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:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.
    Environment

    In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

    Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

  2. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  3. Transportation

    CityLab University: Induced Demand

    When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works.

  4. Design

    Bringing New Life to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lost Designs

    “I would love to model all of Wright's work, but it is immense,” says architect David Romero. “I do not know if during all my life I will have time.”

  5. Maps

    Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

    Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.