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Nominations Now Open for 2020 Best Running Stores Awards. Page 14



JANUARY 15, 2020

Indiana distribution center •

Mary Cain • Koichiro Kodama • JackRabbit •

Hoka One One and On Running • Poop • The

Fashion Tastemakers •

Female Empowerment • Rugged Races •

Nike’s relationship with run specialty •

Trump and Tariffs • Todd Dalhausser • CBD •

FOR 2020

Fitted • Digitalized Running • Dan Sullivan • Boomer Owners • Galen Rupp • Tokyo

The news, people and trends that will shape the future of run specialty. on-running.com







As 2020 begins, there’s no shortage of intriguing storylines in the running world. Running Insight explores 20 of the more compelling topics as a new year unfolds.


or execute well. Weber promised that Brooks would remain in “fixing mode” to correct the problems and restore good will. “We have to execute promises to our retailers,” he told the TRE crowd.

Brooks’ Indiana distribution center. After years as run specialty’s darling, Brooks endured a tough 2019 with significant issues plaguing its new North American distribution center in Whitestown, IN. At The Running Event 2019 in Autin, TX, Brooks CEO Jim Weber (photo right) said the company learned “a lot of expensive, painful lessons” and acknowledged “a crisis” that Brooks did not manage RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2020 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.




Mary Cain. The former running prodigy dropped a bomb on the sport last November when she levied charges of emotional and physical abuse against Nike’s



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20 for 2020 (continued)


Nike’s relationship with run specialty. On December 13 the New York Times published its own analysis of Nike’s carbon fiberplated shoes and “found that a runner wearing the most popular versions of these shoes available to the public – the Zoom Vaporfly 4% or ZoomX Vaporfly Next% – ran four to five percent faster than a runner wearing an average shoe.” It’s the type of finding running shops and their hard-core customers gush over, but run stores, by and large, aren’t having much luck with Nike these days. On Jan. 13, Mark Parker, a Nike employee since 1979, departed as CEO, handing the reins to John Donahue, the former CEO of eBay. To many, Donahue’s arrival suggests Nike’s appetite for brick-andmortar run specialty will only further decline.



now-defunct Oregon Project and coach Alberto Salazar in a New York Times video op-ed. Where does Cain, once seemingly destined for Olympic glory, go from here? What’s her next chapter?


Koichiro Kodama. Kodama enters 2020, his first full year as head of the ASICS

America Group segment, at a pivotal time for the company. About a decade ago, ASICS enjoyed roughly 40 percent market share in run specialty footwear sales. That figure fell sharply as the company expanded into new distribution channels and faced intense competition from both established footwear brands and innovative up and comers. Many industry personnel suggest the bleeding has stopped. Now, what will Kodama do to further stabilize the business and push ASICS forward?


JackRabbit. In October, JackRabbit, the national chain of running stores powered by private-equity firm CriticalPoint Capital, acquired Maine-based retailer Olympia Sports. The deal signaled JackRabbit’s confidence in its

business as well as its ambitions to grow. Recently they announced the closing of 76 of the Olympia stores, leaving it to operate the remaining 75. CEO Bill Kirkendall has publicly stated that the company will continue to explore active lifestyle specialty companies and additional acquisitions. In 2020, the smart money sits on JackRabbit being active.


Hoka One One and On Running. After five years of sluggish sales numbers in the run specialty channel, sales climbed in 2019. Some industry insiders attributed that turn to two ascendant brands with a heavy presence in run specialty: Hoka and On. As buzz and followings mount for both brands, will either – or both – more aggressively expand distribution beyond run specialty, including into major mainstream channels? If so, that would be a firm uppercut to specialty run.


The fashion tastemakers. A decade ago, the performance running category sizzled in fashion, fueled by bold footwear colors and designs. In recent years, however, the performance running category has struggled mightily to trend in fashion. Might the fashion tastemakers and Instagram influencers return to embracing performance running goods? Fashion moves fast these days. Will it reunite with performance run?


