Outrun the dark is a brand representing a community of runners who outrun their inner demons. We call them Outrunners. Either for themselves or others, an Outrunner is someone who runs to stay ahead of the darkness, and in the process inspire those around them.
In a series of interviews, you will get to know some of the Outrunners in our community, what drives them, what their struggles are and what has helped them get past them.
Today we had the chance to interview David Hampson, who some of you know as a positive force in the Facebook community group. Apart from being an active runner and good vibes-spreader, he is also an avid writer, and we are lucky enough to have him helping out in the community and with these interviews series going forward.
Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you are from and what you do?
Absolutely, my name is David and I’m originally from Stockport in the north west of England, but now live in Toronto, Canada. I currently work as an energy consultant in the renewable energy industry.
What are you passionate about outside of running and your day job?
Outside of running is a tough one, but definitely coaching and I’ve been fortunate enough to work as a sports coach for youth between the ages of 18 months up to U21s. Mostly in basketball and football (soccer), but coaching and giving back to the sports that gave me so much joy and memories growing up is very rewarding to me.
When and how did you start running?
David and Melissa (@msnaddon) after one of their many joint races.
What does Outrun the Dark mean to you?
Most of us have been to (or are still in) a dark place mentally and have struggled through parts of their lives. This darkness is something that we all want to escape from and it is a marathon (pun intended).
It can seem impossible, but attacking it day by day, by running, staying active, and working on mindfulness and positivity, we’ll break through that “wall” and essentially “outrun” our darkness.
What is your favorite part about the Outrun the dark community?
Accountability and support. Most of us (myself included) have felt alone in what we’re feeling, even though we know deep down, that we’re not. But the whole “in this together” mentality is comforting in a sense and gives the whole “if they can, so can I” thinking, which is just the start of it all really. We can also help others with the whole “if I can, I’m going to help you do it too”, and we do by posting our stories, our nightmares and our success stories.
What has been the most trying part of your life up until now? What helped you get through it?
Probably the most trying aspects of my life have been my career. There has been a few highs and lots off lows in this industry here in Ontario as well as my brief stint in Copenhagen where language became part of the struggle too. Very stop start with job searches, layoffs, etc. I would get involved in the communities as a sports coach. This was my “escape” and for a few hours a day, I could forget about my job search and clear my mind. Working with kids definitely helped in that sense as they also allow you to be a big kid too. Now, I have my partner to bounce frustrations off as well as going running together.
What do you know today that you wish your 20 year old self knew?
Life is hard, but it’s doable. There is more enjoyment in the experiences, our relationships, and living in the now than in any material possessions such as a new phone, or new car, etc. I was an avid photographer in my 20s and used to take hundreds if not thousands of photos a year trying to capture moments and memories. I’ve since learned to not be as trigger happy and to enjoy experiences with loved ones by being present and make memories that way.
What helps you go for a run when you don’t feel like it?
I definitely have accountability in my partner. I feel we both look to each other when we don’t feel like running and don’t want to let the other down. We know the benefits of running and know we’ll feel much better afterwards. It’s also much harder to say no to running with your partner than if you didn’t have your partner/friend, etc.
What is your alternative workout when you can't run because of injury or circumstance?
I do home workouts consisting of short 20 – 30 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT), cardio, weights, but also stretch and release workouts such as yoga and on occasion, swimming. If injured, a nice walk will also do the trick and Toronto is fortunate enough to have some nice parks and a really nice lakeshore to walk along.
Do you have any quotes live by?
Do or do not, there is no try – Yoda.
What book or movie have most impacted your life and why?
There have been so many books and movies that have impacted certain parts of my life both personally and professionally. Ways to handle work, not taking life seriously at times(basically any Robin Williams movie), but listening to Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot helps me put things into perspective, especially with a lot of the negative press and media coverage going on and really hits home for me.
If you could put anything on a billboard in front of the world to see, what would you put on it?
YES. YOU. CAN.
Thumbs up by Lake Ontario. @davidrunsworld
Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
We may not have it all together… but together, we have it all.
With those suiting words, we want to thank David for his time and for being a great contributor to the community!
You can continue to follow David's journey here: