This is my daily journal, of my travels to Copenhagen, Paris, London and Boston during the months of March and April. I am chronicling the spring marathon season.
The emotional ties that bind in Boston can not be underestimated. The Boston marathon, for those in New England has been a tradition for nearly 118 years. On Patriots Day, New Englanders cheer on the hearty souls, fewer in the old days, who ran from Hopkinton to the Pru Center in celebration of the most arduous challenge a runner could do in those days.
Thursday, during Boston week, is set up day in the city of Boston for the booths at the Hynes Expo Center. On Friday, the crowds begin and by Saturday, they are amazing.
As I walk around the city, I observe. I try not to intrude. Watching people go by the finish line, right in front of my hotel, the Charlesmark, is fascinating. Runners stop to take pictures of the finish. I have watched people break out in tears as they go by the line. Personal stories, personal ties.
Boston’s finest have been all around the downtown for the past week. 3500 law enforcement personnel will be on course, watching the runners and fans.
But, the adidas app, We are all Boston has resonated. I once told adidas, that if they promoted the campaigns that they did in Boston all year, they would be super starts. With the success of their new product, Energy Boost, they really could have something going.
In Boston this year, New Balance has gone out and taken over the Prudential Center, the Lenox, the Charlesmark and all of the MBTA stations. A brilliant activation campaign, New Balance has taken a move out of the adidas rule book and mastered the domain.
Boston marathon, in North America, is the litmus test for the sport each year in the spring. The sport is vibrant. There are signs of some changes though. Minimalism, which was the rage, 18 months ago is dead. It’s spirit, in lightweight, flexible footwear will be alive for decades. This year, the brand on fire is HOKA ONE ONE. HOKA ONE ONE has again used the pages right out of the old running marketing rue book. Produce fine product. Take care of run specialty. Market the hell out of your product (that still means, for runners, print, digital, social all in tandem-we will discuss that later), and evangelize for your product. Oh, and one more caveat: you may think globally, you may execute a global campaign, but if the campaign is not seen in Detroit, Michigan, and Evansville, Illinois, as well as St. Louis, San Jose and Raleigh, your running shoe message is lost. Runners think global and buy local, whether in real running stores or on-line.
The apparel that adidas has done for Boston is everywhere. I have never seen any other event like the Boston reach. I found London’s adidas line this year the best that they have EVER done. I loved the green t-shirts from Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris very popular around Europe. But, Boston marathon apparel, there is nothing like it.
Last deep thought about Boston: it is unique. In this race, most of the runners have to qualify. And for most age groups ( I am not sure about the under 34 at 3:05), it is a challenge.
I believe marathons should be the domain of 25 plus. Last weekend, in London, Haile Gebrselassie told us that no one under 25 should run the marathon, and I think he has something there (even though I ran my first at 19).
My final bit on Thursday night was a nice walk on Boston Commons. Few were in the park as I did my three miles, listening to Chuck Mangione, and enjoying the cold, clear, crisp walk. As I headed back to the Charlesmark, it was time for