On: Hey Jaeki, so you’re a runner and a New Yorker, can you describe that relationship?
Jaeki: “Running in New York is like living in New York. It’s not calm, it’s not friendly. It might not even always be the most safe. But that’s life. If you can make it here you can make in anywhere, and that’s part of our DNA.”
“Running doesn’t really cost much. It’s not like you need all the hardware. You just need some good kicks and shorts. Everyone can participate. And NYC for what it’s worth, doesn’t really have green fields. I grew up playing soccer on concrete. So, that’s why running here is very unique.”
What does the NYC Marathon mean to you?
“The New York City Marathon started way before it became part of the popular culture, and that legacy still lives on. Because NY is so diverse, culturally and economically, it’s very democratic. Running unites everyone in that sense.
Everybody can meet in the middle when it comes to running.
How did you get started running with World’s Fair?
“The World's Fair run crew is based in Flushing, Queens. It is the embodiment of Queens, I would say. It's extremely culturally diverse. Almost every crew member comes from a different cultural background, which is essentially like any public school in Queens. It’s like our lunch tables, you get to try different types of cuisine. And the World's Fair run crew is just an extension of that.”
It feels like home, you know. It feels like if everybody from my school and high school decided to start a run crew, this is what it would look like. That's exactly what World's Fair run crew feels like.
What does the run culture in Queens, specifically, look and feel like?
“I think for the most part a lot of the concentration and focus of group running or road running has had a longer significance in parts of Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn. It was relatively new, or newer in Queens. There're definitely other running collectives that are coming out of Queens as well, like Queens Running Collective, the Wepas, Run Hustle Run. But World's Fair, just like the name represents, embodies everybody from the borough, from the world's borough.”
“In places like Queens, where there's so many different immigrant communities living check-to-check, who have a lot on their plates, we’re trying to create a moment, at least a little oasis, a running oasis for people to clear their minds and go out for a run with like-minded people, sweat it out a little bit, and then go about your day or week.”
I think there is a bigger mission in there than just, "I gotta get my cardio in." So, I think that's definitely something that we try to emphasize and, without really saying it vocally, I think we're doing it.
How has the crew evolved?
“We're a very young crew. It hasn't even been a year, but the momentum is there, the energy is there, and I think the mission is also there. Just seeing those people show up every week and having them meet one another, some more experienced runners than others, but really building a community. It makes me feel very proud and makes it a very fruitful experience.”
Interested in meeting up with Jaeki and World's Fair? Send them an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reach out to them on Instagram (@worldsfairruncrew) to get involved.