According to Running USA, more than 15.5 million Americans completed a running event in the last year. This running trend has also spurred the running shoe industry, boosting sales by 23 percent in 2012, leading to a record high $3.04 billion in sales. It may be hard to comprehend these astounding statistics, which is why the new reality show iRun Miami seeks to provide a visual example.
Set in the heart of one of America’s thriving cultural meccas sits the show’s subject—local running shop iRun and Company. Billed as a store for running and walking enthusiasts, iRun offers more than your average running store as producer William Sancho realized when he began to shop and work out there.
“I had been to other running clubs and this one was unlike anything I had experienced,” he said. “You feel like you’re among family. Something about running together creates an unbelievable bond. Everyone gets better.”
After months of training and encouragement from the store’s owners and well-versed trainers, Cobi Morales and Hector Arana, Sancho was able to lose 35 pounds and tackle not only marathons, but triathlons too.
As his love for running and the community that surrounded iRun increased, it suddenly dawned on him that this was something he wanted to share with the world.
“They have a great structured formula that I had never seen before,” Sancho said. “It’s more personal and targeted at reaching specific goals. And it works. It’s such a positive place to be, it’s addicting.”
As a marketing and business director at a local law firm, Sancho saw an opportunity no one else had. Having dabbled with writing and producing in his spare time, Sancho decided to invite a friend, who is a successful videographer, to attend workouts with him. What resulted was the first footage of the iRun Miami project.
“I think that a lot of people are on reality show burn out,” Sancho said. “There are so many silly shows that are just a waste of time. I don’t really watch much myself because it all seems like junk. But I also think that people are desperate for a reality show they can relate to.”
In that regard, iRun Miami delivers. Each episode focuses on a different person who trains with iRun and Company and comes to embrace running culture. Each week, these people strive to achieve extraordinary goals such as running a marathon or “checking that weight loss goal off their bucket list,” as Sancho put it.
The true genius of the show, however, may be rooted in its focus on average joes instead of hard-core ultra-distance runners.
“This isn’t The Biggest Loser, or on some extreme athlete’s reality show. These are people with realistic goals who you can relate to,” he said. “You see them do it, and maybe you’ll want to get up and try to run or get in shape too. Some work from the very beginning and end up running a marathon at the end. And there’s a great story in between.”
“The great thing about the idea is that it can grow,” Sancho continued.
Because of iRun and Company’s success, they are looking to expand to other markets, with more stores in Florida and throughout the country. This means that the iRun Miami show could potentially come to your city, and want your story in the future.
This last week, Art Basel hosted the official launch party of iRun Miami. The purpose was to get investors, brands, media, and production companies together to meet the pilot cast and screen a teaser video. As a novice producer himself, Sancho was pleased by how well received the idea has been.
“There has been lots of interest,” he said. “The project has been propelled by people hearing about it. We are hoping to choose a production company to partner with and have the show up and running by the first quarter of next year.”
From its inception, iRun Miami seems unlike anything we have watched before. It is encouraging to know that reality TV is being reworked for those of us who love to be fit and seek inspiration.
Image courtesy iRun Miami