On the 17th December, Head of Technical Operations James Turnbull will be running 10km, to spell 'Xmas' on a map to help raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. We sat down with James to find out more about his journey to LDS, what inspired him to do the run and where the idea came from in the first place.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Your role here at LDS, your journey to the role?
“I originally worked for another company within the All3Media group called Raw - who are are TV production company best known for their documentaries such as Don’t F*ck with Cats, The Tinder Swindler and most recently Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.
I started working there in 2014 and stayed for around 4 years, and it was during this time they were then acquired by All3 in 2017. This meant I had worked with people at Little Dot Studios before, so I knew of the brand prior to making the switch. When the opportunity came up to join Little Dot in 2021, who at the time were seeing a lot of rapid growth, it was really exciting.”
Why are you running?
“I have always been a runner. Ever since I was young, I turned to running as a way to stay fit, whether that was cross country or just casual jogging. I think it is a great way of staying on top of your health, whether that’s mental health or physical health, it’s a great way of keeping me sharp, and it is also really rewarding when I get up and out first thing in the morning.
During lockdown I really upped the frequency and started running 3-4 times a week, as during the day I was very sedentary, confined to working in a chair. This was a huge change from before as I was pretty active; I would always cycle to work and run where I can, so during lockdowns where you were always in your house, I started to really cherish that time where I could go for a run.
So the Christmas run itself was born out of being stuck inside during lockdown and wanting to get out in the open, coupled with the idea that I wanted to do something good at the same time. Around Christmas 2020 I saw a post from a man in Australia who had managed to run every single street in Sydney during lockdown. He had posted a heatmap (I think on Strava) of his run - so that gave me the idea of using Strava and its map tracking feature to write a word. Seeing as it was around Christmas time I decided on the word Xmas and began to plan the route. It took some time to plan it as there were lots of crossovers and directions but as it was lockdown I had plenty of time to kill!
The first time after I planned the route, I ran it on my own and posted it on Strava, and a few people who followed me noticed what I had done and liked the concept so wanted to join in next time. It felt a little bit strange while I was doing it as the route was so out of the ordinary. For example when you are doing an ‘X’ you have to go back on yourself at least twice, so you feel a bit strange doing it! It isn’t exactly a fun route in a park, its little back roads and pathways.
After I had a few people like the concept, by the time it came to Christmas 2021 I had a small group and we decided we wanted to do something similar. At the time I think we were going back into some sort of new lockdown - so it was another chance to get out into the fresh air and socialise again. I spent about 6 weeks planning it and we ended up raising loads more money than I initially thought we would! Everyone who took part said it was really fun and that we should turn it into an annual thing, so here we are on Xmas run number 2, and I’m just hoping to make it bigger and better than last year.
The reason I am raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society specifically is because a really close friend of mine got diagnosed with MS recently, and I feel like it is important to raise awareness on this issue. I have spent a lot of time reading and learning about it; about its effect and how difficult it can be. The MS Society does some really amazing work which is why I want to help them out any way I can, but aside from that I just want to use my position to keep raising awareness on how it can affect people’s lives, regardless of their age.”
Who has been your biggest influence/support/cheerleader for it? Want to shout anyone out?
“I guess I just want to give a shoutout to everyone who took part last year who made it really fun, and everyone who is coming this year so far. We didn’t tell anyone last year about the plan to dress up in Christmas outfits so that was a bit of a surprise, but we will make sure we tell everyone this year.
The only other thing I want to include is that we are aiming to end up at Tower Bridge where there is a few nice cafes, so it is not just a case of people turning up for a run and going home, we want to have that social element included and use it as a chance to bring people together for a good cause on a cold day. I don’t want everyone turning up, getting cold and tired and then having to go home!”
Do you have any links to supporting pages? Fundraising sites, educational pages etc