This past weekend I had the pleasure of reuniting with an adolescent I saw some-what conceived and had nothing but a proud smile on my face to see the leaps and bounds it has made. Personified, District running collective is no longer a child in my eyes and I have to address that it is time for them to sit at the adult table and quite possibly lead the conversation.
I had vaguely heard of Bridge the gap events from my former race days living in DC when I started to cheat on my first run crew to support my good friend and former coworker from Nike. Ambitious, small, and with a lot of ideas on how they wanted to leave their print on the running world, DRC was formed and off the ground in the blink of an eye. This past weekend I saw the admiration and more importantly the respect of that foundation that was laid to get to this point.
First my arrival, I was greeted at the door with a duffel bag that made me feel like it was Christmas in May. Being a previous athlete I was well aware (or thought I was) of what sponsored life was like, boy was I wrong. I couldn’t grasp why there was so many products for us to wear in this jam packed weekend but soon I stopped asking why and started asking where are we wearing it to. Flashy, eye catching, and a couple of those are Under Armour really? Comments were the norm as every time we stepped into an event we seamlessly merged the brand with our running crew’s identity. Although we were small in numbers the uniformity, outgoing spirits, and Alpha male mentality quickly left our mark on the weekend and if people started the weekend by asking who DRC was they definitely ended it with an everlasting positive impression. Being the life of the party became the immediate niche for us but it wasn’t just the up beat personalities we connected with the runners older and younger, expert and novice, black and white, and urban and blue collar. That was the essence of DRC, being from all over the country the five of us that represented in London couldn’t have made up a better nucleus of what the crew represented, simply put unity.
Living in Paris, France it was a no brainer when my boys said that they were coming to this side of the pond to run the half marathon, of course I was going to join them. Although I haven’t run in close to a year since I moved from DC I immediately knew if my crew was coming I was running so I (foolishly) jumped in the half marathon with zero preparation, but it was like riding a bike. I have to add that wearing DRC branded kits and being shot out by random supporters that lined the London streets of the half marathon was probably the highlight of the weekend a sort of, “mama we made it moment.” I fell so hard back in love with running just from these past couple of days that I am getting on the plane on Friday to meet the crew in New York for the Half marathon this weekend, I guess old habits die hard. I have been to bridge the gap events in other places, even represented DRC in other countries, but this was the highlight of a dynamic partnership that is only going to get better and we have Under Armour to thank for making the trip that much better. As the crew walked away with the “Up Next” award out of all the run crews I know the award was nothing but admiration and affirmation. It is District Running Collectives turn now, and things will never be the same after it.
- Brandon J Gray