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IT’S ALL ABOUT RECOVERY: PAGE 36

THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

MARCH 16, 2020 OCTOBER 1, 2021

ON THE ROAD AGAIN Races are back – with some differences – and run retail is ready to up the pace.

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Racing 2021

BACK IN

THE RACE

Though racing numbers haven’t reached pre-pandemic levels, running retailers remain largely optimistic about racing’s long-term prospects. / By Daniel P. Smith

Cover photo courtesy of Chicago Marathon.

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tats and headlines over the last year have noted rising interest in health and fitness and, specifically, running. That’s been an undeniable positive for the running marketplace, as it’s spurred sales of running product and helped run specialty shops endure challenging economic times. An increase in running participation leads many to believe that races – a central element in deepening individual relationships with the sport and further elevating the profile of run specialty shops – will enjoy a post-pandemic rebirth. And it’s up to run shops to be ready. Throughout 2020 and even into the present day, racing has, by and large, struggled to find its pre-pandemic groove. Races have

Finish lines at in-person races are becoming a more common and welcome sight these days and many run retailers are bullish on racing’s potential in late 2021 and into 2022.

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2021 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published monthly, 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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Back in the Race (continued) been cancelled or postponed — and sometimes postponed again. Even as U.S. vaccination rates rise and races across the country demonstrate it’s possible to operate safe in-person events, many athletes still hesitate to participate in larger gatherings. “From our perspective, things have been very slow to pick back up on the racing side,” says Leone Rusher, of Shu’s Idaho Running Company in Boise. “We’re still seeing races getting cancelled or going virtual.”

Mary Beth Evans, owner of the Rehoboth Beach Running Company in Delaware, is optimistic that the surge in running and fitness during the pandemic will translate into positive developments for races and running stores. Photo: Debbi Page Peak Running, which has three stores in suburban Chicago as well as a new storefront in Breckenridge, CO, aims to be a friendly ally in helping its customers chase new health and fitness goals.

The Participation Challenge At some of the nation’s most notable races, the numbers are indeed sluggish. Both the ASICS Falmouth Road Race in Massachusetts and HAP Crim 10-Mile race in Michigan, two notable nonmarathon events in the U.S. accustomed to drawing 5000plus runners, reported about 50 percent fewer finishers than 2019. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C., similarly saw about half its typical number of finishers. Still, there are bright spots: smaller races, particularly those of 500 or fewer participants, as well as trail races are faring better. Road Race Management reports the Bobby Doyle Summer Classic 5 Mile in Narragansett, RI, jumped from 304 finishers in 2019 to 512 finishers this past Aug. 8; in Mapleton, UT, meanwhile, the Hobble Creek Half Marathon climbed from 322 finishers in 2019 to 464 in 2021. The Retail/Race Relationship To be certain, races have long played an important role in driving customers into run specialty

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Back in the Race (continued) numbers are largely – though not entirely – struggling to rebound, many r un retailers remain optimistic, if not all-out bullish on racing’s longterm potential. In time, many believe the pandemic’s push to get people active or to reevaluate personal priorities will stimulate race participation and compel visits to run shops.

Peak Running owner Tiffany Cruickshank says racing brings “community and accomplishment,” two things many individuals are seeking in a (hopefully soon) post-COVID world.

shops, feeding purchases, enlivening training groups and creating diverse revenue streams for businesses such as timing and coaching services. A lively race scene often helps fuel a healthy marketplace. “Once some people started running, they seemed to enjoy it and want to do it more,” says Mary Beth Evans, owner of the Rehoboth Beach Running Company in Delaware. “That leads to getting good shoes a nd se ei ng i mprovement. Participating in races is the next logical step, which is good for running stores and 6

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the community.” At Peak Running, which has three outlets in suburban Chicago and another in Brecken r idge, CO, owner Tiffany Cruickshank is trying to tap into this energy. Her team is currently assembling “comeback stories” in which people share their personal tales of how running helped them navigate the pandemic. Peak will soon begin sharing these stories on social media. “Racing is a huge piece of this and a central focus of the comeback stories we are collecting,” Cruickshank says. “It’s a way

for people to share their journey and have it end in something they’re proud of.” While Cruickshank says runners might seem more focused on “enjoying the journey right now and exploring what they’re capable of,” she expects more and more will enter races to have that experience of running alongside others and crossing the finish line. “Racing br ings com munity and accomplishment,” Cruickshank says. “There’s a finish line for everyone and that generates such a sense of pride.” While race participation

