We’re trilled to feature an interview in this month’s Běhej srdcem, a leading Czech language media platform focused on running and everything related to it.
Czech language published version available here...
Original interview text included below...
Richard Taylor (also known as Bitcoin3us) is an organizer of running events around the world. These events are a great way to meet new people. As part of the huge Bitcoin conference, BTC Prague is organizing two runs in Prague as well. We used it for a short interview!
You organize social runs on various bitcoin events. How did you come up with the idea to connect running and bitcoin?
I got into bitcoin and running at around the same time in 2014/2015 respectively, and got completely hooked. At first I didn’t make a connection between the two, but looking back I noticed these activities were changing my life for the better. Fast forward four years, all I was doing was running and bitcoining. I’m not a software developer but wanted to get involved in the bitcoin space and give something back to the community, so I started Bitcoin Runners at an Andreas Antonopoulos meet-up in London. I met another keen bitcoin runner there, Anibal Sanchez, and arranged to run 5km together the next day. We ended up getting carried away in conversation and ended up doing more than 20km.
How would you describe these events?
These events are a great combination of getting some light exercise, fresh air, sightseeing, and socialising. We usually meet the day before a conference starts and simply run/jog at conversation pace for around 5km together. If there is a large group, like the ones we have planned for BTC Prague, we’ll have multiple leaders. Someone guiding the way, another in the middle and one or two at the tail, to cover all paces. We regroup regularly and try to follow traffic free routes that take in the most popular sights.
Is a networking the main goal?
Networking is a happy side effect. Running with others as a group is surprisingly enjoyable and it helps with breathing and taking your mind off things. The main goal is to have fun while getting fit.
How many events have you organized so far and where?
Counting the first impromptu event in London, this will be our 20th group run. We also help to organise the annual “Running Bitcoin Challenge”, which is a global running challenge to raise awareness and funds for ALSA in Hal Finney’s memory. For information more about this please visit: www.runningbitcoin.us.
How about some interesting story that happened during these runs? Do you have any?
Last year we led the aptly named “Pier to Pier” Run, launching the Running Bitcoin Challenge at the Pacific Bitcoin conference in Los Angeles. Asher Garfinkel, ALSA Golden West Chapter Vice President for Community Outreach, was there remembering Hal Finney and talking about the fundraising cause. As the run name suggests, we ran from one pier to another along Santa Monica beach. Hal was in our thoughts and as we finished an enormous Goodyear airship flew low overhead, together with the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. A message from above perhaps?
Do you also have some regular events with a stable group?
Due to the decentralised nature of the club, we don’t have one regular meeting place, time or group. When we host an event run we usually start a Telegram chat group for that location for locals and visitors to connect and propose runs. There is a link to these community groups on our website: www.bitcoinrunners.org.
How many people usually join?
It varies, depending upon the size of the event. The most we’ve had was around 50 runners at Bitcoin2021 in Miami.
Who are they?
Regular people. Programmers, artists, entrepreneurs, traders, farmers, lawyers, pharmacists etc. You wouldn’t even know they’re bitcoiners at first.
Are you still in touch with some of the people you met?
Yes, thanks to Bitcoin Runners I’ve met so many amazing sporty bitcoiners and formed some lasting friendships.
Is this project a one-man show?
It was at first, but the team of volunteer leaders has grown. A big shoutout to Vitus Zeller, founder of TeamSatoshi www.teamsatoshi.org, Janine Griesser, founder of www.satoshiStore.io, and JakobFN for leading runs and community building.
You also have an eshop with some club merch. What are the most popular items there?
Janine supplies our merch from the excellent www.satoshiStore.io. The most popular item has to be the shirt. It’s made from high quality technical fabrics, it feels good and looks great!
As we already wrote in a separate article, you organize BTC Prague Run. We heard that there are already over 100 people signed up. What can we as participants expect?
Yes, we’re excited the total number of entries has exceeded 100. The more the merrier, everyone is welcome to join us. Participants can expect an easy 5km social run/jog though the beautiful Prague Old Town. We will finish with the option to replenish fluids in a bar after.
How well do you know Prague? Where will we run the next week - do you have a route already?
I used to travel occasionally to Prague when I was working in the aviation industry, but it has been quite a few years now. I use Strava’s mapping function to help follow the most popular paths. We will do a practice run of the route during the daytime to make sure it’s fine.
We know that you also run races. Recently, you’ve run a sub-3 marathon in Manchester. Big congrats! And you race very often. What was your favorite running race?
Thank you. I still can’t believe it, especially thinking back to starting out and not being able to go much further than 1km without stopping. My favourite event has to be the Serpent Trail Race, not far from where I live in Hampshire. It’s part of the Golden Trail National Series of races. There are several distance options 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5km. The best part is it follows a stunning trail though the South Downs national park which includes: rare heathland, ancient woods and golden valleys. For nature lovers, whether you run or walk, I cannot recommend it more.
Do you have any specific goal in running?
My main goal is to be fit and for me running has the biggest impact in that regard, both physically and mentally. I have made running regularly a priority over everything else, and I have noticed runner friends of all ages - whether in their teens or 80s - who do the same benefit enormously from it.
Let’s also discuss the bitcoin part. What is your role in a crypto world except for Bitcoin Runners community? What fascinating crypto projects have you participated in?
For people wishing to work or contribute in the bitcoin space there are many ways to get involved. Attending in-person events is a great way to be inspired by other startups. As well as Bitcoin Runners and the Running Bitcoin Challenge I’m also working on Bitcoin Gambia and Lightning Piggy. The projects are quite different. Bitcoin Gambia concerns growing a bitcoin circular economy in West Africa. And Lighting Piggy is an open source piggy bank project for children to save in satoshis (sats), which is a fraction of a bitcoin. Note: there are 100 million sats in 1 bitcoin. One Euro equals around 3,800 sats.
What does bitcoin mean to you?
Bitcoin represents a new foundation based on freedom: freedom to save, transact, and live in a self-sovereign independent way. It is a complete reversal to how we currently live at the mercy of political money, increasing authoritarianism and endless inflation. Like running, bitcoin changes your time preference to thinking about the longterm and living within your means for a brighter, healthier and happier future.
Do you think it is a future of our payment system?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit El Salvador twice since they adopted bitcoin as a national currency. Spending time there was like peaking into the future of payments. As well as paying for my hotel, meals and drinks in bitcoin, my most memorable experience was paying a street vendor at night on a dusty lane for a bag of freshly fried chips, contactless using bitcoin over lightning. It was faster and easier than making a Visa/Mastercard transaction, and the vendor didn’t even have a ‘bank account’; which is significant considering there are around 1.4 billion adults who are unbanked globally.
What are you looking forward the most in BTC Prague conference?
For me the best part of these events is meeting the people in real life who have shared interests and values; there is so much more going on than what you hear about in the mainstream press and online. There large events have a strong vibe and it’s hard not to be inspired by how fast the bitcoin and freedom tech movement is sweeping the world.
I would like to close by giving kudos and thanks to Matyas Kuchar and the entire BTC Prague team for bringing the community together in the heart of Europe.