In late 2010 I found myself struggling to complete the long training runs needed for the upcoming Tokyo Marathon. I found running long distances by myself quite boring, and also, being a productivity freak, I felt frustrated at not being able to get anything else done whilst running.
It was then that I came up with the idea to use a GPS app on my iPhone to draw a picture, using the streets as my canvas. By doing so, my runs were instantly transformed from merely being a matter of training my legs to keep moving for a long time, into a form of art. I was hooked!
However, I never saw it as anything other than a way to entertain myself during long runs.
I certainly didn’t see it becoming the core of a number of collaborative projects with major companies such as Nike & J-Wave radio, or the subject of a series of TV shows for national networks such as NHK, NTV, Fuji TV, and international networks such as Discovery Channel.
Find out more about my Running Art adventures through the posts below.
The 2016 Tokyo Marathon (my 8th Tokyo Marathon, and 7th full Marathon) was the first for which I actually managed to train properly. When I say train properly, I mean spend about 4 months running several times a week, gradually building up to marathon distance. Why? I...
A little while back, Yomiuri TV, part of the Nippon TV network based in Osaka, approached me with an idea to turn Running Art into a running game, to be played on the streets of Osaka. The concept was as follows: Design a 10km running art course in the shape of a...
A couple of months back I was contacted by a writer at Kyodo News. She’d read about my running art project and thought it would be a good fit for a regular column that she writes, introducing interesting uses of smartphones for elementary and junior high school...
Earlier this year we joined forces with Nippon TV and Hiroshima TV, to make a three-part series focused on Running Art - "Chikyu Mapping” (literally 'Globe Mapping'). For the first episode, we headed on down to Hiroshima, where me met up with Haruna Ai-san (a well...
August 13th is a very special day for Japan’s no. 1 radio station, J-Wave, and this year I helped them celebrate it in style
Earlier this year I was invited to appear on Tokyo MXTV’s Tokyo Kurasso! (‘Let’s live in Tokyo’), to talk about my Running Art, and the Tokyo Marathon project. This was the first time to appear without my wind-turbine-hat-of-power, but despite that it all went well.
Looking forward to a new 105km Running Art piece – but this one I won’t be running on my own, I’ll be creating the picture with a team of about 40 runners consisting of J-Wave Radio DJs and listeners.
As temperatures rise in Tokyo, what better way to keep cool than by running a 140km picture of Olaf on the streets of Tokyo?!
Back in September 2014 I was contacted by NHK World regarding a couple of programs that they were planning focused on Tokyo-based foreign artists. Broadcast worldwide on Satellite TV, online, via their mobile apps, the program, Tokyo Eye, introduces various aspects of...
If you start seeing little children running the streets of Japan whilst carefully checking their routes using a GPS tracker, it'll be thanks to NHK's morning kids show 'Shakiin' which today had a section all about funny ways of running. Featured alongside a backwards...
Softbank has been key to my projects over the past few years – I saw it as only fitting that I run an Otousan to show my appreciation
September 3rd saw me at Nike’s flagship Harajuku store to lead an event for Nike+ Campus Run Club
My most challenging Running Art project to date: a 385km version of the official Olympic emblem GPS tracked across Tokyo
With the birth of our first child fast approaching, I’ve been feeling increasing pressure to prepare myself.
Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet was in Japan recently as part of an Asia Tech Week, covering robots and runners
Painting the streets with the help of 10 metres of LEDs, a micro controller and long-exposure photography.
To celebrate PechaKucha’s 10th anniversary event in Tokyo, I ran a special 11km version of the 20×20 logo
One of the first runs I did as a part of the Nike / Wieden+Kennedy Run Like Me project: an 80km map of Japan
I’ve long wanted to draw a frog in Tokyo. But the thing with frogs is that they tend to be rather big. I mean, all those toes, and bulging eyes.
Back in January we had a very chilly few days - with enough snow to build a 14km snowman! See the original run data on Runkeeper.
This weekend I was invited to take part in Kobe IT Festival held down in Harbourland here in Kobe.
The idea of my running 100m for every ‘Like’ Nike Running Japan received on Facebook started out as a joke – but then somehow became a reality.
Maniac Runners: NHK ask me to carry out a mobile live stream of a runner making ice cream whilst Running Yoyogi Park
One of the most memorable Art of Running projects I have done to date took place about 9 months after the devastating March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami.
With the Tokyo Marathon now only a couple of weeks away, I really need to step up the pace with my training
My latest Art of Running project saw me back up in Tohoku, the region of Japan so badly hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami
Last weekend I travelled to the north-eastern city of Sendai to help out with a one day conference, TEDxTohoku …and to run
This morning I ran the new symbol of the city – Tokyo Sky Tree. At 634m it’s the tallest tower in the world, and the second tallest structure in the world今朝、東京の新しいランドマーク「東京スカイツリー」をGPSで書きました。本物のスカイツリー付近から開始して、５キロ以上南方面に走った
It’s about time my name was on the map, and if no-one else is going to put it there I’ll just have to do it myself.
Showing my appreciation for Steve Jobs as he steps down as CEO of Apple, shortly before his death.
Tonight’s art-of-running piece was designed on the train home, and was one of those that just kind of presented itself
On April 22nd 2011 I undertook the longest Art of Running challenge that I had attempted: a 50km heart around the city
This morning I had the idea to celebrate the popularity of Google+ amongst my Japanese and non-Japanese friends here in Tokyo
A rash promise made during a public presentation resulted in my having to tackle a symbol of Japanese cuteness
I’ve been back out this morning to create the third in my series of GPS-trail art, a 15km Twitter Bird