Skip to content

Rock Band Inspires Running/Exercise Group with Unique Visual Style

Posted in:

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from reader Tony McCosham, who’s going to tell us about a very cool project. Enjoy. — Paul]

By Tony McCosham

For a while now I’ve been meaning to tell Paul and his readers about a uniform-adjacent running/exercise group inspired by the Cincinnati rock band the National, called I Think I’m Hittin’ a Wall (ITIHAW). The running group was started in the UK a little over four years ago by a guy named Brett Shelton. He was inspired to bring together folks who enjoyed the National and exercise,  especially running. It’s a virtual group where members primarily connect via Instagram and Facebook. The group’s name is taken from a line in the National song “Where Is Her Head.”

From the start, Brett created a strong visual identity. First, there is the ITIHAW logo, which has evolved over the years but is principally based on the graphics for the National’s upsate New York recording studio.

A cap for the band the National.
The first logo for the National-inspired running group I Think I’m Hittin’ a Wall.
The running group’s current logo.

In addition to being featured on ITIHAW’s social media, the logo has also shown up on hats, shirts, and stickers, which ITIHAW members enjoy wearing and sharing in group posts. I even got the logo from Brett to use for group bib boards (to hold running bibs in place), as seen here:

The shirt in the last photo of that slideshow was designed by an ITIHAW member named James De Villiers, who originally designed the image of a zombie Matt Berninger (the National’s singer) from a line in the band’s song “Conversation 16.”

Additionally, Brett’s enthusiasm for the National has extended to an appreciation of all things related to Ohio and Cincinnati. He’s made several pieces of memorabilia for fictitious Ohio sports teams inspired by the band. This includes the Ohio State Bees, inspired by the band’s song “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” which includes the line “I was carried to Ohio by a swarm of bees”:

[It’s not clear whether Brett was also drawing inspiration from the real-life Cincinnati Stingers. — Paul]

Brett also made a Bengals-esque hat for the fictitious Cincinnati Berningers, inspired by a time Berninger posted a photo of himself dressed as Tigger.

Since starting ITIHAW, Brett been able to connect with most members of the band and other adjacent artists and friends, often conducting interviews that he records and then posts for the ITIHAW group. This led to a design collaboration with Ben Lanz, a multi-instrumentalist in the band who also releases work as a solo artist. Ben is really into cycling, so he and Brett collaborated on a cycling hat as well as some cycling-related stickers, which were released in conjunction with one of Ben’s solo albums:

Here’s a zine that talks about how that project evolved. It was released by Ben’s label in collaboration with ITIHAW.

Ben also wrote an ITIHAW-inspired song, called “I’ll Keep Running,” and had Brett create the song’s video using crowdsourced footage from ITIHAW members, many of whom are wearing the ITIHAW logo on their workout gear:

I think one of the great things about ITIHAW is the supportive, positive community it creates, putting an emphasis on personal wellness, both physical and mental, all with a unique visual style and set to great music!


Paul here. I’m not a runner, and I’ve never really gotten into the National, but I love this project. Big thanks to Tony for sharing it with us, and all best to him and the rest of ITIHAW!



ITEM! New Membership Raffle

Reader Corey Zoldan has generously donated funds for me to raffle off a Uni Watch membership card, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle in-box by 10pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Corey for sponsoring this one!




NYC Party Reminder

Remember, May 26 is Uni Watch’s 25th anniversary, and will also be my final day. To celebrate, the great hockey-rock band the Zambonis will be playing at the Bowery Electric in Manhattan, along with comedian/accordionist Dave Hill. There’s a decent chance that this will sell out, so I urge you to get your tickets here. All the coin goes to the band, not to me. Hope to see you there!

• • • • •

Happy birthday to our own Lloyd Alaban, who’s celebrating another trip around the sun today. Enjoy your special day, Lloyd! — Paul


Comments (12)

    Well, I never expected one of my favorite bands to crossover into UW, but here we are!

    Is anyone else having problems with the website loading? It has looked like this in all of my browsers for the past two days. This is the only website that is experiencing this issue.


    The National is great. Excellent live band. Not as fond of their more recent stuff, but Alligator > Boxer > High Violet > Trouble Will Find Me is one hell of a run.

    Agreed that these are their best albums for sure, but I would even throw Sleep Well Beast in that list as well

    They’re not bad. They had a nice split Austin City Limits with Band of Horses.
    My wife really likes them.
    Neat project.

    ITIHAW shirts for MLB outfielders to warm up in is what I would suggest. They know all about hitting walls.

    Huge fan of The National since around 2011. Grew up listening to Alligator, Boxer, and High Violet on repeat. Glad to see them get featured here!

    Phish has a similar club that gets together on 3 day runs the band has. Named after the song Run Like an Antelope.


    Saw Phish in Memphis, amazing show, the guitar playing never disappoints…
    Lloyd… happy birthday bro and remember you’re not as old as you used to be…

Comments are closed.