Photos & Words: David Oh
My official introduction to 3RUN2 came during the 2014 Chicago Marathon. The year previously, I was in New York City shooting a few friends running the TCS New York City Marathon- specifically the Black Roses sporadically. I found something endearing (and even fascinating) about this community of runners during that time. I was impressed at how transplants were able to corral together and create a haven for themselves as they extended themselves out to a much bigger and even global community. I wanted to know if similar vibes existed in Chicago. Needless to say, I’ve been coming back almost regularly since last year; the community is definitely here and the rest is watching, if not already joining them.
Generally speaking, the running crew movement is hitting its peak. At the surface, 3RUN2 isn't that much different. After all, it’s a cool thing to be involved in for 20/30/40-something transplants. Granted, there are hashtag laden posts that would generate likes and such comments as ‘get it!’ or ‘beasts’ on Instagram ever so often luring mass followings so much so that someone like me living in Seattle would rock their hoodies or a kid in Toronto would rock their latest shirts to run around their neighborhood. But if Instagram all of a sudden ceased to exist, would half of these personalities survive in the real world?
Like 3RUN2's Marathon '15 shirt states, I feel that they are that ‘World Major’ in the world of urban running, but is it just the design aesthetic that got me loving them a little more than the next person? What else is there for them beyond this appeal? This is where the joy (and the challenge) of being a photographer comes in- It’s interesting to be on the outside looking in. The challenge then is to find out what makes this community stand out while personally creating content and building context.
What I love or actually respect about 3RUN2 is their ability to embrace the neighborhood they inhabit. Places like Humboldt Park and Logan Square aren’t exactly the places where visitors go while visiting Chicago; They're miles away from Michigan Ave. and Milleniumn Park, the typical locations on any tourist's "To visit" list.
However, it's this running community that's putting local neighborhoods on the map with a healthier and more vibrant identity. As a photographer, I try to focus on how well Nico and Mica integrate their surroundings into the cultivation of their community.
My work with them is always organic- I truly appreciate the type of sensibility and awareness Nico and Mica have towards where they rep because it makes the brand that much more authentic. Fast forward to now- Chicago is now a habitual destination. 3RUN2 has become more than just a creative partnership. They've become my friends, life advisors, cheerleaders and definitely part of my life. The consistent exchange of ideas with them already make me excited for the next trip and collaboration.