Run like 'elle loves Wilma Rudolph

I was reading about American athlete Wilma Rudolph the other day, and was really inspired by her story. If ever the phrase ‘triumphing over adversity’ rang true, then this would be a case in point.

Wilma Rudolph was an American athlete who competed in both the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. In the 1960 Rome Olympics she won both the 100 and 200 metre races, and was part of the winning team on the 4x100 metre relay team.
These wins made her the first woman in US history to win three gold medals in track and field events during a single Olympic tournament. But despite running the 100m sprint at the Rome Olympics in a record breaking eleven seconds flat, Rudolph was not awarded the world record title due to a strong wind, which was said to have increased her speed.

However, she went on to win the 200m sprint in a record breaking 23.2 seconds, and beat a second world record as part of the winning team who ran the relay in 44.5 seconds. These achievements earned her the acknowledgement as the fastest woman in the world, and the international press regularly referred to her affectionately as the Black Gazelle (Italy) The Black Pearl (France) and The Tornado (USA).

Part of what makes Wilma Rudolph so extraordinary is the adversity she overcame to reach her goals.  Born prematurely weighing a tiny 4.5 lbs, she contracted scarlet fever, whooping cough, chicken pox, measles and polio, which caused infantile paralysis in her left leg and meant she needed to be fitted with metal leg braces. After extensive hospital treatment Rudolph’s leg braces were removed when she was nine and she began to play basketball, just as her older siblings did – she was the 20th of 22 children.  She showed a natural talent and tenacity for sport, and she soon moved on to running.

Rudolph’s sporting achievements not only allowed her to realise her professional dreams, but also her ethical ones too. On her return from the Rome Olympics the Governor of her the hometown Clarksville, Tennessee threw a parade and banquet in her honour, but Rudolph refused to attend unless it was a racially integrated event – Tennessee as this time was still under enforced racial segregation, and the event was one of the first mixed race events to be held in the state. This strength of self contributed to Rudolph’s reputation as a civil rights pioneer, and she is credited as paving the way for African American and female athletes internationally.
She once said “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us”.

I’m totally inspired by this woman, and wanted to share her incredible story with you.


The TG Foundation runs the Stockholm Marathon

This Saturday (May 28th) is the Stockholm Marathon and two ladies are running for a great cause, the TG Foundation, a charity which works to rebuild the lives of rape victims who are attacked by rebel militia in the North Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The TG Foundation works with grass roots level charities to provide necessary treatment and care for women who have been treated as a commodity and subjected to rape.

Charlotte Gadd and Tatiana Giraud - the TG Foundation runners, are charity volunteers and Tatiana is the Founder & CEO of the TG Foundation. Proceeds raised from the marathon run will provide funds to support schooling and education grants for rape orphans in the city of Bukavu, Congo.

According to UNICEF, at least 657 cases of sexual violence involving women and girls were documented in September and October 2010, during mass expulsions from Angola to Congo: www.tgfoundation.org.uk

I wish Charlotte and Tatiana every luck for a wonderful day, and salute them for their devotion to such a worthy cause.

For more information about the TG Foundation, visit www.tatianagiraudfoundation.org

Leave a Message by Nike 6.0

I've alway wanted to learn to surf, but leading a London-based life is not massively conducive to pulling a 360 on an A-Frame. (That's a surfing term, I think?!)

It's one of those skills that sits on my metal 'must do' list, and alas it hasn't been done yet. But I always watch those surfers bobbing in the water, waiting for that perfect wave, and feel a little envious - as though they've got the best game in the world and none of us land dwellers are allowed to play it. Plus the simple fact that girls who surf are the coolest (along with female drummers).

Just in case you want to try something new this summer, watch this new film by Nike 6.0 and get inspired

Directed by Jason Kenworthy, Leave a Message is a performance surf film that follows six women who have helped redefine the sport. It's really evocative, and definitely makes me want to give surfing a try. Now I just have to slot it in somewhere between becoming a yoga guru, learning to speak French (well), learning to dance like Beyonce and becoming to be a good photographer.

Visit nike6.com/​leaveamessage to download the film for free


Never underestimate your ability

Image sourced from: wooshwoosh.tumblr.com

run like 'elle


Run like 'elle on Nike Running UK

Nike asked me to describe my recent marathon experience in 400 characters.

