Saturday, December 12, 2009
New Balance UNICEF “Magic” Shoes – Your Vote Needed
I love surprises! And this week, I had the most amazing surprise – I received a pair of UNICEF branded New Balance MT100 racing flats. What, UNICEF partnering with New Balance you ask?? No, these are a one-of-a-kind, hand painted shoes by shoe artist YK.
First, some context. Then, what I need from you.
Several months ago my running friend Christian offhandedly suggested that I should try to run a sub four-hour, 50K trail race. He went on to advise that the perfect course for this would be the Goblin Valley 50K. Knowing that I would need every advantage to break four hours, I purchased a pair of 7.8oz New Balance MT100 racing flats. While I couldn’t quite get under four hours (4:05), I found the shoes magical.
I found the shoes so magical that I couldn’t help showing people at work. For the most part colleagues were polite and compliant when I said, “Hold them! See how light they are!!” Though, something about their facial expressions and how they held the shoes with extended arms suggested they didn’t fully appreciate the magic.
After four years with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF I’m moving to a new opportunity that will give me more time for family, running and skiing. This past week my team held a going away party for me.
You’ve been there. It’s the requisite work good-bye party with gift. You know the moment is coming where you get the gift and that you can’t let your face reveal how you feel about the wall plaque that you will never hang, that crystal something that you will never take out of its box, or the book of quotes and sentiments that you know just aren’t real (I find these books are problematic in that they raise the question, “if they really felt this way about me – why were they such a&&holes to me??”)
So it’s that moment, and I’m handed a wrapped gift the size of a shoebox. On top, a Barbie doll has been tied down with gold ribbon. I release Barbie from her bondage, remove the wrapping paper, and open the box. Brilliantly branded UNICEF shoes in cyan blue!! OMG? But how? From where? What does Barbie have to do with anything?? So many questions race through my mind.
We’ll the story is this… My brilliant colleagues wanted to give me something that represented my passions; running + UNICEF. “Magic” shoes adorned with the UNICEF branding work that has been so much of my life the past four years - simply f’n brilliant!! To do this, they commissioned YK to create a one-of-a-kind UNICEF shoe just for me! Definitely check out this link www.yoakustoms.com
But here’s my dilemma – and what I need from you. Should the UNICEF “Magic” shoes be displayed in my new office, a timeless icon that will remind me of the great people I worked with at the U.S. Fund. Or, should I race in the shoes, and feel that those with whom I worked so closely are right there with me on the trail, literally experiencing in a down and dirty way the joy that running brings me. What is your vote?
Thank you to all of my colleagues at UNICEF and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The past four years have been the best four years of my professional career – largely in part because of you. It has been a privilege to work with you to create a world where no child dies of a preventable cause. Know that I, Jay Aldous, Believe in Zero www.unicefusa.org