Across the road from the Vygieskraal Sport Stadium in Athlone, four youngsters desultorily kick a soccer ball, others wander, hands in pockets, among the shacks. In the stadium, twenty other youngsters are eagerly inspecting thousands of running shoes. To be precise, 3098 pairs, laid out on the field to spell this number, to be given to runners who cannot afford their own shoes.

Young runners inspecting the impressive number of shoes donated for the adidas Refresh Your Gear campaign
This is the number of pairs of running shoes that runners from across the country had handed in at adidas Refresh Your Gear (RYG) bins at some retail partners within a month. Between October  15 and November 16, 2012 adidas invited runners to swop their running shoes for a R400 discount voucher on a new pair of adidas shoes. Adidas staff and brand ambassadors like Jean de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Bryan Habana, Pat Lambie, the Stormers, Orlando Pirates and others kicked off the campaign, which was embraced by thousands of others.
Jean de Villiers, Graeme Smith and Bryan Habana refresh their running shoes
This is part of the adidas running campaign, which kicked off after it was announced that adidas will be the new Two Oceans Marathon (TOM) sponsor – the Two Oceans Marathon Initiative (TOMI), and by proxy WP Athletics’ development programme, is one of the beneficiaries. The other is SCORE, a charity supported by adidas. With the motto Changing Lives through Sport, SCORE   has several projects in disadvantaged communities  to get youngsters involved in sport and off the streets. One of these is a running project in Cape Town aimed at getting women and girls interested in running. SCORE and TOMI each brought ten young runners to accept the first samples of the running shoes to be handed out.
SCORE and TOMI brought ten young runners each to accept the first samples of the shoes handed in
Lester Cameron, chairman of TOMI, said they were proud to be a partner of adidas
Stefan Howells, SCORE director, explaining their initiatives to use sport to motivate disadvantaged youths to change their lives
When they started the campaign, adidas was hoping to receive about 2 000 pairs of shoes – they are therefore overwhelmed by the response from the public, says adidas PR Zobuzwe Ngobese. Another surprise was the fact that the majority of the pairs came from brands other than adidas – meaning that more than 1 500 runners would have changed from their current running brand to adidas.
Zobuzwe Ngobese, adidas PR manager, says they were overwhelmed by the response to their RYG campaign
The next phase of their running campaign is called #myjourney – where the stories of runners from different backgrounds who donated shoes will be told. Runners who donated shoes were photographed and their photos became part of the campaign promotion. An online community of runners will be developed at adidasrunning.co.za where runners can register for free tips and training from sport scientist Ross Tucker, get help to choose the right shoes or join training runs with adidas running ambassadors.

Published by www.sportstrader.co.za

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