In blaze of corporate charity, sportswear giant Nike held a 10 kilometre “fun” run, at night, through Bermondsey in south London. 30,000 runners, each paying £25, were cheered on by hired supporters shouting “go Nike Nocturnals” and other gibberish. As they approached the finish line a recorded loop shouted applause and told them, “You’re doing great”, and, “Just Do It” . But that was underneath a rather attractive No Sweat Banner. On the night No Sweat and the Space Hoppers were out in force.
The run was raising money for corporate support of London schools — doing up their gyms and basketball courts (complete with giant swooshes no doubt). Nike’s “fun run” is fun for the runners but how much fun is it for the workers and their families who slave away for a pittance to make the 30,000 day-glo running tops for the race? For that matter it isn’t much fun for those people living on the route who had trouble getting home due to all the corporate giving and advertising going on. As one woman put it to one of the hired supporters, “If I could park my ****ing car near my ****ing house, that would be doing ****ing great, you ****ing ****er!” Quite right madam.
A giant, illuminated sign proclaimed “slavery” from the back of the No Sweat truck as the runners arrived. Banners bearing the same legend greeted them en route, hanging from the windows of certain Bermondsey residents. And an enthusiastic crowd of “Nike Ultras” held huge banners at the finish line encouraging supporters to “Brand Your Kids”. One enterprising salesman sold bottles of sweat from his mobile sweat shop and Paula (not so good in the sun) Radcliffe and the awful, dreary, smug Tory, Lord Coe were loudly asked how much they were getting paid and if they felt ashamed. Paula Radcliffe — maybe. Looked a bit sheepish. Lord Coe — apparently not. Couldn’t give a shit. He never was as good as Steve Ovett.