When I am running with TMR, I am not a Mum or a wife or a daughter or an employee. I am me.

This Mum Runs has grown to be the incredible community that it is, well..because of the women who make up the community. Without the generosity of time and spirit from our volunteer Run Angels, none of the work we do to bring free social runs to more Mums across the country would be possible. 

Meet Jane.

Jane has been an important member of the London Run Angel team since October 2017 and she embodies everything special about This Mum Runs. She’s kind, funny, committed, generous with her time and support – and not afraid to share some of her own vulnerabilities too. Frankly, everyone needs a Jane in their life!

Here she shares a little bit about her own running journey and what inspired her to get behind the This Mum Runs movement.

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My beginning-again running journey with This Mum Runs

I have been fit all my life. Pre pregnancy, I even had a personal trainer.  I was a size 10, and I felt and looked great.


Then I got pregnant.  6 months of sickness and debilitating tiredness followed and as a Director in a fast paced start up, all my energy went into keeping my Team and business afloat.  There was no time, (or energy), for exercising.  Then there was birth.  A physical marathon and body blow of epic proportions.  Then breastfeeding.  Constant, 24/7, exhausting.  Then the toddler tasks.

For the last 3 years I have not exercised.  The world of yoga and lycra leggings is a world I no longer know.  More than that, it is a world in which I do not feel I belong.    Pre pregnancy my motivation was to try and fashion a 6 pack.  That goal is long gone (and quite frankly, one I care very little about now!), so where was I going to find my new motivation?

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Facebook is enabling This Mum Runs to bring the world’s Mums closer in 2019

2018 has been an incredible year for This Mum Runs and I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the most game changing of events that happened this year – winning a place on Facebook’s year long Community Leadership Programme, which kicked off in San Fransisco in October. It’s safe to say that being recognised as one of the top 100 most influential communities in the world can unlock huge potential for This Mum Runs in 2019 and will accelerate our vision to empower the world’s Mums to be healthier and happier.  Here I share my (somewhat intense) experience of the programme so far.


Last year, Facebook announced a return to it’s founding strategy to: “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. In February 2018, I attended the invite only Communities Summit where Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, showed just what they were prepared to commit to when it comes to bringing the world closer. He revealed  plans for the Facebook Community Leadership programme (FCLP) – a global programme to provide grants, training and support to enable great community leaders to make an even more positive impact in the world.

When he revealed the plans, I have to confess, I cried. It sounds a bit dramatic, but here’s why.

Leaders of successful communities usually fall into the role by accident – and certainly don’t set out planning to build a massive movement that changes thousands of lives. Often, they start with one individual experiencing hardship, crisis or a personal challenge reaching out for help, or with a desire to help others. The most incredible of communities start out in this simplest of ways.  A few people connecting around an issue, who tell their friends, who tell theirs and so it grows. Such groups quickly gain traction around a common purpose and an altruistic desire to to connect or help others; sometimes they find themselves in the slightly unexpected position of being able to drive real social change through their efforts.


This too has been my experience with This Mum Runs.

As a new Mum, recovering from back surgery, struggling with mild post natal depression and feeling lonely, I had lost myself. A single (slightly desperate), post on Facebook looking for a running buddy led to 75 women turning up for a run; this led to hundreds of women joining the Facebook group I set up to organise run meet ups within weeks; 6 months later, growth was so fast and overwhelming I had quit my job to manage it; and within 4 years we have grown to a global community of 50,000 women delivering hundreds of free runs every single week.

The First ever post

Growth like this comes with huge personal sacrifice. In the beginning – for the first couple of years in fact – I was drowning. Locked to my phone every hour of the day and night, desperately trying to respond to every message I received and terrified I would miss something from someone who needed help. I’d had no training – there’s no Community Leadership MBA – and was not equipped to deal with some of the things I was told. But I wanted to help. I quickly tried to recruit volunteers to launch more runs and help meet the needs of women who clearly wanted to make a change in their lives.

Growth like this comes with tension at home too – nagging from families (“get off that bloody phone!”), and sacrificing friends who get tired of you cancelling events.  Perhaps they think we’re wasting time on social media and don’t see what we’re doing as meaningful work.

