Running is one of the most inclusive sports in that all you really need is a pair of running shoes to participate.
But not every runner feels accepted or represented in the community, despite their love for the sport.
Sports equipment company Brooks Running aimed to open up the narrative in a new digital series “Who Is a Runner,” released last month. The series, created in collaboration with Camp4 Collective and directed by Faith Briggs and Tim Kemple, has so far released three episodes, with a fourth in development.
“With the injustice we've seen across the country, we’ve been really focused on diversity,” Melanie Allen, CMO of Brooks Running, told Campaign US. “We want to show the diversity and change [the notion] of what a runner looks like.”
The first episode of the series follows the Prolyfyck Run Crew, who share how they build a safe space for Black runners to feel represented in Charlottesville, Va. Episode two stars Rosalie Fish, an Indigenous student-athlete and activist, who discusses how running helps her honor Indigenous women who are victims of racial and gendered violence.
Episode three focuses on Victoria (Vic) Lo, founder of Chinatown Runners. Lo reflects on how rising anti-Asian discrimination made her feel unsafe while running. In response, Chinatown Runners hosts monthly runs in Chinatowns across the U.S. to build awareness against AAPI hate.
“You get these personal stories, but then you also get the stories around the impact that it's had on the community around them,” said Allen.
The subjects were selected by Camp4 Collective. Brooks Running gave the creative production studio contacts of people they were interested in, both running crews and individuals, and Camp4 Collective took control of the rest.
Brooks Running’s goal was to start a discussion about diversity in running. The sports equipment company didn’t put a lot of media dollars behind the project until they saw the positive response, said Allen.
After the outpouring of interest, Brooks Running invested more money into the series.
Allen is hopeful people will learn that the benefits of running are two-fold: increasing physical and mental well-being, as well as the social initiatives runners have launched to help their communities.
“One run a day changes your day,” said Allen. “You never really regret it. If you do that enough times you can really impact your life. And running communities are coming together and changing the world.”