Friday, August 29, 2008

Nike+ Human Race

Warning: The post below are toxic. If you're the type to get indigestions from caustic bloggers, move on, this post might give you ulcer. You have better things to do with your time than read someone else rant. But if you're a big boy/girl and up to it, then read with care and a cup of tea, it'll help you calm down. And just so you know, no happy endings on this particular post.

Nike is holding an event called Nike+ Human Race. It's a 10K run at the Bonifacio Global City to be held simultaneously in different parts of the world. This race have one of the most innovative concept and have the ambitious goal of being the world's biggest one-day running event. And checking out other running blogs, this race have caught on and is well anticipated. All well and good.

But there's a catch to join this event. You need to purchase expensive Nike accessories to join the race otherwise you're excluded from joining the event. And there in lies my issues with Nike and it's organizers.

Like most runners, I love running and running in events/races are something I'm passionate about. Running in races are more than just about PRs and clocking 3/10/21/42K on your Sunday run. Running races are community events and it is a way for you to connect to that community of runners that you have a strong sense of affiliation. It galls me to see sponsors and organizers turn an open community event into a exclusive party for people with the coolest toys, promoting a not-so-subtle theme of "others who don't have shiny new baubles from sponsors - need not join". And in the context of this 'exclusivity', I find it patronizing that sponsors are 'generous' with their gifts that 'lucky' runners may have the privilege of joining the party.

Lest my post be misconstrued, I don't have anything against runners joining the event. A good run is a good run whether it's run at Takbo Bayani or Nike+ Human Race. And let me state it clearly, I don't have anything against sponsors promoting their fancy whiz-bang gadgets and holding run events. What I do mind and feel strongly against are sponsors and organizers excluding runners from participating in a community events that is first and foremost about runners.

Considering the popularity of Nike+ Human Race and how it caught on with other runners, there goes my pogi points, say goodbye to getting freebies and invites. Such is life :-) But sometimes, it's better to speak up on things your feel strongly about and to say your piece (clearly and distinctly that people know where you stand), and hold your peace. And these are what I have to say.

So for those running on Sunday, I bid you well and good luck, have a great run (no sarcasms or voodoo chants). For sponsors and organizers... I hope that your next event are open for general public.

So... are there any happy endings in this affair? Sadly in this post, no. There's a number of good post about Nike+ Human Race but this is not one of them.


sfrunner said...

Hi Gene. Very well said! I'm all for my friends such as Coach Rio, Passion Runner and the staff as well as Ben being involved with the event. I'm all for my fellow bloggers, Happy Feet and other running groups in the Philippines and around the world taking part.

My issue is with Nike. I've talked with the management at Niketown locally. Though they respect my opinion, they feel that I'm being a maverick regarding the fact that I won't buy their product.

I was very quick to tell them that I was wearing Nike's long before a great number of their staff was born. A number of their staff couldn't tell me what the Nike Cortez and the Nike Elite was like back in the 1970s. Admittedly, one of my friends who works at Niketown sided with me when he told upper management at the store "Wayne knows more about Nike Running Shoes and the Nike history more than 90% of our employees!" The management couldn't say anything because I back it up with my actions!

Enough said from me. Take care my friend!

workaholicrunner said...

That is odd that you have to buy Nike stuff in Manila to participate. In the US, here is what I received in an email from the Nike Human Race 10K organizers:

"Run with us for free on 8.31.2008 ... All participants will receive a free nike shirt, free food & entertainment, and a chance to win Nike gear and OSU football tickets."

Gene Ordanza said...

Wayne, my friend, you've been a runner for so long that you're more of an exemption to the rule.

Workaholicrunner, that is odd indeed to have two sets of rules. And the one that they held in US are more in spirits of running. I'm sure Nike+ have they're reasons, but the rules they have here in Manila for joining the race are definitely more discriminatory.

Gigi said...

Hi Gene! I completely understand your sentiments on the Nike Human Race Philippines. I just happen to have the Nike+iPod kit so I might as well join the race.

It could've been a free for all to run in - perhaps, they had to make it exclusive because the organizer's may not be able to do "crowd control" if it was open to everyone.

Just my two cents :)

sfrunner said...

Workaholicrunner, you might want to read my latest blog. The rules in Ohio are different than the rules in California. I admire what the store in Ohio did. They're reaching out to the running audience. Out in SF, let's just say "NO COMMENT!"

Gene, if I was a company that wanted to build on a running shoe product, maybe Nike ought to talk with New Balance, Asics and Brooks. At the end of 2007, the three running shoe companies sold more shoes than Nike according to Consumer Reports and a couple of other affiliations. I'm not bad mouthing Nike but just stating the facts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gene,

Good for you that you stuck with your principles. Hope to see you in future races that are open to all.


Gene Ordanza said...

Hey Gigi, yeah it could have been more open. I do hope though that they're next run event are open to everyone.

Hey Wayne, yeah Nike shoes are probably identified more with Basketball or as a fashion accessories. My impression is that the more technical the runner is, the more likely he/she would go with other brand (ie. NB, Mizuno, Asic, etc).

Hi Levy, thanks for dropping by and for the comment. Saw your post, I was also going to run as bandit but decided against it. Same here, hope to bump into you at other races.

Gigi said...

The last Nike pair I had was in 2000 - I think. I never bought again because I didn't like it's performance... The last two pairs I bought from them just broke... I do like Nike's apparel though.

Shoes that lasted for me were NEW BALANCE, ASICS and ADIDAS...

king del rosario said...

Hey, we'd like to invite you to join! It’s the new on-line social network for sports and fitness enthusiasts here in Manila. You can tag yourself in our photo galleries (which we promise to keep fresh and updated ASAP!) as well as inform other members about upcoming races and sports events. Best of all, you can help promote a healthy lifestyle to more and more individuals by spreading the word about our community. Thanks!

king del rosario said...

Hey, we’d like to invite you to join! It’s the new on-line social network for sports and fitness enthusiasts here in Manila. You can tag yourself in our photo galleries (which we promise to keep fresh and updated ASAP!) as well as inform other members about upcoming races and sports events. Best of all, you can help promote a healthy lifestyle to more and more individuals by spreading the word about our community. Thanks!

Nora, the golden girl said...

Hi, Gene. I have been hibernating for a while so it is only now that I read this post. I didn't join the Nike Race because I'm still training for 10k and most important of all, I don't have a Nike gadget (I have my favorite Nike blue cap though heh heh ...). Anyway, we have our reasons why we don't purchase Nike running gadgets (I am not high-tech and I don't have the money to buy one hah hah ...). The organizers too have their own set of reasons why they have to limit the race. Though I share your sentiments, it's their rules and we have no choice but to abide.

Gene Ordanza said...

Hey Gigi, some of my old Nike pair broke easily as well. It turns out that for some of the Nike shoes I bought, the sole of the shoes are only 'glued' and not stitch, so if get caught in a rain, the glue comes undone :-( For technical running shoes like those from NB, Asics, Mizuno, they're stitch at the sole and built to last longer.

Hi Nora, your right, they have their reasons. And although we're not privy to those reason and personally oppose to it, it should still be respected nonetheless.