The Trump administration and tariffs. The Wall Street Journal printed the word tariff more than 9000 times. That was 2000 times more than the previous 10 years combined, demonstrating just how prevalent talk of tariffs has become. Though 2020 began with news of improved U.S.-China relations on the trade front and optimism that the sporting goods space would be spared © 2020 Diversified Communications

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20 for 2020 (continued)


further damage, savvy observers remind that the political winds shift fast these days — and might even accelerate in an election year.

Boomer owners. Compared to other retail sectors, run specialty is a young field with many stores across the U.S. yet to celebrate a 10th anniversary let alone a 20th. Still, run specialty has its share of patriarchs entering a third or even fourth decade with stillinvolved owners at or near retirement age. It’s something run specialty hasn’t yet confronted en masse, but a notable issue as a new decade opens — and the channel’s outlook brightens. Do these seasoned owners have an exit strategy or transition plan in place? Will they listen to offers? Do they plan on liquidating inventory and simply closing shop? In the coming years, voids might open in certain markets and established stores could be changing hands.


Female empowerment. Elite athletes such as Allyson Felix, Kara Goucher (photo below), Alysia Montaño and the aforementioned Mary Cain have put the support of elite female athletes front and center. The 2020 Olympics, meanwhile, will provide some of the world’s best female athletes a megaphone to champion their issues and compel action, particularly from their brand sponsors.


Rugged Races. Last August, Rugged Races purchased RAM Racing, the Chicagobased outfit behind the nationwide Hot Chocolate series (photo above). The RAM deal was the latest in a series of moves by Rugged Races, following acquisitions of the Milwaukee Marathon, the Providence Marathon, the Fargo Marathon and the Santa Rosa Marathon en route to becoming one of the nation’s largest endurance-event companies. Rugged Races, which initially captured attention after earning a $1.75 million investment from Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank,” now owns nearly 100 events across North America and doesn’t plan on hitting the brakes anytime soon.

some footwear brands shift the narrative. From Nike to Hoka to New Balance, several companies have jumped into the carbon craze and brought products to market, while many others are teasing their own carbon-fueled developments.


Todd Dalhausser. A respected industry presence who had served as senior VP–sales for Saucony, Dalhausser joined Altra in late 2018 as the brand gained its


Carbon fiber. After years of “foam” stories in performance running footwear, carbon fiber has helped 6


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20 for 2020 (continued)


Poop. Yes, that’s right, poop. Researchers around the globe,

footing under new ownership in VF Corp. As Altra’s new president, Dalhausser wasted little time getting to work. He executed initiatives to better position Altra with female consumers, improve footwear aesthetics and deepen the brand’s presence in run specialty doors. Oh, and he also initiated a movement away from Altra’s “Zero Drop” vernacular in favor of “Balanced Cushioning.” With a stated commitment to run specialty, a stronger, more strategic Altra could represent a positive development for the channel.


including scientists at Harvard University, are beginning to explore potential links between athletic performance – endurance, strength, recovery and the like – and the gut microbiome. A December 2019 ESPN story highlighted the growing, though still-nascent field and there’s blossoming interest in the research, including the potential development of performanceenhancing probiotics. Expect to hear more about poop in 2020.



CBD. The CBD category is growing at a rapid clip in both mainstream channels as well as run specialty, where upstart companies are peddling CBD creams, energy shots, oils, drink mixes and more. Yet, many consumers remain hesitant, skeptical and confused about CBD products. For those run specialty stores embracing the category, a little consumer education could go a long way.


“Digitalized” running. Various industry players are trying hard to blend the real world and the digital world, connecting one’s physical run to a digital ecosystem. One intriguing option: U.K-based startup NURVV. The company’s wearable tech provides feedback on a runner’s gait to help improve performance and reduce injury risk.


Dan Sullivan. An industry vet who claimed previous stops at New Balance and Saucony,

more to the point, saw Alberto Salazar, his long-time coach, receive a four-year ban for violations. Controversy will likely continue to swirl around Rupp, who has laid low since dropping out of the Chicago Marathon last October.

19 where he rose to the rank of VP–sales, Sullivan joined Skechers at the end of 2018 as its national sales manager of performance. While Skechers is a global footwear behemoth, it has largely struggled to make inroads in run specialty. Sullivan desires to change that by maintaining clean distribution, building Skechers’ on-the-ground sales force and, above all, pushing product innovation, an effort led by Hyper Burst, the company’s new midsole foam that has generated positive buzz and reviews.