A Demand for Live Racing In her quaint seaside community located about 120 miles south of Philadelphia, Evans notes already strong demand for live, in-person races. “There’s a fair amount of people around here ready for full back-to-normal races with after-parties,” Evans says. “Our summer 5Ks had 200-plus participants, which is a lot for our small area. Remember that a 5K can be a big-time accomplishment for a lot of people.” Cruickshank senses runners are ready to tackle new goals. She finds newer runners setting their sights on bucket-list items from the 5K to the marathon as well as seasoned athletes interested in tackling longer distances. Though race participation numbers might not be there just yet, she’s encouraged and positioning her store to be an ally in individuals’ efforts to chase new goals and reconnect with others. “I really believe that people will flock to races as things open back up,” Cruickshank says. “People are setting goals and like the community feel that races as well as training groups bring, so our goal is to be the place they can come for education and support as they pursue their adventures.” n © 2021 Diversified Communications


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Racing 2021

RACE TALKING Three prominent race directors offer perspective on where racing is and where it’s going. / By Daniel P. Smith

Participants at the Lake Sonoma 50 prepare for the start of the northern California ultrarace on Sept. 4. The renowned event moved from its typical April date to September as a result of COVID-19.

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he nation’s racing scene continues to find its footing after COVID-19’s disruption. As they get back to business, three race directors stopped running for a few minutes and sat with Running Insight senior writer Daniel P. Smith to discuss the state of racing in their market, pandemic-era pivots and racing’s future in a post-COVID world. Keira Henninger owns 10 trail races in California, including events such as the Leona Divide and the Sean O’Brien Trail Runs.

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Megan Schultz is the chief operating officer at Sports Backers, a Richmond, VA-based non-profit that hosts the VCU Health Richmond Marathon and more than 10 other races in and around Virginia’s capital city. Brad Henz is a partner in ShaZam Racing, the race and timing operation affiliated with RC Outfitters in Peoria, IL. ShaZam hosts five of its own races each year, including the popular Detweiller at Dark cross-country race, and also provides timing services to about 150 additional races each year.

Running Insight: How would you characterize the current state of racing in your market? Keira Henninger: Safe. We’re safe from being cancelled again and safe from the runner safety perspective because we’re hosting smaller events. Megan Schultz: Cautiously optimistic. We’re not at pre-pandemic level registration numbers, but we’re strong. At our Ashland Half Marathon in August, we typically have 1000-1200 participants in a normal year. This year, we had just under 800. Brad Henz: Everybody’s trying to get

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Race Talking (continued) back online. Participation numbers are down about 30 percent on average.

ShaZam Racing’s Brad Henz (right) says he’s seeing race participation numbers down about 30 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

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What are some things you are doing differently? Henz: I own more signs than I’ll ever want to own directing runners to wear their masks or keep a safe distance from others, but those were things you had to invest in to make a go of it. Henninger: I haven’t done anything as extreme as a vaccine mandate, but we do have massive amounts of hand sanitizer and prioritize no contact. We did cup-free races anyway, but now we refill a racer’s bottle only after they

open it. We also dispense energy gels and other nutrition with tongs. Schultz: Our training teams were forced to go cupless at water spots and that’s carried over to races as well where Nuun provided us collapsible cups. This is a place we went for COVID safety, but it’s where we wanted to go on the environmental side anyway. Thus far we have not mandated vaccines or negative COVID tests at our races, but those are steps we continue to evaluate. As races climb back online, what’s something that has surprised you?

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Race Talking (continued)

The owner of 10 California-based trail races, Keira Henninger has put an emphasis on safety and sanitation and says a number of COVID-era safety protocols she’s installed at her events will persist into the future.