You can read what I said here, as well as reading other Nike runners accounts too.
Check out the Nike Running UK Facebook pages for regular training tips and tactics. www.facebook.com/NikeRunningUK


Project Ocean at Selfridges

Water, water everywhere....

I've recognised a real shift in retail ventures supporting charitable causes, and London's famous department store Selfridges is the latest to embrace the trend for ethical shopping with the launch of a new project entitled Project Ocean, aiming to raise awareness of the plight of the world's oceans.

The store's restaurants and food halls have changed their policy on sourcing fish, the Ultralounge is transformed into a free speech platform for non-governmental organisations and opinion leaders, and revered artists are displaying their work throughout the retail emporium.
Under the title of Cove, 11 sculptures are displayed, and the store's atrium provides space for installations to be hung from harnesses, allowing the art works to move upon movement, appearing like ocean waves.
Of the works, Selridges Creative Director Alannah Weston says, "I believe Cove will give viewers an opportunity to experience the fish’s perspective. As guests at Selfridges move up and down the escalators and around the atrium balcony they will be inundated with what will appear much like giant versions of coral reef, sea urchins and sea anemones".
In addition to art works and policy change, Seflridges have comissioned designer Katherine Hammnett to design a series of statement t-shirts to support the project, with ll profits from products sold going towards a Marine Protected area in the Philippines.
Project Ocean runs in-store through June 2011, and you can view the full Katherine Hamnett Project Ocean collection, here.


The Global Party

The reason I was in Latvia last week was because I attended the press launch of the The Global Party, a giant celebration for a philanthropic cause, which entails a series of 80+ parties being held in 71 cities internationally over a 24 hour period on September 15-16th, raising money for 15+ charities.
The parties will be held in the world's most exclusive venues, from yachts in St Barts to luxury villas in Marrakech, and around 80,000 people are expected to attend. I went out to the Grand Palace Hotel in Riga with around 20 other journalists from the UK to find out more about it.

Tickets to the event cost around £1,200 and entry is granted by showing the embossed silver keyring, which guests are sent with their invitation. The entire ticket charge will be donated to charity, and the principal charity to benefit from The Global Party is ARK - a children's charity which tackles health issues in Sub Saharan Africa, Education improvement in India and the UK and child protection in Eastern Europe. Other charities to benefit include the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK , the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation,  The Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal, and Merlin - a charity I'm particularly inspired by.

In addition to a guestlist to rival the Oscars, the parties will include music from world renowned DJs and performers - and I'm very excited to say that there is a possibility that a run like 'elle may be able to attend too! (For information to come)

It was a really interesting trip, and I'm excited to see how is pans out. If you want to find out more about The Global Party, visit www.theglobalparty.com

Running in Riga

This week I’ve been in Riga, Latvia learning about The Global Party and the worthy work - and epic party that is to come in September. You can read more about it here

But since I’ve long been craving a run (it’s 27 days since I ran the marathon) I decided to pack my trainers and run in Riga.

We were lucky with the weather, and had perfect running conditions – bright sun, brisk breeze and blue skies, so I donned the lycra and headed out to discover some of the city.

Happy face

Happy feet
Though perhaps little known - Riga is actually really beautiful - with Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Communist architecture styles, all concentrated in a small space. Below are a few of sights I saw on my run. Obviously there was quite a lot see, and I was going at a pretty slow pace, but despite that it was really nice to get out and run, I know this sounds super corny, but running just makes me feel really free.

The national library building that been in the building process for 20 years!

Flamboyant Art Nouveau architecture
Pretty parks
Soldier boys
I love all the plaques painted on the side of this building
Contemporary architecture styles
Riga Marathon anyone?
Latvian and british flags flying outside our hotel
Sad and swollen sausage feet
Ever since the marathon my feet have been quite swollen and painful, as I damaged my metatarsals by training so intensely over such a short period of time. So since then I’ve been taking it easy/doing nothing at all, and waiting for my feet to heel.

Obviously when I’m not running they feel much better, and though they’re still sensitive I thought I was ready for a run – I was wrong. By the time I got back to the hotel my feet were bright red and completely swollen. You can see my sexy little sausage feet below!