Galen Rupp. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Rupp earned a bronze medal in the marathon. In the years since, he’s scored a Chicago Marathon victory, notched a 2:06 marathon PR and continued competing at an elite level. In 2019, however, he battled a significant Achilles injury and,

Fitted. Competition from the Internet players such as Amazon and Zappos as well as brands’ direct-to-consumer efforts continue to draw the attention – and the ire – of run specialty owners. With an estimated 30 percent of athletic footwear purchased online, according to NPD data, running retailers continue seeking ways to up their digital presence. Fitted, an omni-channel solution headed by running retailer Monte Keleher of Californiabased A Runner’s Mind, represents a potential channelfriendly answer.


Tokyo. The world’s eyes will turn to Tokyo in late July when Japan’s capital city

hosts the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. Sports, fashion and culture will all collide and the 2020 Olympics are sure to produce some of the year’s most memorable moments and, just perhaps, ignite interest in running and push traffic into run specialty stores. n © 2020 Diversified Communications

The (Growing) State of Ultra-Running Interest in races longer than 26.2 miles is picking up the slack from shorter runs. / By Daniel P. Smith


ore people than ever are going the distance. According to “The State of Ultra Running 2020,” an exhaustive report from the data-savvy crew at RunRepeat.com in collaboration with the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), participation in ultra-running events – defined as any distance runs longer than the 26.2-mile marathon – has increased 345



percent in the last decade alone, sprouting from 137,234 in 2009 to 611,098 in 2018. While participation in 5Ks and marathons has largely leveled off, if not declined in recent years, ultra-running has continued to surge. The growth rate of ultra-running participation, in fact, has surpassed that of marathons since 2009 and that of 5Ks since 2015. “This suggests that the most dedicated

runners are looking for bigger and bigger challenges as running becomes more and more popular and marathon running is considered more mainstream than extreme,” the study’s authors, Paul Ronto and Vania Nikolova, note. Analyzing more than five million race results from 15,451 ultra-running events around the world, the largest data set of ultra-distance races ever compiled, the

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The State of Ultra-Running (continued) study investigated trends from 1996-2018. Some of the report’s noteworthy findings: • Ultra-running is growing in the U.S. yet remains a fringe activity, but it is gaining undeniable traction in the U.S. In fact, 12.1 percent of ultra-running participants hail from the U.S. (Only France, at 12.4 percent, claims more participants.) And yet, only .03 percent of the U.S. population participates in ultra events. • Ultra events skew older. The average age of ultra-runners is 42.5. That’s more than two years older than the average age of those participating in marathons and 5Ks. Over the last decade, however, the average age of ultra-runners has dropped by nearly two years as

younger participants tackle races beyond the marathon distance. • Women are embracing ultrarunning. In 1996, just 14 percent of ultra-running participants were female. Today, women represent nearly one-quarter of ultra participants. • The longer the distance, the smaller the gender gap. In 5Ks, men run a pace that is, on average, 17.9 percent faster than women. In a 100-mile event, however, that gap shrinks to a nearly indiscernible 0.25 percent. At distances over 195 miles, meanwhile, the average female pace (17:19 min/mile) surpasses that of males (17:25 min/mile). • Ultra-running’s growth h a s n’t p r o d u c e d q u i cke r times. According to the study,

ultra-runners have never been slower across distance, gender and age group. In 1996, the average pace per mile was 11:35. In 2018, the average per-mile pace sat at 13:16, a 15 percent decline from 1996. “We don’t believe that individual runners have become slower, but that these distances are attracting less prepared runners now because the sport is more mainstream,” the authors surmise. • Ultra-runners will hike it to an event. More than 10 percent of people travel abroad to run an ultra-distance event. By contrast, only 0.2 percent travel abroad to run a 5K, perhaps more a matter of time and place – someone popping into a 5K because they’re visiting a foreign country – than

any intentional travel to compete in a specific 5K race. • The longer the race, the faster the pace. Though it seems counterintuitive, the data shows that runners in the longer distances carry a faster pace than those in the shorter distances. This holds true for each age group and both genders. In the male 40-49 age group, for instance, men run under 13 minutes per mile in 100-mile events. That’s roughly 30 seconds per mile faster than those competing in 100K and 50-mile events and nearly a full minute faster than those participating in 50Ks. “These trends are peculiar,” the authors note. “In the standard distances (up to a marathon) we don’t see anything like this.” n


