News — October 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Fun and fitness combine: The phenomenal rise of music running events

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Fitness and music have always gone hand in hand. A cursory look around any gym will testify to this fact and even science has shown that humans can run up to 15% faster when they are listening to energizing music. Whilst normally people pound the pavement or the treadmill with their favorite tunes pumping through earbuds, fitness enthusiasts have warmly embraced a new concept running events, incorporating pumping music delivered along a dedicated running track.

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Runners making their way through one of the five dedicated running zones in The Music Run’s Taipei event (photo: Facebook)

Dr. Costas Karageoghis says “elite athletes are usually ‘associators’, which means they tend to focus inwardly when they are running.” Most other runners, he says, are “dissociators” (or are somewhere between the two). This means they look for stimulus and distraction from what is going on around them.” With thousands of runners attending these festive events, these music runners certainly appeal to dissociators, providing opportunities for fitness and an engaging feast for the senses.

 

Inspirational sporting role models, greater health awareness and a hunger for improved wellbeing is driving huge growth in the fitness movement and savvy event organizers have found a willing audience ready to pay up and sweat it out at these events. The Music Run has completed a series of successful events across Southeast Asia and will be hosting events in Kuala Lumpur (10 October), Shanghai (24 October), Bangkok (7 November) and Manila (14 November) before the end of the year. Director of Media & Entertainment for The Music Run, Sammy Wallwork believes that the success of their events has to do with their system of allowing runners the unique ability to curate their own soundtrack to the run, personalizing the experience.

 

“By using our bespoke digital music selection mechanic, we enable crowd sourcing of the music playlists that provides a true social voice and emotional connection with the Event experience” explains Wallwork. Participants are able to listen, vote and share their favorite songs to decide the music that will be played across the five areas of the Sound Track.  “The more a song is voted for and shared by fans, the more likely it will be to end up on the final playlists. Ultimately, fans decide the final Music Zone Playlists. By giving our participants a voice and the power to decide how they can experience the event” he says.

 

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Runners rock out at the finish party of The Music Run’s Jakarta event (Image: Facebook)

The system seems to be working and across the 13 events and 9 countries The Music Run has a presence in, they’ll see more than 120,000 participants walk, run and dance their way across the 5km “sound track.” Indeed through the use of technology The Music Run have been able to create an immersive, all ages experience that encourages a healthy, active lifestyle. Their events, alike many other music running events, draw a huge audience across all ages but is especially well represented by teens and young adults that are not able to attend other areas traditionally associated with music like concerts and clubs. Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Chan recently attended the Music Run event in Taipei and says “It’s just such a great way to combine fitness and a fun, unique experience to share with my friends. I will definitely be coming back next year!”

 

Whilst the scale of these events make logistics and organization a formidable challenge, the rewards are great for organizers. First to market advantage is as important within this sphere as any other and whichever company can establish a strong foothold in the region is positioned well to gain the most, both amongst runners and sponsors. The combination of an experiential event that incorporates fun and fitness makes it an advertiser’s dream. Sponsors like sports drinks, athletic shoes, fitness apps and gadgets and other parts of the fitness industry are flocking to have their brands associated with these types of events and are well represented across many of these events.

 

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The starting line of Livescape Asia’s Electric Run event (photo: Facebook)

The race is on now amongst event organizers to establish a presence in the region and sufficiently differentiate themselves. Each event has taken a different approach. Where The Music Run believe curated playlists will keep the masses coming back, Color Run has participants pelting powdered dyes at each other and the similarly named Electro Run in Indonesia and Electric Run in Malaysia host nighttime events and illuminate runners’ paths, turning it into a brilliant, neon tinged wonderland.

 

Livescape Asia recently hosted their event Electric Run,  with more than 11.800 people attending the event. The turnout was enough for the event to make it into the Malaysia Book of records for having the most participants in a neon run (although we don’t know if there was much competition for that title previously). According to Livescape Asia’s Regional Head of Marketing, PR & Strategic Planning Jason Kong, the hugely successful event is driven by Livescape’s desire to “create memories instead of just events. We wanted to put together a run that was experiential. A run that allows you to experience running like none other. And I believe we did that.”

 

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Attendees rock out at The Electric Run’s finish line concert (photo: Facebook)

From an organizer’s perspective, the future is viewed with optimism. Despite intense competition within the relatively new movement, Kong is convinced there is a huge market for fitness enthusiasts looking for something different. “Most of them are seeking new running experiences so I think as long as organisers keep things fresh and different, there’s definitely a big market to tap into.” For now, fans of fitness, music and fun can always hit the gym or the streets with their trusty earbuds in ear but seeing how running enthusiasts have embraced the concept, there certainly doesn’t look to be no shortage of music run events well into the future.