Runkeeper Stresses Inclusivity In 'I Am A Runner'

I dispensed with new year’s resolutions, or at least ones more meaningful than “less talk, more rock,” a ways back. Given my status as a person of a certain age, I’m more or less a finished product. To quote someone wiser and less spinach-averse: “I yam what I yam.”

I’m not saying that people can’t change or that they don’t want to. Me, I’d like to be more thoughtful and less bald, but habit and genetics exert a pull akin to gravity in terms of futility-of-resistance-thereto. I’m okay with this. No fewer than three of the eight or nine most important people in my life agree.

Ah, but there was an incident. Rushing to get ready for work on the first day after the break - and after 11 days minding two sugar-addled toddlers 24/7, I’m ready to go until April without weekends - I somehow managed to rip the shirt I was wearing on the corner of an open drawer. During the moment I spent transitioning between shirt #1 and shirt #2, the older kid approached my stomach, gave it a push and started chanting, “Wobbly wobbly wobbly!” The younger kid, understandably, thought this was the funniest thing he has experienced during his two years on the planet and picked up the chant. Ever since, I have gotten dressed by myself in dark, mirror-free settings.



For the first time in a while, then, I’m on the resolution train: I have pledged to flatten the pillow that mysteriously appears under my torso whenever I find myself horizontal. This will mostly require an immediate dietary U-turn on Pre-Diabetes Blvd., but it’ll also involve Runkeeper.

I can say without exaggeration that I consider Runkeeper one of the most indispensible tools in my day-to-day existence. I’ve been using the app to track my daily scampers around the neighborhood since May 29, 2011. If I feel like crap in the wake of a run, I tell Runkeeper. It’s one part data warehouse and one part chafing confidante, an essential exercise journal for the non-journal-inclined.

So I’m happy to be able to get behind what I believe to be Runkeeper’s first-ever plunge into the ever-serene waters of brand video, “I Am a Runner.” Tonally, the clip doesn’t venture anywhere that any number of fitness organizations and sneaker makers haven’t already gone. It’s all about enthusiasm and affirmation and you-can-be-your-best-self-iness. Separately, it’s a wonder marketers who ply their trade in this realm haven’t figured out a way to deliver actual hugs to accompany all the virtual ones.

What distinguishes “I Am a Runner” from its attitudinal forbears, however, is a spirit of inclusivity. This isn’t often found in fitness-related campaigns, which are usually populated by individuals who get rushed past the bouncer at casting cattle calls seeking “athletic” body types. To be sure, there are two such specimens in “I Am a Runner,” but there’s also a paunchy middle-aged dude on a treadmill and an over-50 woman.

Let that register for a second: “paunchy” and “over 50.” Indeed, we appear to have confirmed the existence of marketing-related footage featuring people with pudgy necks, bulbous calves and/or wobbly torsos. Should somebody alert the media?

I know people like this. So do you. It’s still borderline shocking to see them featured here, especially without the always super-subtle exercise-or-perish subtext. Good on Runkeeper for bypassing its immediate audience of running enthusiasts and preaching the inclusivity gospel.
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