Degree Hosts World’s First Metaverse Marathon in Support of DE&I Initiatives

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Degree metathon promotional banner
Degree Deodorant hosted the first marathon in the metaverse in support of its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Products and art that can be enjoyed in the modern virtual world and events are gaining ground. Degree Deodorant is the latest brand to jump into the metaverse trend, launching the first-ever marathon being held in Decentraland.

The company, a subsidiary of Unilever, stated that the latest initiative is part of a larger push to shape a more inclusive world, allowing anyone to enjoy an environment that is “free of physical limitations and stereotypes” — something the metaverse strives to do, but has been unable to in its early stages, said Degree. 

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To move the needle forward, Degree partnered with Decentraland to help shape that environment of inclusivity and representation in the digital world, the company said, launching the Degree Metathon, which took place on April 26 at 6 p.m. EDT and covered 26.2 virtual miles. 

Participants encountered an inclusive environment, featuring structures such as ramps. Views included scenes of the Vegas City Sports Quarter, one of Decentraland’s largest districts. Degree also developed new avatar wearables in partnership with Decentraland that are more inclusive, including prostheses, running blades, and a wheelchair. 

Grammy-nominated recording artist Fat Joe and Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper hosted the event.

"As a person with disabilities and a professional runner, I am so excited to take part in the Degree Metatho," said Leeper. "Showing people in the virtual world who are running with blades and other prostheses is something that I think will inspire confidence in people with disabilities to get involved and feel welcome to join in on this experience, and will ultimately contribute to increased representation."

Rap artist Fat Joe stated that as the metaverse continues to evolve, “it's important that the virtual world mirrors the representation in our everyday communities. From different body shapes to cultures to physical abilities, inclusion is key to making people feel welcome.”

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For Degree, this is part of a continued collaboration with experts on disability, race, and gender inclusion to create change and come up with actionable solutions, such as adding audio descriptions for those with visual impairments and offering a non-binary avatar-creation experience that takes into account all shapes and sizes. 

"Over the last several years, Degree has made great strides in progressing our mission of championing everyone to have the confidence to move more, and now we're taking that same mission into the virtual world," said Kathryn Swallow, global brand vice president of Degree.

Swallow added that she hopes the marathon sparks conversations on whey representation matters, both across the metaverse and in the physical world. 

"We're excited about our partnership with Decentraland and about the potential to influence the virtual world as it's being built and more widely adopted by consumers," said Swallow.

Through its Breaking Limits Program, Degree’s $5 million commitment looks to change lives through the power of movement. The company is supporting youth sports organizations with members who face barriers to being active due to race, sexual orientation, disabilities, financial limitations, gender, age, socioeconomic, and more. 

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