When Alex Hermanson, a.k.a. “Herm Runs,” started following other runners on social media, “I didn’t really see anyone that I personally related with wholeheartedly,” he recalls. “So I was like, ‘I’m just going to go make that myself.’” That was in late 2022, and now the self-described “big dude who runs a lot” has an online community of almost 100K and an in-person running group, the Not Yet Named Run Club.

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It wasn’t that he wanted to become an influencer, and he still doesn’t think of himself as one. “I just wanted to make some friends more than anything. It was never a thing like, ‘I need to go get followers.’ It was just like, ‘Who else likes to listen to the Grateful Dead, run slow, and eat doughnuts?’ That was all that it ever was in the beginning. And it’s still that to this day. Nothing has changed from day one. I’m still making the same videos and really just preaching the same messages.

“I want to preach running comfortably,” he continues. “However for you is the most comfortable. Wear the amount of clothes that makes you feel most comfortable in your body on that day. And some days it won’t be the same. There’s plenty of days where I put on a long sleeve shirt because I don’t feel like I want to run shirtless that day.

I preach this message, but also, it’s tough to work through this because I could see my therapist for the next 20 years and I will still have the issues of that one time the kid on the playground in third grade said that I wasn’t just big, I was fat. I still remember that every single day. And because of that, I think I’m trying to protect younger Alex in the message that’s going out there. And that’s why I feel so inspired by it. Because at the end of the day, we all deserve the opportunity to run comfortably, run happily and do this thing that we all love and enjoy.”

He truly enjoys getting to know the people he reaches. “I hate to call them ‘followers’ because that feels icky. That feels one way. But you build this community where you can actually communicate back and forth, have real conversations, genuine conversations. That’s how you build the sport. That’s how you build what’s actually special within the sport, right?

“People are coming up to me and I’ve never met them in my entire life. But you would have thought we were best friends growing up. I think that that’s what I’m most stoked on in my content, that I am able to provide this space. You can come up and tell me your story, and I’m going to listen every time, and we’re going to have a conversation about it, because I think that sometimes it gets lost that we’re all humans, we’re all people and we all love to chit-chat and shoot the shit, whatever is going on. I’m just as wanting to talk to you as you are to me. So I think that’s a really important part of it.”

While Alex doesn’t think of himself as an influencer, brands do, and approach him regularly to promote their products. He’s as genuine with them as he is with his community. “If I do a paid ad, it’s something that I’ve actually either been using in my life for a long time now, or it’s a product that I think could benefit people. And I will be honest; I’ve commented on a couple of ads now, if this is how you would like to use this shoe or this something or other, it’s not for you. And that’s fine. It’s not gonna be for everyone.

“Trying to work with brands is probably the hardest thing in the world for me. I like to fancy myself more of a creator before an influencer or even before a runner. So when I have creative ideas, and I have a message that I want to be portrayed through a video or a way that I want to structure a video, and a brand that seemed very open to it in the beginning comes back to me and they’re like, ‘Hey, this isn’t gonna work. We actually hate this. We hate you. We would rather you do a voiceover. Can you read this script for us?’, that’s the stuff that I have actually cried real life human tears about because that’s taking away from the art form of what we do, because at the end of the day, that’s what it still is to me and always will be.”

He does acknowledge though, that not all of the content that he puts out is exactly as it appears. “Take what you see from any running content creator with a grain of salt, right? Like don’t actually think that’s the run they were on that day. There’s plenty of times where I will film two videos in one day. If I don’t mention the day of the week in the video, it’s probably because I made it  three or four days in advance so that I had content for the week.”

Creating content is the job that Alex has always dreamed of, but he’s determined not to let it get in the way of real relationships. “I think that it’s pretty clear I used to run with a crew pretty frequently and talked about them a lot and posted about them a lot. I didn’t realize how much money was being brought in and moved around. And then it kind of broke my heart that that was never really divulged to anybody. Or, you know, the partnerships that seemed really cool, ‘Hey, come out. We’re going to hook you up with this, that, or the other thing.’ Wait, someone’s getting paid for this because they are in charge and we’re just getting a couple of Clif bars or something. 

“So for Not Yet Named Run Club, we don’t have sponsors.  Not Yet Named Run Club is just about the community that it’s a part of. Our social media posts aren’t going to be to build a brand. It’s just going to tell you where we’re running and recap the run with this cool little 90s filter I have on my phone because I think that video style looks awesome. It’s just a way for our group to come together and run together and hang out with like minded people.”


Alex’s Instagram

Alex’s YouTube

Alex’s TikTok

Thank you to AG1, HydraPak, and Tracksmith for sponsoring this episode.

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