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Bill Robinson, 1949-2020 Founder of Fit2Run in Florida led quite an interesting and diverse life.


porting goods and running industry legend Bill Robinson, who cofounded Florida-based running superstore Fit2Run with his son, Parks, passed away January 2 at the age of 70. His passing leaves quite a legacy not only in the running business, but in general sporting goods and in the Florida community where he lived. Born on December 26, 1949, in Bradenton, FL, he was a graduate of Manatee High School and the University of Alabama with a degree in marketing. Bill and his brother, H.L. “Penny” Robinson, built Robby’s Sporting Goods, which was founded and had its corporate headquarters in Bradenton. Robby’s was eventually sold to Woolworth and was the precursor of Champs Sports. In 2006, with his son Parks, Bill created Fit2Run, The Runner’s Superstore, a familyowned and operated running specialty store. Fit2Run took running to the next level of products and service, offering a range of athletic, walking, running, and trend-setting footwear brands and accessories, including The Fitness Bar, an in-store natural juice, smoothie and sandwich restaurant. “My dad was a family man who loved his family,” says Parks Robinson. “He loved his business and the people that made/make it successful. He made sure all of our awesome associates was part of our family. He worked so hard to make our business family part of the Robinson’s family and bring a special culture to the company. I am lucky to have such a loving dad for 38 years of my life to help mentor me during my business career and in life.” As with his other businesses, Fit2Run was built upon the same principles that Bill lived his life — exceptional training and staff, service and products. Fit2Run continues to grow, now with 13 stores and a new, race-timing company. But it all started with Bill’s father and brother opening Robby’s Sporting Goods in 1960 in Bradenton. Bill and his brother, 12


Industry icon Bill Robinson (right) with his son, Parks, ran the good race at Fit2Run.

Penny Robinson, went on to build a successful corporation over the next 28 years that would grow into a 49-store chain across five southeastern states by 1988. Bill opened their first mall store in DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton and later they expanded to other cities, including Atlanta and Birmingham. During this time, additional store concepts opened, including The Sports Fan, a sports fanatic gear shop, and ownership of seven Athlete’s Foot franchises. Although always proud of Robby’s Sporting Goods, Bill envisioned a new, more progressive Robby’s totally committed to the activities and taste of the new American sports lifestyle. In November 1985, Bill rebranded and introduced Robby’s Sports. The first draft of this new design

was at Pompano Square Mall, where the merchandise selection tended towards lifestyle – guns and bows and arrows were removed – to serve a more sophisticated clientele. In a span of 24 years, from 1960 to 1984, Robby’s Sports grew from one to 20 stores. Incredibly, from 1984 to 1987, in just three years, 22 more stores were opened. Bill was always one to give his leaders the leeway to excel, using the word “empowerment” before it became fashionable. He mentored and inspired many people on how to succeed in business and in life, helping to develop work ethics and leadership skills and enabling them to be successful. He understood marketing before “marketing” was even a buzzword. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, his

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Bill Robinson (continued) managers would gather at Penny Robinson’s home for annual meetings, but as the numbers grew so did the venues. Ski parties at Bill’s home on the river became an annual event, where the forward-thinking owner partnered with the ski companies whose products he sold. In the years that followed, weeklong golf outings, Robby’s biathlon, softball tournaments, shoes for the Boys & Girls Clubs, and United Way fundraisers were all among Bill’s community mindedness. Training and innovation were always a part of Bill’s mindset, from outdoor advertising to company videos to train staff, to an HR department before most companies his size had

