Pictures taken by Viktor Dahllöf.
One of the most special things about running with Ssideline City is that everyone is welcome. Whether you’re a cash-strapped student or you’ve just sold your fifth company, whether you’ve run five marathons this year or are training for your first 5K, all of our runners are considered equals.
It’s one of the reasons Annie Poole, an H&M girlswear fashion designer from London, is a regular Ssideliner, having first heard about the club through a Facebook post just over year ago.
“Being in Ssideline is a fun way to make new friends with different backgrounds and interests that I wouldn’t normally come across, while getting fitter at the same time,” she says.
The club has also brought Annie closer to some of her colleagues. As well as persuading existing friends to pull on their lycra and join our bi-weekly runs, she’s got to meet staff from different departments who also happen to train with Ssideline.
In fact, there are now so many runners from H&M within our ranks, we’re dedicating this entire blog post to our growing posse of fashionistas.
“H&M is such a big company, but now I’m friends with co-workers I wouldn’t usually meet because of running together. We’re even arranging group lunch dates together,” explains Mathilde Laluque, another Ssideliner who works at the Swedish clothing giant.
The assistant pattern maker grew up in France and moved to Stockholm after working and studying in the UK.
“I’ve been running since I was 13. I’ve trained with other clubs that have more of a technical focus; what I like about Ssideline is that it’s much more social,” she says.
“I actually didn’t know anyone when I first joined. I just turned up in the middle of winter, to keep myself busy and motivate myself. There’s no way I would have run so much by myself.”
Ben Munday, a Brit who recently returned to Europe following a stint in Australia, also found himself with an instant network when he arrived in Stockholm and took part in his first Ssideline run in temperatures of -10C.
The knit specialist learned about the club through Annie, a former classmate at the London College of Fashion. He now lives with two other Ssideliners from the UK and Spain, who both work at H&M.
“We support each other, both while running – pacing each other, setting challenges or cheering from the sidelines – and outside of the club,” he says.
“It’s the kind of support you get from good friends or family – we just enjoy sweating at the same time!”
His flatmate Cleo McGolgan, from Wiltshire in the west of England, couldn’t agree more.
“I always used to run by myself, but now it feels really normal to run with other people. It doesn’t feel like an effort to turn up for training. You’re basically just hanging out with a big group of friends.”
She competed in her first ever 10K race in June, spurred on by her Ssideline City team mates.
“My pacer Pilvi stuck by me for the whole race and it was just incredible. Afterwards I felt quite emotional!”.
“This is going to make me sound so cheesy, but it is the most amazing feeling when you’re running past the Ssideline cheerzone in a race and you see your friends screaming and pushing you along. There is nothing like it!”
Do you want to try one of Ssideline City’s after work runs with your colleagues? Or do you feel like making new friends from other industries at one of our training and brunch meetups? Click here to sign up and enjoy your first session for free.