“Healthy body, healthy mind” - scaling scouse hills and sprinting through Liverpool’s docks
In the fourth of our series, woo and New Balance meet Zac, who’s part of Liverpool’s diverse 2-Step Collective
words Team Woo
Jogging through Liverpool’s historic riverside and up onto Everton Park’s majestic hill; the fourth of woo and New Balance’s series of videos casting a light on the many diverse running clubs across the UK takes us to Liverpool.
This time we see DJ papu. raf return to the joys of running with the assistance of Zac, who’s been running with the 2-Step Collective. Forged in the creative Baltic Triangle of the city, the group is designed to reclaim space previously designed for Liverpool’s colonial past, and make it about a progressive future.
“I feel like me going out and spreading my positivity on everyone else helps me. Healthy body, healthy mind, it’s as simple as that.”
For all his enthusiasm, Zac only first started running during lockdown “So I guess I was a late bloomer in the running scene. I got into running very quickly because I’ve always been an active person, playing basketball mainly and other sports. So once I found a routine and running plan I just became obsessed with challenging myself and just being better in general. All in, I took up running a lot quicker than I thought I would.”
His joy of running only grew from there, and part of his motivation is not just to “improve my day to day life and wellbeing but, most importantly, to inspire others and get other people involved.” He’s got a palpable enthusiasm for the race that is testament to the endorphins swirling round the hobby: “I feel everyday I just have more energy and a lot more to give back to the world through something as simple as running.”
Liverpool, he says, is particularly good for running because it’s got so many different areas - all places to reach that much faster on a quick footing: “You’ll explore new areas, new paths, new challenges, terrains and experiences so you can look at a lot of things differently. The urban landscapes in Liverpool are amazing and great to take in whilst running.”
As a bit of a leader of the pack, Zac’s there to encourage others to run better - or just run at all - and he takes such pride in this: “I love getting out with people and putting them through workouts and encouraging and inspiring them. It makes me feel so good knowing that I’m helping people and morale is high in the group.”
He’s got every expectation that the 2-Step Collective will grow and grow, because “I always say, ‘the only way is up’! It can only get better for me and our community and I just know we’ll see more members, new faces, new opportunities.”
Our spring makeup, grooming, haircare and skincare picks
“The value that running brings to me is priceless, it’s very special because it holds me accountable knowing that each week I’m going to be with others and encouraging multiple people. It has brought me a lot of great opportunities and I’ve met people and changed people's lives through running. Most importantly it’s given me a routine!”
The group, which he joined two years ago, is important to him because “You can encourage each other, push each other to the boundaries. You can also reap the physical and mental benefits and most importantly the social side of it. And to people that run alone, well there’s nothing wrong with that, but running with a partner will naturally get you to be better and in the long run, you will get maximum benefits.”
And in 2-Step Collective, morale and collectivism is key: “Liverpool is a very diverse place and I feel like even though there’s a lot of different groups and backgrounds, we can relate through our conversations when running, and I just feel like that brings us together, it’s very special!”
Any words of encouragement right now for people reading and perhaps sceptical of what can be achieved on a run? “The beauty of running is it’s so flexible, you can run any distance you want, or even just run for a set time so for example if you only have 30 mins spare in a day, you can go out and do a 30 minute run and that’s you done.”
This article has been brought to you in partnership with New Balance, which is working to get people on the move with its 2023 TCS London Marathon range.
Support your active life
“I can achieve anything” - scaling edinburgh’s heights
In the first of our series, woo and New Balance meet Adele, whose running club We Run Edinburgh sets out to bring women together…
“There’s a lot of beautiful places in Manchester” - zipping through the city’s secret spaces
In the second of our series, woo and New Balance meet Olivia, who’s part of Mancunian creative and social running club Snappy Runners
how women's football kit is changing for the better
Nike and other sporting brands are revolutionising kit for women athletes, here they speak to woo about these innovations
Why are people going barefoot and is it safe to do so?
Seen those celebs without shoes? Thinking of dipping a bare toe into barefoot walking and running? Here’s everything to consider
When My Religion Had No Place For Me, Running Became My Sanctuary
How running gave this writer a journey back to the spirituality he thought he'd lost...
“Running’s not as hard as you think it is” - trailing together with post-run samosas
In the fifth and final of our series, woo and New Balance meet Jag, who’s part of London’s Sikhs in the City
Earphones on, head out to papu. raf’s playlist of amapiano bangers
We speak to emerging amapiano DJ papu. raf about music, exercise, and harnessing the power of both at the same time
From the closet to the hilltop, how hiking helped me heal
Annual reset walks, exploring the great outdoors and how being out as a gay guy can mean more than bars, clubs and afters
“There’s a community out there” - striding along Birmingham’s bright bricks
In the third of our series, woo and New Balance meet Sydney, who’s part of LGBTQIA+ running club Birmingham Swifts
Pop-punk, whippets and sudden races, running as a woman is about redefinition
Morning jogs and the big little lies we tell ourselves about what sort of woman runs
Humans are getting faster - just ask Eliud Kipchoge
The legendary marathon runner has broken his own world record in Berlin
How to mountaineer, according to Everest connoisseur Kenton Cool
World-leading mountaineer Kenton Cool reveals the mental and physical challenges required to reach Earth's highest point...