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A Sustainable King

Words: Carlos Furnari

Images: Ben Clement

On a September morning when Eliud Kipchoge set the streets of Berlin on fire by finally realizing his dream of breaking the official marathon world record, he also inspired another King to follow in his lightening fast 2:01:40 footsteps.

This is the photo-story of the day the King of Rock n Roll also became the other King of Berlin, by claiming a new world record for the fastest ever marathon dressed as Elvis. Wig… golden aviator glasses… jumpsuit and all.

But… it’s also the story of a Startup running brand [un-sanctioned™ running] with its sights set on calling out and challenging a multibillion dollar industry that it believes isn’t doing nearly enough when it comes to the responsibilities it has when it comes to sustainability.

If a Startup without financial-backing can convince one of the world’s leading performance fabric manufacturers to partner with it to create a 100% recycled running specific fabric from plastic bottles, BottleKnit™ that breaks a world record with its first ever test, then why are the big brands still mass manufacturing apparel made from virgin plastic?

For those not aware, that’s exactly what performance polyester is: Plastic; made from oil, dug up from the depths of our ocean floor.

Nikki aka Elvis or Elvis aka Nikki, tried the suit on literally the night before the race, this was the first time it had been worn. His instant reaction was how light it felt, how breathable and how it felt like traditional and good running kit, even designed as an Elvis suit.

It makes you think, there is that much plastic out there to be recycled and there is possibility and opportunity to create great quality running gear out of it, then why is there not more of it.

Given the current environmental crisis we are going through. Just because we’ve stopped using plastic bags at the supermarket doesn’t mean we should wear unsustainable running gear…

Yes, marathons have always attracted costume runners. From rhinos, to cavemen, to superheroes. Even the 2018 winner of the men’s Boston marathon, Yuki Kawauchi has claim to the fastest (half) marathon dressed as a panda, clocking a very un-panda like 1:10:03. But, the biggest global phenomenon and most covetted costume record of all is undoubtedly that of ‘The King’.

Congratulations to Elvis, AKA: Nikki Johnstone, and his new Guinness world record.

A time that sparked an immediate response from the former King, Mike Wardian:

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“Looks like it is time to dust off the Elvis costume.”