Redefining fitness amid the pandemic with runnr

Home workouts have become a thing during the pandemic. Apart from the physical benefits, Quorum International Inc. President and runnr founder Toby Claudio also shares that exercise benefits people's mental health.

6/21/2021 11:23:00 AM

Home workouts have become a thing during the pandemic. Apart from the physical benefits, Quorum International Inc. President and runnr founder Toby Claudio also shares that exercise benefits people's mental health.

With gyms closed, home workouts have become a thing during the pandemic. Apart from the physical benefits, Quorum International Inc. President and runnr founder Toby Claudio also shares that exercise benefits people's mental health, especially those experiencing lockdown fatigue and anxiety.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —Toby Claudio is no stranger to defying limits. More than a decade ago, he was told he could no longer do strenuous sports because of a slipped disc. He then turned to running, participated in long races, and in a couple of years, launched a shop for runners—aptly named runnr.

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“There’s really a science behind proper running form especially getting the proper equipment, particularly, shoes,” shared Claudio, who comes from the entrepreneurial family behind Toby’s Sports, the country's largest sporting goods retail chain named after him. “There’s really a right and wrong shoe for you and if you get the wrong shoe, you’d get even more hurt,” he added.

Runnr celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, never expecting, like anyone in the retail business, that the world would come to a grinding halt just a few months after.“It’s been difficult for us also being in the retail business. Of course, when you have all these lockdowns—MECQ, ECQ—and the malls are closed. It really affects our business. We can’t even open and run our stores,” Claudio recalled. “Even when we were allowed to open, there was not that much foot traffic in the malls.” headtopics.com

PHOTO FROM RUNNRThe pandemic brought him back to 2006 where an orthopedic doctor told him he could no longer play sports because of his bad back. With the same “never-say-die” mindset, Claudio reconfigured their operations. “We have 64 stores nationwide and almost a thousand people to take care of. That’s a big responsibility for me but also fortunately for us, we have a strong online business,” he said.

Even before the lockdown, the shop had already been aggressively expanding its e-commerce presence through runnr.com.ph. It also found a way to reach its non-tech-savvy customers via its Viber Chat and Collect channel, which lets customers connect directly with their nearest runnr branch.

“They will get served from Viber and we could transact, get their order ready, get their payment, and then prepare their items for pick-up. Or we could even arrange for delivery directly from the store,” Claudio said pointing out that they also have to take care of customers looking for a more personal touch.

The upside he sees is that more people are now working out at home, cycling, jogging, and running—a trend runnr is benefitting from. People are now more health-conscious and exercising more regularly, he observed, not only because of its physical benefits but also its positive effects on mental health. headtopics.com

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PHOTO FROM RUNNR“Bottomline, our bodies were meant to move and if we are moving then we’re using our bodies (as they) are meant to be used. And that’s how we avoid depression, stress, and anxiety,” Claudio said.He also suggested that local business owners come up with ad campaigns that are heavy on user-generated content. A case in point is runnr’s #RunSmartRunSafe and Toby’s Sports #StayStrongIndoors campaigns where they asked people to share their running journey during the pandemic and their home workouts, regardless if they have the proper equipment or not. It gained traction and created a lot of awareness for sports and fitness during the lockdown.

As part of the Shop Small movement, an initiative of American Express and BDO to help local businesses especially those affected by the pandemic, runnr and Toby’s Sports customers with BDO-issued American Express Cards can enjoy 5x Rewards for purchases made until June 30, 2021. Points earned can be used to redeem a reward of choice from a selection of gift certificates, gadgets, appliances, air miles, and more.

“Now is really when you have to find ways to keep yourself—mind and body—in a good state. I say that not only because we are in that business. We really believe that by helping customers engage in a healthy and active lifestyle through exercise is really important at this time,” said Claudio.

Shop Small is a movement founded by American Express to ignite passion for small and local businesses, call attention to the valuable contributions they make to their communities and the economy, and encourage shoppers to support them. Read more: CNN Philippines »

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