The last time I posted on this blog was over two years ago, from a small town on the Ukraine-Moldova border, near the start of a 1,000 mile run.
Then we were three runners - Guy, Tom and me.
We'd run 200 miles, following black mud roads through fields that had gone grey in the rain. We were tired, a little nervous, but most of all we were pumped for adventures ahead. We had 800 miles to go, 24 days to make them in, 8 countries to cross to reach Dubrovnik, where the 1,000 miles ended.
As we moved west we grew. Two runners joined us in Sofia, near the half way point. Ten more joined in Kosovo, 200 miles from the end. Thirty met us in Savnik, a small town in central Montenegro. Running as a crew of forty through the Balkan mountains was the first time in my life I felt that I'd been part of creating something that was magic.
We left trails of Haribo through the snow so those behind could find the way; adopted a dog that tailed us for 60 miles; ran for thirteen hours, slept like sardines in grim guesthouses, got up the next day and did it all again. The best part of it was that most of that group had never run further than a half marathon, but all battled through 100 miles or more and made it.
You come back with a bump after a trip like that. It wasn't long before Tom, Guy and I were talking of future plans - more running, how to get a group together again, how to make it all last longer. That's when we began plans for Tribe.
We talked about building a crew of runners, putting on races, making the trail mixes and energy bars that we always took on our journeys. In the end we decided to go for all three, with the goal of building a community of runners.
We started in the kitchen at my mum's house in Oxford, working on a range of energy and recovery snacks. We tested them out on friends, got feedback, and went back to make them better. We took tentative first steps to get everything in place, brainstorming names, drawing logos, visiting print houses, co-packers, web designers, speaking to everyone we could to get as much advice as possible.
We pushed it forward slowly, deliberating for a while, not quite ready to dive in and quit our jobs. But there's never a perfect time, and it slowly dawned on us that we'd never be ready, so the only thing was to go for it, and learn fast as we went along.
Since then, we held our first Tribe run in June this year, before we had a website or any of our snacks ready. We set up an Instagram account and told our followers we'd be meeting on Saturday morning in Victoria Park. About 10 showed up for that run. For the next run we had 20, then 35 and then the Tribe snacks were ready to give our runners before and after - it was slowly coming together.
In mid-July we launched the Tribe Pack - a subscription box of our energy and recovery snacks, designed to help people train stronger, better and healthier. Tribe has been going for nearly six months now, and ourrunning community has grown to 1000's.
More recently, we've been collaborating with loads of other brands and I've teamed up with Investec Private Banking as part of their Restless Spirits campaign championing entrepreneurship and the desire to think differently.
It feels like it's been a long road to get here, although I'm sure the hardest work is still to come, and it's worth every step. I'll be updating posts on life at Tribe here, so please do keep in touch or come for a run with us.
To find a Tribe run event visit https://wearetribe.co/ and read more about Rob's story with Investec here www.investec.co.uk/private-banking/the-stand-magazine/restless-spirits/rob-martineau.htmlSuggest a correction