It’s deeply ironic that the majority of meaningful community building work like this, whilst seemingly very ‘public’, is mostly unseen and solitary. It’s driven by individuals with passion and commitment and purpose, but lacking funding, experience or the organisational framework to sustain such a pace of growth. It comes with so much influence and potential to change people’s lives – but without the money, training and resources to truly sustain it. It’s the slightly surreal experience of winning awards, media interest and meeting royalty, while secretly worrying about how to replace the kids outgrown school clothes.

Prince william

So hearing from Chris that Facebook were going to step up, that through FCLP they would recognise community owners as leaders worth investing in, well… it was an emotional moment for me.

Of course, cynics may say that community leaders are the best ambassadors for Facebook tools, will act as a powerful sales engine for engagement hungry advertisers and that this programme is an investment by Facebook in their image which has recently taken such a public beating.

Well, maybe this is partly true.

But what has always been clear to me through everyone I have ever met at the organisation, is that Facebook people stand behind their vision and purpose with almost altruistic vigour. As individuals they are passionate about connecting people and improving lives. As teams they commit hard to the work they are doing. And they believe Community Leaders are a new brand of leader that can help them move tangibly closer to their vision of bringing the world closer.

This is not just big corporation rhetoric either. The programme comes with a total of $10M in grants in the first year of this programme alone, together with a a year long programme of training delivered by a newly formed and super talented team, hand picked for their global community building credentials.

In short, this is game changing. And it’s a no brainer that I would apply – along with more than 6000 community leaders from around the world.

We went through a rigorous 6 month long selection process. Every application was evaluated in a multi-phase consideration process (written applications, screening, interviews, video production…). A diverse selection committee of Facebook-ers and external advisors was assembled to make final selections. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for those discussions!

When the winners were finally announced, I was in a tent in deepest France and had been on tenterhooks for weeks waiting for a decision. I had almost given up hope, so ‘excited’ doesn’t really cover it – hyped, ecstatic, proud, amazed, stunned, relieved, happy…and more than anything absolutely certain that this moment would unlock the most incredible things for me as a leader, and for the This Mum Runs community. I celebrated by lying in a hammock with a glass of wine to try and calm down my racing thoughts!


In October  I (somewhat nervously) boarded a plane to join  114 other ‘Fellows’ from over 46 countries at Facebook’s HQ near San Fransisco for the first of four meet ups.


The experience over the 5 days that followed was so intense that its taken me a couple of months to find enough headspace to process it.

Arriving severely jet lagged and meeting some of the other Fellows, I realised straight away that I had found my tribe.

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When you have been working in relative isolation for so long, it’s quite a moment to realise that there are people just like you. People from all corners of the world, driven by the same sense of purpose, and experiencing the same stresses, challenges and roadblocks along the way. As we started the week by sharing our personal and community stories, the Facebook team were on hand with boxes of tissues to mop up our tears.

Aside from the excess of emotion, I was left with a strong feeling of hope. Yes, hope. That – despite the challenging political times , the endless fake news and click bait headlines and the relentless pace of everyday life – the sheer good-ness of the people in that room collectively has the power to quite literally change the world. Between us we represent millions of people from every single corner of the globe.

There were some – perhaps unsurprising – common themes across all our communities, despite our broad geographical spread. Parenting is a universal challenge and there are several groups supporting both Mums and Dads. Mental Health. Health. Physical Wellbeing – I was delighted to see 3 or 4 other running communities.

On the first couple of mornings, unable to sleep I went for a run at 4am. Once with a doctor from Senegal and another time with an inclusivity champion from Egypt (also a Nike athlete). We talked about our work and the common challenges that women in our respective communities face. The conversations we shared were incredibly empowering for me and these were real ‘pinch me’ moments.

Full disclosure, it wasn’t all work and there was plenty of time to get to know each other and learn more about ourselves. For example, I learned that Facebook-ers are ridiculously good at Karaoke


And that if you put a typically reserved community leader in front of a dressing up box, we go crazy;


Also that I am absolutely TERRIBLE at Bocce Ball (google it, I had to…) but scarily competitive.


But aside from the fun stuff, Facebook did work us hard.

7am starts, 10pm finishes, back to back sessions of learning and networking and campus tours and dinners.  The learning curve was steep but I tried to soak it all up despite the tiredness.