Henninger: I was definitely worried about getting volunteers because we need a lot of them for ultras, given the food and beverage needs on the course. Overall, I found volunteers so excited to come back out and help and that was a great relief. Schultz: Through all of this, the grace runners have shown us as race organizers has been incredible. We have been transparent with updates and participants have been and continue to be largely understanding. Henz: I was surprised how quickly people were done with virtual races. Now, that made us think people were ready to get out the door and participate in the in-person races, but that’s not something we’re seeing reflected in the 12

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actual event numbers just yet. What’s one pandemic-era pivot you made that you foresee carrying into the future? Henninger: The number one thing is being incredibly sanitary. At ultras before, you’d see runners putting their germy hands in the watermelon or into the jar of M&Ms and we never gave that a second thought. Those days are over. Schultz: During the pandemic we began assigning bibs dynamically at packet pickup rather than having preassigned bib numbers. We created a lot of efficiencies through that — fewer volunteers, less bib waste and cost savings as we only assigned the bibs that we were going to use.

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Race Talking (continued) Henz: Some of the changes we had to make I don’t ever want to do again. In the broader sense, though, the pandemic inspired us to be more creative because it feels like we’re starting over in so many ways. We’re looking at things with creative eyes and asking ourselves, “What can we do differently to bring in new people?”

The chief operating officer of Richmond, VA-based Sports Backers, Megan Schultz predicts a jump in race participation given the number of people who embraced running during the pandemic.

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What’s one bold prediction you have for the future of races? Henninger: I think we’ll see fewer mass, giant races. We’ll get there, but it’s going to take time. By and large, I think people are still scared, worried and hesitant.

Schultz: When we’re able to put COVID-19 behind us, I think we could see another racing boom. With more people out running, that’s become an audience we’re able to introduce racing to, so I hope we can expect another boom. As race directors, we’re prepared and excited for this and looking forward to getting COVID-19 squarely behind us. Henz: There’s such a saturation of races, especially at the 5K distance, that I suspect we’ll see fewer races. But at the same time, the 5K is a standard part of the calendar for so many non-profits that a saturated 5K market is probably here to stay.” n

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Racing 2021

Chicago Returns Chicago Marathon boss Carey Pinkowski talks about the 2021 ‘special edition’ race. / By Daniel P. Smith

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hen runners descend upon Chicago’s Grant Park on Sunday, Oct. 10 for the 2021 edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it will have been 720 days since Carey Pinkowski and his crew celebrated a record-breaking 2019 race. That October day two years ago saw nearly 46,000 participants cross the Chicago Marathon finish line, including a blistering 2:14:04 women’s world record from Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei. “It really was an unbelievable day from Brigid’s performance to an all-time high in participation to our charity and broadcast partners,” says Pinkowski, the Chicago Marathon’s executive race director since 1990. “We were all set to ride At the most recent installment of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2019, executive race director Carey that momentum into 2020 and take Pinkowski celebrated a world-record performance with Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei. the next step.” Then, of course, COVID-19 events we are used to,” says Pinkowski, the York, Berlin, London and Tokyo) to estabslammed into American life and forced the former Villanova University harrier who lish safe processes. cancellation of the 2020 race. This month, has shepherded the Chicago Marathon’s “There are so many moving parts in a though, the marathon returns to Chicago’s growth from a modest affair into a major normal year, so many complicated ecostreets, its 26.2-mile course winding its civic event and one of the world’s premier systems to connect together, but this year way through more than 29 Windy City marathons. has only intensified that,” Pinkowski says. neighborhoods. To pull this off, Pinkowski and his team have engaged in extensive, ongoA Safe Race is the Goal A ‘Special’ Edition ing conversations with city officials and The over r iding goal for Oct. 10, Pinkowski calls the 2021 edition of the medical advisors. Pinkowski continues, is to create a safe Chicago Marathon a “transition year” and They’ve crafted and then re-crafted environment for participants, volunteers a “special edition.” The field, he says, will plans, announcing standards like maskand the city at large. be down about 25 percent. There will be ing in the expo hall as well as proof of “I’m confident the celebration of humanno finishing bleachers or hospitality. The COVID-19 vaccination or a negative ity that the Chicago Marathon has become pre-race expo at Chicago’s McCormick COVID-19 test for participants. They’ve known for will spill out,” he says. “But Place Convention Center will be more shared insights, data and ideas with leadthe big key for us is to get going again, to spread out than ever before. ership at the five other Abbott World get this one off and make sure it’s a safe, “Still, it’s a step back to the big, live Marathon Majors events (Boston, New enjoyable event that’s executed well.” n 16

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Racing 2021

Up and Running Running Insight sits down with Running USA execs to discuss the state of racing in America in late 2021.

