Night Moves Markings

The 4th Race on July 17th is ON AS PLANNED!!! It's on the far east side of downtown near Indiana Tech. We've had this location & route planned since the end of the first event. It's going to be another brilliant event, host location, and run. We'll have the right route marking and leadings to make sure the event goes as smoothly as the others have. 

If you've seen these around downtown Fort Wayne and wondered who would spray those down on the sidewalks, streets, and alley ways, it was us. The reason they're done in the first place is to route mark a running course for a running series we've hosted called, Night Moves. Night Moves is our effort to get a small number of runners together at a non-traditional time of the day (10pm) into downtown and to explore the streets of the city center we all love while raising awareness for our team and the work we do at NeighborLink Fort Wayne, which is a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to serve vulnerable homeowners. 

We've succeed at accomplishing our goals at each race. We've brought over 100 runners and friends into downtown on Friday nights so far, helped people explore their downtown in ways they've never done, and most of all, brought economic activity to local restaurants that have graciously supported our events by staying open late and serving our runners. We've also raised quite a bit of money for our work at NeighborLink Fort Wayne.

Most of all, we've created quite a bit of buzz. A lot of good buzz, and we're learning quite a bit of negative with our markings. They have a feeling of graffiti and are giving downtown businesses the feeling of being violated against, which was never our intent and we apologize for. We write this post as a way to explain ourselves and the event, not to justify our actions to those that have been frustrated by our activity. 

100% of these markings have been done with a water soluble chalk product and are designed to be temporary and wash away within 10-20 days or after a number of rains, which we've had a lot of lately. The first two events were in the rain and the markings were washed away almost immediately. Because we knew that the product we were using would wash away quickly and leave little trace of our efforts, we pressed on our with our grassroots runs as planned. We've used this product in years past for our events and have seen it wash away the very next day with the first rain and knew it was the best option to create the least amount of long-lasting impact. We believed we were doing our best to be good neighbors by using it. 

We also tried to keep the number of them as minimal as possible while keeping our runners on track and we did them on what we thought were all public sidewalks and streets. Based on the feedback we've gotten this week and what our friends at the Downtown Improvement District have been hearing, we've hit some spots that weren't public. We also recognize now the image they give off to those that may be out to deface property. We were aware that our events would give off the presence of being guerrilla marketing in nature, which is what we were going for, but we never set out to be vandals. We always went out the evening before while it was still daylight and walked the course with our templates in hand, never trying to hide our activity.

To those local businesses and property owners that feel violated, we apologize for giving you the feeling that you had vandalism done to your property. Trust us that it was not our intent and we did what we could to put them in areas that would receive rain and or heavy traffic which removes them in the quickest way possible. We want them to go away quickly. This post is not to excuse our actions, but to inform you of the intent behind them. 

When it comes to liability, we had every runner sign a release of liability form as this was definitely a run at your own risk event. For some of you that helps, and for a lot of you, it's likely not enough and would have rather not had us run near or on your property. We understand and you won't have to worry any more as there are no more races planned in downtown. 

We are good neighbors and take responsibility for our markings. If the markings are not washing way fast enough for you or you'd like us to come and take care of them, we'd be happy to do that. It was our event, our markings, and we take ownership of them. If this explanation helps you understand the situation and it makes better sense to you, thank you for understanding and your grace. 

These have been outstanding events and everyone that participated has loved the opportunity to run through downtown at night and stay out late on a Friday night doing something fun. We see these events as one more opportunity to participate in building downtown into a destination for its residents and to see it with new eyes. We love downtown, our city, and don't want you to have the impression we don't care, because we do. These events have been worth doing, and we've learned more about what works and what doesn't. 

The Future of Night Moves in 2015: 

For this year, we won't have any more races in downtown and you won't see any additional markings from Team NeighborLink. We also learned that after the finishing of our third race, that the markings may not be the best way to direct runners anyway. Our volunteers on bike and foot are the better way. So, we've learned many lessons and likely won't use the marking for our running events. As far as future events, we'll evaluate whether downtown is even the best place to have a run. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly: 

Andrew Hoffman, Executive Director - 260.710.7611 - Andrew@nlfw.org