“Running is a gift,” Malcolm Gladwell says in the latest commercial from the running apparel brand Tracksmith. In the summer, Gladwell began advertising for Tracksmith on his podcast, Revisionist History, and the partnership has continued to blossom ever since. An enthusiast of the sport, Gladwell knows all about the gift of running, which made him the perfect candidate to narrate this ad. The video is only about a minute long, but by the end, you’ll be itching to get outside or to hop on your treadmill for a run.
“I have running. Running is a gift.” (Recognize that voice?) 🙂 https://t.co/JFQoyMNaKJ
— Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell) November 20, 2020
Tracksmith’s big year
Tracksmith has done pretty well in 2020. The Boston-based company has not only formed a relationship with the extremely popular Gladwell, who writes bestsellers and produces podcasts, but the brand has also signed elite runners Mary Cain (who also appears in the ad) and Nick Willis. Cain and Willis were both hired by Tracksmith as full-time employees, and they will be representing the company as amateur athletes heading into the Tokyo Olympics.
Hiring athletes as employees is Tracksmith’s way to support them without pressuring them to perform well in order to keep their contracts. As the company explained when this was first announced, Cain and Willis will have “the freedom to participate in the sport with no expectations or pressures outside of the ones they place on themselves.”
Really excited to announce that I have joined the Tracksmith team! I can’t wait to represent the brand as I pursue my running career, and I am also taking on the role of NYC Community Manager. Learn more about my decision in the link in my bio! pic.twitter.com/ompHinxkWC
— Mary Cain (@runmarycain) May 12, 2020
Running is a gift
The Tracksmith ad features a number of shots of different athletes (including Cain). Some of them are running around cities, some around a track. Throughout the ad, viewers hear Gladwell’s voice, and although he doesn’t mention the pandemic, it’s clear that’s what he’s talking about.
“You could always stay in bed,” he says. “Pull up the covers, pour a stiff drink, order in, worry. You could always let someone else take on the world.” This may seem negative, but that’s hardly the tone of the video. Instead, it’s uplifting, because as Gladwell continues to list the things you “could” do, it becomes obvious that he isn’t saying it’s something you will do. Finally, he changes from the negative possibilities to the positive: “Or you could say to the world, ‘I have all I need. I have movement, breath, lungs, daydreams. I have running. Running is a gift.'”
It’s a short and simple ad, but it’s apt to make you want to run as soon as you watch it. As the original Tracksmith tweet says, “This year, the miles meant more.” Running was one of the few things we could continue to do during COVID-19. We weren’t able to race very much, and we couldn’t train in groups, but we were and are still able to run, which is way better than nothing. If you’re feeling unmotivated, check out this video. We’re willing to bet it’ll get you excited to train once again, because, after all, running is the gift that keeps on giving.