TAGUIG - There's no denying that Olympic fever has hit the world. Events in Rio once again have people glued to their TVs and dreaming of going for gold while representing their countries. Even as the world descends on Rio de Janeiro, a unique structure has risen in Taguig to allow runners to make their own running aspirations come true. This is the Nike Unlimited Stadium.
According to Aste Gutierrez, Creative Director for BBH Asia Pacific, the Unlimited Stadium was a collaboration between the agency and Nike. "From strategy to creative concept to architecture to tech experience to over-all user experience," Gutierrez shares. "We then partnered with experts in their field to make it real. The inspiration was the lead product itself—a look at its physical footprint revealed so much innovation in running technology. So we thought, let's make a footprint as epic as the shoe's footprint. And fill it with just as much innovation—and we mean true innovation that actually moves the sport of running forward."
Nike's current advertising campaign is "Nike Unlimited" and it celebrates the spirit of breaking limits and about a space that inspires you to go beyond your beyond. Thus, the Nike Unlimited Stadium is an extension of that campaign and given a physical form.
To set the Nike Unlimited Stadium apart from traditional track ovals, the 200meter running track actually allows a runner to compete against himself/herself. That's because an "avatar" sharing your silhouette is generated after your first lap around the track and you are then challenged to outrun and beat your avatar during your time at the Nike Unlimited Stadium.
"Every athlete says that their main competition is themselves," Aste says. "Here at the Unlimited Stadium, we make that a physical reality. And in the most ideal way–nothing can ever replace an anthropomorphic representation of you. It's amazingly useful for inspiration, and the possibilities are endless for training."
For running enthusiast Ruby Gan, the Nike Unlimited Stadium allowed her to run again after not racing for the past three months. Ruby notes that after downloading the Nike Running app and registering online, runners are given chip numbers and get to choose the color of their avatars. "You are also given the choice to run with their latest running shoes, the Nike Lunar Epic Low. Tie the chip onto your shoelaces, warm up, and you're ready to run," Ruby adds.
To stoke one's competitive fires, several milestones and challenges are laid out in the Nike Unlimited Stadium to entice the public to keep coming back. "You can do as many laps as you want and every day, there is a challenge," Ruby says. "I missed the opening and the next day because of the rain, but the weather was okay last Sunday (August 7) and the challenge was to beat your avatar seven times. Monday's challenge was to beat your avatar nine times."
For beginners and anyone curious about running, Ruby advises that, "when you run your first lap, you go easy. That should set the pace for your avatar, which appears on the second lap. Then you try and beat it. You will see when you reach the point where you started that your name will appear and will say how many times you've beaten your avatar. You can quit anytime too."
Ruby says that there are other incentives to run more laps around the Nike Unlimited Stadium. Once you're done running, Ruby says, "you proceed to the tent to get your card where you will earn stamps. For the first timers, you will be able to get as much as five stamps in one day: post that on Instagram with their hashtag, run with a buddy, download the Nike Running app, Nike Training app, try on the Nike Lunar Epic at the Nike BGC store, etc. You try to collect as much stamps as you can because there are items you can win and these items are not available in the store. That's the beauty of joining Nike events."
Lest anyone think that the Unlimited Stadium is only for people who wear the Swoosh, Aste notes that, "Everyone is welcome to the Unlimited Stadium where they all will get a chance to trial Nike's latest Lunar sole footwear - the FlyKnit Lunar Epic and the new Lunar Glide 8."
Open only until August 21 in BGC, the 200 meter track sits on a block of concrete 100m long x 40m wide. LED screens line the track while RFID mats sit on keypoints, thus interacting with the RFID chips on your shoes.
Ruby concludes that running against her avatar, literally running against herself in the Nike Unlimited Stadium, "will really motivate you, and running at night is so much fun with the lights and sounds."