10.05.24

Run Together: Our Founders’ Vision

Born in Mare Street Market, Runlimited is fuelled by a shared passion to celebrate London's diverse running community. Jonty and Molly are on a mission to create the most collaborative and inclusive running brand on the planet, and spread the joy that running together brings.

RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
RUN TOGETHER
TWO FOUNDERS ON THE JOY OF RUNNING TOGETHER

Founders Molly and Jonty don't do things by halves. That is unless you’re referring to the marathon kind - one of many distances in their repertoire. In 2021, a chance meeting at a 50km ultra kick-started a journey that would ultimately reshape the London running scene. Enter Runlimited.

Born in Mare Street Market, Runlimited is fuelled by a shared passion to celebrate London's diverse running community. Jonty and Molly are on a mission to create the most collaborative and inclusive running brand on the planet, and spread the joy that running together brings.

“It can feel intimidating trying something new, so we want to help make run clubs more accessible to everyone.” – Molly, Runlimited co-founder

Between hosting run clubs, leading track sessions, and racing the relentless Speed Project relay, Molly and Jonty are a force to be reckoned with. The sport has given them so much – it’s provided solace through the lows and gifted them friends for life – and Runlimited is their chance to give back.

Jonty and Molly share their journey so far and reveal what the future holds. Spoiler alert: it's huge.

As an run coach and the first type 1 diabetic to run the Coast to Coast, it may be a surprise to learn that Jonty’s route to running began in lockdown.

“It started with the NHS’s ‘run 5km, donate £5, nominate 5 people’ challenge, and I became wildly addicted,” laughs Jonty. “I ramped up my training and within 18 months I ran the length of the UK. I started a run club on Mare Street Market and then Adidas approached me about becoming a coach. It’s all been pretty mental.”

Molly, on the other hand, has been running since childhood. She was a natural and quickly accumulated an impressive stash of medals on the athletics track. 1500m was her discipline and not – she’d like to emphasise – shot put; Molly was once entered into a district competition and “didn’t even manage to get it out of the throwing circle,” she laughs, “It just dropped down in front of my feet.”

Molly ran her first half marathon whilst at school and continued to train through the years until a malicious curve ball presented itself in the form of an eating disorder. This put a stop to sport whilst she focused on her recovery, after which, she found her way back. In 2019 she ran her first sub-90 half marathon, and her love for the distance multiplied during lockdown when she ran 21km every Friday for 10 weeks straight. “There’s definitely been an evolution around why I run,” says Molly, “at school, it was because I was good at it, but now I run because I love it.”

Resilience is a trait shared with Jonty, who was diagnosed with diabetic depression and anxiety at age 19. He credits running as his cure, “it doesn’t just give me clarity and headspace, it’s way more than that. The blood rushing through my body makes me feel more alive, more productive, more creative. It’s also given me a community – I’ve met 90% of my London mates through it,” a sentiment echoed by Molly.

“The store will be an inclusive space where you can hang out and find a run club that’s for you” – Jonty, Runlimited co-founder

So, back to the origins of Runlimited.

In 2019, Molly moved to Walthamstow after a stint of travelling and started a run club – the first one in the area. “I’m naturally quite a shy person but I thought it’d be a nice way to meet some new people, and it was!” she explains. “I used to get really nervous but running has given me so much confidence, I now coach for the Peckham Pacers and pace for Tracksmith and love it.”

Whilst Molly led sessions in Walthamstow, Jonty started a similar venture in Hackney. “I was inspired by a client of mine” explains Jonty, who works as a barber at Well Groomed in Mare Street Market. “He mentioned that his girlfriend wanted someone to run with when it’s dark, so I said I’d gather a few troops, which included Molly.” The pair would meet at Mare Street Market at 6.30am every Thursday. The cafés would be closed but they’d get their caffeine fix from Flying Horse Coffee because Jonty was friends with the owner, Phil. This sparked an idea. As Molly explains, “Nowhere is open early enough for runners to get coffee or drop their bags before heading out, and we also thought it’d be pretty incredible to have a place where runners could meet new friends.”

And so, fuelled by great coffee and Mare Street Market Deli goods, Runlimited was born.

The pair began by building a Run Hub on the website. It suggests routes, pinpoints upcoming events, and acts as a directory for run clubs in London (and, eventually, the wider UK). The digital Hub will be expanded later this month with the first instalment of a video series that zooms in on the individual clubs, providing an insight into who they are and what you can expect. This circles back to their focus on inclusivity: “It’s often intimidating trying something new, so we want to help these run clubs be more accessible to everyone.” The pair are acutely aware that London can be lonely and adult friendships tricky to make, but not when you join the running community. “It’d happen at our run clubs all the time,” says Jonty, “Strangers would meet and then you’d see that they’d had dinner, or gone on holiday, or entered a race together, it was brilliant!” Runlimited’s Run Hub was created to help kick-start these connections.

On the topic of future projects, Molly and Jonty are working towards opening a bricks-and-mortar store in East London. “It will be a safe space where you can hang out and find a run club that’s for you,” explains Jonty, mentioning that they want to mirror the easy-going atmosphere of the surf and skate shops he once worked at. As well as a bag drop and packed events schedule, Runlimited will function as a multi-brand retailer with a tight curation of gear “that Jonty and I actually use,” shares Molly, “it’ll be a place where runners can get absolutely everything they need.” They’re focused on creating a community-centred hub that brings people and clubs together with the freshest brands under one roof.

From professional ventures to personal, this weekend Molly will be racing the Hoka Hackney Half. “I’m quite nervous!” she confesses, having finished 2nd female in 2022. “I ran the Bath Half this March in 80.08 and was a bit annoyed, I wanted sub-80.” Will there be redemption at Hackney? “I hope so… I’m going to set out fast and hope for the best,” she laughs. As for race-day tips, Molly suggests; “Imagine yourself finishing. As soon as you start running the nerves will disappear. And consume Maurten gels.” On post-race recovery, she recommends listening to your body, “if you fancy something, have it, your body is telling you for a reason”. “Drink lots of electrolytes,” adds Jonty, “and a pint of Guinness!”

Always one for a challenge, Jonty will be lacing up for a backyard ultra through the Hackney Marshes in June. This entails running 4.2miles on the hour every hour for as many days (yes, days) as possible. Endurance events are familiar territory; he’s on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation committee and, in 2023, he ran 102km around Victoria Park to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the discovery of insulin. This equated to 21 laps, which marked the 21 years of his diabetes. “There’s something about Jonty’s racing that makes me so anxious but excited for him. I cried at the end!” recalls Molly.

It’s clear that these two have big ambitions for Runlimited and won’t be hitting the brakes anytime soon. Runlimited is their platform to showcase London’s inspiring running culture and help people create connections through the local scenes. They’re cutting through the noise and partnering with some of the most game-changing brands around to bring runners the kit they need. From routes and club locators on the digital Hub to immersive events and post-race shakeouts, Runlimited is building a bigger, better community. Jonty and Molly are on a mission to grow one collective mindset within the sport and the future has already begun.

Runlimited is changing the game, and we’re all invited.

Run Together

Written by Imogen Massey