Let’s talk about Dora Atim: Nike running coach, community leader, MG Talent. - MG Empower
Stories_Let’s talk about Dora Atim
Written by - Daniel Shale

Let’s talk about Dora Atim: Nike running coach, community leader, MG Talent.


Dora Atim, a rising influencer, Nike running coach, athlete, and mentor to young people in sports, sat down with us to share her story. 


We spoke about how her work, her identity and the people in her life have impacted her approach to content creation. The interview is inspiring, illuminating and iconic – three words that, sum Dora up perfectly – and it was a huge pleasure to be in the room with this queen of queens.

Let’s get into it. If you were an animal, what would you be and why? 

Dora (without hesitation): A chinchilla. It just speaks to me. I think because when I was a kid I really wanted one, and it was such a rare animal… And now that’s how I see myself in this industry, I’m rare! I’m a chinchilla. Also I love (faux) fluffy things. 

Who inspires you?

Dora: Oh my god. So many people. Lady Gaga and Dennis Rodman are massive for me – not just because they’re fashion icons but because they’re brave enough to live outside the box. Always unpredictable, always refusing to be typecast. I’d die to have a conversation with Dennis, I feel like he’d take me to outer space.

Do people try to put you in a box?

Dora: I think as soon as anyone has an online presence, especially in a particular niche, they get shoved into a box. But I don’t operate that way. 

My content reaches different audiences. Like, I don’t talk to just runners. My online community is so strong, you’d think it’s all runners but it’s not, it’s people from all walks of life. I’ve motivated people to stay consistent with their dance classes, with their work in the corporate world, with… whatever! It’s just so broad.

Being vocal online certainly does expose you to all sorts of pressures and expectations. Do you think influencers should feel a sense of responsibility to their audience?

Dora: Yes and no. We have a responsibility to make it a safe space, but we have to protect ourselves at the same time. When people put responsibility on people, it adds pressure, which makes your mental health decline, bringing on negative feelings and anxiety. I feel like every single person on the internet needs to treat the space with kindness and nurture it, all together, whether we have two or two million followers.

You’re so right, it’s a delicate balance. But I love the idea that we’re all working on it together, never alone. Speaking of mental health, how do you manage it in the midst of everything that goes on in your life? What advice do you give to your mentees who struggle? 

Dora: Prioritise yourself first before anyone else. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes it’s important to take a step away from social media. The internet will be there when you’re back. You want to stay in bed? Absolutely do that. A friend told me once that the crown gets too heavy… Put it down. That advice really stays with me through everything I do, as a mentor and as a content creator. Like, people reaching out to you for help is so cool but they need you to be at your best.

When I’m talking to young women and people I just say ‘Be authentically you.’ I used to think that was such a cliché but now I get it – you can put on an act but it’ll only go so far until you can’t take it.

I also feel like talking really helps. I know it’s hard, especially as a young person. There’s a lot of ‘Ooh you just give up at the first hurdle’ rhetoric coming from the older generation right now but there’s nothing wrong with being a delicate feather who just doesn’t want to deal today. 

All of this is so refreshing, especially coming from someone who’s known for being an absolute machine. I guess even athletes want to stay in bed sometimes! 

On that note, can you talk a bit about Ultra Black Running?

Dora: Yes! So Ultra Black is is a space for black women and black non-binary people to not become athletes but just come together and trial run. And when we come together, it’s about the conversations we have. How to talk about sports from a queer perspective… How to talk about it as a non-binary person when the sporting world doesn’t really recognise non-binary people… I feel like people are scared to talk about it and that’s okay, because it’s an unknown thing, but let’s sit down and come up with a solution, you know? It’s so huge for our community. 

It’s such a great initiative. Thank you for putting it out into the world. So what’s next for you? Where d’you see yourself going as an influencer? 

Dora: You know what, I’m still coming to terms with calling myself an influencer. I only really realised last year when I was like ‘Oh my god, I think I have a trusted voice for the community, this is crazy!’ Because I put a few things out in magazines and then I got featured in GQ and I was like… I think I’ve done something there! Oopsies! So I guess I’m in it now. 

As far as what’s next for me… I’m going to be putting out more audio-guided runs with Nike (which I love doing) and then we shall see! Just like training for a marathon, the journey is never linear, so I’m going with it. I do love sunglasses though – I wear them in the morning, at night, in the rain, whenever and wherever – so whenever I talk to my friends about releasing a line of something, it’s always GOT to be sunglasses. Watch this space I guess!

Yassss! We would buy all your sunglasses! Thank you so much, Dora, for letting us into your world. It was a pleasure to talk.

Dora: Anytime! 


Like a photograph Dora’s attitude to influence captures a moment in time: the rejection of ‘the hustle’. She hustles, yes, but she also knows when to stop, check IN with herself and check OUT of the work. 


If you’d like to find out more about Dora, here are some links to get you started:


Dora’s Instagram

Ultra Black Running

Dora’s interview with Lessions in Badassery

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