Martinus Evans & The Slow AF Run Club: Just Start Moving, the Rest Will Take Care of Itself

When his doctor told him to “lose weight or die,” he bought his first pair of running shoes and headed straight to a gym. He immediately fell off the treadmill. Still, he became a runner on the same day. Meet Martinus Evans, the founder of the Slow AF Run club, a runner, a published author, and a “real complex man.”

Written & edited by Pavlína Marek

One of Evans’s biggest goals is to inspire 1 million people to start running. His journey alone has already motivated many; Evans, however, increased his impact on the communities he’s a part of by creating a run club and publishing a book that’s aimed to help new people step into the sport.

Martinus Evans: The Runner

Evans started to run in 2012 when he went to a doctor because of a hip issue. The seemingly routine visit quickly escalated.

“The doctor called me fat and told me to lose weight or die,” Evans said. On his way from the appointment, he bought his first pair of running shoes and headed straight to a gym.

The First Run

Evans doesn’t have a worst and a best run. Instead, he has a first and a finest run.

His new shoes on, “on a ‘dreadmill’ between two gazelles,” Evans was ready to run head-first into his new lifestyle.

These two ‘gazelles’ were guys running at 10 and 11 miles per hour. Evans saw the numbers on their respective treadmill screens and figured that he could run at 7 miles per hour. He lasted about 15 seconds before he ended up on the floor, forsaken by the machine.

“It was a mutual rejection,” said Evans, laughing. “People were looking at me, asking if I was okay, and I was mortified.”

Back then, he didn’t laugh. He left the gym in tears. Still, Evans doesn’t call this experience his worst run; it was the beginning of all the good things that were to happen in the following years. 18 months after this short, catastrophic run, he completed his first marathon.

The Finest Run

“I don’t know if I have a best run but I can tell you one of the fondest memories I have of running, how about that?” said Evans.

He was visiting London for a conference. He wanted to try a typical British dish and treacle pudding seemed to be a good choice. But how could he get one? Evans’s friend suggested a fun way of looking for the treat: running. Together, they’d run around London until they found a place where they served treacle pudding.

“So that’s what we did,” said Evans. “We’d run around London, go into the pubs, and ask, ‘Excuse me, sir, do you, by any chance, have treacle pudding?’ and laugh. And they’d look and us and say, ‘Treacle pudding? No!”

Together with his friend, Evans joked, laughed, ate, and ran his way through London. They didn’t get the pudding. However, Evans got to experience the finest run of his life.

Martinus Evans: The Founder

Martius Evans with his new book Slow AF Run Club

Martius Evans with his new book Slow AF Run Club

Evans was in the middle of a race, running at his best effort, when he got heckled by a spectator.

“He told me to go home,” he said. He argued with the heckler; Evans had as much right as anyone else to be there and was as good a runner as those around him. The extra pounds didn’t mean a thing; he’d put as much work as anyone into being able to run the event.

In reaction to this experience, he designed his own shirts. They said “Slow AF” and Evans wore them to his following races.

“And people loved them,” he said. “They loved them so much so that they wanted to buy them.”

Evans decided to give the people what they wanted. He launched the design and sold 500 shirts over the first weekend. The snowball rolled from there. People began to ask if there was a community so between 2018 and 2019, Evans started to create a platform. 40 runners joined the club before the pandemic came in 2020.

In contrast to many other clubs, businesses, and communities, the pandemic helped the Slow AF Run Club grow. Many people took to running during the quarantine and needed guidance. Evans’s community was the perfect place to look. He started to put on virtual races. Five thousand people joined these races—and over the years, the Slow AF Community grew from a mere 40 members to over 10 thousand people.

The community is still mainly virtual. However, Evans is currently in the process of launching a non-profit. Then, he wants to give a chance to people to open local chapters. This way, the community can expand and provide more in-person experiences.

Martinus Evans: The Author

Around the same time he started to run, Evans created his website, 300 Pounds and Running. There, he shared his running journey, never expecting it to grow into its current size and popularity. In the back of his mind, the idea to write a book “has always been there,” he said.

It was after his coaching experience at the Slow AF Run Club that he got down to work. As he guided more and more people through the world of running, he encountered one question he could not answer. His runners kept asking him for book recommendations. However, Evans couldn’t recommend any of the existing books about running written by elite runners or their coaches; “For most people, that stuff is basically useless,” he said. Evans himself went through quite a few books at the beginning of his running journey but found that nearly none of them were actually helpful for the beginner runner.

“I wrote the book that I wish I had when I first started running,” he said.

In his newest book, Slow AF Run Club, readers can look forward to an “amazing story” filled with personal lessons Evans learned during his running journey.  Each chapter starts with a personal story, a cautionary tale that happened to Evans as he stepped into the world of running. These are followed with actual advice on how to not get that same experience.

Evans aims to provide useful advice to the everyday runner in an amusing and novel way; “I’m a funny guy,” he said.

Readers can expect to be entertained; the Slow AF Run Club book contains a lot of humor, practical knowledge, and a raw story of one extraordinary runner.

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