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These Generation Z runners want to reinvent running technology

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These Generation Z runners want to reinvent running media

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According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHA), outdoor athletics is the most-popular high school sport in America with 1,093,621 athletes in 2019. To be fair, football (ranked second at 1,008,417) is basically a same-sex sports. Track’s extra-curricular “no cuts” provides a sporty safety network for those who don’t have the ability to play softball or tennis. However, the sport has a large fan base that is professional-level and it still benefits from having over a million students attend each year. All these young trackers would love to become long-term fans of the oval.

New Generation Track and Field is an emerging media brand that aims to be a fresher, younger alternative to running’s legacy publications. Ben Crawford, a University of Oregon senior who started the company as an LLC in early 2021. Crawford made a name for his self by filming distance runners in Oregon and publishing the results on his YouTube Channel. Crawford was working as a social media manager at the university’s sport department. However, Crawford’s excessive use of team material resulted in his eventual “discharge”. (The University of Oregon has not responded to a request for comment.

Crawford’s videos were a hit even though he was temporarily denied candid footage from Oregon stars Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare. It was discovered that there was an audience of NCAA distance fans looking for behind-the scenes footage of the nation’s most famous program. This video didn’t conform to the University of Oregon’s approved content. Crawford found that the key to success was mixing training material with longer scenes where shirtless runners were handing out pop culture references and mocking their colleagues’ oddities. They also worked out their favorite post-run meals.

Crawford says that the official U of O accounts can be helpful for athletes because they have many followers. “But it is the subversive, unlimited nature of the New Generation which is really appealing for people because there aren’t any limits to what they could say or do. It feels more sincere.”

Naturally, the content “without limits”It is all relative, especially considering that being a top NCAA long-distance runner requires a relatively tame life. If you start watching New Generation videos expecting to see that Oregon athletes live a life of excess and madness, you will be disappointed. Teare starts the video “Oregon Long Run”, which is currently over 300,000. It’s an eight-minute long clip. Teare mocks Evert Silva Kit Kats for eating in an unorthodox way.

However, even though New Generation may not be a new frontier for disrespect (maybe it’s just that I haven’t seen the right videos),This symbol is still a reminder of an era in which an authentic, robust online presence is increasingly important. The owners of some tattered classic cars might be worried that social media knowledge may eventually overtake competitive performance. However, New Generation founder John Crawford is not concerned about this. Crawford says that Teare’s views on candy bars are not important because he can also run 3:50 miles.

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Crawford worked with many Oregon runners to develop the next generation concept. This included in-person events for young athletes as well as branded merchandise. New Generation hosted an online high school runner camp this summer. Although technically sponsored by On Running’s sponsorship, the YouTube videos seem refreshingly brand-independent. This is probably due to the fact that most camp advisors work for Nike-sponsored schools.

New Generation began publishing its own magazine in January. Partly funded with advertising revenue from the company’s YouTube channel, the magazine was partly funded by advertising income. Crawford and Matt Wisner, a COVID-induced Oregon runner who just graduated from the university’s Masters in Journalism, led the project. Wisner moved last summer from Duke to Oregon, partly due to Crawford’s videos. Crawford’s videos have “demystified” Oregon’s acclaimed programming, he says. Wisner met Crawford in Eugene. They became close friends, and they shared the same belief that track media deserves a shot in their arm.

Wisner believes that part of the problem is athletics. “is a youth sport that is mostly practiced by the elderly”. (An exception to high-stakes bowling or golf, this could be a complaint against professional sports. Wisner spoke to me about his recent experience at Pre Classic in Eugene, where mainstream media asked the same questions to the athletes and wrote the same stories repeated many times. Wisner knows that there will always remain a need to provide sober racing recaps. But he believes the track would benefit from more fresh stories. He doesn’t hesitate to blur the line between Capital J journalism with fun, frivolous entertainment. Wisner was delighted to learn that New Generation magazine will soon feature fanfiction about running. (There will also be traditional running magazine themes such as Francie Larrieu, a profile of women who are running pioneers, and a Q&A with Cooper Teare.

The New Generation is not the only one trying to save athletics form the Terminal Geezerdom. Citius Mag is a podcast-heavy online magazine of Chris Chavez, a well-known impresario who is also aspiring sub-five minute miler. Wisner told me that Aaron Potts from podcast 2 Black Runners had recently invited Noah Lyles (the world’s fastest sprinter) to do a freestyle rap as part of an interview. Here’s an example of what traditional journalism in running doesn’t offer.

Can zanier reporting save athletics? There are other issues with the sport, including outdated sponsorship models for athletes and a professional racing track that lacks the cohesiveness of other organized leagues despite its best efforts. It remains to be seen if the NCAA’s relaxed guidelines regarding name-image similarity will affect New Generation’s ability to continue with college-specific video content. Crawford’s videos show runners from Oregon as well as top athletes from other marquee programs, such the University of Colorado and North Carolina State. Crawford was also there while Crawford was there. Crawford says that neither NC State nor Colorado monetized the video content because they didn’t have the rights. While neither of these runners received financial compensation from New Generation, the company is still in the Recognizing their names (and logos) will help to attract subscribers. This approach works only if universities aren’t too protective about who can film their athletes.

Crawford seems to be sticking to Crawford’s mantra of asking forgiveness rather than asking permission at the moment. (He insists however that the runners appearing in his videos belong to his coworkers and friends, and not the university money he steals from for personal reasons. Crawford says, “It’s almost like the Wild West at the moment and things will change in two to three years if they adjust these NIL regulations.” “But at the moment the lock gates are open and everything counts. The bridge is crossed from the question, ‘Can you do this?’ When we reach the other side, it is a matter of ‘Can we do this or not?’

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