Nike’s #makeitcount Campaign – The power of the brand and social media

The world’s biggest sporting brand has launched it’s annual campaign driven by the force of social media. All athletes, including runners have been asked to tell Nike and the rest of the world how they are going to “make 2013 count”. The campaign, endorsed by a number of Olympic and world athletes and titled with the infamous Twitter hashtag has attracted thousands to sign up. Motivational images such as the ones below are leading the movement to encourage athletes to sign up and connect with the rest of the world about their sporting goal for the next 12 months.

Take a look to see how the running community got together in New York for #makeitcount 2012 last year (how I would’ve loved to have been there!). It portrays so well the power of the Nike brand and as well how social media in isolation has it’s own power to bring people with similar interests together.

The#makeitcount campaign doesn’t just involve athletes to pledge their sporting goals for this year, it gives a general message of doing something more active with your life. This has been introduced to coincide with the release of the Nike+ fuel band which retails at around £129 and basically tracks how “fuelled” up you are on activity (and adrenalin). Take a look at this amazing video, made by Casey Neistate, an American film producer about how he is making this year count:

(My heart literally stopped when he jumped from that waterfall)

Casey’s video which is full of energy and motivation is exactly the kind of marketing Nike have so successfully involved themselves with. Marketing and positioning of a brand has become ever more essential in the age of the social media revolution and the citizen journalist. Making their brand about people and experiences and allowing them to share those in a world wide community rather than another dreary product focused advertising campaign is something Nike has perfected over the past decade.

Few more #makeitcount pacts from Nike’s Facebook page:






However, Nike have not lost sight of the importance of high quality products and the way these are marketed and released has also proven vital to their success. The introduction of their Nike Free trainer just as the phenomenon of minimal and barefoot running started to take off is a clever and successful move.

They have managed to consistently make their profits rise year on year – they recorded a $24.1 billion revenue in 2012 and adapting their products to fall in line with changing trends and fashion has proven to be the magical formula to ensure this keeps happening. How even after thirty years and in a global economic downturn, people continue buying Nike gear and everyone wants to be seen in it is a massive achievement. And I don’t see it changing any time soon. Bravo Nike.
Will you be #makingitcount this year?

Happy Running.



2013 Running Events in South Wales

When starting a new sport or hobby, a lot of people tend to stick to it better when they have an end target. If you have just started running or just need a little bit of motivation, a great way to do this is to sign up for a running event near you. Now I know I have mentioned that doing this can sometimes be a bit risky, particularly for beginners because you can sign up for a marathon or 10k without realising the amount of training it requires. But, as long as you are dedicated and willing to put the time and effort into training for an event, you will love it and sign up for more! I’ve compiled a list and provided some details about the up and coming running events happening throughout the course of the year, with links to relevant websites. Have a browse and if one takes your fancy, sign up! Ask a friend, colleague or get a group of you together so you can start training together. It won’t become as much of a mundane task then and you are likely to do more with a friend backing you:

1: The Action Duchenne Love Run 2013

Distance: 10 km

Where: Bute Park, Cardiff

When: Saturday 16th February, 11:00

Action Duchenne is a national charity set up to raise awareness and fund research for medicines and cures for duchenne muscle dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease. They raise most of their money through sporting events including running, swimming, cycling and treks.

You do not necessarily have to register for this event but if you want your race to be timed, you must register here and it will also cost you an extra £10 if you enter on the day. Advance registration is £20 both affiliated and unaffiliated (basically if you are a member of a running club or not) and entries on the day will cost £30.

They are also holding a family fun run which is 5k (not timed) and does not require registration. The fee for this race is £15. 

2: St David’s Day Run

Distance: 10k/5k/1k

Where: Bute Park, Cardiff

When: Sunday 3rd March, 12:00

A special event celebrating St David’s the patron saint of Wales, patriots from all over the country gather on a fresh spring morning every year to take part. There were 1000 runners last year and the organiser’s do not accept entries on the day so get your place here before they all run out.

It is £14 for an affiliated runner and £16 for an unaffiliated runner to take part in the 10k. The 5k event is £8/£10 to enter and the 1k fun run costs just £4. Fancy dress is a popular choice of running gear on the day and it will be a great day out for all right in the heart of the capital.

