Behind the scenes: Like the Wind

by Stine Fantoft Berg in September 2015
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On their trail running honeymoon around Mont Blanc, Julie and Simon Freeman were struck by a mystery: Why had no one made a magazine that does for running what The Ride Journal does for cycling?

Like the Wind is the result of Julie and Simon investing their time and savings to create a beautifully curated collection of stories, illustrations and photography from around the running community. We caught up with them to see where the project will go next.


What does Like the Wind offer that other running magazines don’t?
Simon: Our slogan ‘it’s not how to run, it’s why we run’ sums it up pretty well. Runner’s World does a great job at reviewing and covering the basics of running techniques, but when you get to a certain level, you don’t really need tips on how to become a better runner. Beginner runners aren’t necessarily a very connected group, but for our readers, running is something that they define themselves by.

Look at Huck; it’s a beautiful magazine that communicates the spirit of skating and what it means to be a skater. It was a mystery to us why a similar magazine for runners didn’t exist. Runners love talking about their passion. The drive to get out and run day in and day out is the same whether you’re a sprinter or a 100-mile ultra marathoner, so there’s always that point in a story where you go ‘yeah, I identify with that’.


How has Like the Wind been welcomed by the running community?
Simon: It has been great. When we first started, we had to request every single piece. But even before we went to print, the word had spread and we were receiving submissions for issue two. The eagerness of people to share their stories confirmed to us that a magazine like Like the Wind had been missing.

Julie: Many of the stories we get are about peoples’ emotional lives and how that has affected their running, or conversely, how running helps them cope. We’ve printed stories about life crises and depression. So, it’s more than running stories; it’s life stories.


You started out from scratch with no prior experience in magazine making. What has the experience been like?
Julie: We learnt a lot from observation, but mostly from our own experience as we went along. For issue one, I did as much research as I could and started a 30-day trial period of InDesign leading up to our deadline. I remember one night I was getting to bed around 4 o’clock, and Simon had his alarm set at 5 so he could pick it up where I left it.

Simon: I think it was a good thing that we started out knowing nothing. It really urged us to reach out to other magazine makers and ask for advice, and the past 18 months have made me so passionate about independent publishing. I have always loved and bought magazines, but now we’re part of this little indie publishing community where we share ideas and we help each other out. I’m really excited about it, and already now I feel like I can advise other people who want to start their own independent titles. I want to give back to the community.


You actually created a magazine for one community, and became part of another one along the way?
Simon: Yes! Publishing is quite analogous with running if you think about it. The training can be pretty horrendous; getting up before dawn, running in the rain… But crossing the finishing line feels amazing. It’s the same with creating a magazine. Hours of admin are all forgotten once you open the box of magazines fresh from the press. That’s why we keep doing it.


Looking ahead, what’s in store for Like The Wind?
Simon: I think we’ll be entering our most challenging phase so far – we need to make the magazine financially viable. It deserves more than being a side project, so we need to figure out a way to do that which doesn’t compromise the spirit of the magazine.

Julie: Also, we’ll keep organising events like film screenings, talks and workshops. People love talking about their passion, so being in a room full of runners always works. We pretty much organise events we’d like to go to ourselves. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the running community and our readers – and for us to maintain a social life.

Simon: Yes, It’s one thing opening a box of magazines fresh from the printers; another thing is actually handing it to someone at an event. When you spend your Friday night listening to a world class runner talk – at your event – with a room full of enthralled runners, and a beer… Nothing beats that.


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