IBM Tells the Amazing Story of a Blind Distance Runner and the App That Keeps Him Going

How Simon Wheatcroft uses Runkeeper

Simon Wheatcroft has run more consecutive miles than most people could imagine walking. All despite the fact that he's blind.

A stunning new ad from IBM (from The Barbarian Group and m ss ng p eces director Tucker Walsh) tells Wheatcroft's story, focusing on how the app Runkeeper, which uses IBM's cloud computing technology to process data requests, helps him learn his routes by consistently and accurately calculating the distance he's traveled.

In this essay, Wheatcroft delves into more detail on how he does it—changes in the terrain he's feeling underfoot are a key element. But the 90-second video captures other details of his story, like bumping into signposts, bushes and traffic lights while learning a new route, but using those mishaps to memorize a clear pathway. The 83-mile number is also not arbitrary. That's the marker where he collapsed while attempting a 100-mile run, his first ever race.

It almost goes without saying that his success is more a testament to his spirit than any technology, and the vast majority of people are using Runkeeper, and the IBM cloud services behind it, in far less remarkable ways. But the relationship is definitely worth showcasing, as an extreme example of how the brand's services can make lives easier.

"IBM Cloud helps Runkeeper process 120,000 global data requests every second. Each with their own story," says the copy.

Even if that story is someone's legs turning to jelly after a measly 10 miles, the real point is, everyone starts somewhere. 


Client: IBM

Agency: The Barbarian Group

Creative Director: Adam Lau

Creative Director: Eric Burnett

Art Director: Andrew Peet

Copy Writer: Morgan Perrine

Broadcast Producer: Damon Webster / Sherri Hollander

Digital Producer: Steven Kreuch

Business Director: Roger Ramirez

Account Executive: Sophie Shrem

Production Company: m ss ng p eces

Director: Tucker Walsh

Executive Producer/Founder: Ari Kuschnir

Executive Producer/Partner: Kate Oppenheim

Executive Producer/Partner: Brian Latt

Head of Production: Dave Saltzman

Producer: Stine Moisen

DOP: Tim Sessler

Production Supervisor: Naomi Wells


Post Supervisor: Cynthia Angel

Editorial: Beast TV

Editor: Jai Shukla

Post Producer: Colleen Valentino

Assistant Editor: Sarah Germano

Flame Artist: Scott Bravo

Composer: Andy Huckvale

Sound Design: Q Department

Color: The Mill

Colorist: Fergus McCall

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.