such a department, to corporate presentations requesting extra support dollars for his campaigns. From the first fax machine and overnight packages to the first computers, Bill was a trendsetter. No matter what business Bill created, he had a way of finding talent and inspiring his team to do their best. After Bill sold Robby’s Sports to the Woolworth Corporation and it became Champs Sports, it was the start of a new era for him. The years after Robby’s Sports were certainly full. Bill purchased Pursley Tree Farms, a wholesale tree growing business, expanded it and re-branded to The Treehouse with 10 distribution centers for wholesale and

retail sales. While busy with that business, Bill gathered a team of experts to create the Loop of Northwest Bradenton, a luxury home community. Adjacent to The Loop sat hundreds of acres of land that Bill and his wife, Peggy, would purchase and donate to Manatee County to construct Robinson Preserve. In 1990, Bill’s vision and love of the land around Bradenton brought together a group to organize and establish the non-profit Palma Sola Botanical Park with Manatee County Government. The park hosts collections of rare palms, fruits and flowering trees, as well as three lakes, a butterfly garden, gazebo and pavilion. Bill has left his footprint in life and ran an amazing race to

the finish line. He will be fondly remembered and will live on in the hearts and the souls of those whose lives he has inspired and changed forever. Bill’s favorite quote from the Robby’s yearbook was “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” A funeral service was held Ja nua r y 11 in Bradenton. Memorial donations may still be made to Manatee Community Foundation, c/o Bill Robinson Foundation, 2820 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205, and/or St. Joseph Catholic Chu rch, 310 0 26th St reet West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Condolences for the family may be given at griffithcline.com n

Add The Running Event to your 2020 plans! Contact Christina Henderson to reserve a booth.

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Best Running Stores Nominations Are Open Deadline is February 1 to submit stores for consideration for 2020 Awards.

Click here to nominate a store: http://www.bestrunningstores.com/nominate-a-store/


ominations for the 2020 Best Running Stores event a re now open and the deadline is February 1, so stores should tell their customers, neighbors, friends and family to fill out a quick and easy form to get your store nominated. The nominated stores will then be evaluated on how they engage with their customers and their community, which will ultimately define what makes a store one of the best. Stores that make the list will be invited to The Best Store Awards & Conference, set for May 17-19, 2020, at the beautiful Atlanta Evergreen Marriott, Stone Mountain, GA. The event will feature two days of conference sessions, networking and meetings with brand sponsors. The hotel and its surroundings will provide attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to connect with their peers, celebrate their achievements and meet with their key vendors that will drive their businesses in 2020 and beyond. Finalists will also receive a scholarship for two team members to attend The Running Event 2020 in Austin, TX. In addition, stores will receive window signage and a social media tool kit to promote the award in their local running community. The list will also be published and promoted online throughout the year. The winning stores will be announced on March 16 via a video on The Best Running Stores Facebook page and at www.bestrunningstores.com. n 14


The beautiful Atlanta Evergreen Marriott will host the 2020 Best Running Stores event May 17-19, 2020.

The Best Running Stores Process Explained After a store is nominated it will receive an evaluation form to be returned no later than February 6. The testimonials from the nominations and evaluation forms will be evaluated by a committee of staff members at Diversified Communications (publishers of Running Insight and organizers of The Running Event), which will look at the variety of products and brands carried, customer service experience at the store and community involvement. The nominations received and the evaluation form will be graded to produce a list of the top 100 stores and the highest grades will be secret shopped. The secret shopper grade combined with the nominations and evaluation form grades will decide the top 60 stores that will be invited to Atlanta. For more information contact Bethany Gilpatrick, bgilpatrick@divcom.com.

Š 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts Running brands make a move into E-Sports

The Puma sneaker-sock for gamers has modes — Seek, Attack Cruise and Defense.

THE EMERGING WORLD OF E-SPORTS, which in 2020 is garnering significant corporate investment – not to mention collegiate varsity status and a growing club culture in schools around the county – has attracted

two footwear brands not normally associated with the world of gaming. But apparently there is money to be made in helping kids sit around and play video games all day. First came word that Puma, which last

Adidas has teamed with Ninja on a new line of footwear for gamers called Time In Nite Jogger.