A big focus for the programme is unpicking and digging deep underneath the bonnet of this new kind of leadership. There are no manuals, you can’t go to business school (yet) to learn the theories. Which explains why so many of us have felt that we are totally ‘winging it’  because quite literally we are. We’re all making it up as we go along!  And as it turns out, doing a pretty good job of it despite our lack of training.


Facebook has partnered with external experts to try and understand this new kind of leadership and they shared some of this with us. It was pretty exciting to learn that the style of leadership we have all instinctively adopted as community leaders – based on collaboration, mutual growth and empowerment instead of the more traditional authority, hierarchy and competition, really has the power to change the world.

As they shared with us that more than 70% of the worlds business leaders struggle to understand this kind of flexible leadership and lack the skills to build communities, we all began to realise the potential in what we have created.

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The ultimate goal of the programme is to give us the profile, knowledge and tools to become self sustainable when the programme ends.  So these first few days covered:

  • Powerful Storytelling
  • Media Training
  • Product Immersion
  • Fundraising and Investment
  • Self Care

I valued the opportunity to hear from incredible leadership experts like Sarah Schonberg, to learn from the most masterful of storytellers George Gabriel and to hear from inspiring product leaders across Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

I’m not going to lie, some of the sessions were intensely hard work and demanded a lot of self reflection. Not something i find easy.  On the first day for example, we were asked to write down 5 words that best described us – and whilst others scribbled away furiously, I struggled to get past the word “Mum”. Finding the personal storytelling incredibly difficult too, I soon realised that there might be some work to do on re-discovering myself!

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One of the most shocking things for me was that virtually all the community leaders in the room were experiencing chronic underfunding. A handful were already spending significant chunks of their time fund raising, raising investment, or trying to generate revenue. Having spent 6 of the last 12 months raising investment (and the same 3 years ago), plus a huge amount of time and energy growing an online store to generate much needed revenue, this was certainly  something I could relate to. For most, it was so far beyond the realms of their experience they literally have no idea where to start – and many are laying their homes and families on the line to keep their work going.

We are some of the worlds most influential community leaders, impacting millions of lives around the globe between us….and yet nearly all of us are struggling to unlock the funds we need to sustain our work.

This is a clearly a big problem. Actually no, this is just plain WRONG.

And why being a part of FCLP also provides us with the potential for funding from Facebook.

Up to $50,000 is available to us if we are able to demonstrate a project plan that will both connect people in real life and moves us closer to sustainability over the 9 months.

For This Mum Runs this means a now approved project that will double our footprint. The grant will give us the funds to grow from 3 cities to 6 and to grow our volunteer team from 400 to 800; we plan to grow sustainably in those cities by recruiting paid Community Leaders and empowering them to grow their communities by providing them with central support as well as a budget to launch and activate their own communities.

I will say again. This. Is. Gamechanging.

Growing our ‘In Real Life’ community is and always will be our number one priority. It takes us closer to realising our vision of empowering the worlds Mums to be healthier and happier. But more than that too; growing our community enables us to continue to grow on so many other levels, like one big, continuous virtuous circle. We plan to use community growth as a catalyst for funding, partnerships and other revenue streams – which will ultimately make us sustainable (*fist pumps in the air Rocky style*)

As we enter our 5th year, I feel that we are only just beginning.

With this funding in place, the support of FCLP and the frankly awesome team I now have around me, we literally have the world in the palm of our hands.

We are a powerful force for good and we plan to turn the fitness industry on it’s head. We’ll use the power of community to inspire millions of women to make more time for their own wellbeing.

This moment is a once-in lifetime opportunity to show the doubters that running this community is not just a lifestyle-driven pipe dream that I do for pin money, but a long held dream to change the lives of millions of women around the world.

And I can’t wait to get started.


`#thismumruns #facebook #fclp

Don’t ask for more perfume this Christmas.  Ask for more time.

It’s December and a time of year when Mums make even less time for themselves (if that’s even possible). So this month we are sharing a series of tips to help you survive the Christmas craziness. 

This week’s post is from new team member, Shona Mitchell Beats. As former COO of meditation App Headspace it’s fair to say she knows a thing or two about mindfulness. As a new Mum she also knows just how hard it is to make time for herself. Here are her tips for how to squeeze in a few minutes that are just for you…


Before I got pregnant, I was in a blissful place.  Having gone through a debilitating period of anxiety and panic attacks at 30, I discovered meditation, and it was a game changer.

