In front of a sea of fans, 7,000 women took to the streets of Seoul on May 26, joining the 2012 Nike Women’s Race in South Korea. With an excitement normally associated with professional sports finals or a major rock concert, participants snapped up every spot for the Seoul 7K in just 10 minutes, demonstrating the huge enthusiasm South Korean women have both for running and Nike’s women-only race (this was the second consecutive year the race sold out in under a quarter of an hour).
The race at Peace Square in Seoul’s Sangam World Cup Park concluded this year’s Nike’s Women’s Race series, which in three months reached nearly 50,000 female runners in 14 cities across Latin America, Asia and Australia.
South Korea’s highly connected culture created the perfect platform to bring this physical race to life in a digital and social forum. The runners captured their experiences in real time, using their smart phones to post images and comments as they ran.
Korea’s culture of digital engagement was also reflected in a five-day Expo leading up to the race, and held at Nike Seoul. Three thousand runners took advantage of an online registration option and received an exclusive Expo experience with digitized gear consultations, iPad styling guides, footscan services and exposure to Nike+. At the Expo’s “Race Tee Customization” station, participants’ handwritten messages were printed through digital touch screens on the backside of their Race Day T-shirts.
At the finish line, runners received finishers necklaces commemorating what for the vast majority was their first-ever race; 98 percent of participants were in their 20s. The necklace, made through a collaboration between Nike and J.ESTINA, a popular Korean jewelry line, features Nike running shoes “wearing” J.ESTINA’s signature tiara.
Finishers were also treated to a special after-party highlighted by a laser and 3D visual projection of the runners’ messages written at the pre-race Expo. The show included performances by DJ Lee Haneul, and live singers Psy and Kim Tae-woo.