August introduced something called the Playseat – basically, a rocking chair for gamers – more recently has unveiled Active Gaming Footwear. On sale in the UK and Australia, the sneaker-like socks are designed for indoor and in-arena use for gamers to wear when active in different gaming modes. At a sticker price of $105, the sock has “modes” — Seek, Attack, Cruise and Defense. Lightweight and grippy, the low-profile sock with a rubber outsole is a performance shoe in its Active Gaming Footwear category to help gamers “focus on their game and perform at their best.” Then came Adidas, which followed up its partnership with Ninja in August 2019 by launching their first collaborative product, the Time In Nite Jogger. (For those of you not in the know, Ninja, whose real name is Richard Tyler Blevins, is an American streamer, YouTuber, professional gamer and Internet personality.) The Nite Jogger debuted in 1980. The collaborative silhouette is designed with Ninja’s signature blue and yellow colors. The Time In was created to “celebrate the hours spent by creators around the world honing and developing their skills” and “investing in your dream and champions the notion that the work it takes to be ready for your moment happens long before that moment appears,” says Adidas. “I’m beyond thrilled and humbled to finally show the world what I’ve been working on with Adidas,” Ninja says. “The Time In Nite Jogger represents the culmination of countless hours dedicated to my craft paying off. If a kid from Chicago, who just loves playing video games, can collaborate with one of the sporting world’s most iconic brands to launch a shoe together, anything is truly possible. It’s through this philosophy that I hope I can help inspire the next generation of creators to realize their dreams — if you’re willing to put the time in, you can achieve anything,” says Ninja.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts 2020 Update on Boa Fit Lab BOA’S NEW PERFORMANCE FIT LAB, featured in the November 1 issue of Running Insight, entered 2020 with a number of products in the works, including the newest Boa-equipped run products such as the redesigned Adidas Terrex Two Boa for Spring 2020, the new Saucony Switchback 2 that is scheduled for August, and the new Recoup Cyrosleeve recovery cold compression brace with Boa. • Adidas Terrex Two Boa, MSRP: $120 Release Date: February 2020 Designed to consistently perform on the longest of trails, Adidas’ newest Terrex Two Boa features the Boa System for a fast, effortless, precision fit. The Terrex Two

Boa is built for performance training and competition with a new upper, tongue and lacing pattern along with the new Lightstrike midsole. Boa’s L6 trail dial is engineered to withstand wet and muddy environments and the grippy Continental outsole holds the trail with a smooth roll off even in wet conditions. Drop: 6mm • Saucony Switchback 2, MSRP: $140 Release date: August 2020 The Switchback 2 showcases a seamless upper with a medial-to-lateral wrap powered by the Boa Fit System. Saucony’s new FormFit and lightweight PWRRUN midsole is paired with Boa, making for speed and stability on the trail.

UA HOVR Summit Footwear

can breathe while staying protected from the elements. Bold ’90s trek design and materials are complemented by limitededition Stance socks that perform for miles and elevate style with bold colors. The UA HOVR Summit sells for $130.

The Under Armour HOVR Summit combines the performance technology of UA’s pinnacle running shoe, the HOVR Infinite, with new styling and features to create a versatile footwear choice for urban pioneers in any environment. The shoe features a unique splitlace design, paired with a Michelin outsole and protective heel cage for an advanced, versatile run style. The ventilation plus protection means feet



Olympia Sports Closing 76 Stores Following JackRabbit Purchase JackRabbit is reportedly closing 76 of the Olympia Sports it acquired in a surprise move last year. The athletic footwear and apparel chain will continue to operate its remaining 75 stores under the Olympia Sports banner. The 76 closing stores were not part of the acquisition. In October, the chain selected SB360 Capital Partners to conduct store closing sales in the 76 stores starting Nov. 1. Those sales, which involve discounts on $44 million in athletic footwear and apparel, are continuing. Olympia Sports opened its first store in 1975 in South Portland, ME, and expanded to more than 150 locations in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest over the next 44 years.

• Recoup Cryosleeve cold compression recovery brace with Boa Fit System; MSRP: $89.99 The Recoup Cryosleeve combines ice plus compression for up to one hour of cold relief. The Cryosleeve + Boa Fit System provides micro-adjustable compression while forming to the area for reducing inflammation, speeding up recovery and general pain relief for injuries. Cryosleeve is simple to use by pushing the Boa dial to engage, turn to tighten, pull up for fast release and provide 360-degree compression.

