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THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

A DIVERSIFIED COMMUNICATIONS PUBLICATION

CRAZY FOR RUN RETAIL PRESENTING SPONSORS

MARK PLAATJES IS AMONG MANY INDEPENDENT RETAILERS MAKING A STATEMENT IN 2019.

S RD A AW 19 A 0 RIC IN 2 E M S N A AND I P S RE EX E 14 O ST RAM PAG T G S BE PRO JANUARY 15, 2019

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RUNNING INSIGHT

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR 2019

Editor Mark Sullivan cracks open his run specialty fortune cookie for the New Year.

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o prepare for what promises to be an exciting, interesting and eventfilled 2019, Running Insight spoke early in the year with retailers, brand executives and industry consultants and came up with the following words of advice and inspiration for 2019. Read on to prepare your retail feast. Experience Per Square Foot, Not Sales Per Square Foot. Everyone knows “the in-store experience” is what enables brick-and-mortar stores to win over online buyers. Stores need to start thinking about how they can maximize that experience in every square foot and every aspect of their store from greeting to fitting to check out.

Great Customer Service is Like Taking a shower. Like your mother told you, you need to do it every day for it to work. Enough said on this topic.

Use bric every k-a nd- advan t mo rtar age yo u spe cial have ty s a tore s a .

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2019 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published twice each month, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.

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Evaluate Your Staff Structure. Retail is changing so dramatically that your staff structure needs to evolve to stay current. Do you have too many people on the floor? Is social media coordinator only 20 percent of someone’s job? Do you need a field marketing person? You likely don’t need more people, but everyone’s job needs to be structured to align with your goals.

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Mark Sullivan................................msullivan@Divcom.com Troy Leonard.................................. tleonard@Divcom.com Christina Henderson..................chenderson@Divcom.com

Editorial

Managing Editor....... Michael Jacobsen: mjacobsen@Divcom.com

Data Dive. Be on top of the data you are collecting from all sources: Point of Sale, customer satisfaction surveys and social media. Use them all to make sense of what’s trending in your business and what your consumer

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Words of Wisdom (continued) The best stores don’t just sell stuff, they showcase how merchandise will make their customers’ lives better. Tell stories around your categories.

wants. Data can be a history document or it can be a business tool. Used correctly it can help you predict what will happen in your business. Tell Stories. The best stores don’t just sell stuff, they showcase how merchandise will make their customers’ lives better. Tell stories around categories like nutrition, socks and sports bras. Create promotions around race training and holidays such as Valentine’s Day.

your store. They should feel how light the new shoes are, how soft the new shirts are, how water runs off the new jackets and how strong and durable the new water bottles are. Shoppers can’t do this online, but they can do it in your store. There’s no way to beat that advantage. Margin Calls. Plan not to just grow your business, but grow your margins on merchandise sales. What are two or three categories you can

is the availability of space at better prices in your area? Real estate is one of a retailer’s largest fixed costs. If you can reduce that by just a little bit, that can grow your margins or free up dollars to invest elsewhere. Align with your vendors. Your vendors likely want to expand their distribution or grow their direct-to-consumer business. Those are realities for vendors today, but how does that impact

You you will ha v rea d R e grea unn ing t fortun Insi ght e in 20 1 eve ry is 9 ... if sue .

Expand your Community. What new groups can you target this year to expand your customer base and let people know how wonderful your store is? Dad’s groups, schools, medical clinics, social groups? Mix them together and make your store the place for these folks to connect and build relationships. Tactile Tactics. Encourage your customers to touch and engage with all the wonderful merchandise in 4

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emphasize that offer higher gross margins than shoes and apparel? Get Real with Your Real Estate. Does your lease, store size and location make as much sense today as when you signed it? Your business has changed since then? Do you need a community room? How has your neighborhood changed? How about your retail neighbors? Is there a growing customer segment you could better serve with a new location? And what

your ability to sell their product and run your business. If they are expanding online, is there a way for you to participate and benefit? If they are expanding into other channels, are you receiving differentiated product and preferred deliveries? The simple days of brands creating great product and retailers selling it are over. Business is more complex today. Vendors need to be transparent with their goals and hold up their end of the relationship with retailers. n © 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

