036: Charlie Dark/Building The Movement

Charlie, February 2018 by Owen Tozer

“Its always about more than just the running. You’re either running away from something, or running towards something. There’s always something more”.

For episode 036, I headed up to London to meet the inspirational Charlie Dark.

If you don’t know Charlie, then let’s get the intros out of the way now. He’s a runner, musician, DJ, thinker, leader, teacher, speaker and poet. He is a member of seminal Mo’ Wax band Attica Blues and founder of Run Dem Crew, the running community that has been the inspiration for and catalyst of the entire urban running movement that has taken off globally over the last decade.

Charlie by Owen Tozer, February 2018

And if you do know Charlie? Then you’ll probably know the bare bones of the story. You’ve probably also read the same or similar interviews with Charlie countless times over – how he started RDC, the Nike years, his towering influence on the scene, and so on.

Photo: Stance Socks

So understandably I was pretty keen not to go over the same old ground with Charlie during our time together. And I’m happy to say that what we’ve got here is a different Charlie Dark chat from the norm. One in which we cover plenty of old ground, sure, but also find out where Charlie is now, and what his plans are for the future.

And, as you might expect from this legendary wisdom-dropper, there are plenty of though-provokers to get your head around.

Run Den Crew, December 2017

Among the subjects covered:

I really enjoyed this conversation, with a complex, fascinating and spiritual character. Big thanks to Charlie for coming on the podcast, opening up and getting right into it. Hope you all enjoy it.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Charlie on the importance of navigating new worlds - and bringing back the map to share with your community.

Connect With Charlie

Show Notes

  • Getting caught in the busyness trap.
  • Imposter syndrome.
  • “I’ve been disillusioned with where running has taken me”.
  • The roots of Run Dem Crew.
  • How brand involvement changed the scene.
  • Putting the community first.
  • 2017 – annus horribilis.
  • Running as an intervention.
  • Can a subculture ever survive a flirtation with a bigger entity?
  • Moving forward with positivity.
  • The power of writing a ‘Gratitude List’.
  • The BBC Mind Over Marathon project.
  • Learning to appreciate the present as it happens.
  • Going on a retreat – and finding a new purpose.
  • Taking yoga out of it’s middle class ghetto.
  • Curating your own space.
  • Reconciling the contradictions with Pretender Syndrome and inherent confidence.
  • Bypassing the gatekeepers.
  • Growing up in Peckham in the 80s.
  • How Run Dem Crew changed the culture from within.
  • The power of disrupters.
  • “It’s always about more than just the running”.
  • Navigating new worlds – and sharing the map with your community.
  • A rare positive take on Instagram.
  • Accepting the fact that it’s OK to be slightly odd.
  • The reinvigoration of hanging with people younger than yourself.
  • Defying conventions.
  • What Charlie takes from the work he does.
  • The guilt of feeling happy.
  • Opening up yourself to joy and ignoring confrontation.
  • The power of positive decision-making.
  • The importance of London.
  • What’s next for Charlie.

Places Mentioned

  • Osea Island 
  • Essex
  • Patagonia
  • London
  • Peckham
  • Paris
  • Ghana
  • Manchester

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned