When my older brother Steve told me he'd started running with a man who lives in his village, I didn't expect the man to be in his seventies. But he is. And he's called Ken Butler.
The more I found out about Ken, the more I wanted to know. He's run well over 100 marathons, not to mention a 24-hour race. Yet he didn't seem to be a classic runner, obsessed with gear and times and lycra. Instead, he's a mild-mannered second-hand car salesman living a quiet life in the countryside. With a passion for occasionally running 26.2 miles.
As a fellow runner, I have some knowledge of what makes people want to run. But why was Ken still running after all these years? How did he keep managing to run marathon after marathon without picking up an injury? And how was it possible for him to drink five pints of Guinness the night before a race, and still finish in better shape than my 29-year-old teetotal self?
I finally plucked up the courage to ask Ken those questions and more.
Then I realised that I actually know quite a few runners with interesting stories that deserve to be heard by more people...
Like Jon, who started running to deal with the pain of losing his son, Theo.
And Jenny, who ran to all of her chemotherapy appointments when she was diagnosed with cancer.
And Paul, who's still pushing for his first sub-3 hour marathon as he approaches 50.
They might not be Olympians or record breakers or big on Instagram, but they all have reasons for running. By sharing their stories, I hope that people reading the magazine will see themselves in the runners' faces – and perhaps discover their own reason to run.
I could have put these interviews and photos online for people to see. But I wanted these eleven stories to be something that people spend time with away from a screen.
So I called superior magazine designer Matt Withers and asked him to work his magic. This is what he's come up with. (N.B. While they look very real, they're actually mock-ups.)
The interviews are edited, the photo shoots are done, and Matt's finishing the design as I type. Now, we need your help to get this magazine out of our computers and on to paper. We want Run for Your Life to live on coffee tables and in toilets all around the world.
Our Kickstarter goal pays for the entire print run – including a super-snazzy 'One Hit Wonder Spot UV Varnish' on the front cover. (Basically, it means there'll be shiny white text that'll make you drool.)
If we don't hit the goal, the magazine won't get made. No one will get to read the stories of these everyday runners. And Ken will be very, very sad.
Run for Your Life will be printed by the fine folk at Park Communications, who make some excellent magazines – like Boat, Mondial, Positive News and Riposte. (They know what they're doing.)
It'll be 128 pages long and will look excellent on your bookshelf or coffee table. Or in your toilet. It makes a superb Christmas gift for any runners, or aspiring runners. Or, indeed, for people with no interest in running whatsoever.
Two magnificent people helped me bring this project from a collection of interviews on my computer, to an extravagant, picture-filled, printed-on-paper experience. From L-R:
(We also received additional editing help from Annabel Bligh.)
Of course, the magazine would be nothing without the runners who allowed me to tell their stories:
- Jenny Baker
- Jon Brombley
- Ken Butler
- Oliver Herdsman
- Jon Holley
- Steve Leighfield
- Philip Maughan
- David Noël
- Paul Northup
- Sarah Rowe
- Grace Wroe
Thanks for reading!
Risks and challenges
I've printed a few magazines before, and I've launched two successful projects on Kickstarter: http://kickstarter.com/profile/lukeleighfield/created
The hardest part, as ever, is raising the money. But after that, I'll do my best to get your rewards to you as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)