CRAZY

Independent running retail success comes in many forms in 2019 / By Brian Metzler

FOR RUN RETAIL

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hen Mike Rouse announced two years ago that he was going to open a new running specialty shop in Frisco, TX, running industry friends thought he was nuts. Well, OK, they know Rousey is a bit crazy, but some thought he was just foolish to get into retail given the downturn many existing store owners have been reporting. But damned if he didn’t open the 1800-square-foot Run Texas shop in July of 2017 anyway. And, by gosh, so far business has been pretty darn good. The store’s not killing it, but it’s been modestly successful so far. “Having been in the running business for 30-plus years, I knew it was going to be tough,” Rouse says. “I knew running retail isn’t wasn’t it was 15 to 20 years ago when you could open a store and became financially stable overnight — back when it was growing and growing and growing every year. But at the same time, I had something in my back pocket that most running stores don’t, and that’s 30 years of experience.” Rouse used his experience, passion and smarts to create a “boutiquey” shop with almost no manufacturer’s branding, but instead letting a rustic Texas aesthetic vibe and great customer service carry the store. (He crafted the store’s shoe wall and from old wooden pallets he collected and there’s a longhorn skull on the wall behind the cash wrap.) 6

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He also hired four seasoned staffers away from Luke’s Locker who have at least 10 years of running specialty experience, which means he didn’t have to do any training. But really, he’s just made sure that every customer that’s walked through the door has been met with a warm welcome and exceptional service. He’s supported local running races, providing race packet pickups in the store and spent many weekend mornings under a Run Texas pop-up tent at local races. Although another small shop, Frisco

Running Company, is only seven miles away, Rouse says his real competition is Amazon, Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports. Still, he’s not bemoaning any of that, he’s just connecting with the community. The store had 80 people show up for its first six-mile training run of the year on Jan. 5, something those online stores could never pull off. “When you get that kind of loyalty, it only happens by word of mouth,” Rouse says. “Local training groups and local events, that’s where you find runners in your town.

Mike Rouse crafted the shoe wall at his new Run Texas shop out of old wooden pallets he collected.

© 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Crazy for Run Retail (continued)

In Motion’s group runs are testament to Mark Plaatjes’ passion for running.

It’s about getting a core group of people who can tell their friends, their co-workers, their running buddies to say, ‘Have you been to Run Texas yet?’ and building from there.” The Bottom Line is Possible

The bottom line? Even amid an industry-wide decline in shoe sales and running race participation, it is possible for small, independently owned specialty retail stores to make it in the age of e-commerce, Rouse says, by sticking to the principles that have always worked — namely passion, service, hustle and connection to the local community. Smart buying and shrewd inventory management help, too, as does selling the right products. Rouse says 72 percent of the shoes Run Texas sold last year were neutral models and the store has done well with lifestylethemed T-shirts as an add-on sale item. “Most people that open a running store just want to do it and don’t really know what they’re getting into,” he says. “I knew what I was getting into and went into it without the expectation of selling my store in two or three years for $2.5 million. I wanted 8

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to do it because I love to do this.” That’s a similar formula behind the initial success of several other stores that have newly opened or expanded to a new location, including Naperville Running Company in suburban Chicago, Milestone Running in San Diego, and In Motion Running in Boulder, CO. The Naperville Story

