Connected Runners: Basno Digital Medals

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“Why do you run?”

That question alone is a pet peeve that nearly every runner faces on a constant basis. There are runners all over the world, from occasional joggers to elite runners that can run five minute miles for incredible distances, but the one thing they all have in common is the simple fact that they get out and do it; regardless of reason.

For many though, whether running is therapeutic or just another step toward a healthier lifestyle, there is little more that is as satisfying as a finisher’s medal at the end of the race that you trained months for. Despite blisters and lost toenails, heatstroke and hypothermia, the feeling you get as the medal is placed around your neck is unmatched.

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Unfortunately, the moment is typically short lived when it comes to sharing with friends and family. Newsfeeds fill with pictures of lunches and vacations, and within a day or two the moment disappears and the evidence of accomplishment is tucked away in a forgotten album labeled “Big Race ’13” or simply “Running.”

Luckily for the connected runners out there, Basno has developed race badges to harness the spirit of running and to share the passion for the sport that every runner has.

With digital personalization, times and names can be added to the finishing badge that every runner receives, offering a new way to connect the community and invite others in. Being in the midst of an emphasis on social engagement, the badges make it easier for runners to share their experiences and curate an online showcase of their accomplishments.

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Personally, I’m excited about the ability to store my accomplishments digitally in one place, especially considering that now just two months into 2014, I’ve already got seven finisher medals and no good way to display them online.

Ultimately, the running community is a strong one; a massive group of people that love being active and inviting outsiders to join them. In the digital world, I’m not sure what more could be done to bring such an offline community online than a way to join peers in accomplishments that nobody outside the community could ever understand.

So to answer the question of why we run, it’s because we’re runners. It’s what we do.

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Communities: They’re For Everyone

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Community.

To many people, that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Thanks to social media and “community-building” platforms, community is just a digital age buzzword for the people you’re reaching; ultimately in an attempt to make you and your company a little bit more money.

In a more classic sense though, and probably what our parents would agree a community is and should be, it’s a group of like-minded people focused on the common good for that group. If that’s what you accept a community to be, then you can see why every marketing pro jumps on the concept, especially in the everyone-gets-a-trophy society that we’ve created and come to accept.

It’s a brilliant strategy, but what I want to encourage you to do is to find a community that you can share your life with, without the profitable encouragement of an outside company.

I thought about it, ironically browsing “gymspiration” and “fitspiration” tags on Tumblr and Pinterest Pinboards, but as you search for solitude in this ever-connected world you have a beautiful plethora of options.

Considering my past, I thought about the two most physical aspects of my life and how the communities surrounding them is open to everyone.

The first is backpacking. Finding yourself as you search the backcountry for meaning to the things in your life is one of the most solitary things you can do. Days can be spent seeing nobody, miles of wondering and wandering without the distraction of your newsfeed or push notifications.

On the other hand though, the backpacking community is a gnarled and humble group of people, welcoming to every skill level from pro athletes to children exploring the woods.

The second community I feel closest to is that of the runners. Am I competitive? No. Will the strangers along the race route cheer you on like a champion? Absolutely.

The running community is a family, strangers share tips and tricks for getting in shape, taking care of your body, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle; all the while patting you on the back just for putting on your shoes. Like any family, there are bad apples, those people that turn their noses up at slow runners, or distance runners that pretend to be “too good” for something like a 5K. Hell, I’ve been that guy before, but in the end everyone watches out for each other, full of encouragement and always there, even if you’ve secluded yourself to your headphones and a pace found in your active state of alone-ness.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s easy to write off being a part of something because everyone says you need to be involved, but there are plenty of options that are perfect fits for you. Even the most solitary and secluded person can find a place of comfort among the runners and backpackers of the world, enhancing their individualism while they slowly strengthen their bonds with others doing the exact same thing.

In the digital age, communities are jaded, maybe even tainted, but at the core they’re what everyone needs.