Recent years saw a growing popularity of urban running, as evidenced by the impressive number of participants in the numerous races organized in cities around the world. This went hand in hand with the development of mobile and tracking technologies, giving birth to a bunch of innovations and leading to the emergence of new behaviors. And as these runners are also consumers, brands were quick to adopt the trend by creating new products and services.
An urban running championship
Willing to strengthen its position on the running market, Adidas partenered with Ubi Bene and Isobar agencies to create the “Boost Battle Run“, a competition between runners representing different Parisian neighborhoods. Inspired by the Palio, the famous horse race heald twice a year on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, this operation consists in a 9-months championship where 10 teams compete against each other during monthly races and a final run.
Each team includes around 100 runners and organizes several training sessions every week in the streets and parks of Paris. The championship’s ranking is based on teams’ performances, but also on their activity on social networks. Runners’ sense of belonging to a neighborhood is strengthened by the artwork of French artist Franck Pellegrino, who designed blazons for each team. Following the success of the first Boost Battle Run, a second edition started in February 2015 and is currently ongoing under the new name “Boost Energy League“. Pop-up Urbain
Spotify to become an essential running tool
The “Spotify Running” feature is able to determine a runner’s pace using the smartphone’s sensors and generates a 100-song playlist adapted to pace and music preferences.
This option is currently available in a few countries only, but should be extended soon to every Spotify user.
At the same time, the streaming service is developing partnerships with Nike+ and Runkeeper to let runners browse its music library directlty from these apps.
Through these innovations, Spotify is showing its ambition to become an essential tool for runners. Mashable
A wearable bell to make urban running more fluid
Willing to solve the problem of having to slalom between pedestrians, a couple from Japan created the prototype of a brass bell for “frustration-free urban running“. Their “Runbell” lets runners warn people of their approach with a melodious sound. This 30g object consisting in two rings and a bell is worn on the index and middle fingers. The bell mechanism is operated by the thumb.
Artistic running routes
The use of GPS lets runners visualize their routes and some great maps were made from the tracking data collected by running apps.
An unexpected yet creative activity grew from this trend: willing to make physical exercise more fun, some runners started “sketching” real drawings based on their actual running routes as seen on a map.
Brands were quick taking over this trend and some drawing contests launched by Nike+ and MapMyFitness gave birth to some pretty impressive artwork. A Nike+ user even created a Tumblr showcasing her best “running drawings”. Running Drawing