After opening a second store at the south end of Naperville in 2014, NRC owner Kris Hartner opened a third store in nearby Wheaton in 2017. Although Wheaton has a similar demographic base as Naperville, it had seen three stores come and go over the past two decades. Although the buildout of the town’s historic railroad station site took longer than expected, when they finally opened the 2200-square foot store they immersed themselves into the community. It helped that Kyle Brady, one of the managers, grew up in the area, ran track and cross-country in high school and knew the coaches in the area. “We didn’t do anything differently, we just dug in,” Hartner says. “We do all of the same stuff with group runs, training groups

and other forms of community engagement. That’s what you have to do.” Because the other two NRC stores were doing well, it enabled the company to spread some of the fixed costs over the entire business and allowed the new store to be stocked conservatively, knowing additional shoes and gear could be delivered from one of the other locations. “We don’t need to do quite the same number to make a profit if it was a stand-alone store,” Hartner says. “You can do a couple hundred thousand dollars less and still have a decent little bottom line as opposed to being a single store and having to bring in $700,000-$800,000 and run a tight ship just to make a little bit at the end of the year.” Milestone Running got started with a small shop in the North Park area of San Diego in 2013, but recently owners Greg Lemon and Chad Crawford took over the Movin’ Shoes shop in Pacific Beach after owner Bob Kennedy decided to shut that legacy franchise down. While Kennedy failed to keep the local flavor and culture intact while managing three Movin’ Shoes stores from Indianapolis, Lemon and Crawford have found early success by engaging with the local running community the same way they did with their original store. They plan to remodel the Pacific Beach location with more modern features while also keeping the vibe of the old Movin’ Shoes alive. (Movin’ Shoes co-founder Carl Brandt gave some of the original early 1980s signs to hang in the store.) Plaatjes Is In Motion

Meanwhile, Mark Plaatjes, the co-founder of the Boulder

“It’s about getting a core group of people who can tell their friends, their coworkers, their running buddies to say, ‘Have you been to Run Texas yet?’ and building from there.” MIKE ROUSE, RUN TEXAS

Running Company stores (now owned by JackRabbit), opened In Motion Running in Boulder, CO, in early November, rolling his acclaimed physical therapy practice into the a new 5000-square-foot shop less than a mile from the original BRC, which JackRabbit has recently remodeled. After his former partner and majority owner, Johnny Halberstadt, decided to sell the BRC stores in 2013, Plaatjes stayed on as a manager but resigned after a year to focus on his physical therapy business because he didn’t agree with how new group did business. Still, like Rouse, he pined to get back into running retail — and he even approached JackRabbit and Fleet Feet about acquiring their Boulder stores — mostly because he missed helping runners. The store opened three months later than he had planned because of a slower-than-expected buildout, and even in Boulder the running business is slow in the winter. But Plaatjes is confident he and his team have already reconnected with the local running community who appreciate the sincere and authentic service. So far its initial in-store events, fun runs and training groups have been a big success. “I like to say I don’t sell shoes, I sell solutions,” Plaatjes says. “It’s all about service and community. It’s about going the extra mile.” n © 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Life After JackRabbit Independent stores have had varying degrees of success competing with the chain in recent years. IT FEELS LIKE AGES AGO NOW, but when The Finish Line – through its Running Specialty Group subsidiary – teamed up with Denver businessman Ken Gart to gobble up dozens of the country’s best running stores, it seemed like the end of the world as we know it. At least for privately owned running specialty shops. Between 2012 and 2015, RSG rounded up 75 stores with long legacies as being among the best in the country. These included Roncker’s Running Spot in Cincinnati, Gary Gribbles Running Sports in Kansas City, VA Runner in Virginia, Blue Mile in Indiana, Running Fit in Michigan, Run On! in Texas and Boulder Running Company in Colorado. Most industry observers figured it would be tough to compete with the power that JackRabbit seemingly wielded — some of the best shops in the country enhanced by a high-powered online selling site, centralized warehousing and the backing of an enormous mall store chain. As RSG bought out, cut or drove away most of the key personnel that had made those stores great – not only the original owners, but also longtime managers – and rebranded many under the banner of JackRabbit or The Running Company, they started to lose the community connection that had helped those stores thrive. As a result, new independently owned running stores started to pop up in some of the cities where JackRabbit stores existed. Among them was Michigan’s Ann Arbor Running Company, which was co-founded in 2014 by Ian Forsyth, a 20-year employee of Running Fit, and Nick Stanko, who also worked at Running Fit for a stretch before it was sold to RSG. After a strong first three years, they opened a second AARC location in 2017. It’s not easy operating in the shadow of JackRabbit, which now has three Running Fit stores in the Ann Arbor and two more in the Detroit suburbs. But among the keys to 10

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Ann Arbor Running Company has thrived in direct competition with a number of local JackRabbit stores.

