Contributed Post by Peter Abraham, Content and Brand Marketing Expert and Running Guru
I recently gave a talk at the TEDxUCLA event. I wanted to articulate the work that I’d been doing in the running space over the past 10 years. This talk offered a chance for me to reflect on why I left advertising and dove into the running business with no prior experience.
As it turns out, I was having a crisis of purpose in advertising. I was helping to sell soda and fast food to kids, and I craved meaning in my work. So I started my own running event. That was in 2006, and since then I’ve been on a mission to use running as a tool to affect positive change in the community.
I illustrated my talk with examples like Students Run LA—they train 3,000 at-risk teenagers every year to run the full Los Angeles Marathon. And over 90% of those kids, whom are mostly from below the poverty line, go on to college. I also talked about the new wave of social fitness—these running clubs that meet late at night and run through the city. They’re young, they connect on Instagram and Snapchat, and they run to meet each other, not to compete.
Ultimately, what I’ve learned from running is that it’s an amazing community- building tool that can change lives for both individuals and larger groups. It can even improve the physical structures of a city, which I learned from an art+running project I did. Imagine trying to get 20,000 people out playing tennis at the same time. It’s never going to happen. But running is so accessible, and it scales like no other sport can.
This one thing—building community with running—really can change the world.