Pay homage to George R. R. Martin’s gritty fantasy series “Game of Thrones” while changing up your boring run routine by mapping a route of your favorite character’s house sigil. The fun twist on the sometimes tedious task of running is called “Run of Thones”, a social media mapping project designed to delight your inner nerd while challenging your ambitions as an athelete. “The first run in the series was a five-mile loop through Jackson Heights, Queens and was shaped like the Stark sigil, a direwolf,” according to HuffPost Healthy Living. “Its designer (and the creator of Run of Thrones) is Gene Lu, a runner, Game of Thrones enthusiast and user experience designer who has worked on projects for, among others, Nike+ Running,” Fervent fans have began creating their own “Runs of Thrones” routes in cities coast-to-coast from L.A. to Chicago, as well as internationally in far off locales like New Delhi and Panama. Lu has set up a Tumblr with a quick tutorial and a collection of sigils.
“Run of Thrones was something that was born out of our love for the show and our love for running.” –Gene Lu, runner, Game of Thrones enthusiast, and Run of Thrones creator
“Back in early May I started to experiment with various run routes,” Lu told The Huffington Post. “The first couple of runs were just random shapes, but several weeks back, I decided that I wanted to run a route that was a bit more special. It was Sunday and I was pretty excited to run because it was the season finale of Game of Thrones. Before my run, I opened up Google Maps and scanned Queens for the House Stark sigil, the direwolf. Lo and behold, the direwolf ran right by the front door of my apartment. I had to run it.”
“I plotted out the rest of the sigil, emailed the turn-by-turn walking directions to my phone and was out running the route in less than an hour. After the run, I had this amazing run route to share with friends and on top of that, I realized that the House Stark route didn’t really feel like a five-mile run because I was constantly referring to my phone for turn-by-turn directions.”
There have also been paths implemented throughout New York for the Houses of Greyjoy (14.6mi), Tully (7.2mi), and Baratheon (15.8mi). Lu says that a Night’s Watch run (the crow) is planned soon for Brooklyn as well as another, more intricate, House Stark run in Queens.
“I think what makes Run of Thrones magical,” Lu reflected, “is that these sigil run routes put a new lens on how we see where we live. Once people are aware of this new lens, they cannot not see it. The payoff for running is no longer trying to burn calories, it becomes a form of expression through physical art. It’s this wonderful intersection of technology, fandom, and running. As my coworker and fellow Run of Thrones runner, Ryan Scott Tandy says, “Let the city be the canvas and your feet, the brush.” — Casandra Armour