To celebrate the launch of The Run Edit, our founder, Lara Mead, shares her passion for running and picks out her favourites from the new collection.
How did you get into running?
“I started running when I was very very young. I was brought up in the Lake District in the Eden Valley, on the edge of the Pennines and my grandparents used to take us to the moor and give me and my sister fun little races. I loved the sense of freedom and fresh air.
When I was about eleven, I begged my parents to let me join an athletics club. The nearest one was Border Harriers, about an hour’s drive away, in Carlisle, so quite a commitment but I absolutely loved it. Soon a coach spotted me, and invited me to join his squad. He had the best sprint girls. It was a life changing moment - I was a country girl, and here I was training with a completely different demographic, with people who were a lot older than me. Most of my weekends I’d be on a coach somewhere, spending my Saturdays competing. Running was definitely my life.
Why do you run?
It’s the only time I have to myself. It’s never easy for anybody but you push yourself through feeling uncomfortable, and you start to enjoy feeling your heart pumping. A few miles into my run, I feel nothing but pure elation.
What does running mean to you? Then and now?
Running with my Dad was a huge part of my childhood. He had been a professional sportsman, and he was always much fitter and faster than me. Most nights, we would go out on a two mile circuit, which meant going up a hill the closer we got to the end. He never let me win, running past me, and ending back home first. But one day I beat him fair and square and I don’t think he ever beat me again after that.
When I was at school and competing it was all about pushing myself to get faster, fitter, how could I win more? And now running for me, having children, being much busier, has completely evolved, and it’s about my time, it’s about me being outside in the fresh air, doing me.
How does running set you up for the day?
Everything is always better after a run - even the most stressful of days. I can solve all kinds of problems in my head. Just get me out for 20 minutes on a run - it unleashes all the creativity in my mind. That first mile is so hard but then the repetitive motion is so meditative. I’ve found now over the years I can run anywhere, in any conditions. In London I get up and go running at 6AM in the dark and the cold, and I still enjoy it - equally, it was fabulous running in LA when I lived by the ocean.
My biggest tip would be, put your outfit on. I always lay my outfit out on the floor the night before so that when I get up in the morning it’s there. Once you have your kit on you’ll never not do it.
Why have you created The Run Edit?
It makes sense. The whole range is incredibly technical but it’s super chic in amazing colourways, it’s very Varley and I’m very proud of it. I wish this line had been around when I was competing.
What are your favourite styles from this collection?
My favourite piece is the windproof Terrace run jacket. It comes in an amazing dusky pink colour but it’s also highly technical with a reflective detail, which is brilliant for me here in London with these darker mornings and for night running as well. I love the Let’s Go Running leggings, which have a drawstring, so they don’t run down when you’re trying to move. And we’ve brought back our Kallin run shorts, which now come in a fabulous animal print. The fabric is lightweight, with a built-in brief which I personally love. They make me want to go out running again.