AARC’s success have been its authenticity and the ability of Forsyth and Stanko to maintain their connections to the community — through races, schools, clubs and other organizations. It didn’t hurt that they hired four former Running Fit employees. “We need to be known as the running store in town that you want to go to — the place to get good advice, community interaction and good customer service every single time,” says the 46-year-old Forsyth, who, like Stanko, ran track and cross-country for the University of Michigan. Those are things that you’re not going to get shopping online or shopping at a big-box store. When you come in, we’re going to give you personal attention and try to help you become a lifelong runner.” Not all post-RSG startups have fared so well, though. When RSG bought and eventually rebranded The Princeton Running Company store in Princeton, NJ, in 2014, Brian Harris left and joined forces with the Pacers Running retail group owner Chris Farley to spearhead the opening of a new store right across town. It realized some success in the ensuing years, but not enough to keep pace with the JackRabbit store and closed last spring. (Pacers still has three stores in Washington, DC, and three more in Virginia.)

Similarly, longtime Boulder Running Company shoe buyer Henry Guzman started Flatirons Running in 2014, pulled over some former BRC employees and had some success based on its community connections. But it couldn’t quite get over the hump and in 2017 folded into the Denver-area Runner’s Roost nine-store system. (Guzman’s former partners Tricia Vieth and R.L. Smith are still connected with the Runner’s Roost shop in Boulder.) The biggest problem with JackRabbit, Forsyth says, is that it sends numerous emails to local residents every week that offer deep discounts on online closeout shoes from the brand’s massive inventory through its central warehouse. Ann Arbor Running Company began offering online sales for the first time in 2018, but mostly for regularly priced shoes and only a handful sale shoes based on its in-store smaller inventory. It’s hard to compete with a competitor offering $79 shoes at the tip of your fingertips, he says, regardless of how well they fit the buyer once they arrive. “But still we survive,” he says with pride. “We’re up a little bit from this time last year, so feel we’re strong. Fortunately there are still people who want to shop local and have a better running experience.” — Brian Metzler

© 2019 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Getting Personal EnMotive and Miro are taking personalization to the next level in running.

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nMotive and Miro have partnered to build what they are calling “the endurance industry’s first automated AI-driven personalization platform.” The platform utilizes in-race photos that it matches with registration data. This platform, which was used during the Indie 5K at The Running Event last year, has both marketing and training applications. It can detect and analyze the motion of runners during competitions and can also identify what footwear and apparel brands they are wearing. At the Indie 5K, the top three footwear brands worn during the race were Brooks, with 16.7 percent of the overall participants; On, with 14.7 percent and Saucony (8.53 percent). In apparel, 23 percent of the runners wore Nike tops; 15.1 percent wore New Balance tops and 13.3 percent wore Under Armour. The breakout of brands is above. The software program can also break out the information by gender and age by matching the photos to bib numbers and registration data.

WHAT BRANDS DID RUNNERS WEAR AT THE INDIE 5K? FOOTWEAR Brooks On Saucony

OVERALL 16.7% 14.7% 8.5%

UNDER 30 15.8% 12.3% 8.8%

30-45 15% 19.2% 13.3%

APPAREL (Tops) Nike New Balance Under Armour

OVERALL 23% 15.1% 13.3%

UNDER 30 30-45 30.3% 18.2% 15.2% 14.5% 12.1% 16.4%

45+ 19.75% 9.9% 1.23% 45+ 24% 16% 8.0%

MALE 10.6% 13.3% 10%

FEMALE 30.8% 17.9% 5.1%

MALE FEMALE 20% 30.3% 16.25% 12.12% 15% 9%

EnMotive and Miro executives say the platform will allow race organizers to interact with racers on a personal one-to-one level based on their brand preferences and running form. The top three brands in footwear, apparel tops and apparel bottoms awards were presented with special TREndy Awards from EnMotive and BibRave. For further information, retailers can visit the company websites: www.enmotive.com or www. miro.io or e-mail Patrick McInerney at pmcinerney@enmotive.com n

The Indie 5K at The Running Event in Austin last year was a showcase for EnMotive’s AI-driven personalization platform. Above, attendees check out the process.

