In Conversation With: Armana Rai

Londoner Armana Rai took her love for running and turned it into a platform to connect runners from all over. From marathons to daily running Armana sat in conversation with me about her athletics journey and shared how she evolved her hobby and went on to become an ambassador for Underarmour.

Upon discovering Armana’s social media platforms, it was seemingly apparent that she was a full-time runner and influencer, but in our chat I discovered she was actually a full time accountant. The ultimate side hustler, if you can call it that! Having studied Sports Management at the University of Loughborough, this young runner knew she needed athletics in her life, however, never found a sport she specifically wanted to specialise in. Following a year in industry at EY, during her study, Armana pursued the finance route and continued to nurture her running outside of that.

From the age of 16 Armana worked for her local athletics club in London and honed in on her love of sport, but her interest in sport wasn’t always there.  Armana’s Father was a professional Hockey player and competed internationally, but Armana’s talent for running wasn’t developed until her teenage years.  A 200m sports day race at the age of 10 is where her own running journey began.

“I didn’t think anything, I just ran…and I won by so far”

Going on to pursue cross country and long distance running throughout secondary school, Armana continued to better herself at University and mingled with the running community there.

“it was an amazing place to meet people and be”

Being at a top sports university was a very privileged platform for Armana, but she shined a light on the negatives that she discovered amongst the running community and clubs. Eating Disorders were rife amongst some of the runners in the clubs she was a part of whilst studying, so Armana decided to train solo for her university time. Her final year was when she went on to complete her first half marathon and since then has trained solo with the knowledge she has acquired from studying. In recent years, Armana has used an online coach to continue to develop her running style.

Prior to her online coaching, Armana found herself mixing within the fitness and influencer space and decided to post about her running as a way to meet like-minded people. This grew from regular running updates to brand partnerships, the most recent of which being Underarmour.

With her role in finance taking priority, Armana works around this to accommodate her social media platforms. Maintaining balance between this is something that Armana revealed she has had to navigate. From using annual leave at her full-time job to accommodate for trips with her brand sponsors, she has to decide which events to attend and what to prioritise.

“It’s like having a second job sometimes”

Not imagining the success that would have come from her social media interactions, Armana’s Instagram involvement led to her gracing the cover of Women’s Running magazine in August 2019. Becoming more and more prominent in the running world, it is clear that running is more than a hobby for Armana, it is a passion.  Having aided her through hard times in her life, Armana is an adamant believer that there is no such thing as a bad run.

“it’s giving me another focus outside of work”