Friday, January 8, 2016

How Mark Zuckerberg just changed running forever

Mark Zuckerberg started his A Year Of Running group on Facebook less than a week ago, and in my experience as one of the first of about 100,000 to join it already is the biggest running social network in the world and is already changing lives and making a difference everywhere.

The Facebook founder started it as his annual commitment to try something new, and his objective is to run 365 miles in 2016 and get others to run as well. The results are already profound, and I predict that it will live on into 2017.

Here is why I am obsessed with it:

1. My FB wall is now taken over by runners in Syria, Iraq, India, America,Taiwan, Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil, etc.

2. There is no politics, religion, race, class, gender, media, language, fast or slow, relationship status, size, health, or even shoe type. It is John Lennon's dream come true. It is natural Earth.

3. If you post a pic and a few words about your latest training run, you have hundreds of likes and comments almost immediately from others who share your love of just running.

4. We can speak a universal language (FB translates it for you) and learn to love each other more. That tells you what is still possible with technology and healthy passion. It makes you hopeful amid ceaseless reports of a hate-filled, oppressive and crumbling society. Just consider this post today by a female runner in Gaza named Asmaa Muhammed:

She explained to her commenters: "I can run at home only which is really boring. I cant go run out at parks or beach." She later added for those who ask her why: "They think its not good for women to run in front of other people." There is strong support for her from other runners, other women. It seems helpless, but maybe it makes her feel better. It should at least start with being friendly to other people, as this does. Maybe it empowers her. Who knows?

5. Learning how to run takes a huge stride forward. A person in one part of the world learns how another trains, learns sports medicine (ie plantar fasciitis), learns how to run in cold weather by seeing a post from someone running in Finland! 

6. This is how to build a bucket list, and meet people you might meet in person when you travel to their local race.

7. Stories about weight loss are so common on AYOR that you believe in your own ability to go after it.

8. Far down the list but not irrelevant is brand-building. I am an ASICS Ambassador and just doing what I do naturally for the last decade gives ASICS more global reach. Running brands cannot afford to overlook this, but just talk, don't preach. After all, as one poster just noted, "stop promoting your country!" (He was quickly shot down by a lot of runners who said they are enjoying learning about other countries and how people are runners there.)

9. It is going to float all social boats and chats. Just add your Twitter or IG handle at the end of a comment on another's post, again with discretion. There is nothing wrong with introducing new running friends to your blog and overall social world.

10. It is what I got on FB for in the first place. I tell everyone that my FB is for my running first and foremost. Some non-running enthusiasts among your family and friends will always see you as a "narcissist" (such a cynical word!) if you post about your race or training, but we support each other. This is the best thing since the Big Cats Running Group I joined on Myspace nearly 10 years ago.

I have been on other FB running groups such as Marathon Maniacs and I love them. But nothing on Earth is like this and it took less than a week.

Thanks from one Mark to another.

1 comment:

From Ice Cream to Marathon said...

I had not even heard of this! I will join right away. Thanks for sharing, Mark!