Andy Mouncey is a man on a mission. Into his fifth decade of running and with many an ultra behind him, he has spent the last 7 years setting up Run For Your Life, a community interest project which aims to keep people out of prison by using the same skills you and I develop when it comes to running long distance. We all know finishing a race is more than just about the physical act of running, it's about setting goals, doing what we need to do when there is no one keeping us to account and keeping going when the going gets tough. Skills, which Andy feels are just as relevant to life when someone has left prison. We chatted to Andy to find out more about the project and about him as a runner.
What3words (like the app) describe you right here, right now?
- Present Alive Resolute
Who/what got you into running off road and what is it about trail that does it for you?
- I started on the fells as a teenager and love of off-road has stuck
What kind of runner are you? Are you a lone wolf, an explorer, racer, chatter, groupie?
- Not much of a talker. Quite happy off-piste and solo
You have had many running adventures, what are you most proud of achieving? Is there anything that is unfinished business?
- Into my fifth decade and it remains a source of joy and challenge in equal measure
What is the thing which has changed the most about your own running?
- I am way more structured
You are coming to the Trail Zone to talk about your community interest project ‘Run For Your Life’ - tell us a bit more about it and how it came into being?
Keeping people out of prison / from going back to prison by teaching them how to think and act like an endurance athlete so that they can persevere through setbacks, manage how they feel and play by the rules even when no-one is watching.
This is a genuinely new approach within the Justice sector where the problem of re-offending is acute: We have the largest prison population in western Europe and 6 out of 10 people re-offend in the first 12 months of release at a cost of around £15bn every year.
We are very good at doing ‘punishment’ - we are almost criminally negligent at doing rehabilitation.
RFYL started 7 years ago and only last month was first contracted paid work secured - which tells you everything you need to know about how hard it is to break into this sector with something new...
If you had a magic wand, where would you like to see Run For Your Life in the future?
- As normal operation practice in UK prison system and a source of innovative practice around the world
In terms of getting others running, what motivates you as a coach?
- Seeing others fly
How do you encourage runners to connect with nature when they are out and about with you?
- Leave their tech at home
If anyone in the world you could run chat with, who would it be (they don’t need to be a runner) and why?
- My sons
What is the funniest /weirdest thing you have seen/happened to you whilst out on the trails?
- Nearly tripped over a cow in the dark somewhere in deepest darkest Lake District
For more information on Andy and his Run For Life project go to