TriggerPoint Impact Percussion Massage Gun

Trigge rPoint has unve ile d the TriggerPoint Impact Percussion Massage Gun. Designed to prepare muscles and help with faster recovery, the Impact massage gun delivers controllable and targeted deep tissue massage with four speed settings. With an MSRP of $199.99, Impact also features a quiet, brushless motor that maximizes battery life and reduces noise.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts The state of the running business is ‘cautiously optimistic’ according to SFIA report THE RUNNING BUSINESS FITS NICELY into the participation trends of the overall sports industry, with slightly declining numbers but a optimstic outlook on the future as new technology and races spur increased interest. These are the results of the recently released 2019 State of the Industry Report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). According to SFIA president and CEO Tom Cove, “Big brands have soared but also stumbled, mid-size companies feel like they have to hustle and grind more than ever to stay ahead and there is an impressive array of energetic young brands who see opportunity abounding, but the reality is that some of these same endeavors will fall victim to harsh economics as they enter a competitive market.” No one is doing business the way they were in 2010 and the velocity of change seems to be continually accelerating. Direct to Consumer (DTC) is stronger than ever, but brick-and-mortar is definitely not dead and

it is clear that omni-channel is the future. As it did the previous two years, SFIA describes sporting goods market dynamics as “okay, not great.” The good news, however, is that when companies are asked about the future, a majority report a “cautiously optimistic” forecast of their own performance. Though aftershocks of the retail collapse continue to reverberate, Cove points out that SFIA’s data indicates the industry seems to be retaining its footing in 2019. Profitability has stabilized, inventory has declined and rationalized and optimism for growth has returned in the form of research and development spending. “Even as the industry climbs over one obstacle, significant hurdles remain,” Cove adds. “Declining activity levels, a shift toward casual participation and continuing market share competition can hinder growth.” Not to mention the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, defined by huge and broadly applied tariffs. “But the findings of this report suggest that

our industry has emerged smarter, more adaptable and capable of taking on the challenges in our path.” Among the findings: • Running/Jogging is listed as the fourth most popular activity in the U.S. (behind Walking for Fitness, Treadmill and Free Weight and ahead of, among others, Hiking, Bowling and Bicycling). 2018 participation was listed as 49,459,000, down 2.6 percent from a year earlier but still up 0.8 percent in a three-year average. • As the nationwide rates of inactivity continue to climb, those who are participating in sports are doing so in a lesser capacity — the disparity between Casual and Core participation is wider than it has been at any other point in the past decade. • Walking for Fitness remains by far the most popular activity, while Day Hiking (up 6.6 percent from 2017) saw big gains in 2018. Day Hiking has been particularly strong in recent years, boasting an 8.8 percent average change over the past three years.

SynchroKnit Partners with Napolitano SynchroKnit, a new technology and division of Wigwam Mills, has named Rob Napolitano, a multi-time Ivy League mile champion, as the first SynchroKnit Ambassador. Napolitano will wear, test and endorse SynchroKnit as he trains towards his goal of a place on the 2020 Olympic team. Napolitano made his first appearance for SynchroKnit at The Running Event in Austin, TX, last year as the brand debuted its sock knitting technology. The SynchroKnit technology strategically eliminates stitches in various areas of the sock, so bulk is reduced in the ankle and arch or instep area. With a consistent layer of fabric between the shoe and the foot, an athlete has more precise control.

“I didn’t know there could be a better fit until I tried SynchroKnit,” Napolitano says. “My feet feel supported and more comfortable. Everything counts to maximize my running performance.” The SynchroKnit synthetic running

sock collection from Wigwam launched with five styles: the Catalyst UltraLight Low, the Surpass UltraLight Low and the Surpass Lightweight Low, Quarter and Mid Crew, ranging in price from $15 to $19.



© 2020 Diversified Communications

Connect, celebrate &


Nominations close February 1st!

MAY 17-19, 2020

Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Stone Mountain, GA Interested sponsors, please contact: Christina Henderson, chenderson@divcom.com

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