This week we welcome the last of our newest Ambassadors Owain Williams. Owain lives in nearby Edinburgh and has a passion for running and kiting!
Early in 2020 we launched a campaign to find new male brand ambassadors and we were inundated with applications. Selecting only 3 was difficult and with the arrival of COVID-19, our plans were put on hold for a bit. Owain is the last of our newest ambassadors to introduce and is a pleasure to welcome him into the FINDRA family.
Hi Owain, pleased to finally chat with you and maybe we can start telling everybody where are you based and what you do!
Hi! I’m based in Edinburgh and apart from running, I also love bouldering, taking photos and Lego!
During the week I’m a web developer for a digital agency and at the weekends my wife and I have recently started taking our campervan out for mini adventures.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
Growing up on the Isle of Tiree, I’ve always had the outdoors in my life. Whether it was windsurfing, bodyboarding, kayaking, cycling or running, I was always doing things. When I came to Edinburgh to study, I got lazy but thankfully in 2001 I found my passion for the outdoors again when I started to teach traction kiting on West Sands in St Andrews. I then eventually started running in 2008 – I had to find something to do when there wasn’t any wind to fly a kite!
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
I have to say last weekend is pretty epic. My wife and I have recently bought an old converted Citroeon Berlingo campervan which we have named Bertha. We took her for her first adventure at the weekend up to Tyndrum and we spent the night parked in the Green Welly Shop car park then got up the following day and ran along some of the West Highland Way. It was magic!
Before then, I’d say heading to Lanzarote to visit Club La Santa. There is something for everyone and I love the trails that are around the complex, miles and miles of dusty paths.
How do you make find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
It can be tough at times. I have a running coach and so my weekly runs are all set out a week in advance, I check that on a Sunday evening and then plan everything else around that. Some days I get up early to get my run in, or I will go out at lunch time or after work. It really depends on the weather, what work priorities I have and what my wife is doing as she’s also a runner. Some weeks are easier than others but it comes down to compromise and planning.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
I’d have to say my Mum. She was always encouraging us to go outside, jump on our bikes and just go for a cycle or take the kayak out and paddle in the bay that was in front of the hotel we owned. I always remember the time she suggested I should kayak round the bay to see my Grandparents who lived at the opposite end. The bay is 2.5 miles long but I was too scared to go the most direct route so I stayed in the shallows the whole way round. I loved it and did it numerous times after that. I never did go direct even though it would have been quicker!
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Absolutely. There are times when Mandy, my wife, will tell me to just go for a run. She can tell I’m either stressed from work or just having a tough day. A run always helps. It doesn’t matter if it’s plodding along the streets or heading into the Pentland Hills outside Edinburgh, just getting outdoors makes all the difference.
Over the years I’ve found myself having a real passion for spreading the word about Mental Health. It’s so important and the simplest things can make the biggest differences. A walk outdoors, a friendly smile from a stranger, someone just asking, are you OK? Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make things that little bit better.
What is it about running specifically that you love?
I love the freedom that running gives me. I can go anywhere in the world and as long as I have a pair of trainers with me, I’m good to go. I’ve explored cities, I’ve ran trails along coastlines, I’ve ran up old volcanoes, I’ve got completely lost while thinking I knew exactly where I was, it’s all part of the fun of running. I’ve also met some amazing people that I can now call my friends.
When did you discover FINDRA?
I discovered FINDRA about a year ago. Mandy told me about a company that was based in Scotland that was making Merino outdoor clothing and I was instantly interested to find out more. I’m not someone who buys the latest gear every session just so I can be seen in the latest colours. I wear my kit until it falls apart and being able to support a local company who has the same passion for the environment and the outdoors is brilliant.
What does being a brand ambassador for FINDRA mean to you?
I believe we all have a passion for the outdoors. A passion to leave only footprints behind us and to look after the world we all live in. Whether it’s by the clothes we wear or the way we live our lives. I’m super proud to be able to be an ambassador for a Scottish company that lives and breathes the same values I believe in.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received would be that it’s OK not to be OK. This comes back to my own Mental Health. As a man, we are often told you have to be strong and never show your emotions. I say that is absolute rubbish and as a man we should all admit when we need help, we should all have a cry now and again and we should all stop pretending everything is OK all the time.
On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers?
We only have one planet and as COVID-19 has shown us, it’s a fragile place. We really need to take care of it and each other. Let’s all slow down, enjoy the outdoors, unplug from our computers, phones and technology and get some fresh air and smile.
Owain has chosen Emma Grzonkowski as his favourite artist. Emma is a fine artist in the UK who produces contemporary paintings in mixed media using an overlay of bright paints in a free and expressive manner.
“Inspiration is drawn from the reflection of self experience and emotive senses and my work is an evolving journey, each painting representing feelings and states of being.”
And who are we to say otherwise!
One of Owain’s favourite books is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Set in a dystopian 2045, this science fiction novel follows the story of Wade Watts on his search for an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game, a discovery that would lead him to inherit the game creator's fortune. Published in 2011 book was made into a Steven Spielberg film in 2018 staring Tye Sheridan.
MUSIC OF THE WEEK
Owain picks Primadonna Like Me by The Struts for this weeks tune. “I saw The Struts last year in The Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh and it was an amazing gig. Their music is upbeat and catchy and I’ve had some of my best runs while listening to them. It never fails to lift my mood.” A real mix of genre's going here. Enjoy!
The Struts – Primadonna Like Me