Words & Images: Bree Filippone
Bree Filippone | Community | Passion | Health
I'll tell you a secret. I'm not actually the greatest runner.
I'm no faster than the average trotter. I don't have an extraordinary running story, nor a repertoire of impressive events and participation medals that would make you go 'wow' (at least not yet anyway).
And the furthest I have ran is an unaccounted for 23km only because I forgot to re-start my watch after tying my shoe-laces (much to your impress, it was little quicker than a walk).
But what I can say is running gave me purpose and gave me community.
I've always been 'fittish'. Playing competitive sport growing up and having a good ol' crack at athletics at school (mainly just to get out of class), so running has always been in the picture. It wasn't until my early 20's that I dropped playing sports, took up running and allowed it more air time in my life.
I wouldn't have been able to tell you this at the time as I don't think I knew how to articulate it, but in hindsight it was the only thing keeping me on path (pun intended).
In my late teens I started to develop mental health issues and anxiety poked its head out to play a little more frequently. It was running and training in the gym which gave me those moments of normality and ease at some of my darkest moments. During those runs it would be my 'me-time'. It would be the only time I allowed myself to check in and the chatter and discomfort in my mind would dissipate.
I went on to study Sports & Exercise Sciences and work with elite athletes in a high performance gym setting, as well as exercise rehab in a clinical environment alongside personal and group training in Coastal Victoria [The HIIT Project].
Sunday runs would be one of the only constants for me in an industry which often chops and changes in schedule on a daily basis. My partner, Gabe, and I would head out along the coast-line of Barwon Heads together with a couple of our clients and we would often feel so smug that we were up about early on a Sunday, experiencing the beauty in our backyard.
Maybe it was this smugness that thought maybe we could somehow convince more people to experience this too, and to create a brand that encompasses what Sunday runs means to us. The funny thing is though, what a Sunday run means isn't actually about the running. It's about just moving (walk or run) and the coffee afterwards. Of course.
In late January 2019 the idea for THE FINISHR was born.
That day, an instagram account was created. A month later we launched our first session. Then 3 months in we were running with a minimum of 50 people each week. Then at 4 months in we had our biggest session with 105 runners (or walkers)!
The idea was to create a space that allows all runners to get as hard or as easy a session in, without anyone feeling like they're falling behind the pack. One of our sayings is "we don't give a shit how fast or slow you go, so long as you show up". It's pretty simple really.
Each week we go to a different location along the Surf Coast, such as Ocean Grove, Eastern Beach Geelong, Barwon Heads Bluff, or my favourite, Bells Beach. We encourage runners, walkers, and those with prams & puppies to get involved.
We finish with a meditation and a coffee where we connect with other like-minded individuals, share a cuppa' and generally just start to have conversation a little deeper than just about the weather. This is what's so special about it.
We never exactly intended the connection to be so powerful, but it is. Maybe it's because we're all just good people doing good things and we finally created a place for the kind souls to gather early on a Sunday morning, we're not sure. But we like it.
And we are often told 'it's best way to FINISHR off a week' (pun intended).
What's next for The FINISHR?
We have a few events and collaborations coming up in September through to late 2019, partnering with impact initiatives, fundraisers for mental health organisations, nutrition workshops, and a Melbourne Pop-Up! All at which is keeping us busy yet is incredibly exciting.
We want this run club to grow to a point where it's not just THE FINISHR run club, but it's everyone's run club. What I mean by that is one day seeing all the studios, gyms, communities [in Greater Geelong & Surf Coast] have The FINISHR as a part of their offering or timetable. That this continues to be a place where everyone feels like it is their own & where people connect and move without any expectations or any catch.
Ready to run, walk, shmoon & caffeinate with us?
All the information and details can be found on our website and through our weekly FINISHR newsletter and Instagram.