Martinus Evans wants everyone to embrace the joys of running at their own pace. He runs races from 5K to the marathon, but, as he says, “Our lives don’t depend on what place we finish the race in. So if that isn’t the case, then why take it so seriously?” 

He created a group where he would feel at home, the Slow AF Run Club, an online community with over 25,000 members that he describes as “the Facebook for the Back of the Pack.” The Slow AF Run Club book is coming out next week, providing information and inspiration for anyone who wants to run, at any speed.

Listen to the Running for Real podcast here:

Apple (iTunes) Podcast | Sticher | Castbox | Overcast | Spotify | Google Play | iHeartradio |

At the first race that Martinus ran, a 5K, he lined up at the back. Not near the back, at the very back. “I was the absolute last person at the starting line,” he recalls. “I was behind moms with double strollers with dogs attached to them. Nothing against them, but I thought a mom with a double stroller and a dog attached to the stroller was gonna run the race faster than me. And then the gun went off and I’m walking and I’m running and I’m passing these people, and I almost get a little frustrated, like ‘Damn, these people are slow; they’re in my way.’  And when I finally got into my stride, that’s when it hit me, like, ‘Shit, I’m a runner.’ Like ‘Look at me pass people,’ and that was the first time that I was seeing myself as running for real.” 

Martinus knew then that he was “a real runner,” but even though he’s run many races since then, he still gets comments from people who don’t feel the same way, the ones he calls “elitist runners.” 

“There have been times where I spoke up for myself, saying, ‘Hey, I ran this race and in the back, they ran out of water,’ or they ran out of cups, or they took down a sign, so I got lost. And some runners’ response, like these elitist runners is, ‘Well, maybe you should have took running seriously, maybe you should have lost weight and gotten faster and maybe you wouldn’t necessarily have to experience this’ versus being like, ‘Oh man, that sucks. You pay your money and you should have gotten the same fair treatment.’”

He shares those experiences with the members of his community. “Especially the new people that I coach, the first thing they’re like is, ‘Martinus, I’m not a runner. I’m not a real runner like you.’  And it’s like, ‘You’re thinking myself is a real runner? Well, let me tell you all the things that I’ve done.’ And I think that for a lot of people, we share all of these successes, but we never talk about the shitty aspects that happen through running. And I think by pulling the veil, you can then see, ‘Oh, this is not as scary as I thought it was.’

“So that’s the thing I’m always trying to tell people. ‘Hey, I’ve ran races; I’ve been pulled off the course because I’ve been too slow; I’ve gotten lost; I’ve ran out of water.’  I’ve had all of these horrible things happen to me, but the world did not open up and swallow us all. And I was still able to run another race a week later and finish. So, you know, the fact of letting people know that the adversities that we go through make them more of an athlete than not going through any adversities at all.

“That’s why I’m so vehemently like, ‘No, you are a runner and here are the reasons why. And if you think I’m a runner, look at some of the failures, rejections, and things I’ve overcome to be in a place where you even think that I’m a quote-unquote runner and you too can overcome your own obstacles and your own rejections and still continue to run and participate in the sport and you too can still be a runner as well.”

It was confronting adversity that led to the creation of the Slow AF Run Club. “I was running a race and this drunk dude was yelling at me and being like, ‘You’re slow. You’re slow as f*** man, go home.’ And me being like, ‘But I’m running the race and you’re the one that’s on the sidelines, drunk,” Martinus says.

“So like as a big middle finger to him, I just started wearing shirts that had ‘Slow AF’ across my chest. And for other people, it just became the most entertaining thing of like, ‘I’m slow AF too.’ And it went from that to people being like, ‘Hey, do you sell these shirts?’ It’s like, ‘Well, I do now.’ And the first time I sold these shirts, I sold 500 shirts in one weekend.

“And it was that point there that I was like, ‘I have something here. I don’t know what it is, but I have something.’ And from now, just let the people tell me. It went from, ‘Hey, I got this shirt, but do you have a group or something? Is there a Facebook group? I wanna be amongst the people who also bought these shirts because we should all run together with these shirts.’ So it just kind of grew out of that, of providing something that people asked for.”

Martinus knew what it was like to not be able to find a group where he felt that he belonged. He had joined Facebook groups that were supposed to be for slow runners, only to find that their idea of slow was not the same as his. “You got people that’s in there and it’s like, ‘I run a 10 minute mile, I’m slow.’ And me being like, ‘You call a 10 minute mile slow? You can finish the 5K under 30 minutes and you call that slow? Man, you thought about running a 15, 16 minute mile? You thought about running an 18 minute mile?’ So yeah, I did feel like I wasn’t welcome there because they’re like, ‘Oh, Martinus, you’re not running, you’re walking.’ It’s like, ‘No, I am running.’”

