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A Portlander Is Running 'Star Wars'-Themed Routes

The force of the Nike+ app is strong with this one.

Star Wars fans come up with all sorts of tributes to the cultural phenomenon. Portlander Gene Lu is running circles around them all.

Well, not circles.

Using the Nike+ app, Lu is jogging Star Wars-themed routes around the city. So far he’s traced the contours of the Vader’s mask as well as the outlines of imperial military stables such as Stormtroopers, TIE starfighters, and AT-AT walkers. (It bears mention that Lu is an associate creative director with the ad firm R/GA Portland, which works on the Nike+ app.)

In the past, Lu has did a series he called “Run of Thrones” in which he ran routes inspired by the Game of Thrones TV series in New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Portland. But a couple of weeks before the release of The Force Awakens, he started his “Run Wars” series as an homage to the franchise he’s held dear since childhood.

“It was what I grew up with,” Lu tells CityLab via Twitter. “It was my first movie that I recall watching on VHS as a kid.”

Lu says a Star Wars run is very different from a regular run because it breaks up the monotony. “Anticipating the turn-by-turn directions keeps you on your toes,” he says. Plus, at the end of each one, he can share the end-product with an expanded universe of fellow runners and Star War nerds.

The running directions for three of Lu’s routes can be downloaded for anyone who wants to, uh, follow in his footsteps. But to those who think they can’t do 15.5 miles of Vader, I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Here are the maps of Lu’s four Star Wars-themed runs:

Set your blasters to run! Move along with the turn-by-turn directions for this run via the link in my bio or at bit.ly/Stormtrooper_PDX. The run starts on SE Hawthorne Blvd and SE 10th Ave. Oh, and @john_boyega, if you're still missing a helmet, just saying. May the Force be with you! #stormtrooper #runwars #starwars #theforceawakens #theimperialmarch #laddsaddition #werunpdx #hypebeast #nikeplus #theartawakens #force1612

A photo posted by Gene Lu (@genelu) on

The Force is strong in this run. But how strong? The Force was so strong that it drove @g_ianni to join me on this run to crush all 15.5 miles without any proper training. THAT strong. Come and feel the Force of the Darkside. The turn-by-turn directions are up in my bio and can also be accessed at bit.ly/Darth_PDX. May the Force be with you! #darthvader #theforcemademedoit #theforceawakens #runwars #starwars #hypebeast #traveloregon #force1612 @rgaofficial #nikerunning #nikeplus #theartawakens

A photo posted by Gene Lu (@genelu) on

Black Friday. I just ran 4.62 mi @ a 9'31''/mi pace with Nike+. https://t.co/MT6P4emaJM #thedarkside #starwars #theforceawakens #tiefighter #hypebeast #traveloregon #nikeplus #nikerunning #runwars #force1612 #theartawakens

A photo posted by Gene Lu (@genelu) on

For the Empire! To run for the Dark Side, use the Force. And a phone. I’ve compiled the turn-by-turn directions, which you can find in my bio or at bit.ly/ATAT_PDX. Load up the directions before your next run and prepare for lightspeed. The run starts on SE 6th Ave and SE Stark St in Portland, OR. May the Force be with you! #theforceawakens #atatwalker #mediumblaster #heavylasercannon #rundraw #runwars #starwars #theforceawakens #traveloregon #bestoforegon #exploregon #hypebeast #force1612 #nikeplus #theartawakens

A photo posted by Gene Lu (@genelu) on

About the Author

  • Tanvi Misra
    Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering demographics, inequality, and urban culture. She previously contributed to NPR's Code Switch blog and BBC's online news magazine.