RUN:ZEN and its Mindfulness for Runners programmes is the creation of Stuart McLeod and Cesare Saguato. Both Stuart and Cesare are long-term mindfulness practitioners and teachers, as well as having extensive experience in competitive running and other physical fitness activities. You can find out more about us in our biographies below.
We started leading Mindfulness for Runners public workshops in 2018, initially all in-person, and soon after adapting our offer to be delivered online too.
As well as leading our own events, we've featured on the programmes of a number of health and well-being centres, running and fitness festivals, as well as working with Adidas Runners, The Embodiment Conference and Let’s Get Running. We have also been featured in Women’s Running magazine.
Stuart took up triathlon in 2005, before specializing in duathlon (run/bike/run). He went on to represent Great Britain as an age-group athlete at several international Championships.
He holds a UK Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness coach’s licence and is a founder member of MedwayTri. His final competitive season in 2016 focussed on long distance racing, including ultra-marathons and the 290km Dragon Duathlon, running and cycling from Anglesey to Cardiff Bay. Nowadays he can usually be found running the trails of his North Kent home.
Stuart has been practicing meditation in the Chan (Chinese Zen) Buddhist tradition for over two decades and holds a postgraduate certificate in Buddhist Studies. He has participated in a variety of mindfulness programmes and is currently studying under the Teacher Training Pathway at Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice. He is also a Level Three teacher of Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing (TMW) and a qualified Level One Qigong Instructor with Long White Cloud Qigong.
For the last 20 years he has been teaching meditation at a local group of the Western Chan Fellowship in the Medway Towns. A key focus of Stuart's personal practice in recent years has been the deepening of the connection between his sporting and mindfulness practices. He has a particular interest in the application of mindfulness techniques and skills as a means to help us re-inhabit our bodies, and thinks there is no better way than through mindful running.
Cesare is a qualified and registered (BAMBA) mindfulness (MBSR/MBCT) and compassion teacher (MBCL) and supervisor. He has completed training with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Sussex Mindfulness Centre (NHS), The Mindfulness Network and the Mindfulness in Schools Project. He has been delivering mindfulness tasters, workshops, courses and retreats in the public, private and third sectors since 2015. Cesare is also a qualified integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor (BACP) and a clinical supervisor.
Cesare’s personal meditation practice has been developing since 2007, mainly within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and he continues to receive meditation instruction and guidance from internationally recognised meditation teachers and their senior students. He has been teaching meditation within that context to his local community since 2013 through Bodhicharya Kent, under the guidance of his main teacher, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
Cesare has had a personal interest in health, fitness and nutrition, including martial arts, weight training and running from his early teens onwards. He recognises personally and professionally the importance of skilfully integrating the mind and body for a greater sense of wholeness in experience, embodied presence and well-being in life. Through his own mind-body work in general and running in particular, he sees how the addition of an open, kind-awareness in stillness and movement, provides an opportunity for this to naturally unfold and is passionate about exploring and sharing this with others.
Claire Zamora (guest teacher)
Claire's fitness background includes spending 11 years in the British Army, 33 years weight training and competing in many sports competitions including powerlifting and action challenges - all placing excess stress on the body and mind and thus sustaining many injuries over the years.
Over the last 10 years through a meditation and mindfulness practice, Claire has a more balanced approach to her training and now teaches yoga with a passion for meditation and physiology especially for Yin Yoga with its meditative and mindful components through connecting with the body and mind.
Claire has found Yin Yoga a perfect balance with her own gym/running training through her knowledge and understanding of how a Yin Yoga practice compliments running.