P.O.V Running diaries - ep.03 NAZZ
In this edition of P.O.V Running Diaries, we're taking you to Ukraine, where you'll meet Nazz – a creative director, podcaster and dedicated runner with a story as unique as the paths he explores. As Ukraine has been prominently featured in the media in recent years, this presents a special opportunity for us to showcase the country from another perspective. Join us as we follow Nazz's daily ritual, unraveling his journey in the world of running. Get ready to witness Ukraine from the viewpoint of one of our own.
Q: Introduce yourself!
NAZZ: Hi! My name is Nazz Oliynyk, I'm originally from Ukraine, city of Lviv. I'm a creative director and also a co-founder of a PR and design agency. Additionally, I'm among the founders of the "Chumaky" project, which encompasses a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a vibrant running community.
Q: Can you tell us about your running journey and what inspired you to start running?
NAZZ: It began during quarantine when gyms shut down. Staying active is crucial for me. I've always been curious about style's influence, so diving into running aesthetics led me to explore the culture and gear. I didn't run just to run; I aimed to inspire through social media with vibrant outfits, making running enjoyable. Soon, friends and followers from different places joined me because it became an exciting shared activity.
Q: How has running positively impacted your life, both physically and mentally?
NAZZ: Running rescued my anxious mind during lockdown; being confined indoors felt maddening. I'm surprised I didn't start sooner—it's as simple as putting on music or meeting a friend and just running. It's effortlessly liberating, leaving room for fresh thoughts and ideas. Moreover, it enhances endurance, balances hormones, reduces anxiety, and supports restful sleep, which, from personal experience, aids in dealing with the aftermath of Ukraine's war.
Q: Any notable running achievements or memorable races you'd like to share?
NAZZ: My notable achievement involves creating a space for amateur runners, where we support those who hesitate due to societal norms about runners. Alongside my partner Taras, we've brought together talented individuals who share our values, centered around enjoying running. We prioritize the experience and connections, eradicating any shame tied to pace or distance. Our objective is to foster unity and provide a welcoming space for everyone.
Q: What's your primary motivation to run even on tough days?
NAZZ: I have to acknowledge that clothing plays a significant role in my motivation to run. It's satisfying to head out and showcase a bit, drawing glances from people. On rainy days, which are quite common here in Lviv (similar to London), or during challenging moments, running becomes a way to find solitude, reflect, release tension, and ultimately clear the way for making important decisions.
Q: What distinct experiences or challenges do you face as a runner in Ukraine's local community currently?
NAZZ: Thank you for your keen interest in this topic. It's worth highlighting that many skilled runners are currently involved in conflicts, which casts a somber shadow. Another challenge arises from the lack of proper training infrastructure; war-affected regions require restoration, often relying on private funding. What sets us apart is our resilience in the face of these obstacles. We persist in training, coaching, fostering new talents, and the industry progresses thanks to compassionate individuals and a desire for transformation. The running community mirrors our nation's unity. Races contribute funds, and runners displaying the Ukrainian flag in global events garner worldwide attention, appealing for international support. It's vital for us to remain connected and share our narrative, especially in these times.
Q: What made you start the Chumaky podcast?
NAZZ: One major reason is the absence of similar media tailored for the Ukrainian market, something I wanted to access myself. I realized that if I couldn't find it, I needed to take action rather than wait. Hence, I sought like-minded individuals and, luckily, found them. Today, "Chumaky" isn't just a podcast; it's a comprehensive ecosystem of running-focused projects, a testament to our dedicated team's efforts. Our only challenge now is managing our abundance of ideas that we're eager to bring to life!
Q: Could you tell us about your preferred running routes or scenic spots in your area that you love to run through?
NAZZ: Here, I'd probably attach a Strava screenshot and race photos, as it's hard to describe—running with me is the best experience. If you're in Ukraine, don't miss a run through Kyiv's Khreshchatyk and Independence Square. These places are symbolic of our country's transformation, emanating an energy of freedom, especially at the Arch of Freedom with its sweeping view of the Dnipro river. In Lviv, my favorite runs explore quieter parks and streets, but the powerful sensation comes when our group runs along the central street by the Opera House. It's a potent feeling, though you can't escape the hills in Lviv.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring runners who want to take up running as a hobby or sport?
NAZZ: First, set clear goals for yourself. Then, connect with a coach or a like-minded group. Lastly, prioritize regular check-ups and tests, ensuring running supports your health rather than harms it.
Q: When you think about Atlas Collectif, what are the aspects that immediately come to mind?
Made me think a lot! Immediately, the community comes to mind, how warmly and openly you communicate about it and that it's your values. Also, versatility, because you can first go for a run, and then go to work or in the evening for a beer with friends. And, of course, I must note the attention to detail: fabric selection, print quality, packaging - the love of the creators for their creation is immediately apparent. Can I continue?😅
Thank you for sharing, Nazz! We look forward to joining a Chumaky episode in the near future!
IG: @nazz.oliynyk @chumaky.way