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© 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

New Format For Best Stores Awards The annual Best Stores Awards program is being expanded for 2019.

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iversified Communications is expanding the annual Best Running Stores in America Awards program for 2019. “We’ll use a new set of criteria that more accurately reflects what being a great retailer is all about in 2019,” says Christina Henderson, event manager for The Running Event and The Best Running Store Awards. “We’ll evaluate how a store engages with its customers and its community and that ultimately defines what makes a store one of the best in the country.” The Awards Program will continue to name a “Store of the Year;” four finalists and a Top 10 list. And under the new format, the list could grow beyond 50 stores. The new rating system will pay increased attention to online ratings by consumers as well as a questionnaire that will be completed by the stores. Sponsoring vendors of the Best Store Awards will also evaluate nominated stores. Overall ratings using all scoring criteria will determine what stores make the list for 2019. The deadline for nominations is February 15 and winners will be announced by March 31 and honored at a special event at The El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, AZ, May 20-22. Stores that make the list will be invited to

The Best Store Awards & Conference in Tucson for the awards event, which will feature two days of conference sessions, networking and meetings with brand sponsors. In addition, these stores will receive window signage and a social media tool kit to promote the award in their local community. The list will also be published and promoted online throughout 2019. And as an added perk, each store that attends The El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, AZ. the events will have their stores shopped and evalNominations can be submitted uated by Franklin Retail Solutions, the at https://dcforms.formstack. sports retail merchandising company that has evaluated stores since the awards were com/forms/50_best_nominations first presented 10 years ago. Stores are encouraged to share The Best Stores conference will feature the nomination link so customers on-stage interviews with the four finalists can share their thoughts directly for store of the year and video presentations from the stores that make the Top 10 List. with the judging team. “Since we acquired The Running Event in May, 2018 I have been blown away by the EVP of Diversified. “These store owners passion and dedication of run store owners have invested their hearts and souls into throughout the country,” says Bill Springer, building great stores and we’re thrilled to be able to recognize them.” The conference will be sponsored by 25 leading suppliers to the run specialty channel, all of whom will host by-appointment meetings with retail attendees. • Stores that make the list will be invited to The Best Store Awards & ConferStores with any questions on the awards ence in Tucson for the awards event, which will feature two days of conference nominations and criteria should contact sessions, networking and meetings with brand sponsors. Mark Sullivan at msullivan@divcom.com . • In addition, these stores will receive window signage and a social media tool Companies interested in sponsoring The kit to promote the award in their local community. Best Stores event should contact Christina • The list will also be published and promoted to consumers online throughout Henderson at chenderson@divcom.com. 2019. Sponsorships are limited to 25 companies, • And as an added perk, each store that attends the events will have their who will set up in Brand Suites in casitas stores shopped and evaluated by Franklin Retail Solutions, the sports retail on the resort property. Each sponsor will merchandising company that has evaluated stores since the awards were first have pre-scheduled meetings with winning presented 10 years ago. n stores in their Brand Suites. n

How the Best Stores Will Be Honored

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© 2019 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Under Armour Going Seamless Connected technology driving UA running efforts in 2019.

