Jake Smith is seemingly your all round metropolitan man. A born and raised Londoner, he began life in Newham, East London, and remains well rooted in the capital today, working as a personal trainer.
Throughout his 20’s and early 30’s Jake dabbled in the wild world of modelling; travelling the world and meeting endless new faces, but all the while unintentionally feeding a dark sense of unease. For some, the glamorous world of fashion and modelling may sound like the ultimate canvas upon which to paint a prosperous future, but for Jake it became clear that this was not an environment in which he would thrive. Modelling was not a nurturing space for him.
Jake is a refreshingly sincere and honest soul. He battles with his mental health and publicly shares that, but it was only 3 years ago he truly understood that he was battling mental health issues. He has spent his whole life suffering, then spent years also dealing with low self worth and top level imposter syndrome, all within a cut throat and pretty unforgiving industry. Followed by an emotionally tough break up, Jake made the decision to start Tightspot Running, a weekly 5k running club for anyone who may also suffer with their mental health.
“I had been talking about setting it up for a year but was too afraid, then on January 2nd this year I decided I wanted to provide a safe space for others who also suffer with their mental well being, as well as make my ex proud of me as she had always been my biggest support network. That’s when we did our first run, it was myself along with Sophie and James, both of which I didn’t know before but who have been Tightspots biggest supporters.”
Running sits amongst other passions; football, the great outdoors and hunting down top notch coffee spots, but it’s running that has become the crutch for Jakes mental clarity. A nurturing space for body and mind to synch with the elements, and escape. “Nothing in my head can catch me when I’m running, and that is a wonderful place to be. I want others to feel this way if they are suffering, that’s why Tightspot means so much to me, and getting the word out is vital to this project. Nothing helps like running, and I mean outside, not on the treadmill. Feeling the elements, the change of gradient, controlling your breathing as you settle in to a comfortable pace, it’s all so good for your headspace.”
Jake has hit some very dark times, and it’s this that has led him to being an open and proud mental health advocate. “I want people to know that I am here to lend an ear, because I was once in a very serious situation which could have gone the wrong way towards me taking my own life. I opened up to my mum, and she got me help.”
“Talking is the most important thing, especially for us men who still feel we can’t show weakness. But showing weakness can be beautiful. I’m learning everyday how to manage my mind, and knowing what’s happening me to me doesn’t panic me like it used to. A friend recently said to me ‘it will pass’, and these words ring around my head everyday”
Jake is softly spoken and poetically forthright, but there is a strength in his open hearted honesty. Everyday we’re bombarded by what’s fabulous about everyone else’s lives, but Jake is forever self deprecating and brutally transparent about the hurdles he faces on a daily basis. He is currently working as a personal trainer at Metabolic London, as well as building an active platform to be vulnerable, and for that to absolutely, unwaveringly ok.
If you would like to join Jake and the Tightspot running club, find the details below.
Where - Outside Hampstead Heath Overground.
When - Every Sunday, 9am
What - ALL abilities welcome to run/walk a 5k together. Jake has created a completely safe space for people to come and chat as much or as little as they want.