3: Atlantic College Run

Distance: 10k

Where: St. Donat’s Castle, Llantwit Major

When: Sunday 24th March, 11:00

This popular annual race takes part in scenic Llantwit Major and the route takes you right through the castle and the surrounding area. They accept entries on the day at a cost of £15 or advance booking is £11/£13 and you can register for the race here.

4: Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest 2013

Distance: 10k

Where: Roald Dahl’s Plass, Oval Basin, Cardiff Bay

When: Sunday 6th October. The race starts in 15 minute “waves” and the first one is at 10:30am

Ladies! Do not be put off by the title of this race, women are welcome to take part in this event too! This is not just a running event, it’s a bit of an obstacle course where the race starts off with you having to climb a wall of hay – and I also hear you get pretty wet during the course of the race as well.

All in the name of good, healthy fun! The map of the route is almost identical to the one I showed you not long ago when I mapped some city routes. Here’s the race map which takes you right into the Millennium Stadium.















The event attracts huge crowds every year AND also includes a BEER TENT at Cardiff Bay for you to enjoy a nice cold beer afterwards. What more could you want? The organisers tend to mix up the obstacle course every year so keep an eye out on their website for updates. I am not 100% but I think the fee is around £30 to enter and they are taken up very quickly. Click here to register for the event.

Hope this was of use for you and the list is in no way exhaustive. As I have previously mentioned, park runs take place almost every weekend around Cardiff so take a look at their website to find out more if you want to take part in more regular running events.

Happy running!


First run of the year

So the first run of the year is out of the way and I thought i’d share it with you.  It took a good few days to pluck up the courage after the Christmas binge. I wasn’t too hard on myself route wise as I knew it was going to be a tough one.

I ran a quick half an hour 5k from Penarth Marina across the barrage to Cardiff Bay and back.














I wrapped up pretty warm with Nike thermal leggings, a Nike thermal long sleeve top, a Dri-Fit jacket, my new reflective Nike gloves and fleece headband. The temperature wasn’t as low as I thought it was and about half way through I took off my gloves. It’s surprising how much you cool down when the air can get to your hands!

I ran about 7pm when it was pretty much pitch black so having reflective gear on was pretty essential as part of the run was along a narrow road. Although the barrage is brightly lit almost all of the way, it’s quite hard to see the ground. There is a lane for bicycles which isn’t lit and a walkers route where the spotlights are. I ran along the walkers route as there wasn’t too many people around. Although I couldn’t see exactly where my feet were it didn’t put me off as the barrage is all pedestrianised so I wasn’t worried about ditches or potholes.

It felt good to be back on the road after a few weeks off. The temperature was perfect for the first run as it wasn’t too windy or cold but I had a nice breeze on my face. This is the first time I’ve covered this route exactly and I’ll definitely be doing it again. There is a great view right across Cardiff Bay and you are often accompanied by other runners.

Having the luxury of not having to stand pissed at traffic lights which you often have to do when city running (especially in Cardiff) is great but the run wasn’t completely uninterrupted…the barrage was up and I had to wait a good 5 minutes for it to let the boat through and lower back down. Not great when I was 10 minutes into the run and just warming up. It wasn’t all bad though, certainly no where near as annoying as hundreds of traffic light stops…so I took some random barage viewphotos for you whilst I was waiting…




















I ran in my new Nike Frees for only the second time as the weather has been so bad here and I can only run in them when it’s dry. There is a lot less support in them than my Asics but they are so much lighter and as long as you keep on flat smooth ground you won’t have any problems. I loved running in them but as there is hardly anything in them you can feel everything and towards the end of the route my ankles started to ache slightly but I think that’s because my feet are used to my other trainers. A few more goes in them and I should  be right as rain.

So all in all a good run and I’m feeling confident about my fitness for this year.

A quick music suggestion – I had this song on loop for most of the run and it’s definitely up there as one of my top songs of 2012. With a highly appropriate title here’s Jessie Ware’s Running (Disclosure Remix)…

Happy Running!