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acing is back in one form or another as the pandemic slowly and unevenly lessens its hold on America, so Running Insight went for a virtual run with Running USA’s Dawna Stone, CEO, and Christine Bowen, VP-programming, operations and partnerships, for a first-hand look at the state of running races in America, how race directors have weathered the pandemic,and what it will take to keep on running. How would you describe the state of racing in the U.S. in the Fall of 2021? Dana Stone: Races of smaller sizes – below 10,000 runners – have been coming back throughout the spring and summer and it will be a sign of major progress if some of our largest running events in the U.S. are able to proceed with their race plans for this fall. Are races of all sizes continuing to be impacted by the pandemic? Stone: There have been a few smaller marathon cancellations for the next few months, but nothing on the scale of what we saw last year. A recent survey of our Running USA membership found that 95 percent of race directors had events scheduled between September and November, and 77 percent were feeling optimistic about event business performance during the second half of 2021.

able to work with their appropriate agencies in their municipalities to earn the permits and permissions that are needed to plan for races to return. With a few limited exceptions, most states have now eliminated their bans on mass participation events, which clears a path for races to plan ahead for a much more normal 2022. Races will still have to require and enforce safety precautions, but as our Running USA white paper on racing safely during COVID-19 explained, we know what those precautions are and it’s now simply a matter of requiring and enforcing them during the event. So what does that normalcy look like? Bowen: Just like many public experiences these days, normalcy is going to vary depending on where the event is being held and what COVID prevention requirements are in place. We encourage events

to look to our COVID-19 mitigation white paper as a resource for producing a safe and healthy road race. What are some of the recommendations in that white paper? Bowen: Before 2020, races were typically very crowded spaces, not only on the starting line but in event expos, at packet pickup, pasta dinners and other spaces. It’s likely that will never be the case again. There are also widespread changes in sanitation, hydration, food and beverage and other normal elements of race day that will hopefully improve the race day experience in the long run. Have you seen any unique or particularly creative efforts to get racing back? Stone: What we’re seeing is an impressive display of dedication and determination on

Dana Stone (right) and running buddy Elizabeth Samuelson relax after another run.

Have you begun to seem some signs of a return to “normalcy” in racing? Christine Bowen: Slowly but surely, yes. What’s it going to take to continue that? Bowen: The most important part of regaining that normalcy is for events to be 18

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Running USA (continued) the part of event producers. It’s important not to underestimate the efforts and planning that it takes to successfully produce a large-scale event, especially now with so many additional challenges. Our hope is that runners and the greater running industry at large will find ways to appreciate race production teams, as this industry wouldn’t be able to make a comeback at all without their grit and determination. What are race directors telling you about their efforts? Bowen: Some of the most pressing challenges are supply chain shortages and finding enough contractors and volunteers. Just like restaurants and other consumer-focused business, races share the challenges of procurement. And for staffing, this fall is especially difficult given that so many major events are taking place in such a short time frame. How about participation? Bowen:When it comes to runner participation, however, we’re hearing very positive things. Registrations are trending on par with past years. That aligns with the interest and demand we saw from runners in our 2020 Global Runner Study — a wide majority indicated their desire to get out and race again in-person as soon as they felt safe doing so and those opportunities are now presenting themselves. What has RUSA done to help its members keep going? Stone: We offered online sessions, content resources, networking opportunities and education opportunities for our membership base throughout 2020. We also were a founding 20

