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The Running Man Challenge died too soon

What is the Running Man Challenge? We explain the social media dance craze, which incorporates a well-known dance move with the 1996 Ghost Town DJs song “My Boo.”

The Running Man Challenge is the newest social media dance craze that’s been spreading across the country in recent weeks. It’s like the dab, or the nae nae or the Harlem Shake, except it incorporates a dance and a song that have been around for a couple of decades. That’s both a blessing and a curse, though — while the challenge is a beautiful tribute, its simplicity has pushed it past its peak too quickly.

Back in March, Maryland basketball players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley decided to do the running man to the 1996 Ghost Town DJs joint “My Boo” and post it to Instagram. Now, they didn’t invent the challenge, these two kids did, but they made it mainstream.


They kept posting videos of the dance, and the scenarios in which they did it became stranger and stranger — Nickens and Brantley began hitting the dance out of nowhere, and even performed it in the middle of a busy street.


This inspired many other basketball teams to try the dance, including Villanova, Marquette, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and the NCAA women’s champion UConn Huskies. Then, it hit other college sports as well.The movement picked up an incredible amount of steam heading into the last week of April.

Everything was awesome. Here was a fun dance that everyone knew, coupled with an incredible song from the nineties. It even appeared that Heat rookie Justise Winslow might bring it to the NBA.


As quickly as the movement became cool, though, it became very uncool. We all know that these dance crazes tend to get out of hand once they pick up enough steam, but they never rise and fall in the span of a couple weeks. The dab hit its peak in December, and died out around February.

What instantly hurts the stock of a cool fad among people in their twenties? The local news. Local morning shows landed a big right hand on Monday, when WFAA in Texas had two anchors attempt the challenge. They totally didn’t do the running man, and one hit the dab, for some reason.

That was bad. Now, the news usually spells the end for these crazes; more and more local outlets will begin to pick this up, and within a few weeks this will probably make it to Ellen. They’re not the lone culprit of publicizing the dance, either — dozens and dozens of websites picked up the story last week, and we had this on Tuesday:

Of course, the Running Man Challenge has not actually ‘died’ — no, it will grow incredibly strong in the coming weeks. But that’s the problem. It has died as we know it. Perhaps it’s because the movement is so easy to understand, or because it incorporates a fairly well-known song, but this dance is destined for mainstream fame. That means it will become increasingly more annoying, which is a real shame. The Running Man Challenge almost reached professional athletes before the general public could catch on, but it has begun to decline too soon.