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hrough partnerships with sound expert JBL and Samsung, Under Armour has created what it calls a seamless digital ecosystem for

runners. Key to the effort is the development of new wireless headphones with JBL designed for the runner’s needs, along with an update of its MapMyRun App for Samsung’s premium smartwatch, offering runners real-time data. The system is composed of four separate components, each offering their own function – the current and next generation of UA HOVR Connected running shoes, the UA MapMyRun app, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, and UA True Wireless Flash headphones, engineered by JBL. These products now connect and seamlessly work together to provide runners with the data and feedback they need to enhance their performance. “We know that music is an integral part of training for runners and can provide the inspiration and focus they need to take their workouts to the next level,” says Jim Mollica, SVP-global consumer engagement and digital at Under Armour. “That’s why we’ve developed products that are easy to use together and also provide a premium run experience that naturally integrates sound and data.” The ecosystem is designed to take everyday running essentials – shoes, watch and music – and connect them seamlessly. While running, the UA MapMyRun app can be used to provide real-time coaching and feedback for runners. The addition of UA HOVR Connected footwear gives runners an in-depth analysis of their running form and advanced running metrics to monitor their performance. Now, with support for direct pairing of UA HOVR Connected to MapMyRun app on the Samsung Galaxy Watch, runners can leave their phone behind. A key component of the runner’s ecosystem is the UA HOVR suite of run footwear, designed for different types of runners with © 2019 Diversified Communications

different needs, which all are wirelessly connected to give users access to data in the MapMyRun app. Beginning in February, the Samsung Galaxy Watch will also connect with all new UA HOVR footwear to provide real-time running feedback and post-run form analysis and coaching. After an initial set-up to a phone, UA HOVR Connected shoes automatically pair to the UA MapMyRun app on the Galaxy Watch, with no set-up required. “The new MapMyRun technology in all connected HOVR shoes is shown to actually help runners get better,” says Ben McAllister, director of connected fitness at Under Armour. “Using data like pace, cadence, stride length and more, the MapMyRun app now offers a personalized coaching experience for each runner, meaning users are motivated to log more workouts and get faster.” Meanwhile, the UA True Wireless Flash is designed specifically for running. Featuring Storm Proof waterproof protection, JBL Charged Sound, comfortable and secure Flex Fit Sport ear tips and Bionic Hearing with Ambient Aware for outdoor safety and awareness, this lightweight, cord-free headphone eliminates distractions. In addition to music, the headphones can be used to relay audio coaching feedback

from MapMyRun directly to the runner. A 12-month MapMyRun Premium subscription is included with the purchase of UA True Wireless Flash headphones. The new UA HOVR running footwear will be available February 1 with the new MapMyRun experience that can be downloaded on the app store. The UA True Wireless Flash headphones are now available on UA.com and JBL.com for $169 and include a 12-month MapMyRun® Premium membership. n

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RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts PHIT Act A Victim of Government Paralysis, Put On Hold Into 2019

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he acr imonious debate and paralysis around the government shutdown led to a major casualty: The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, a bill that would have allowed individuals to use pre-tax dollars (the same as a Health Savings Account) for health-related activities such as gym memberships, race fees and team sports registration. PHIT was awaiting a final vote in the U.S. Senate, but fell victim to the dysfunction in D.C., despite passing the House with strong bipartisan support in July. “We got caught in the shutdown politics,” says SFIA president and CEO, Tom Cove. “We had the PHIT Act perfectly positioned to be included in the end-of-year tax package, with many legislators having a strong,

vested interest in passing this bill, but it simply never came up for a vote. I can say, with 100 percent assurance, had the PHIT Act been voted on, it would have been passed and signed by the President.” Thanks to the combined efforts of the sports, running and fitness community, PHIT was on the Senate radar until the very end. Ultimately, Congress could not agree on an end-of-year tax bill, which effectively dashed PHIT’s chances to pass, as there was no longer a legislative vehicle that could carry the PHIT Act. There remains deep-rooted support for the PHIT Act in Congress, even with a divided House and Senate. The Democratic House and Republican Senate will need to find common ground to move legislation through both chambers and PHIT has

always garnered strong bipartisan support. The PHIT Act will be re-introduced in the House and Senate early this year and SFIA will work with its partners to pass PHIT into law. Throughout the past four Congresses, support of PHIT has grown from 25 cosponsors to over 150 co-sponsors, and SFIA will continue to work to make PHIT law. “The unpredictability essentially doomed the PHIT Act in the end,” says Cove. Spartan Trail Unveiled