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To download a copy of Running USA’s white paper on A Return to Racing, click here partner of the Endurance Sports Coa l it ion, wh ich lobbie d Congress for support for the event industry. In 2021 we have focused our efforts on successfully returning to our in-person Industry Conference in February 2022, collaborating with The Running Event on content for their 2021 conference, continuing to offer content resources like our COVID-19 mitigation white paper, and more. Finally, we’re currently in the planning process for several important new initiatives that will benefit the industry at large, so stay tuned for more on those. Do you see much demand for virtual race events going forward? Bowen: Virtual events are going to be a mainstay. They’re a wonderful alternative if life gets in the way of your planned participation in a live event – maybe your child is sick or you have a work conflict and can’t do that race you’ve been training so hard for. But will they continue to grow? Bowen: Most event producers aren’t expecting those virtual numbers to go above 20 percent of the finisher total — if they do, that likely means there’s something going on regionally that’s preventing runners from feeling safe about being out in public. What advice would you have for run retailers as races return? Stone: In short, look for opportunities to partner with your local road races and capitalize collaboratively on the ongoing running boom. Can they take anything positive away from the pandemic challenges of the past 18 months? Stone: The reality of the

Chrstine Bowen showing off her medal at the St. George Marathon finish line.

pandemic lasting further than any of us hoped is that running will become a dependable exercise mainstay. When they don’t feel comfortable going to a group class or a gym, running is the ideal alternative. We know from our member events that between 10-15 percent of the runners signing up for races are new to the sport and trying events for the first time. That’s a great expansion of running, and something retailers and races can benefit from simultaneously, especially if they work together. At the risk of reliving the past year, what has been your personal experiences in the pandemic? Bowen: I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss traveling and seeing so many colleagues at events. Those people are some of my closest friends and there was most definitely an emotional void that Zoom meetings can’t fulfill. Yes, we all miss that, but The Running Event is right around the corner! Any other takeaways?

Bowen: I also have observed how much more people are sharing openly with others that it’s okay to feel uncertain and anxious during this time. We are all feeling it to some extent. While it was great to have my children home more, it was painfully obvious that they were not thriving with a virtual environment for school. It’s been really great to watch the mood shifts, returning to sports and in-person learning. So, what’s next for racing in America in general and RUSA in particular? Stone: The staff and board of Running USA are confident that the more successful events held by year’s end, the better off the sport will be in 2022. Our industry is working diligently to produce the safest, most successful events possible while still making them fun and enjoyable for participants. We truly believe that if this fall’s races can be successful, we will gain great strides towards true normalcy next year. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


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Racing 2021

Strategic Thinking The RMP Summit formulated solutions to today’s race event challenges. / By Tony Yamanaka and Andy Wallace, BibRave

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t has been quite a year-and-a-half for the race business and getting back to where it was pre-COVID is going to take a lot of strategic thinking and partnerships among all involved parties. Fortunately, they appear up to the challenge. With an eye on the challenges and opportunities in the race business, in early August a collection of endurance industry thoughtleaders gathered for the Race Management Program Summit (RMP) in Chicago, IL. RMP has been developed and hosted by one of the world’s leading production companies, Chicago Event Management (CEM), and was created for industry leaders to share their expertise and best practices among the most prominent races. BibRave was invited by CEM to lead the closing workshops that leveraged the industry’s leading minds in developing actionable plans. With a constantly changing landscape since the summit was last held over two years ago, this “meeting of the minds” analyzed the industry’s return to racing in 2021 and beyond.

The “meeting of the minds” at the RMP Summit shared best practices among the most prominent races.

A Search for Solutions RMP took a focused approach with curated speakers, topics and working sessions that revolved around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as well as the operational and experiential shift in endurance events during and after the pandemic. The two topics benefited from a recurring overlap in the planning and execution as highlighted by Patti Flynn (Equality Institute), Courtney Phillips (GumboFit) and Alberto Guzman (Dare2Tri) during the summit’s opening session, which offered deep insights from each speaker’s endurance-related DEI experiences. Phillips passionately addressed the

importance of supporting local communities in their entirety. Indeed, she went so far as to equate such community support with attracting non-local runners in terms of prioritization, setting the inclusive tone for the afternoon sessions. Guzman enlightened attendees through his experiences as a legally blind athlete and the stifling experiences that result from event producers not seeking more information or working with the community for solutions. The speakers made a strong case that endurance events have a tremendous opportunity to return to racing with an inclusive outlook and revised strategy, and BibRave

