Run Wild with Gaia: adidas Runtastic Challenges Runners to Hit the Trails and Reconnect with Wild Spaces

adidas Runtastic, one of the world’s leading companies in the digital health and fitness space, is partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), adidas TERREX, and S.P.E.C.I.E.S. to activate the global running community during Run Wild. Runners worldwide will compete with a GPS-tracked mountain lion while they reconnect with wild spaces to protect them from human impact.

Summary

Today, adidas Runtastic, one of the world’s leading companies in the digital health and fitness space, UNEP, and several partners are launching the latest edition of Run Wild, an exciting digital running challenge that lets its users connect with and race against a wild mountain lion.

Details

adidas Runtastic is partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), adidas TERREX, S.P.E.C.I.E.S., and Timothy Olson to activate the running community to reconnect with nature and protect mountain ecosystems during Run Wild

How it works

To educate and rally runners around the topics of human impact on wild spaces and environmental protection, adidas Runtastic is launching the third edition of Run Wild, a global, ten-day digital running challenge, on the adidas Running app. Athletes who opt into the Run Wild Challenge will track their total distance (running, treadmill, hiking, walking, virtual running, and trail running) over ten days, and each day they will be able to compare their progress to the distances traveled by a wild mountain lion currently roaming the Cascade Mountains in the U.S.A.’s Pacific Northwest.

Runners will love racing Gaia, this years’ Run Wild challenger animal, while learning about leave no trace principles, mindfulness, and trail running from adidas athlete Timothy Olson, who recently ran the fastest known time on the Pacific Crest Trail. Timothy, UNEP, and adidas Runtastic will share insights on how runners can reconnect with their environment and act as responsible stewards of the outdoors. 

By taking part in the Run Wild Challenge, athletes will also have the opportunity to support S.P.E.C.I.E.S., a conservation organization working to protect carnivores like Gaia and their habitats. 

Why it matters

Waste in the mountains is an increasingly concerning issue made worse by the rise in popularity of mountain sports. According to UNEP’s recently published mountain waste survey, two out of three people in the mountains will see trash while recreating outdoors. Over half of survey respondents reported seeing enough trash to fill the top compartment of a mountaineering backpack, most of which consisted of plastic waste. 

“Most people visiting the mountains do not know that it can take up to three years for a banana

peel to decompose,” says Matthias Jurek, UNEP Programme Management Officer. “This is why campaigns such as Run Wild are so important. They can raise the public’s awareness about pollution and degradation of mountain habitats.”  – Matthias Jurek – UN Environment Programme

Animals in the mountains need healthy, unpolluted ecosystems to thrive, and the human impact on wild spaces goes far beyond the waste we leave. Environmental degradation, noise pollution, fire risk, and deforestation are all consequences of human activities in the mountains. The Run Wild Challenge is an opportunity to engage athletes with wildlife in a positive way. Participants boost their fitness while learning more about the extraordinary lives and abilities of individual wild animals like Gaia and how we can better protect them. 

The first Run Wild Challenge in 2019 attracted over 500,000 runners, who raced Uuliin, a snow leopard, to raise awareness for endangered species. During the 2020 edition of Run Wild, 1 million runners participated to compete against an elephant, pangolin, and tiger. For this year’s edition, runners will take on a mountain lion to learn about the human impact on mountain ecosystems and how we can better protect these wild spaces.

“Thanks to our great partnerships with UNEP, SPECIES, the Internet of Elephants, and adidas Outdoor, the Run Wild Challenge has grown into one of the biggest participatory athletic events to build awareness for human impact on wild spaces and the animals who live there,” said Scott Dunlap, CEO and General Manager for adidas Runtastic “this is an important message, and with the unique format of the Run Wild Challenge, we have the opportunity to educate millions of people while having fun at the same time. Personally, I am excited to see if I can keep up with Gaia and learn about her daily life.”

Who is behind it 

Run Wild forges a coalition between the worlds of business, sports, tech, and conservation.

adidas Runtastic leverages its 180+ million user registrations, platform, and marketing power; UNEP brings its amplification power and scientific research, Internet of Elephants co-created the concept and provides engagement expertise and science storytelling, S.P.E.C.I.E.S. provides their research data and conservation expertise, Timothy Olson provides his trail running expertise, and adidas TERREX provides amplification power and community of outdoor athletes.

We believe unconventional collaborations like ours are needed to bring the urgency of environmental action to the attention of people and policymakers worldwide.


About:                                                                                  

About adidas Runtastic

adidas Runtastic, founded in 2009, is a leader in the digital health and fitness space. It provides optimized tracking solutions for collecting, managing, and analyzing running and training data, as well as curated content. Since 2015, the Austrian company has been part of the adidas family. With its two apps, adidas Running and adidas Training, adidas Runtastic wants to create the best possible running and training experience for more than 180 million user registrations. Users are inspired to lead a more conscious and active lifestyle.
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About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP works with governments, the private sector, civil society, and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. The recently launched UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to provoke a global movement to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems.
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About S.P.E.C.I.E.S.

S.P.E.C.I.E.S’. mission is to ensure the viability, diversity, and integrity of the world’s threatened, endangered, and declining native carnivore populations and communities [Order Carnivora] and their prey; mitigate threats to their future survival, and restore their part to the healthy functioning and integrity of the planet’s ecosystems. Learn more about their projects and donate to their efforts here.
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About Internet of Elephants 

Internet of Elephants was founded in 2017 in Nairobi by National Geographic Fellow Gautam Shah to create fun and meaningful connections between humans and wildlife. With a mission to make animals like Uuliin the snow leopard, Chili the gibbon, and Mtweturia the elephant as famous as Beyoncé, Neymar, and Jon Snow, Internet of Elephants wants to change the way wildlife conservation is supported today.
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About Timothy Olson 

Timothy Olson is the two-time winner and previous record holder of the Western States 100 Mile race, with numerous other ultra-running wins. Timothy enjoys long runs up mountains, challenging his body, mind, and spirit. He finds inspiration in the land, trees, mountains, and wildlife, connecting with them on the run, feeling their energy, allowing him to run wild and free. He believes that by being connected to our earth and living consciously and mindfully, we can create vibrations to inspire individual and collective steps to heal, care and nurture our environment and ourselves.
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About adidas TERREX

Too much of life now happens indoors, affecting health, happiness, and creativity. That’s why, as the creator brand in the outdoors, we believe being outdoors is the solution. Run, bike, hike, or climb – combining more than 50 years of integrated technology, our adidas TERREX and Five Ten products take you from nature to urban without compromising performance and style. At adidas TERREX we bring people to the outdoors, and the outdoors to the city. Because through sport, we have the power to change lives.
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Quotes

Thanks to our great partnerships with UNEP, SPECIES, the Internet of Elephants, and adidas Outdoor, the Run Wild Challenge has grown into one of the biggest participatory athletic events to build awareness for human impact on wild spaces and the animals who live there. This is an important message, and with the unique format of the Run Wild Challenge, we have the opportunity to educate millions of people while having fun at the same time.
Scott Dunlap, CEO and General Manager for adidas Runtastic

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