With the growing sport of trail running attracting more than 9.1 million annual participants, Spartan, the world’s largest obstacle course race (OCR) and endurance brand, plans to expand its fitness footprint with the launch of a new race product, “Spartan

Selma to Montgomery Relay Following Historic Route SELMA TO MONTGOMERY IS among the most historical stretches of highway in the United States and site of a significant chapter in Civil Rights history. Now, the Walk Jog Run Club is hosting the 2019 Selma to Montgomery 51 Mile Relay on March 23, 2019 to commemorate the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This marks the second edition of the road race and promises to be the largest field yet. Starting in Selma, the route will begin at the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge and end at the Alabama State Capitol. Divisions for 2019 are Ultra teams with one to four runners, Regular teams with five to nine runners and a Cyclist division with transportation options available to take cyclists and their bikes to the start. “Last year over 500 participants and volunteers took part in the Selma to Montgomery Relay and we look forward to even more racers and volunteers taking part in 2019,” says Vergil Chames, cofounder of Walk Jog Run Club. 16

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“This race continues to put Montgomery and the state of Alabama on the participant sports map as we celebrate and honor those who took part in this historic Civil Rights milestone.” “We are thrilled for Montgomery to be the finish line of the historic Selma to

Montgomery Relay and invite the community to cheer on these racers as they make their way up Dexter Avenue,” adds Dawn Hathcock, president of Destination MGM & Brand Development. “The post-race award ceremony, after-party and church service will be memorable for all of us.” n

© 2019 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT Trail.” The new trail running series combines a classic approach to trail running with the Spartan ethos that millions around the globe have come to experience through the brand’s OCR events. Launching April 14 outside of Seattle, WA, Spartan Trail events unfold in some of nature’s most breathtaking landscapes, with 12 events in the U.S. planned for the 2019 season. Each race will coincide with Spartan’s OCR race weekends, bringing the electric atmosphere of the brand’s event festival to the trail running community. SFIA Names Clawson

Chris Clawson, former president of Life Fitness, has been re-elected as the

Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) chairman for a fourth one-year term, and Dan Arment, president and CEO of Riddell and BRG Sports, has been elected to serve as the vice chairman for a one-year term. In addition, four new directors were elected: Kim Davis, National Hockey League; Eric O’Toole, Wa l m a r t . c o m /J e t . c o m ; Michael Schroeder, Gildan; and Dan Sheridan, Brooks Running.

experiences and footwear demos of their trail running line. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the trail running community alongside the Ragnar team,” says Sue Rechner, president of Merrell. “Our brands share a common purpose as Merrell enables people to have meaningful experiences on the trail and Ragnar creates outdoor events that impact people in memorable ways.”

Merrell Joins Ragnar Series

DeMartini Joins USA Cycling

Merrell has partnered with Ragnar Trail Series as the official footwear sponsor of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Merrell will have a presence at all the U.S. and Canada Ragnar Trail events, which will include interactive

Rob DeMartini, who was CEO of New Balance for 12 years until his recent resignation, has joined USA Cycling as CEO. USA Cycling is the governing body for bike racing and is a good fit for DeMartini, who is a

passionate cyclist who has ridden in the Pan- Mass Challenge bike-a-thon for the past 11 years along with participating in other cycling events. While at New Balance, DeMartini was credited with leading efforts to transform the brand’s product and marketing. DeMartini joined New Balance from Tyson Foods. He previously spent 20 years at Procter & Gamble, where he held management roles with The Gillette Company, North American Snacks and Millstone Coffee. He also serves on the boards of the Advanced F u n c t i o n a l Fa b r i c s o f America, Welch’s and Aloha Food; and was chairman of the American Apparel and Footwear Association. n

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