This Swedish winter (the off season for Run With Me), I am spending some time in Australia and India. Right now I am in Rishikesh in the north of India (see photo below), reflecting on 2016, and looking forward to what's coming in 2017. Upon reflection 2016 was a busy year, with new projects launched in Stockholm, and the international expansion of the Run With Me concept.
Run With Me Stockholm
Compared to 2015 we had a large increase in the number of running tours booked, especially during the spring, with the peak being Eurovision week in May, our busiest week of the year. We brought on board two new staff, Lars and Elias, both Swedes who are experienced tour guides. We also launched a 10 km Djurgården tour, which proved popular, and by the end of the summer, had developed and tested a new tour of Södermalm.
During 2016 we were featured in the Norwegian in-flight magazine, interviewed by Swedish and Russian lifestyle magazines, featured in the Swedish newspaper, as well as in several other online publications, and made an appearance on Singaporean National television for a story about the outdoor gyms in Stockholm.
Our RWMS community group runners settled into a 10/10 routine, running 10 kms at 10 am on Sunday, with ad hoc interval sessions on weekdays when someone was motivated enough to lead them. We continue to have a small group of administrators who take responsibility for setting up and leading the runs, without whom the community runs would not be possible. As a group, we participated in the Strömmingsloppet, a 10 km race on Vaxholm, something we plan to do again in 2017.
Run With Me Singapore
During the summer of 2016 I was approached by a friend living in Singapore, who had been watching Run With Me Stockholm develop from afar. He said he was interested in replicating the concept, and asked if I would be interested in a franchise or license agreement. Following discussions we came to an agreement and set about launching Run With Me Singapore, with both running tours and the local running community starting in October 2016.
Run With Me X
Since launching Run With Me Singapore in October I have been approached by people from three different cities, two in Europe and one elsewhere, who are interested in leading Run With Me in their cities. One of the people who approached me is a fellow Run With Me Stockholm member, who confirmed in December 2016 that he will take the concept back to his home city and launch our third Run With Me city in late February or March 2017.
The 100 Point Challenge
At the beginning of 2016 I had a new idea, I wanted to utilise my knowledge of Stockholm and offer an alternative tour, a way of discovering Stockholm in a fun way, and I wanted it to be inclusive, so decided it should be walking, not running. After several different iterations of the 100 Point Challenge during the spring and almost giving up on the idea, an email from (now colleague) Annica in the summer reignited my enthusiasm, and with some creative new twists we "re-launched" the game in mid August. The encouraging reviews we have received to date leave me hopeful of expanding this significantly in 2017.
What's new in 2017?
For 2017 we will offer a public group classic sights running tour in English at 10:30 am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and private tours at other times. We are also introducing a half day trail running tour with an optional sauna/swim. It also looks as though we will have our first French speaking guide joining the team!
We are collaborating on a totally new type of tour in Stockholm, one which we are really excited about! Unfortunately I can't say much more on this right now, but you will be hear more about this in the next couple of months once we finalise the details.
Run With Me World
Where will be the next Run With Me cities? We will have #3 fairly soon, but what about #4 and #5? Right now we are waiting for the right people to come to us, other passionate, friendly, locals looking to lead Run With Me in their city. We would love to continue growing the Run With Me community around the world, but want to do so slowly and organically, so will see what happens....
To finish off I want to say a big thanks to everyone who has been involved in Run With Me in 2016, and wish you all a great start to 2017! As always we love to hear from you - let us know your thoughts on 2016 or our plans for 2017 by commenting below :=)