New Year’s Resolution – Active Travel

Why not make Sustainable Travel one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

In autumn last year, Sarah Dennis, from the School of Earth and Environment, completed 1 year of run commuting to the University. This isn’t the usual run commute though because she brings her daughter along with her in the pram!

Her daughter, Bethany, attends the Bright Beginnings nursery located on campus, and when Sarah’s eldest child moved from the nursery to attend school, she took the opportunity to change her commute to become more sustainable.

Sarah was also looking to complete regular exercise but didn’t want it eating into her family life; therefore using her commute to exercise was the perfect solution. Sarah’s commute is 5km from Meanwood into the University campus and so far she has ran over 300km in 12 months from commuting!

Sarah explained how she was not an experienced runner beforehand “I’d ran the odd 10k but nothing serious. Running to work improved my overall fitness and led to me running a half marathon earlier this year, something I’d always wanted to do but couldn’t find time to train.” She also discussed the benefits around health and wellbeing “it’s been fantastic for my mental wellbeing, I can’t think about work when I’m running so it completely clears my head after a busy day at University”.

Like other people at the University Sarah was tired of sitting in congested traffic during her commute to campus and was concerned about the increasing air pollution around Leeds. One of the University’s Living Lab projects has been looking into the levels of air pollution on campus and in the city, ahead of the Clean Air Zone coming into force, for more information on this project click here.

Sarah’s advice for people thinking about commuting in this way “find a suitable route that is not too busy with pedestrians and make sure you have the right pram, with a locking front wheel, though you don’t have to spend loads of money on a running pram as I bought mine second hand for £20. A bike light or two have proved very useful as well”. It has been a huge learning experience for Sarah and something she has been able to share with her daughter “Bethany often shouts at passes by or tells me to run faster. I’ve also been able to teach her about nature and the changing seasons on the way as well seeing some incredible sunrises”.

Sarah takes advantage of the facilities on campus to promote active travel by using the showers provided in her department and leaving towels, spare clothes etc. on campus. Check out our interactive campus map to find were your nearest showers, secure storage sheds and maintenance facilities are located.

If you would like to speak to Sarah about her run commute and gain some advice on completing a similar journey, please get in touch via the Sustainability email address.