Q&A: 32 boroughs, 32k with Carla Knighton

Carla Knighton joins us for our latest Q&A to chat about her running inspo and her 32 boroughs, 32k challenge. Carla, known on Instagram as Carla Moves, is an avid runner and fitness fan, and run lead for We Are Runners UK, who wants to encourage everyone to live an active lifestyle – a message we certainly live by. In the Q&A, we chat about finding a love for fitness, her running exploits, what motivates her, and more. Read the full interview below.

The interview

Welcome Carla! Please introduce yourself.

I am Carla, known as Carla Moves because I am all about getting people moving no matter what that looks like. I am a keen runner who is taking on my first ultra marathon this year. I have been into fitness all of my life as it gives me lots of energy to be able to live life to the full. I love travelling, racing and going on adventures in the country so I just hope that my journey inspires others to get out there too.

When and how did you find the ‘fitness bug’?

I found the fitness bug early on when I realised how amazing it makes you feel, I can’t remember ever not having it. I get that ‘runners high’ when I am exploring and I believe anyone can too with the right mindset.

What is it about fitness and the great outdoors you love so much?

My number one reason would have to be because it gives me the opportunity to remind myself time and time again just when I think I can’t do something that my body will absolutely go and prove me wrong. For me, fitness absolutely builds mental resilience and confidence that nothing else can prepare you for. When I am in the great outdoors, I feel free. It is the same kind of feeling I get when I am travelling, there is so much to see in nature, it is truly beautiful. Honestly, though, I also find it really grounds me (pardon the pun).

Tell us about your 32 borough challenge?

I can’t quite believe I came up with such a crazy idea but if anything sums me up, its this challenge. I wanted to make Ultra marathon training fun because it’s a lot of miles to get through so I have challenged myself to run 32km in every single one of the 32 boroughs of London.

Reason for it? There are a few really, it is an amazing way to make yourself run somewhere different to avoid boredom without having to think of where shall I go this week. It means I get to see all parts of London so I get a sense of travelling. Finally, it also has really helped bring me support, loads of friends or other runners on Instagram have offered to join for certain boroughs. They might know the are well or just fancy exploring a new area too but I have met new friends through it which is amazing and why I love the running community.

What made you want to do an ultramarathon. How has your training changed? 

My mindset goes a bit like this: ‘that looks really difficult, I want to give it a go’. I have done 5kms, half marathons, full marathons so it’s the next logical step up for me and I can not wait to try it. In terms of training, the best thing is that I have had to drop all pressure on pace which is harder than you think. As it’s a longer race, you also have to eat loads more. I have been incorporating all kinds of flapjacks, chocolate and other sweets into my longs runs which has been the best bit about it.

What motivates you to keep going when it gets tough? 

When things get tough, I always say to myself it doesn’t matter how slow you go but just keep moving. All I ever ask of myself is it to give 100% effort whatever that is which takes a lot of pressure off me when I need to go out and perform in races. If I don’t keep pushing through in tough times then I am not giving 100% so it rarely happens.

For anyone thinking about taking up running, what would you say to them? 

Running will change your life, just like it did mine. There is something very special about the fact running is helpful for people in many different ways whether it’s mental health, challenging yourself or having some thinking space. I would say find your why and throw yourself into it by using it to help in all aspects of your life. I have found some friends for life through the community so it can help in many ways.

You are an advocate for leading a happy and healthy lifestyle, but what does a ‘healthy lifestyle’ mean to you? 

“Healthy” means different things to each and every one of us and so it should. To me, being healthy is to fuel my body with workouts and nutrition that allow me to do the fun, crazy challenges that I want to go out and do.

Lastly, what do you feel you bring to the community for people?

I really love to inspire and help people to get into running in the first place or really challenge themselves. I share a lot of my training on my Instagram for people to see different types of runs and strength workouts. I love to share all the knowledge I have gained from years of running and strength work. I am always trying to run fun challenges that people can get involved in such as a 30 day to freedom (when gyms open) one at the moment which anyone can follow along with.

Thanks for sharing, Carla. You can follow Carla’s journey on her Instagram, YouTube and website.