As soon as I realised the immediate benefits and positive impact on my health and wellbeing, I got stuck right in!   I sat for 40 minutes in the morning, (yep, that’s 40, not 4), and 40 minutes in the evening.  That’s 1 hour and 20 minutes to myself a day meditating, finding peace, clarity and calm.  The kind of calm that followed me around all day like a waft of beautiful incense or the light of 100 candles.  Life felt totally doable.

As I said, that was before I got pregnant.

Morning sickness, (which is a stupid name – it’s 24 hours a day), hit me hard.  No one, and I mean no one can meditate when they are vomiting in the toilet for hours a day.  How can you meditate for even 10 minutes when you only just managed to get to work and back before your head hit the pillow (or floor, if the bed was too far away), and you were out like a light until the following day, by which point the toilet once again became your best friend for a few hours?

Getting pregnant was my first experience into the world of motherhood.  And the lesson was hard and fast – your life will never be your own again, and from now on, a magical little being(s) will be the boss of your time.

So us Mums have to dig deep.  There is no question that we have to put our own oxygen mask on first.  Motherhood pulls on your energy sources in so many ways, so you have to top them up each week as best you can.  It’s vital.  Do not underestimate the impact on your nervous system and stability of nightly wake up calls, chaotic birthday parties, and drawn out negotiations to get a coat on little arms whilst stood in the pouring rain.

No I don’t meditate for 40 minutes a time now.  I do 10 minutes a few times a week when my daughter naps, or I’m on the bus, or I’m walking with the pushchair, (yes, walking meditation is a thing).  I run (proudly sporting my #Fearless TMR jumper!), for 20 minutes when I can, to feel the rain, to get some peace.  And when I can’t meditate in the day, I do it lying down as I fall to sleep, (try Yoga Nidra – it’s the ultimate meditation for the woman with no time).

So in the lead up to Christmas, don’t ask for more perfume.  Ask your loved ones for more time.  Just 10 minutes of it.  Plug in your earphones, sit back, and let someone guide you through a meditation. Prefer to meditate on the go?  Add a meditation practice to your run.  There’s a whole series of running meditations on the Headspace app.

However you chose to take your ‘me time’, just make sure you take it. I promise you, it’ll be the best gift you get.

London’s Calling

This Mum Runs launched in London in late 2017 and since then has built a team of 30 Run Angels offering free social runs from 11 locations across the capital (London locations)

This is just the start though and we have BIG plans for 2019, which we will share with you in the coming weeks. 

Hiring Run Angel Emma Devasker as our first ever paid Community Leader was the such an exciting milestone for us and she will be spearheading our city wide expansion plans . 

here’s a chance to get to know Emma – how running  with TMR saved her from anxiety and gave her the confidence to try open water swimming and about her plans to bring free runs and coaching to women across London. 

Meet Emma

emma at work

I’m a mum of two who, like I think many of us in TMR, was not at all active prior to having kids. If anyone had suggested to me pre-kids that I would move to London with an 11 month old, start running, lead groups of women on runs around the city – as well as swim in cold lakes and take up a completely new team sport – I really would have thought they were absolutely crazy!

I started running shortly after emigrating here, using one of the Couch to 5km plans, to help with my post-natal depression and also just for a way to have some ‘me’ time. I remember every one of those runs on the plan seemed impossible but then once each of them was completed it was such a great feeling to know that your body is capable of so much more than you think – I was hooked!

How did you get involved with TMR

I got involved with This Mum Runs after seeing Mel on the cover of a women’s running magazine and contacting her to see when TMR would come to London. I had been running for a while by then and was training for my first ever half – but had only been running solo as I was too scared to join any of the local running groups. I certainly didn’t consider myself to a proper runner.

The TMR community that was in Bristol just sounded so awesome and luckily for me it was decided to set up a group in my local area. Having TMR locally meant so much more than just running. It very quickly become a real community, a support network and a bunch of awesome women who I now call friends.

london group

How does it feel to be working for TMR now?

My youngest just started in Reception this year and as I had been a stay at home Mum since coming to England I started to think about what I could do now. Prior to kids I worked in fashion production but as with many other industries it is not one which offers much flexibility and part-time roles are virtually non-existent. So just when I was pondering all this the TMR role popped up and I very quickly applied. It is so amazing and almost unbelievable to have found not just a flexible role but one that I am passionate about and doesn’t even feel like work.

