Verified Rebel: Sarah Mei

Posted: August 8, 2012 in Motivation, Rebel Running
Tags: , , , , , ,

Some people have been doing some really cool s–t with running. A rebel runner forges their own road. They run for a cause bigger than their own. They might go against conventional wisdom or they might just make a habit of bending the rules, expectations, and limits.

Ever run at night? Letting the stars, the street lights, and your neon gear light the way? Well this is the pic that caught my eye scrolling through Tumblr once upon a time.

run dem crew night run

I’ve since learned that this picture came by way of Sarah Mei of I’m Running I Promise. She’s a part of a running crew (that’s a running club for you noids) across the pond, aka London, called Run Dem Crew. One day I’ll have to write something up about this crew and spread the word about what they’ve got going on, but for now let’s focus on one person:

Rebel Runner: So what made you want to start running? How long have you been running?
Sarah Mei: I started running for a combination of reasons. Firstly, I work for a sports brand, and therefore I am surrounded by SPORT. It’s pretty hard to not let that influence your life. Secondly, a lot of people I know outside of work had started running which made me realize I was supremely unfit and I realized it was the cheapest and easiest method of addressing my health. Thirdly, there was a challenge at work to win free running trainers if you ran 30 miles in 30 days, so I got involved. Lastly, and most significantly, Charlie Dark, founder of Run Dem Crew had asked me on a couple of occasions to join RDC. I had politely declined, but he challenged me to run the Berlin Half Marathon. I spent 5 months panicking and haphazardly running before flying out to Berlin, running a 2 hour and 47 minute race, partying all night and meeting some really fun and amazing people. I was, by then, totally swept up by crew vibes, the familial support, and felt emotionally indebted to Charlie and Bangs (of #TeamBangsOnTheRun)  for getting me through a pretty tough start to my year. I didn’t want it to end, so I continued to run with RDC after Berlin even though most people thought I would give up after the race.

RR:Your blog says you’re learning running… what would you say you’ve learned since you started?
SM:I’ve learned, or rather, accepted, that you’re constantly learning. Perspective has been my greatest lesson since joining RDC. I run with people that have lived completely different lives to me, and have experienced things that I don’t think I could handle. It humbles me. In terms of actual RUNNING, I’ve learned not to ignore injury, not to panic when you struggle to breathe, and that you cannot easily run a half marathon with essentially only 6 weeks training.

RR: Any personal times, personal bests or improvements you care to share?
At one point I got my fastest mile down to 9 minutes, which is a HUGE achievement for me. My fitness definitely improved, but, mostly, it is my attitude to exercise that has experienced the most dramatic improvement. Meeting people who love to run and cycle has had a great influence on me and I now genuinely like running with the crew and cycling whenever I can.

(Beer runners, you may want to avert your eyes)

RR: Do you drink? If so what’s your favorite drink?
I don’t drink, no. I’m so allergic to alcohol. It has earned me the nickname ‘Grandma Mei’. I’m still always the last on the dance floor though!

Just so you know, Run Dem Crew hosted a 10k out in London a few weeks back. To sum it up without doing it much justice, the weekend included drag racing (sprints with parachutes), partying, and a race. Check out the Day 1 recap

RR: How’d you find Run Dem Crew? What did you like about them?
SM: Run Dem Crew is well known within my social network in London. I had heard about them 2 or 3 years prior to meeting Charlie Dark (the creator). I saw my friend Peigh start running and lose weight due to his perseverance. I still wasn’t about to join though, as a non-runner. It took 2 or 3 chance meetings with Charlie at work, where he visited to design running footwear  and he asked me to run with the crew. Initially I was reluctant as I am a slow runner and thought I would be left behind, but once I joined I was overwhelmed by the amount of support that many individuals and the crew as a whole gave me. Charlie gave me a totally embarrassing introduction in front of RDC and I have experienced nothing but love since then. RDC is essentially a group of very different, but very dynamic individuals who run through London, supporting and providing one another with great opportunities. I have seen so many peoples’ lives enriched through the social aspect of RDC, including my own, and the running provides challenges and rewards, encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Win win.

RR: How much fun was “London Calling” weekend? I mean HOW MUCH FUN? Drag Race, Party, 10k… a lot going on.
This last week has been amazing. Totally different to Berlin as it was on home turf. I partied for 3 straight days, watched my friends achieve great things and developed international relationships with individuals from crews from around the world. I didn’t get to run as I was injured, but I cycled with the crews on Friday’s run and made sure I was partying at every opportunity.

RR: What do you like about running at night?
I love running at night. I like the cooler air and clearer streets. It feels a tiny bit badass and no one can see me struggling. I also have much, MUCH more energy in the evenings than I do in the mornings and I like to look forward to a run, rather than feel like I have to get it out of the way (something I found I have in common with Mike Saes, NY Bridge Runners founder). RDC run every Tuesday evening, it just feels right.

RR: Do you listen to music when you run? If so what’s your “pump up” song?  What music do you listen to in general?
SM: I do sometimes. I don’t really run on my own so much, as I prefer the sociability of running with people, so I don’t really need music. Also, I’ve found that I run so SLOW that fast music usually messes up my pacing. I keep it super chilled with neo soul tracks and relaxed vibes to keep me calm as I still panic about my pacing and breathing from time to time.

Sarah Mei is definitely a rebel. Loving the night runs, the partying, the dance floor… Starting out as someone afraid to run,  then coming to terms with it and learning from it shows true tenacity. She’s got a sick sense of style and I’m glad she found a home with Run Dem Crew, which seems to be a fresh crew.

Connect with  Sarah Mei:
I’m Running I Promise
Instagram: @essmei
Twitter: @missmei

To the rebel in you,


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