Asics and Unit9 create pitch black running experience

A project led by Unit9 director Sean Pruen and in collaboration with Edelman Deportivo and Asics, created the world’s first running track to train the mind – a custom-built 150 metre course that is cloaked in darkness with no technology, no music, no scenery, no comforts and no finish line. Using 60 custom-made sound and light plinths to elimate distractions and a blended spotlight system that tracked the runner’s every step, the runner could see nothing beyond their own two feet and were fuelled on by nothing but power of mind.

The Asics Blackout Track acts as the global platform for the launch of the Gel Kayano 25 range and brings together Asics athletes and brand ambassadors from around the world to test it in the most extraordinary environment: in the dark. The overall project and track design has been in development for more than six months, to help assist with pace judgement and has been successfully used by Japanese marathon runners. It was developed in collaboration with sports scientists and top coaches to remove all distractions and encourage runners to truly focus on synchronising the mind and body.

On arrival, guests entered the South East venue, Printworks, and were guided by light walls created with a combination of haze and high-powered spot light towards a product room with multi-faceted holographic meshes and low-poly animation sequences inspired by the Kayano 25. Guided to the product room, they were scanned for and removed of all distractions with a giant X- ray screen and eventually ushered to the final warm-up area to prepare for the mental marathon they were about to embark on.

Other guests and media could watch runners from the viewing gallery, echoing the monochromatic aesthetic of darkness and clean light lines throughout the venue. This also boasted live stream and thermal camera feeds to continue the technical, sports science feel of the event.

Unit9 Films duo Greg & Jacob directed a launch film on the eve of the event, with shots of the track and utilising the motion graphics content created for the event. A longer edit was also shot for the legacy and behind the scene videos after the event.



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