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used that premise to set the groundwork for the summit’s afternoon workshops. Focus on Return to Racing Summit attendees were broken up into BibRave-led DEI or Return to Racing workshops to discuss, develop and take back functional plans for their organizations. Sessions were structured to ensure ideas were crowdsourced, analyzed and further reviewed for actionable implementation. Return to Racing Workshop The Scenario: This session was anchored by a simple but nebulous concept — the future. Given the woes and limitations

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Strategic Thinking (continued) stemming from COVID-19, endurance events and eventsat-large have had to mitigate risks and adapt operations. With that came a shift in expectations and mindset from participants. Seemingly automated solutions such as indoor expos, start line corrals and post-race parties have to be reconsidered not only due to health and safety aspects, but also to account for improved (and expected) participant experiences. The Process: The groups began with overarching analysis of cornerstone aspects of their events and provided potential logistical and physical adjustments. After three rounds of brainstorming, analyzing and addressing pain points for implementation, the summit participants homed in on one aspect: community. The Outcome: Coming full circle to the first session and Phillips’ insights regarding connecting with local communities before focusing externally, the final brainstorming round generated an actionable plan for events — a plan to bring community members into the events with a key message that the event occurring in their cities is just as much theirs as it is the organization’s that produces it. Organizations of all sizes can achieve this in the short, medium and long term by: 1. Developing a directory of local run crews, teams and training groups. 2. Meeting them where they are through a formal and trackable accountability program for the organization. This can be something as simple as having a staff member at each run once a month to creating internal organization run clubs that “tour” 24

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the community clubs, teams and training programs on a recurring basis. 3. Giving and creating opportunities for the organization to contribute to the run crews, teams and training programs and for those very programs to take part in the organization’s race through volunteer programs and preferred registration priorities. The DEI Challenge The Scenario: This session challenged par ticipants to consider how the endurance industry operates through the lens of DEI and how the industry could and should develop standards of inclusivity. An overwhelming sentiment about DEI was its daunting and overwhelming nature and how race organizations can know where and how to start. The Process: The groups collaborated on DEI ideas through a “Jobs-Pains-Gains” value proposition framework. Each group created “gain creators” or “pain relievers” through an operational, workforce and marketing lens. From there, the groups ranked these opportunities on a priority matrix from low-lift to high-lift and lowimpact to high-impact. The Outcome: The result of this DEI think tank provided participants with an actionable checklist that could be implemented immediately or that could set-up long-term DEI integration. In addition, the groups recognized that their role as industry experts in race event management does not mean an expertise in DEI. Therefore, attendees were advised not to take on that burden alone and to educate oneself and others

using outside resources. Notable action items included: 1. Low-Lift/High-Impact: Define what DEI means to your race and organization and what changes would have an impact. Next, audit and assess your mission statement (if one exists, and if not, to create one), provide staff and volunteer education and ensure technology touchpoints are accessible for disabled users. 2. High-Lift/High-Impact: Diversify leadership or ensure outside perspective with DEI council or consultant, assess and/or overhaul hiring process, establish community relationships with different social identity groups, incorporate age group and overall awards for non-binary athletes, assess cost barriers for low socioeconomic participants and create programs to provide pathway to participation. 3. Low Lift/Low Impact: Create a DEI action plan (what to tackle immediately, in one month, in three months, in one year, long-term), assess and diversify on-course, post-race entertainment, assess swag options and how are they presented, make DEI a priority for onboarding key staff and volunteers, assess marketing materials for key phrase breakdown and imagery.

RMP and BibRave leveraged endurance industry thought-leaders to think critically about the future — both how it operates and how that comes to life for all runners.