The Slow AF Run Club group gave runners like himself a place where they could feel at home, and now with the Slow AF Run Club book, Martinus has written the book he wishes he’d had when he started running. His wife gave him a running book, but it didn’t resonate with him. The pace charts stopped at a 13 minute mile, and he was running a 15 or 16 minute pace. Most books seemed to be about teaching their readers to run like an elite. That wasn’t what he needed, so he went on a journey to attain the knowledge that would be helpful for him. 

He read running books, gleaning the useful information and discarding the rest. He became certified as a running coach himself. People would ask him if there was a running book that he would recommend and most of the time there wasn’t. “You know, the golden standard for running books is the Jack Daniels book on running,” he says. “However, for mid-pack and back-of-the pack people, that book is completely useless.

“Like, VO2s don’t mean nothing to me, right? Two quality runs don’t mean nothing to me. You know, doing all those drills don’t mean nothing to me. What really meant something to me was like, ‘Hey, you’re gonna go on this run. Have you ate?’ Or, ‘Hey,  I wish somebody would have told me, you’re getting chafed. Did you know there’s this thing called Body Glide?” Or ‘Hey, why are you still running in cotton underwear?”  Or ‘Hey, there’s this thing where people eat and run at the same time and they got like gels and chomps and chews, and there’s so many things out there to help you fuel yourself on the run.’ And most of these books don’t have that basic information.”

Slow AF Run Club has all of that information and much more. For anyone who has ever questioned whether they’re a real runner, it will make them recognize that yes, they are.


Slow AF Run Club website (you can preorder the book here!)

Martinus’ website, 300 Pounds and Running

Martinus’ Instagram

Martinus’ Facebook

Martinus’ Twitter

Thank you to Athletic Greens, Tracksmith, and Becoming a Sustainable Runner for sponsoring this episode.

Athletic Greens has created a movement around simplifying our health routine.  AG1 is an easy way to get 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients. It promotes gut health with prebiotics, probiotics, and naturally occurring enzymes; supports your immune system with Vitamin C, zinc, healing mushrooms, and more; provides magnesium to boost energy; and it’s packed with superfoods, adaptogens, and antioxidants to help recovery.  It’s simple to make and it tastes good!

Just one scoop in a glass of water in the morning will ensure that even if your diet is less than ideal the rest of the day, you’ve gotten the nutrients you need. Go here to subscribe and you’ll get five free travel packs of AG1, and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!

Tracksmith is an independent running brand inspired by a deep love of the sport. For years the brand has elevated running wear using best-in-class materials and timeless silhouettes that perform at the highest level and can be worn everyday, not just for running. 

Tracksmith helps the environment by making comfortable, durable clothes that will last for years, rather than winding up in the landfill, but that’s not the only contribution they make. They supported Running for Real in creating our RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover program. They help athletes who are trying to make the Olympic trials, and they offer scholarships for creatives to work on their crafts. They also have lots of events – Tina will be hosting events with them at the Boston and London marathons. 

If you’re a new customer, go here and use the code TINANEW at checkout to get $15 off your order of $75 or more. Returning customers can use the code TINAGIVE, and Tracksmith will give you free shipping and donate 5% of your order to TrackGirlz.

Are you a runner? Do you care about the planet you run on? Would you like to use running to change the world for the better?

Becoming a Sustainable Runner will show you how.

Becoming a Sustainable Runner, by Tina Muir and Zoë Rom, is a practical guide for runners of all abilities and backgrounds who want to take meaningful action to protect our planet through their love of the sport. It’s available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, Waterstones UK, Target, and many independent bookstores.

Thanks for listening!

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe on Apple, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you enjoy Running for Real, please leave us a review!

Keep up with what’s going on at Running for Real by signing up for our weekly newsletter. 

Join the newsletter

This is not your usual email newsletter. With Tina’s personal reflections and recommendations, suggestions of things to do, thoughts to contemplate, and some updates, this newsletter is one that you’ll WANT to read, not hit “delete” as soon as you see it.

Powered by ConvertKit

Follow Tina on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You’ll find Running for Real on Instagram too!

Want to be a member of the Running for Real community? Join #Running4Real Superstars on Facebook! 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for additional content, including our RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover series of 50+ videos.

Thank you for your support – we appreciate each and every one of you!

back of the pack, body confidence

Related Posts