A strong Muslim woman searching for the appropriate clothing to wear as an athlete. A woman who overcame drug addition. Another who overcame sexual abuse. Each woman is entirely different, but one thing brings them together: running.
A powerful new campaign for shoe brand Hoka One One explores how three women used running to overcome tough obstacles in their lives using some beautiful storytelling and scenery.
The film series, “Women Who Fly,” features ultramarathon runner Devon Yanko, trail runner Catra Corbett and triathlete Shirin Gerami. The documentary style by director by Joris Debeij allows the women and their stories to shine.
Gerami’s, for example, explores how she struggled to pursue her love of running as a Muslim woman. When she first started training, there were no appropriate clothes for her to wear to compete in triathlons. That didn’t stop her, though. She persisted and found a means to get the appropriate clothing.
“There are lots of barriers to be broken, and I think if not all, most barriers, are within ourselves,” she says. “Barriers of how we think and how much we dare to dream and how much we dare to chase our dreams and how much we dare to not give up.”
“By way of social media, we’ve found that a lot of our consumers are deeply connected to Hoka One One,” Wendy Yang, president of Hoka One One and performance lifestyle brands at Deckers, said of the campaign. “The brand has enabled people to accomplish goals they never thought they would. Each of these three strong and confident women are transformed by running to help them overcome adversity.”
Take Corbett. After she became addicted to drugs and eventually wound up in jail for selling them, she decided to change her life, and running became integral to that.
“Sitting in a jail cell, I realized this is my bottom, and I need to stop,” she says. “I had to change my life. I’m not a drug addict anymore—I’m a runner; I’m an athlete. I’m doing this. It’s a positive thing, and it inspires people.”
Yanko turned to running as a way to cope with abuse.
“People like to define you very specifically by events, and they extrapolate your whole life by it,” she says in her film. “Being sexually abused is not the story of my life.”
The films show each athlete out running with some beautiful scenic routes in the background.
All of the women had been wearing Hoka One One running shoes before being approached for the series.
“We first met Shirin Girami at the 2016 Ironman championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where she was competing in the Challenger 2,” Yang said. “Catra Corbett started off as fan who turned brand ambassador a few years ago. And Devon Yanko has been a sponsored Hoka athlete since 2015.”