Like the Wind is an independent running mag that isn’t about new shoes or training plans. We think about why we run. We love publishing stories about distances covered, personal tales of running’s role in recovery and the everyday act of putting one foot in front of another. But what really gets us excited is a new angle on our sport.
So when Chris Zehetleitner – who publishes the fabulous Too Far Gone blog, aka “the running blog for the misfits” – approached us with a story idea linking the subcultures surrounding running and punk/hardcore music, we were instantly hooked. Not only could he write great words, but he had access to images that were far removed from the photographs we normally reproduce, showcasing the raw power of punk bands on stage.
We asked Chris about what prompted him to write his story. “The first time I discovered some similarities between my experience with the hardcore scene and the running community was when the first running crews popped up,” he says.
Finding Bridge the Gap, the movement that brings together urban running crews around the world. was a huge turning point for Chris.
“It was the first time I had the feeling that the mass-sport running can actually be ‘cool’,” he says. “Both the visual aspects, like crew logos, shirts, tattoos etc, but even more the sense of community, DIY spirit and outspokenness really reminded me of punk and hardcore.”
He met other runners and felt a connection. “It’s hard to explain,” he says, “but knowing that someone shares the same values, automatically associates you with that person. Especially if those values and experience emerged from such a great passion like music. Basically, every hardcore kid I met, or met again through running, had a good reason why he or she chose running as a sport. I realised again that there is a deep connection between these two subcultures.”
Chris approached us on “a very spontaneous impulse”. He hadn’t written for Like the Wind before, but thought the story would be a fit for our pages.
We love working with our writers so their stories are told in the best possible way – it’s a collaborative process, emailing about edits and suggesting structural changes. Having seen Chris’s story proposal, we thought it would be amazing if he could talk to some of the people he’d met who, like him, embodied the crossover between the cultures.
“I really liked this approach and ended up with 11(!) absolutely wonderful interviews… and much more content than we could ever fit into one story, ha ha! It was absolutely amazing to hear other punk and hardcore runners’ stories and I instantly felt connected with everyone, including the people I just met through these interviews.”
Chris produced some amazing interviews, probably because he isn’t exactly a new writer. “I do love writing,” he admits. “I used to run a hardcore fanzine in the 1990s and haven’t stopped writing since then. I like putting down my thoughts in a more or less structured way for myself, but also for others to open dialogues wherever possible.”
We could probably have printed an entire supplement featuring Chris’s interviews… but the full versions are all available on his blog.
The debate goes on about whether print magazines are still relevant, considering you can read pretty much anything you like online. Obviously we believe in the power of independent print, and it was really good to connect with a writer with a similar passion.
“Having published a fanzine myself back in the days,” says Chris, “I learned to value the honesty and intimacy of an independent publication compared to a big corporate magazine. Before the internet I was used to finding new bands and records, hearing about shows and, most importantly, reading about the thoughts and emotions of other hardcore kids through fanzines. And there were a lot in the 1990s.
“When I discovered Like the Wind, I was instantly reminded of the hardcore fanzine culture of the 1990s. Compared to other running magazines, the stories were deeper, the runners who were featured had more to say and both illustration and photography were just beautiful.
“Other running mags go to a pile in the bathroom and after a couple of days into waste paper disposal. Like The Wind goes on to my bookshelf when I’m done reading. And stays there.”
Chris Zehetleitner’s piece – The Two Things That Still Hold True – was published in Like the Wind #28 available here.