Despite the mashed up feet, it was such a lovely way to see the city, and I’ve made a vow from now on – that whenever I travel I’m going to go for a run, however busy it may be. Even if you’re only out for 20 minutes, at least you get to discover the destination and you definitely notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise see.

I had fun in Riga. Thank you Latvia! x


WaterAid for H&M

As you know, WaterAid is a cause very close to my heart. You may also have realized that I’m rather fond of clothes too, so the latest collaboration between fashion giant H&M and my very own WaterAid is one which I’m rather excited about.

The beachwear collection offers womenswear, menswear, kidswear and accessories – all in blue printed fabrics (referencing water – obviously!) and featuring different traditional printing techniques.

The full collection is available in 150 H&M stores worldwide, as well as online from May 26th and a proceed of all profits are donated directly to WaterAid.

Below are some of my favourite pieces from the collection - a fair few of which you’re likely to see me in over the summer months.


My pick of the best running shorts

London’s been sunny of late, so it seems high time to embrace the warmer weather and don a pair of shorts for springtime runs.

Below is my pick of the best women's shorts around. Each pair is designed specifically for running – meaning a snug lining fit to avoid chafing, and made from sweat wicking fabric. The selection I’ve chosen are those that I think are the best aesthetically too. Functionality and form – necessary in equal measures people!

Name: Nike Tempo Track Shorts
Description: Medium length shorts with internal pocket and mesh side panels for ventilation. A low rise with adjustable waistband and drawstring tie. Lined.
Price: £16.00
Comment: These Nike shorts are available in all the colours of the rainbow - and normally I’d always choose black, but I love this apricot shade. I think it looks equally pleasing as a fashion piece as well as a sports one
Available from: www.store.nike.com

Name: Asics Eikoku Women's Split Short
Description: Soft polyester longer line shorts with front and back reflective strips
Price: £18.00
Comment: Lightweight, simple design
Available from: www.asics.co.uk/running/products

Name: Sugoi 42K Short
Description: 2 rear pockets & 1 concealed inner pocket. Drawstring and elasticated waistband.
Price: £30.00
Comment: Designed for long distance runs, this short is designed to allow allowing maximum freedom of movement
Available from: www.sugoi.com

Name: adidas by Stella McCartney Women's Run Allover Printed Lightning Shorts
Description: Close fitting shorts with front & rear pockets, as well as one concealed pocket
Price: £50.00
Comment: Reflective leopard piping is a highlight
Available from: www.shop.adidas.co.uk

Name: Sweaty Betty Marathon Short
Description: Lightweight fabric with a relaxed, more modest cut. Reflective seams and an elasticated drawstring waist.
Price: £45.00
Comment: Contrast colour drawstring and panels add interest, while reflective seams add a technical element
Available from: www.sweatybetty.com

Name: Puma Complete Running Shorts
Description: Lightweight with reflective details and rear pocket
Price: £20.00
Comment: Contrast colour piping and waistband adds aesthetic detail and mesh inserts are practical
Available from: www.shop.puma.co.uk

Honouring of our new acquisitions with a classic. Shorty Swing My Way by Kp & Envyi. Tuuuuuuune!

Michelle Obama and Beyonce Knowles say Let's Move!

The First lady, Michelle Obama has enlisted the help of her friend, superstar Beyonce Knowles to star in a flash workout video to encourage American kids to lead more active lifestyles.
The song is an adaptation of Beyonce’s Get Me Bodied record and shows a seemingly ‘simple’ dance routine, which children all over the US performed live on May 3rd. Intrigued by the video I decided to give it a go, and I can assure you that the 10 steps are a lot harder than they appear! But it was fun, and the girls in the office and I were all laughing at our inability to keep up.

I remember being quite sporty when I was younger, but I abandoned it pretty soon after discovering boys and other such vices. It seems sad to me now, especially as I’ve rediscovered it recently, so I really hope this video makes its intended impact and gets children out and about. Even if it does take a scantily clad popstar to motivate them! (Also, not sure about Miss B’s high heels combo – your thoughts?)

Move Your Body is part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which offers advice on children’s basic dietary and nutritional requirements, and promotes a more responsible lifestyle.

For more information visit www.letsmove.gov