Hitting the Pavement for a Common Cause

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[mo]re than a run Co-Founders Alex & Olly reflect on what Movember means to them & the power of community running

This November, runners from all over Australia and New Zealand will come together and hit the pavement, for a common cause – men's health.

Powered by lululemon, [mo]re than a run aims to unlock the power of community and use running as a catalyst for creating a positive impact on men’s mental health and suicide prevention.

We sat down with [mo]re than a run founders & lululemon Ambassadors Olly Woolrych and Alex Bell to chat about what inspired the initiative and how they’re changing the face of men’s health.

lululemon:  Tell us about your connection to Movember and men's mental health? 
Olly:

Alex and I both have a close connection to mental health and have made it a priority in our lives to ensure we are contributing to this space in a positive way.

Sadly, Alex lost his best mate to suicide in his early 20s and I've had a very colorful past with my own mental health.

We are really proud that we are now both in a position to use those reasons to create positive change and to build things in our community that can benefit people.

 

lululemon:  How and why do you think running creates a space for men to open up and connect with one another?
Alex:

We know that men can struggle to open up about how they are feeling and what is truly going on in their lives. This is something we are passionate about changing.

We know that physical activity has the ability to improve mental health and wellness and this is one of the reasons why running creates the space for men to open up.

Another important point is that it can be difficult to have a tough face-to-face conversation. By running side by side, shoulder to shoulder with someone, it can make these difficult conversations easier to have.

A sense of community and belonging that comes from being part of a running community can also serve as an incredible way to allow men and women to feel safe in communicating how they are feeling and getting the support they may need.

 

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lululemon:  What makes [mo]re than a unique run to other run events?
Alex and Olly:

We know that in most cases when running clubs come together en masse for a race, runners stand on the start line and try to beat the person on the left and right of them - this is not the case for [mo] re than a run.

There is a much bigger emphasis on the finish line celebrations in this running event and we encourage runners and run clubs to organize the day so that all runners finish at a similar time to signify the unity and collaboration within the running community through this cause.

It is about looking at other running clubs as collaborators. We love the idea that for one month of the year we all work together to honor the same cause and then for the last Saturday of November every year we all run together and create a space for safe, open and vulnerable conversation between runners.

 

lululemon:  What do you hope to achieve by bringing communities together?
Alex and Olly:

I have been a huge advocate of the power of the community for as long as I can remember.

There is something about people coming together through shared passion that can be really powerful, and that is what sets community apart.

My hope is that by bringing communities together it can inspire the individuals within them to strive for happier and healthier lives.

I feel like we all want to have a sense of belonging and to bring such a large number of communities together to share in the passion of running for positive change, I think plenty of people will find that sense of belonging within that.

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lululemon:  How has [mo]re than a run evolved over the last 12 months and what are your aspirations for the future?
Alex and Olly:

Things have evolved rapidly over the past 12 months.

Initially, [mo]re than a run set out to onboard 15 teams across New South Wales. That quickly grew to over 145 teams and over 1700 runners from across Australia and New Zealand.

We were able to raise over $650,000 for Movember last year which was incredible.

In 2022, we hope to engage over 3,000 participants from over 200 run clubs and raise $1 million dollars for Movember.

And we have big plans for the future. Our plans are to go global with the help of lululemon and make an impact on mental health and suicide prevention across the world using running as our vehicle.



lululemon: What does the future of community look like to you?
Alex:

Such an interesting question and something Olly and I love to brainstorm.

We feel that [mo]re than a run has been the permission slip that allows run clubs to come together, collaborate and elevate running as a whole.

We see November being the month in Australia and New Zealand where the running community comes together, collaborates and makes a difference.

We see that on a global scale, [mo]re than a run can be a vehicle for bringing authentic connections and collaboration within this community.

We see that brands such as lululemon continue to lean into their values and support running at the grassroots community level, just like they have done in supporting and powering [mo]re than a run.

We see [mo]re than a run literally. As [mo]re than a run.

We have plans to support the running community to facilitate deeper conversations, be better equipped to support the mental health of their communities and we see this being done in such a way that gives back to these communities that have shown up for themselves and others during [mo]re than a run.

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Join thousands of runners in raising funds for Movember by challenging yourself in the 60km, 30km or 10km distance on Saturday November 26.

You can find out more on the [mo]re than a run website and sign up for the [mo]re than a run team

The topics we are discussing may trigger feelings and thoughts that may or may not be expected. If you’re concerned about your mental health, or a mate’s mental health, Movember recommends encouraging them to see a doctor, or to call Lifeline on 13 11 14

You can also find more places to get help at Movember.

 

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