How has working for and being involved with TMR changed your life?

Being involved with TMR both socially, and now as an employee, has been such a huge confidence boost. Without wanting to sound cliché it really has made me healthier and happier.

I still sometimes struggle with anxiety but having TMR there means even on days when I struggle to get out for a solo run I know I can get out for some headspace with the group run or with a running buddy.  Even when I got injured and couldn’t run last year – the TMR community were still there supporting, and even more than that some of them joined me on my open-water swim challenge that I took on.

serpentine swim

So thanks to This Mum Runs I am now a runner and a swimmer and just a better person and a better Mum.

emma and kids

What are your plans in London for the next year?

I have exciting plans to grow the community, the number of runs and other TMR programmes in London. I hope to see the This Mum Runs London community double in size and help start our free weekly runs in even more locations around the capital.

I will be supporting our existing Run Angels who so generously volunteer their time and will be working closely with them to keep up the great momentum they have all built up in their own areas.

I am very excited to find more great fun running events in which London TMR can take part as a big group (and celebrate together afterwards!) and I cannot wait to launch the hugely successful Run30 and Run60 courses here in London, which will be so great for both total beginners and runners hoping to improve!

Ultimately though my aim is to help build an amazing community of women who support each other and make more time for themselves through running.


This Mum Runs changed my life…and now I want to pay it forward!

Until 2016, I had never done any running in my life. That all changed when I completed a Run 30 course with TMR – little did I know that course would be the beginning of a new love affair with running.

lucy D

I had never run and never thought that it was something that I could do, let alone ever want to do! On a whim I signed up to the TMR Run 30 course after seeing it advertised on a local Facebook group, I still to this day have no idea what made me do it. I thought I would do the 8 week course, hate it but a least I would have done some exercise.

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Flexible work with This Mum Runs means more time to build my own business

In a month where we are celebrating This Mum Runs and all the many ways we have empowered women to lead bigger, bolder, healthier, happier lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light a bit closer to home too.

The This Mum Runs HQ team is made up of a team of kick ass women who wanted more from their lives. To give something back, yes. But also more for themselves – more balance, the opportunity to work on something meaningful, the flexibility to follow the multitude of paths that lead to their dreams.

I am proud to be building a business that makes this possible – for myself and for others.

So in a week that sees the world celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, it felt appropriate to tell the stories of women in my team who are building blended careers, including their own businesses alongside their role with us, with the support of This Mum Runs.

Next up, Jo Sacher – TMR Customer Champion Read More

I quit corporate life for TMR and found me again

In a month where we are celebrating This Mum Runs and all the many ways we have empowered women to lead bigger, bolder, healthier, happier lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light a bit closer to home too.

The This Mum Runs HQ team is made up of a team of kick ass women who wanted more from their lives. To give something back, yes. But also more for themselves – more balance, the opportunity to work on something meaningful, the flexibility to follow the multitude of paths that lead to their dreams.

I am proud to be building a business that makes this possible – for myself and for others.

So on the week that sees the UK celebrating National Happiness Day, it felt appropriate to tell the story of our fantastic Head of People, Jo Lee, who is building a happier life with the support of This Mum Runs.

First up, Jo Lee, TMR Head of People. Read More

Emma finds her wings with TMR


The first three months of the year are always busy for us at This Mum Runs – with lots of new runners taking their very first steps, others taking tentative steps towards their first events, or more regular runners taking on bigger personal challenges. Throughout February and March we will be featuring stories of TMR runners of ALL experience levels; we hope you find them as inspiring as we do.

Meet Emma.

Emma is mum to strong-willed little boy (her words, not ours!), she’s an architect and until recently joining the TMR Run30 programme, had barely done any exercise since cross country days at school. Read More

Talking Running, Mumhood and Cake with Bake Off’s Briony.

When we first discovered that TMR Mama, Briony had won a coveted place on the line up of this year’s Great British Bake Off, you can imagine our excitement. Yes, there was happy dancing in a proud Mum kind of way. We are never prouder when we see one of our own following her passion, so this really was the *ahem* icing on the cake.

Imagine my delight when I met with her on a sunny autumn morning in Bristol – following her (let’s face it untimely) departure from the semi finals of the Channel 4 show – for a run and a chat about all things running, mumhood and baking.

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