The sports brand investigate the benefits of running with one of the UK’s most influential creatives for their Solar Glide 5 campaign.

Joy Crookes
Joy Crookes

For a young creative, there is nothing harder to master than the creative process. Whether your field is within music, fashion or dance, it is paramount to discover ways to clear mental blockers and find fresh ideas and inspiration. Yet while the pandemic left many of us without the life and excitement that our creativity so often depends on, some creatives discovered new ways to motivate themselves and incite different lines of thinking. Much of that came from the only things we were permitted to do: Get out and exercise.

No brand caught onto this phenomenon quite like adidas, who commissioned a study that investigated the power of running to aid Gen Z with their creative process. Amongst their findings, adidas discovered that 70% of creatives found that going for a run helps them come up with new ideas. A further 80% also agreed that running allowed them to clear their heads and focus on upcoming projects.

Seizing these findings as an opportunity to create actionable change, adidas created the Solar Glide 5 campaign — celebrating how creativity is made possible by the act of running. Collaborating with musician Joy Crookes, one of the UK’s most influential new-gen creatives, the campaign promotes an active approach to creative thinking: which not only improves workflow, but also the mental health of creative minds.

Talking of her own experience, Joy explains, “For me, running and exercise in general has had amazing benefits on my mental health. I believe that I make my best work when I am in a good place mentally, and I have found that the running has been one of the factors that has helped to influence my work. During and after a run, I feel like I have the clarity to navigate and explore different creative spaces, and it acts like a creative reset when I’ve hit an obstacle and I need to look at things differently.”

Celebrating the campaign, we sat with Joy in an exclusive interview to discuss her love-hate relationship with running, and her inspiring attitude towards challenging yourself. Check out the interview below…

Hey Joy! How are you doing?
Hey! I’m good thank you!

Amazing! How has your past year been for you?
It’s been wild! Honestly, it’s been nuts, it’s probably been the most life-changing year of my life – or ever. A life-changing year. But I’m loving it and it’s all the things I’ve wanted to do so it’s really exciting.

Oh for sure. Not many people can say that they’ve made all of their dreams come true in such strange circumstances, so well done you for doing so!
Thank you so much.

The pandemic affected pretty much everything, did you find that this also affected your creativity?
I actually think it made it better. It was really good for my creativity because for the first time ever a lot of us had to face ourselves and there were no distractions. And when we were really dealing with whatever emotion we were dealing with, be that good or bad, it was very real because we had nowhere to put it if that makes sense. Because my songwriting is so introspective, I think it was really important to have time to myself to understand more about myself and I think I wouldn’t have been able to make the album I did having not had that time. I think it’s dependent on what you do, you know.

And you’ve said that running has helped fuel your creativity… Was that something you picked up in lockdown or is that something that you’ve always done?
I have ran on and off for years. I don’t particularly enjoy running, but what I love about it is the endorphins. I started running when I was 14 with my dad because he found out he was gonna have twins as a 50-year-old man. I was really anxious at the time, as in I just had general anxiety not about his pregnancy, but more so life. It was a bit difficult for my mental health. So we would go running together, we bought a watch from Sports Direct and just started going for it and I noticed what an impact it had on my mental health quite quickly. The endorphins had an amazing feeling and obviously, scientifically it’s good for your brain so yeah, it was very important for me to start doing that. And then over lockdown it really helped me and my mental health as well because I think a lot of people struggled during that time.

I guess that kind of answers my next question, because we wanted to know what was it about running that makes you feel inspired. Would you say it’s more the effect it has on your mental health after you’ve done it?
Oh for sure, and also how it makes my body feel, and actually just knowing I can do it as much as I don’t want to. You’ve got to do it every day in some shape or form. I think it’s willpower.

And you’ve partnered with adidas for their new Solar Glide 5 campaign, could you tell us a bit about what this opportunity means to you?
I mean for me I think it’s really important, especially as an artist that writes about the topics I write about. It’s really important for me to take initiative in terms of staying fit and looking after my mental health. I write a lot about mental health and I’m just glad that with this campaign I can inspire people to get fit or just consider running and the importance it has, not just on how you look and the superficial things but more so the effect it has on your brain and encouraging young people – or anyone – to continue that.

And what has been the biggest challenge for you when running?
Running itself. I really find it hard to find a flow and so it goes back to what I was saying about doing something I don’t wanna do. It’s Rockafella who used to take a cold shower every morning, and the reason why he did it was so he did something in the very beginning of the day that he didn’t want to do. So when he was dealing with things he didn’t want to do throughout the day, which was inevitable, it was easier for him to take on that challenge. I think that’s the thing with me and running, I don’t actually enjoy it one bit. I don’t enjoy the idea of going out for a run at all. But because I can do it, it really improves my willpower. I’m in a very, very difficult industry that involves a lot of doing things you don’t want to do.

And so when you have those moments where you don’t have the motivation, and you know that you don’t want to run, what inspires you and what makes you muster the courage to just do it?
Just knowing how it feels afterwards.

And how important is it for you as a creative and singer to stay healthy and fit, where does that play into your life?
You need it because it’s such a precarious job, especially as a performer and it’s very strenuous on your body and your physical and mental health. It’s a coping mechanism and it’s been a coping mechanism my whole life with my mental health issues before I was even a musician.

Who would you say inspires you?
I’d say athletes really inspire me. I’d say artists of different disciplines inspire me. I love Frida Kahlo, I love Nina Simone – old school songwriters like Carol King. I’d say athletes, I love Katie Taylor, an Irish boxer. I find her super inspiring, the England football team are also inspiring. They’re obviously doing pretty difficult jobs.

And finally, what are you most excited for this year? What’s next for you?
I’m most excited about writing new material and performing which is basically all I’m doing this year so I’m really looking forward to it and I’m really looking forward to going to new places I’ve never been and being able to do that through work, it just feels like such an amazing opportunity all the time.

The adidas Solarglide 5 is available worldwide on the adidas website, in stores an via the adidas app. For more information, head to adidas.com.


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