Keep On Keeping On: Manchester’s Remarkable Running Crew
Running has long been hailed as an activity that improves physical fitness and enhances mental well-being. In the vibrant city of Manchester, a remarkable running crew called Keep On Keeping On (KOKO) has emerged as a beacon of inspiration and community. Founded on February 7, 2022, by Jimi and captained by Alex, KOKO has quickly gained popularity for its inclusive ethos, fostering a sense of camaraderie among its members. As the sun sets every Tuesday at 6.30 pm, KOKO sets out from the craft beer bar Joule MCR embarking on a 5 km urban run that welcomes runners of all abilities.
A Journey of Resilience and Connection
Born out of the pandemic lockdowns, Keep On Keeping On has been instrumental in championing the mental health benefits of outdoor activities. Jimi shared that his mental health took a toll during the second lockdown, prompting him to seek solace in running. He discovered the transformative power of running, which cleared his mind and provided an instant sense of euphoria. Recognizing the potential of bringing people together through exercise and social interaction, Jimi floated the idea of starting a running club. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and Keep On Keeping On was born, drawing its name from iconic songs by Primal Scream and The Stone Roses.
Keep On Keeping On – Inclusivity as the Foundation
Central to Keep On Rambling On’s ethos is inclusivity. The crew welcomes all skill-level runners, emphasizing unity and support over the competition. Regardless of one’s pace, the club maintains a steady tempo, ensuring everyone remains together throughout the run. There are no prizes or accolades for being the fastest; instead, the focus lies on fostering a friendly and accepting environment. This approach has garnered praise and gratitude from KOKO’s diverse community, comprising individuals from various backgrounds across the UK and even from Japan.
Embracing Nature’s Healing Power
Beyond their regular urban runs, Keep On Keeping On has expanded its activities to embrace the beauty of the natural world. Jimi’s passion for the outdoors led to the creation of “Keep On Rambling On.” Recognizing the mental health benefits of connecting with nature, Jimi initiated a series of treks, allowing club members to recharge their minds and souls while exploring the breathtaking landscapes within reach of Manchester.
Exploring the Peaks with Keep On Keeping On
Keep On Rambling On organized an unforgettable Peak District event among the group’s recent ventures. Participants embarked on a 12 km walk, commencing in Castleton and culminating in the summit of Mam Tor. The route followed the mesmerizing Great Ridge before looping back to Castleton, where the group savoured well-deserved pub grub and pints. The success of this event has paved the way for future excursions, with plans to organize Keep On Rambling On events every quarter in 2023.
Building a Bright Future
Looking ahead, Keep On Keeping On is brimming with big plans and exciting developments. KOKO aims to participate in various running events in and around Manchester, channelling their efforts to raise funds for mental health charities. The club’s weekly social runs will continue every Tuesday at 6.30 pm, offering a reliable routine for members to stay active and connected. Additionally, KOKO plans to elevate its merchandise, thanks to Jimi’s connections in the fashion industry, promising a range of stylish products.
KOKO Ultra Marathon For Mind Over Mountains
In recognition of physical activity and nature’s profound impact on mental health, Keep On Keeping On has forged a partnership with Mind Over Mountains (MOM), a remarkable mental health charity. MOM offers immediate and accessible support by combining hill walking and mindfulness in nature, complemented by guidance from experienced coaches and counsellors within a relaxed and unhurried environment.
The core values and beliefs of KOKO align perfectly with the fantastic work carried out by MOM. Understanding the therapeutic benefits of outdoor activities and socializing, KOKO has organized over 30 runs and walks in the past six months, providing a source of solace and relief for individuals struggling with low mood and anxiety. As a testament to their commitment, KOKO has decided to collaborate with MOM to organize their inaugural Ultra Marathon—a gruelling 34-mile (54 km) route from the docks of Liverpool to the heart of Manchester, KOKO’s home. This formidable distance demands dedication, rigorous training, and a resilient spirit.
Running in and Around Manchester
Manchester offers many opportunities for running enthusiasts with its vibrant urban landscape and picturesque surrounding areas. The city boasts a network of well-maintained parks, inviting green spaces, and a diverse range of running routes. From the tranquil paths of Heaton Park to the scenic trails along the Manchester Ship Canal, runners can immerse themselves in the city’s natural beauty while staying connected to its bustling energy.
For those seeking an urban adventure, exploring the vibrant streets of Manchester provides a unique backdrop for invigorating runs. The city’s architectural marvels, including the iconic Manchester Cathedral and the historic Castlefield, offer both historical charm and a dash of inspiration. Whether pounding the pavements or venturing into the outskirts, runners in Manchester are spoiled for choice when finding routes that cater to their preferences, be it a leisurely jog or an adrenaline-fueled sprint.
Running Events in Manchester
Manchester’s running calendar is brimming with exciting events that cater to all levels of runners, from beginners to seasoned athletes. One of the most eagerly anticipated events is the Manchester Marathon, a true highlight on the running scene. The marathon route takes runners through the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, past iconic landmarks such as Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium, providing an exhilarating experience for both participants and spectators. Thousands of participants descend upon the city each year to tackle the 26.2-mile course, showcasing their endurance and determination.
In addition to the marathon, Manchester offers a variety of races and events throughout the year, including 10K races, half marathons, and charity runs. These events not only provide runners with the opportunity to test their limits and achieve personal goals but also foster a sense of camaraderie and community spirit. Whether it’s the exhilarating atmosphere of the Manchester Half Marathon or the heartwarming solidarity of the 24-hour run against homelessness, the running events in Manchester create unforgettable experiences for all involved, uniting individuals in a shared passion for running while supporting charitable causes.
Embracing the Global Running Community
While Keep On Keeping On shines as a running crew in Manchester, it is essential to note that they are not alone in pursuing community, well-being, and fun through running. The city and its surrounding regions boast a vibrant running culture, with several other running crews making their mark. These crews include Still Waters Run Deep, known for their spirited weekly runs along the scenic routes of Manchester. The presence of multiple running crews underscores the city’s commitment to fostering a healthy and supportive running community.