RMP and BibRave leveraged endurance industry thoughtleaders to think critically about the future — both how it operates and how that comes to life for all runners. All participants could then take these conversations, action plans and resources back to their respective organizations to impact meaningful change. n

© 2021 Diversified Communications


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Racing 2021

Benefit Race

Communities are realizing the benefits that come with hosting race events. / By Tonya Russell

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he benefits of running in races are well-known for the runners involved — but the impact goes well beyond just the participant, reaching into the community they descend upon on race morning as well as the days leading up to the event. Take Boston, for example. Every year (pre- and, hopefully, postCOVID), 30,000 runners take to the streets of Boston for one of the most famous races in the world. The 2018 Boston Marathon attracted more than 500,000 spectators to cheer on their favorite runners, as well as strangers. Big races like this are a party for participants, but they can seem like a nightmare at times for the community. Looking at the influx of runners and partiers descending on a town can paint a picture of mayhem — the crowded subways and local streets, the cups that miss the garbage cans, the runners who find creative ways to avoid the porta-potties. It’s easy to assume that races put a strain on a town, considering the influx of people for an entire weekend, and often for a race that’s over before noon. And that was before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the best-laid plans of race organizers and community leaders. While these numbers may seem overwhelming, consider this one: $201 million. That’s how much the Boston metro area benefits from hosting the marathon. Another $35 million is annually raised for charity. Whether you hail from a big city or a rural town, it’s important to look into how the local community is impacted by major sporting events — both good and bad. Come To Run, Stay to Shop Dave Welsh, the owner of the RunningCo. Stores of South Jersey, throws one of the 26

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RunningCo. owner Dave Welsh knows how important his Adrenaline 5K race is to the local community.

largest suburban 5Ks in the Philadelphia metro area, the Adrenaline 5K, and always has his hands in other races as well. This is helpful to his Moorestown and Haddonfield stores, which have walkable downtowns filled with storefront shops and restaurants.

Welsh is certainly aware of the benefits of race organizing in conjunction with his retail business. “When you do a packet pickup for a local race, it brings people into the town,” he points out. “They grab their packet and

© 2021 Diversified Communications


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Benefit Race (continued)

Packet pickups, like this one at Big Peach Running Co., are just the start of community involvement in local race events.

then they’ll either shop at the store or shop for anything in the town.” Welsh’s Haddonfield store is within a quarter of a mile of antique stores, Mediterranean food, consignment shops and small bookstores. Depending what time runners visit, the scent of crepes or pizza may follow them into the store. Imagine grabbing a bib then going straight back to the car in a welcoming environment like this. Not happening. Local business owners are certainly aware of this. “Si nc e I t o ok over t he Adrenaline 5K, people have looked forward to it — that’s the kickoff to spring and everybody comes out and shops in Haddonfield, including media personalities from Philly,” he says. “It’s a great way to 28

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highlight the town, especially since the race ends up on the news.” Big Peach Partners for Exposure Just under 800 miles south is the Big Peach Running Co, a community favorite retailer in the Atlanta area. The chain’s website maintains a list of local races and it also serves as packet pickup locations for quite a few. This often leads to even more exposure. According to director of marketing Dave Martinez, running stores also become media partners, even when they aren’t directly putting on a race. “We partner with a lot of different races here in the Atlanta area and we will sponsor a few,” he says, pointing to the Big Peach Sizzler 5K and 10K, where all the proceeds go to Myles for Cystic Fibrosis. For

this race, which was held on Labor Day, the store promoted the race on top of their usual handling of the packet pickup. For a race like this, as well as the Adrenaline in New Jersey, more than 2400 runners and their loved ones come streaming through the town — and hopefully into other local stores. For Big Peach’s Peachtree Street location, these eager participants might grab breakfast from Einstein Bros. Bagels next door or stop into City Row across the street for information. Pros Outweigh the Cons These races are certainly a win for Atlanta and Haddonfield. The pros of a community race outweigh the cons, if any negatives do exist. “The biggest downside is that people tend to be impatient with

races and residents and officials don’t like when their town gets shut down for a couple of hours,” Welsh says. “So on race day, when you’ve got to close the roads, some people feel that it’s more of a hindrance and inconvenience for them rather than looking at what the actual rewards are from having the race.” Another major downside is cost — and those who throw the races feel the pain the most. “Putting on a race becomes so expensive and the cost of cops and shutting down the roads almost adds up to a loss,” Welsh explains. “You really need the town, cops and mayor to be on board as a way to keep the costs to a minimum.” Tying up the streets is an issue that must be circumvented in the Atlanta metro area, as well. Martinez explains, “We encourage people to take MARTA, our subway, at the start and finish, then make their way back to their vehicles,” he explains. In Philadelphia and New York City, places where riding a train is the norm, early morning race starts mean runners are clogging up the subway, which would normally only hold essential workers. The good news for the locals is that the subway congestion only lasts for an hour or so. While runners know the joy of training for months and then having an amazing race, many may not realize just how much of a wave their events make. Race morning may go just as quickly as it came, but the impact on the local community may reverberate long after runners start training for next year’s event. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


