The motto of the innocent smoothie brand is to live well and die old. This was an apt topic for the kick-off of ‘innocent inspires’, a series of inspirational evenings from the fruit-condensing collective on everything from ethics to entrepreneurship. With Olympian James Cracknell, Run Dem Crew founder Charlie Dark and Dr Pixie McKenna from TV’s Embarrassing Bodies lined up to discuss healthy living, I was ready to be energised, informed and quite possibly disgusted into living better.
Arriving at an innocuous sports hall, I was met by members of the innocent team (distinguishable by their neon armbands and boundless enthusiasm) brandishing healthy canapés and encouraging me to partake in some quick exercises with pithy names such as ‘The toilet squat’. After some gentle stretching and the consumption of many a crudité, the audience was ready for the main event.
James Cracknell was the first to take the stage. The two-time gold medal winner and modern-day adventurer entertained us with tales of running marathons in the Sahara, bonding with Amazon tribes and surviving 49 days in a boat with Ben Fogle. Though the feats he has endured sound superhuman, the self-effacing Cracknell clearly emphasised that dedication, being honest about your abilities and enjoying the experience are key to achieving your goals. His message – don’t let anyone dictate your dreams – is well worn. But coming from a man who, even after suffering a traumatic head injury in 2010, continues to compete in some of the toughest sporting competitions across the world; it was truly inspiring.
Succeeding an Olympian adventurer who wore a belt that made him look like a Texan ranger might be intimidating for some people. Charlie Dark is not some people. The founder of running collective Run Dew Crew, Dark is also a DJ, performance poet and school teacher. Moreover, the man is so fizzing with friendly enthusiasm that Dr Pixie christened him ‘the new Mr Motivator’. While Cracknell focused on personal achievement, Dark extolled the importance of sport’s contribution to the community. Though traditionally seen as a solitary sport, Dark set up Run Dem Crew to encourage inclusivity and to get friends and local youths interacting outside of the confines of social media. Like many, I viewed running as merely a means of keeping fit. But Dark transformed the idea of treading the pavement into a lifestyle choice. It could unfold cities. It could build communities. And it could make you feel like a child again; running not to lose weight or beat others but just for the thrill of feeling yourself go faster.
Having spent the previous two talks ploughing through my complimentary Graze box, I was definitely in need of healthy eating advice by the time Dr McKenna gave her talk. The usual tips were there: everything in moderation, never skip breakfast, eat five a day. But McKenna’s authoritative manner, supported by an exhaustive list of diseases caused by poor diet, hammered home the importance of healthy living.
‘innocent inspires’ provided an extremely entertaining evening. I left with smoothie in hand and a smile on my face, but did it inspire me to live well and die old? Well, the next morning I broke a month-long exercise drought and ran into work then signed up for the Run the Beat half-marathon. I also ate breakfast. Sometimes just sitting down and listening to inspiring people is all it takes to invigorate yourself to get on your feet, eat right and live better.
The second ‘innocent inspires’ event is in June and will be on ethics. Find out more at innocentdrinks.co.uk/inspires.