Track Mafia are teammates, Track Mafia are family” – no one could attempt to describe leading London running collective, Track Mafia, better than Cory Wharton-Malcolm, the founder himself. Born from a place of frustration and resilience and a feeling of something to prove, there are clear similarities between Cory’s own personal journey – having conquered the London Marathon – and that of the collective. Track Mafia’s goal is to “change the way in which everyday people view ‘track’”, increasing access to running tracks, a form and medium of training traditionally restricted to only the athletic elite.
Track Mafia has fostered a relaxed environment in which individuals of all abilities can feel welcomed, wherever in the world that they access or interact with the Track Mafia brand. Nevertheless, what is abundantly clear is that this is a collective that take what they do incredibly seriously. Goals are set, people view running speed differently, and people are comfortable being ‘slightly uncomfortable’.
This view of discomfort, from a Track Mafia perspective, seems to be more psychological than anything. To Cory and co, physical well-being and protection whilst running is of the utmost importance, and the short term psychological discomfort one feels whilst running will be offset by the mental health benefits afterwards. From a physical health perspective, Cory acknowledges that running gear can make all the difference – “having the wrong footwear or apparel can change your experience for the worst”.
Track Mafia’s running shoe of choice is the new Nike Joyride Run Flyknit. Nearly ten years in the making, the aptly-named Joyride is a shoe that “enables and allows your body to rest and recover whilst using it”. Centred around ‘reactive recovery’, something that most runners could certainly do better, the shoe is perfect for those days that one’s body needs a slightly lighter workout.
When recovering from injuries, runners/athletes need to slowly build themselves back up to full fitness; resisting the urge to get straight back into full intensity activities. The force on muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones must be reduced and progressively increased as the runner finds fitness. The more professional runners have access to methods such as underwater jogging and anti-gravity treadmills.
However, the Joyride makes this possible, offering a more practical solution, thanks to its cushioning platform which is made up of thousands of tiny colourful beads, positioned where runners need them most. They are designed to make the athlete feel as though they were running on soft sand whilst still giving enough resistance and support for a run. The beads also help to reduce the pressure on the muscles, ligaments etc…, giving the runner a more comfortable and strain free recovery process.
It is a shoe that is perfect for an all-abilities collective such as Track Mafia – as well as those with colourful personalities. especially one led by someone with as colourful a personality as Cory.