THE FORCE IS STRONG IN THESE RUNS
Snowspeeder / New York, NY / Directions
X-Wing / New York, NY / Directions
Millenium Falcon / New York, NY / Directions
Princess Leia / Portland, OR / Directions
Red Leader / Portland, OR / Directions
AT-ST Walker / Portland, OR / Directions
Death Star / Portland, OR / Directions
TIE Fighter / Portland, OR / Directions
AT-AT Walker / Portland, OR / Directions
Stormtrooper / Portland, OR / Directions
Darth Vader / Portland, OR / Directions
Yoda / Portland, OR / Directions
C3PO / Portland, OR / Directions
R2D2 / New York, NY / Directions
Imperial Shuttle / Portland, OR / Directions
A New Hope for Running
In late November 2015, I was getting bored of running. The terrible weather that we were having here in Portland, OR wasn’t helping either. What I did have going for me was Star Wars: the Force Awakens, which was coming out mid-December. Inspired by Run of Thrones, a project that I did 2 years ago, I started mapping out routes in the shape of Star Wars icons and running them. What differentiated this project from Run of Thrones was that 1) the routes were a lot more intricate and 2) for each run, a set of run-friendly, turn-by-turn directions were created and shared so that others can also do the run.
These runs gave us new reasons to pound the pavement. We were no longer tied to the same old routes. We were running through new neighborhoods, across various bridges, down hidden alleyways, and past famous and obscure landmarks. In addition to all of this new stimuli, anticipating the next steps in the turn-by-turn directions further broke down the monotony of running.
The Search for Routes
Before combing through the map for a route, I first identify the most iconic parts of the drawing and then look for that part on the map. Once found, the rest of the route is built out from that point on using Nike+'s online route creator tool, Nike+ Places. After the route has been completed, I create the turn-by-turn cards by going through the route while also ensuring that all turns are clear. For parts that get a little confusing, I use Streetview on Google Maps to document the complexity in the directions. Once the directions have been compiled, I go out for the run. If any problems come up during the run, I mentally document it and update the directions afterwards.
Directions for each run were presented in a storyboard / photo album format. While on the run, all the runner had to do was swipe left to proceed to the next step. The card format also allowed for directions to be granular, something that turn-by-turn directions through in-ear audio fails to do.
For example, in the Darth Vader run, step 10 requires you to make a right on NE 12th Ave. Then on steps 11 and 12, there's more detail around navigating onto and around the track at Buckman Field.
The loop of the experience was closed by including the names of those who finished a run at the end of each set of cards.
Not only did Run Wars put a new lens on running, it inspired runners around the world to look for iconic Star Wars run routes in their respective regions. The most fulfilling part of this project was hearing about other runners in Portland (here, here, here, and here) actually completing these complex runs on their own or with friends.
I also received the following message from a runner that completed the AT-AT Walker run right before the new year.
Presence of the Force
From local news stations to news sites halfway around the world, the recognition that Run Wars has received has been overwhelming. I'm hoping that this project will help inspire and re-inspire runners around the world to go out for a run in the new year.
May the Force be with you.
- The Wall Street Journal / Making Art on the Run? There’s an App for That
- Folha de S. Paolo / Americano atrai seguidores com corridas inspiradas em 'Star Wars'
- City Lab (The Atlantic) / A Portlander Is Running 'Star Wars'-Themed Routes
- The Oregonian / Portlander's runs bring out the 'Star Wars' hidden in city streets
- BBC / Runner's routes make Star Wars maps
- The Independent UK / Runner uses fitness app to sketch out iconic Star Wars figures
- The Portland Mercury / A Portland Runner is Drawing Star Wars Map Routes
- The Straits Times / US runner maps running routes based on Star Wars characters
- Business Insider / This guy turned his running routine into awesome 'Star Wars' drawings
- Elite Daily / Guy Maps Out His Running Routes In The Shapes Of ‘Star Wars’ Characters
- The Next Web / A Portland runner is plotting Star Wars routes and posting them to Instagram
- GeekWire / This Portland runner has mapped out routes inspired by ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Game of Thrones’
- Competitor Magazine / Awesome: Runner Maps Star Wars Characters on Strava
- Women's Health / Runner draws Star Wars characters using Nike+ app in Portland
- Digiday / This agency staffer is running ‘Star Wars’-shaped routes in Portland
- Digital Spy / This runner's Star Wars character route maps are seriously cool
- Ad Week / Odds and Ends
- The Mirror UK / Runner draws Star Wars characters on his jogging routes using GPS app
- The LAD Bible / Runner Draws 'Star Wars' Characters On Nike+ App
- Runnerspace / Instagram
- Strava / Facebook
- Darren Rovell (ESPN) / Twitter
- Na Game of Thrones rent Lu nu Star Wars-figuren bij elkaar