THE NEW REVOLUTIONARIES
‘Crew’ or ‘cru’? We don’t care how you say it.
AROUND THE GLOBE, run crews are taking the sport of running and turning it into a cultural phenomenon – one that’s as much about the lifestyle that goes with it as it is about running.
South Africa has a history of runners getting together in groups. Running clubs have been the lifeblood of the sport, and have driven its popularity for decades. So how are running crews different? In South Africa, starting a running crew is simply a way of establishing a less formal running club. A group of like- minded individuals get together, set up a WhatsApp group, and meet regularly for a run and some social elixing (is this a millennial word? – Sub
Editor) afterwards. Running clubs tend to be more formal. They wear the same kit at races, have committees and chairpersons, charge club fees, put on organised events – and they’re a great support system for anyone from beginner to Comrades vet.
But run crews have their place. They’re less intimidating, engender a closer sense of camaraderie, and are driving a new audience to see running as a means to an end.
Health should always be trendy; but formal structures, while crucial for the development of the sport, are often seen as fuddy-duddy and old-school. Run crews open up the sport in a way that running clubs can’t – and that can only be a good thing.
On our cover this month, we’ve taken the decision to celebrate the rise – though embryonic – of run crews in South Africa. It’s inspiring to hear how they’re starting to pop up in urban areas, and are contributing to a healthy mindset among an audience of millennials.
Suddenly, a healthy pastime has become a cool way to hang out.
Just to be clear: we still love running clubs. They are the bastion of running in South Africa, and loads of them have embraced new trends and attract a new generation of younger runners.
But run crews are rad. They are the fringe players, the revolutionaries and the outliers, who see running differently.
And if that means we get closer to banishing string vests forever… we think that’s a good thing!
“Suddenly, a healthy pastime has become a cool way to hang out.”