploring new parts of the country they live in. We will be here when they are ready to race!
J: And finally; what does the future look like for RunThrough. What are the next big goals?
M: We’re looking to host more new events around the UK. The racing scene can be a little London centric and our focus in 2023/24 is in Yorkshire & the North East as well as taking on lots of new city/town-centre road-closed events in the UK.
Something I’m particularly excited about is that we are putting on the world's first free mass-participation race at the Warrington Running Festival with a London location confirmed for 2024!
In the next few years we have plans to expand around the world and inspire an active world through running.
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