‘Crew’ or ‘cru’? We don’t care how you say it.

Runner's World South Africa - - Editor's Letter - MIKE FINCH EDI­TOR-IN-CHIEF @MikeFinchSA

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.”

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