ISSUE 009 - IL DISPACCIO DELLA CORSA

By matthew kornberg

Enjoy the ride.
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Running To A New Rhythm

Chatting with Darcy Budworth, founder of “Take The Bridge,” an inclusive runners club that focuses on personal fulfillment and building community from New York to LA and the world.

 

(Dispaccio): So, where did the inspiration for "Take The Bridge" come from? 

(Darcy): Running in New York. Running in New York is a whole other way of running. You run in the traffic, with the cars. You run with the lights; you run against the lights. There's a whole dynamic feel to running in New York City. It feels like you're part of it, and through running you can feel the city's energy.

I’ve never experienced that – it must be breathtaking. 

It is. I felt that your regular 5K or 10Ks in the city didn't speak to what running in New York is like. They have a place, but they take all the fun and interestingness out of running. They make it very regimented, and 

(Continued above)

you decide whether this race was good or not based on these metrics you are gauging off of.

I felt we needed to do something different. Typically when people run with different clubs, you get to a race, and nobody would talk to one another. We need a race that speaks to the city's dynamic but also brings all of these crews and clubs together so that you're working together through this race.

Is that part of the race plan?

It kind of is. People try to help one another out. No joke, people are like, "This way!" They're holding traffic as everybody is crossing together. It feels like a community, and it challenges you to be the fastest you can be because we're taking the traditional metrics out of the whole race.

(Continued Below)

 

Where does the name "Take The Bridge" come from? 

In New York, the bridges connect the different boroughs with the main island. We'd have checkpoints on either side of the bridges, so you were constantly going over them to get to all these different checkpoints. I still try to incorporate bridges if we can, but it's now moving towards this idea of – what's the connector in every city? 

Is there anyone else doing this with you?

I have local partners who help me out logistically for each city that I race in. They also help me because it's really important that the events feel like local races. It shouldn't feel like a New York race that's plopped into all these different cities. 

 

I have one partner in Melbourne, another in Mexico City, and another in Amsterdam. We have six hubs in the US and I help coach people to throw their own races. We're just supporting small, locally thrown races. 

Do you think the pandemic has created more of an appetite for it?

I think the pandemic has created an appetite for people wanting to race again. And to socialize. What you get from races that are thrown by locals is you get a very intimate crowd, or you get to know a lot of people in the running crowd. Also, the race just feels very intimate. It's like shopping locally. You're paying attention to every single runner. Every runner has a story to tell. You don't get lost in this crowd of thousands of people. 

What are some ways you try to incorporate a service element into "Take The Bridge"?

I see the running community as my family, my chosen family, and I often think about how I can serve these people. It's so amazing how much you get back ten-fold without even asking for it. 

We've done a lot of fundraisings through "Take the Bridge" for causes people feel passionate about or to support a small business that belongs to someone in the running community. We've also partnered up with charities where we’ve given half of our registrations to charity. 

Also, I think we do service in other ways, too, by offering people a place where they can feel comfortable and feel like part of something. 

Gender is a big topic right now. How are your races addressing that?

Now we have "Women Take The Bridge." Period. It's a statement. Anyone who identifies as a woman, including trans women, is welcome. Our races can often feel intimidating, but I really wanted to create a race that feels safe for everyone.
 
What do you think is the "status quo" for women in the sport? Is intimidation a problem?

I don't know if intimidation is a widespread thing. I think a widespread thing is people telling women how to live within the running community. It's either you're a jogger or this extreme athlete with a chiseled physique when in reality, there's a lot of in-between.

If a man runs without a shirt on, nobody says anything. But if a woman runs in a sports bra, you are opened up to catcalls, for example. We have to be supporting everybody. I want to create something where you feel comfortable, and everybody's pace will be different, but you just need to run as fast as you can.  

"Take the Ridge" an off road race on trails is a new initiative of yours. Is including more women a new initiative for the future? 

When I came to LA, somebody told me, "We all do the trails over here. Why don't we do a race that's all on the trails?". So we just did a race in November here that was all trails, and I want to say that it was the first race like that, which was unsanctioned, checkpoint driven, only on the trails, in the evening. 

I've also had so many women in other cities say they need something like this in their cities too. I really want to use these next two years in LA as a testing ground to see what we can do in a race.

I think there is somewhat of a saturation of unsanctioned races in New York now, and I think they just don't have as much of an appetite for it anymore. There's so much room for growth here. 

Once we get going, we’ll have a race in a different city every couple of weeks. 

 

@darcybud @takethebridge

 

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