“When you run with this crowd, there’s a place for everyone” – Coach Peteni Kuzwayo. This is the philosophy that underpins the global community of runners known as Nike+ Run Club, which was re-launched in Johannesburg yesterday.
Nike+ Run Club (NRC) is a community of athletes that challenge each other and celebrate their victories together. The NRC programme serves runners of all ability levels – whether they are attempting their first, fastest or farthest run.
There is no better example of this than the man at the helm of it all, Coach Peteni Kuzwayo, who was previously overweight and suffered from asthma, struggling to complete a 2km run without losing breath. That all changed when he started running and completed his first Soweto Marathon in 2010. With the help of NRC, he has since completed five Comrades Marathons and he now leads the NRC Joburg programme with enthusiasm.
“My passion and goal for running is to bring out the best in all Nike+ Run Club members,” says Coach. “The programme is structured in such a way that each athlete can achieve their goals, and together as a community we support each other. My story is just one example of the many lives that have been changed for the better by NRC.”
Through a number of tools, including the Nike+ App and physical running sessions, the NRC programme enables runners to achieve their fitness goals by giving them the support they need to get there. Runners get the most out of Nike’s expertise and service through personalised engagement with Coach Peteni Kuzwayo and his pacers, as well as product trialing, like the newly launched Nike Free Run Flyknit.
15 years ago, insights from a legendary coach inspired designers to create footwear that mimicked the feel of barefoot training but incorporated important protection and support, and Nike Free was born. Today, the Nike Free Run Flyknit takes that original technology even further.
Drawing upon new studies that reveal how the foot expands and contracts upon impact with and liftoff from the ground, the splaying, auxetic midsole mimics how the body and foot react to force. It absorbs shock while accounting for the dual-plane expansion in foot size — approximately one size in length and two sizes in width — that occurs throughout an athlete’s foot strike.
Moreover, the multi-directional outsole flexibility closely mimics this changing shape, whether an athlete is moving linearly in running or multi-directionally in training. The resulting flexibility puts the foot, rather than the shoe, in control.
National U23 Men’s Football Team Biokineticist and Nike+ Training Club trainer, Simone’ Conley, emphasises the importance of having the correct footwear. “Training and running use vastly different muscle groups and having the right support in footwear is essential to avoiding injuries.”
Also present at the launch event were South African footballers Itumeleng Khune and Keagan Dolly, and South African 400m Women’s Hurdles Champion, Wenda Nel. The Nike athletes talked about how structured training – which includes running as the foundation – forms part of their training regimes across their different sporting disciplines.
The Nike Free Run Flyknit is further testament to Nike’s constant determination to enable athletes to perform at their best. Whether it’s through revolutionary technology in their products, or a motivating community like NRC that offers expert guidance to athletes, Nike is committed to converting the “back of the pack” runners into ultra-marathon runners.
Nike unveils the new additions to its Free footwear family, each featuring a progressive design to enable an athlete’s natural motion and develop strength, whether they are running or training.
Nike Free Run and Train will be launching in Nike Stores and leading retailers on 7 April 2016.