Sport Sport Focus What is the Running Man Challenge?
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What is the Running Man Challenge?

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The Running Man Challenge is the latest in a long line of internet trends.

Just like the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Harlem Shake, the ‘dab’ and the ‘nae nae’ before it, it has quickly spread thanks to the power of the world wide web – and its simplicity.

So, what is it? Challengers film themselves doing a dance known as the running man set to a 1990s song.

The tune, produced by Ghost Town DJ’s, is called My Boo.

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Videos normally last around 20 to 30 seconds and often feature an outlandish entrance.

The trend was reportedly started by two children in the United States but it was a pair of college basketballers who are responsible for its huge popularity.

Maryland duo Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley kept posting videos of themselves doing the dance on Instagram and it quickly spread around the college basketball scene.

See Nickens and Brantley’s original below:

A video posted by Jared Nickens (@jnickens_) on

Since then, it’s taken off in college football, NBA and European soccer.

This version from Rutgers University’s football team has proved particularly popular.

The trend has also crept into Australia.

NRL’s Parramatta Eels did a version which has quickly become popular, but we prefer this one from NPL Victoria outfit North Geelong Warriors.

While it appears that some of the original dance moves have been lost, its popularity has ensured there’s no chance of us forgetting that song any time soon.

And it has provided an amusing insight into many dressing rooms across the sporting world.

Not just a sporting thing

The Running Man Challenge is certainly not limited to just sport.

It’s also taken off in the police world, with various forces challenging each other to take part.

New Zealand Police’s effort is arguably the best – but a quick search on YouTube will bring up hordes more.

Many police services are doing the dance as part of a recruitment drive.

How does something ‘go viral’?

Associate Professor at RMIT University, Dr Con Stavros, said there is no “magic formula” to something going viral. But he said The Running Man Challenge had all the ingredients of a social media hit.

Bayern Munich players performed their own version. Photo: Getty
Bayern Munich players performed their own version. Photo: Getty

“It’s classic social media,” he told The New Daily.

“It’s fun, innocent, straightforward and quirky – it has all the elements of a popular trend.

“But what makes something go viral is a question that marketers are always trying to understand and there’s no magic formula.

“I think in many things that do get popular, though, there’s an element of fun to them.

“People like to share things that boost self-esteem and this particular trend is very shareable with both old and young people.

“It’s quick – it doesn’t go for five minutes – and it’s catchy.”

Dr Stavros said the fact sports teams and players got involved was an obvious factor in its popularity.

“I think when things like this show a different side of athletes and people, it creates a lot of interest,” he said.

“Sport is such a great vehicle on social media because of how much interest players and athletes generate.

“The challenge element also helps. It adds a connection to the next person and the challenge is done in a very public manner.”

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