It’s A London Thing: Fred Butler & Charlie Dark’s Top Running Tips

By Jayne Robinson

“It’s a London thing. It’s a glorious thing. It’s potentially, at times, a wet and grey thing,” writes accessories designer / author / DJ / runner / rainbow hair aficionado (the list goes on – this girl is busy) Fred Butler in the first pages of her take on the city guide, It’s A London Thing. But as Fred then writes, that wet and grey bit – the subject of many a moan – encompasses a city full of gems to discover around every corner.

Like many a guide, It’s a London Thing is split into regions but what makes it unique to her point of view are the sub-categories: ‘Top 5 Record Shops’ in East, ‘Cocktail Haunts’ in Central and ‘Pound Shops’ in South to name a few. And given the book’s cover features Frame Shoreditch’s colourful wall – albeit in its pre-graffiti glory – we couldn’t resist the chance to get Fred, also a RunDemCrew member, to take us on a fast-moving tour of some of her highly rated East End spots.

Led by Cory Wharton-Malcolm – a one-of-a-kind character himself – of Track Mafia (who you might know from the run clubs they lead from Frame Shoreditch and Frame Victoria on Monday and Wednesday nights, respectively), 20-some runners took to the streets one Saturday morning for a Running Rainbow themed sesh hitting up spots like Beigel Bake, Broadway Market, Columbia Road and the V&A’s Museum of Childhood.

RunDem founder Charlie Dark talks running in the book, and we grabbed 5 minutes with Fred on the subject, too. Read on for our favourite snippets…

Fred, how did you get started running?
FRED: I think I have been running for about four years now, and I did the London Marathon in 2015. I was inspired by my friend Teo, who introduced me to Charlie Dark’s running community RunDemCrew and signed me up for a half marathon the next day… I’ve never looked back. I had forgotten that I was good at it at school and now its my absolute favourite thing!

What’s your fave London running route?
FRED: I love North London and how its possible to cross Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regents Park all in a 10K loop. Our parks are so beautiful, with epic views and gorgeous gardens, that its a dream. I especially love passing the zoo to see what animals are out and then ending up on the canal to Camden. A coffee at Melrose & Morgan after, and I’m in heaven!

Charlie, what’s your number one tip for new runners?
CHARLIE: Running sucks when you first start. Don’t think of it as running, but learning to move through your city in a new way. Keep the early adventures short and reward yourself for small victories.

What motivates you to get out there?
CHARLIE: Record, document and nerd out. A 5k/10k/marathon training plan is 10 to 16 weeks of your life. Get that scrapbook out, take progress pics and record the transformation as you turn into a better version of you.

Also, dress like an athlete and you’ll think like an athlete. Treat yourself to some kit that makes you feel good and take that running swagger to the road.

Read more running tips nestled amongst Fred’s favourite places across London in It’s A London Thing (Prestel), on sale now in our Shoreditch studio.

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