In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month during May, the footwear brand is partnering with the National Alliance of Mental Illness of NYC (NAMI-NYC) to host a virtual Blue Jean Mile competition, in which participants run a mile in the month of May on their own time—and in a pair of jeans.
The competition was inspired by Asics’ elite athlete Johnny Gregorek, who set a record last year for the fastest mile run in jeans. Wearing a pair of classic Levi’s 501 jeans, Gregorek completed the race with a time of 4:06:25 and raised a total of $32,000 for the NAMI-NYC in the process. Now hosting the event alongside race tracking app Race Roster, Asics is donating $40,625 to honor Gregorek’s record and raise mental health awareness.
“There is no question this last year has created additional concern and appreciation about people’s mental health, and for a brand built on the ethos of a ‘sound mind in a sound body,’ we believe it’s more important than ever to highlight the significance of mental health awareness,” said Richard Sullivan, Asics North America president and COO. “We are happy to support Johnny and elevate his personal platform, while also getting people around the country to move in blue jeans for a great cause.”
Gregorek, who initially ran the race to honor his late brother, hopes the competition inspires people to learn more about mental illness and provide helpful resources for those affected.
Participants can get involved with the Asics Blue Jean Mile via the Race Roster app. There, they can upload the results of their denim run to the app as well as to social media with the hashtag #SoundMindSoundBody. Registration is free, with the option to donate and fundraise.