THE “PHONE BOXES” RACE: NIKE GRID (LONDON) 2010

Races have been expanding its scope over recent years. Or at least were until the Covid-19 pandemic. And we are not talking uniquely about distances or terrain. Not long ago we dedicated one of our posts to go through the different running modalities.

Among the not-so traditional races there are obstacles, “beer miles”, “capturing the cheese” or even zombies’ races. And with the restrictions to run outdoors the virtual races and all types of “indoors” races, only limited by imagination, have been doing headlines.

In oneKmore we already run our share of weird events, such it was the race subject of our post: the Nike Grid, that we run while living in London in 2010.

Nike Grid Rules

NIKE GRID 1 (April 2010)

The first edition was only a “test version” that lasted 24 hours. With the registration process you got and ID number, that was necessary to clock your runs.

What made this race different? London was divided into a Grid of postcodes, a total of 48, and each of them had 3 or 4 “active” phone boxes. Participants had to make a call and dial their unique code at the start phone box, and again do the same at the finish phone box to finish the run and get points.

The objective was to complete as many runs as possible, between those specific phone boxes in a postcode, to get points. And you could get extra points if collecting “badges”, by unlocking additional rewards, such doing the fastest run among two specific phone boxes for example.

Basically, you could decide where, when or for how long you wanted to run. And you could try to win a postcode or unlock as many badges as possible in different postcodes. Classifications were available online, although in 2010 the mobile phones were not as advanced as they are today.

By claiming victory in the SE16 postcode, we got two pairs of Nike shoes Lunar Glide, personalised with our initials and the claimed postcode. A good reward for an interesting competition.

When we thought that this was a one-off race, the Nike Grid competition got an upgrade.

Nike Grid 1 SE16 Leaderboard

NIKE GRID 2 (October 2010)

Very similar rules, but now the competition was going to last for a full 15 days!!! And now you could also compete as part of a team, a part of the city (north vs. south, east vs. west) or as a university, among other options. But things didn´t finish here: runs done at certain times, as early dawn and late at night, gave double points. And you had to be aware of your phone and email for extra surprise games also.

We focused again on the SE16 postcode, that is where we lived. After a few days and opening a “safe” points distance with the second runner, we started clocking runs in the nearby SE17 and unlocking other badges. Though we never tried to clock runs in the 48 postcodes of London, as some others did.

By chance we teamed with some runners in other areas of London to form the AudioFuel Team. And that was a fun addition to the competition, as at the same time we had to keep an eye in our SE16 territory, started helping the AudioFuel Team keep/claim other territories.

Team AudioFuel (AFX) with Sak Nagayan

With only 2 days to go and the victory in SE16 almost ensured, we focused our energy in SE17. We had reached the second position, but still a few hundred points behind the leader. We started Friday at 5am clocking double points for each run. After taking advantage of the 2 hours window, it was time to get some rest and go to work. Later that day we came back and continued doing runs for a few hours more. For some reason, the guy heading the classification hadn´t come during the whole day: could he be gone outside of London for the weekend?

On the final day we were again at 5am in SE17. The competition was closing at 18.00 and the points difference seemed reasonably attainable in the hours left. Obviously considering that the running leader didn´t come back to start collecting points also.

And yes, people in the streets sometimes looked as we were crazy. Other runners even had to give explanations to the police that it was only a game, as a reason for being running as mad at night in some dodgy areas.

At midday we were finally in first position in SE17! But we didn´t leave anything to chance, and after lunch we went back once again. Those were our last runs, already slow, to get the final points in the postcode. The fatigue was intense, especially after the efforts of the last two days.

Finally, we claimed victory in SE16 and SE17 at individual level, and additional ones as part of the AudioFuel Team. Total distance run was 241 kms (calculated as the crow flies, much longer in reality) in 374 total runs (total playing time 35h12m), for a “Serious” addiction level.

Nike Grid 2 personal scores

That gave us a further 2 pairs of trainers, 3 t-shirts and our victorious names in posters in some phone boxes of the postcodes we have claimed. A good ending for a great competition that didn´t come back again.

If you feel curious the Youtube channel of the competition is still alive and has some videos in:

https://www.youtube.com/user/NikeGrid

What was your craziest race yet? We would like to read about it.

The champions: Player Crowns
Conmemorative phone box in SE16

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