Or.. the cool kids vs. the nerds.
I had a very exciting meeting this week – I met with RunDemCrew founder and overall genius/great guy/legend/all that good stuff, Charlie Dark, to discuss the future of running, digital content, and his plans for 2017.
His (and now mine since I decided to work with him on some AV content) mission is to build a connection between the ‘trendy, under-cover-of-darkness, latest-garms-wearing’ crew runner, and the ‘vest-wearing, cross-country-running’ club runner.
The crew environment is great – a place to connect with others, compare running lives, and create a social network that doesn’t exist entirely on Strava. Meeting in London’s trendiest areas to explore the city at night, and to build a network of real-life people who also run in the city where you live.
The world of club running is a slightly more focused affair where ‘real’ runners are made – not there for the instagram-hype, not there to meet others but to BEAT others. A world where early Saturday starts and muddy cross-country courses are welcomed with open arms, where racing and winning mean national selection, not more likes on your photos.
What Charlie and I noticed was a disconnect between the two worlds – club runners have been operating on the track and on the cross country course for years where the only pictures being taken are by the official event photographer and where the best piece of kit is the one that works the best, not the one with the right logo or price tag. Crew runners at the top of their pace groups often become bored of finishing the run first, of having to wait for the pacers to tell them where to go, of the ‘un-coolness’ of their pace group counterparts and of the actual hard work that is necessary to take a runner from the evening roads to the podium.
I grew up in the club running world – running Harrow Athletics Club, winning Middlesex County Cross Country races, competing National Cross Country Championships, getting qualifying times for England Trials, and taking my speed indoors at the National Indoor Championships. Charlie built (and still runs) the biggest, most successful crew in London, and worldwide. What we proposed working on was a project that creates a clear path for the Supreme-wearing, front-of-the-pack crew runners to follow that would take them into the world of track/cross country and indoor racing through participation in their local area’s athletic clubs – watch this space for more project information as it arrives.
Who knows, the next Farah, Muir, or Kipchoge could be hiding in the shadows on your local late-night 10km wearing a Gyakusou hoodie and Supreme socks, reading Hypebeast and listening to the latest FKA Twigs release.