NOV 30 - DEC 2, 2021 Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX #TRE21

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Racing 2021

Kids Keep Running The national Healthy Kids Running Series found a way to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

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ven during a pandemic – maybe especially during a pandemic – kids need to run. Faced with lockdowns, virtual learning, cancelled sports and after-school activities and the overall stress of living in a pandemic world, kids – and their parents – more than ever needed a way to stay active. Enter the Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS), a national series of communityorganized races for children from as young as two-years old up to middle school age. The events are run by its Community Coordinators, the women and men who organize the programs in their local communities. They are first responsible for finding the facility to host the races – which range from a 50-yard dash for the littlest runners up to a mile for the middle schoolers, some Series even host a Challenger Division for those that need a little extra support – and then marketing the Series and securing volunteers to help execute the five-week series in the fall and spring. All registrations go through the national HKRS website, which are used to help offset expenses. At the end of the season Coordinators receive half of the net profit and HKRS headquarters receives the other half to invest back in the program in the form of IT solutions, travel to map out courses, medals, trophies, insurance, runner shirts, rental fees and the rest. The Community Coordinators can grow their Series as big as their facility will allow — most locations can handle 300-400 young runners because races are broken out by distance and gender. Due to the pandemic HKRS has implemented race day guidelines to help ensure the safety of the runners on-site, especially for the larger Series. All of this effort is directed at the young 30

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Kids of all ages just want to run and HKRS is giving them the opportunity to do just that every weekend.

runners and it all adds up to Healthy Kids Running Series laying claim as the largest co-ed youth running program in the country The Virtual Response Like all race events, HKRS faced a host of COVID-19 challenges, not the least of which was organizing the races themselves and getting local approval to use fields and facilities. “HKRS had to become creative throughout the pandemic,” understates Tamara Conan, national director of HKRS. “We wanted to offer families a way to continue to be active, not just physically but mentally, so we had a mix of in-person and virtual events running fall of 2020.” The one good thing that came out of the pandemic is its Virtual World Race run out of its office so they can spread its mission to communities that don’t have programming available. It also provides families that are not comfortable with racing the

opportunity to still participate in HKRS programming. HKRS’ program manager Corrine Logeman, who runs this race, created an encouraging and inspiring virtual community for these families. Like many other initiatives, the challenges of the pandemic accelerated HKRS ideas and programs that would have taken years to develop otherwise. “Before the pandemic, we had joked in the office about a virtual HKRS race and never in a million years did we dream that it would be what every child would be doing in our program to stay healthy and active during the pandemic,” Conan recalls. The first step of that virtual process was creating a new guide to train Community Coordinators on running a virtual Series. Some of this contained training on utilizing social media to engage with the families throughout this season by video and social media branded images. Next, HKRS created a “How To” for

© 2021 Diversified Communications


families to teach them how to measure a course and how to run the race at home. Each week the families would have their child run their respective distance and log their time into an online Google sheet. Next, HKRS’ Coordinators would engage with families through social media with videos to encourage the runners, theme race weeks, swag contests for posting to social media and weekly emails that contained mindfulness activities such as stretching, yoga and cooking. Each Series has its social media, so it was easy for the Coordinators to direct their content to the families. Back in Person Spring 2021 was its first season back to all in-person racing and the response was, to put it mildly, overwhelming — HKRS had 28,000 runners nationally in 212 programs inperson, with the largest event being in West Chester, PA, with 580 runners. Another successful program is the Greater Annapolis (MD) series, with 338 in-person participants this fall. In total, HKRS now has more than 250 communities participating for Fall 2021. “Ou r prog ra m exploded registration-wise as so many families were looking forward to being active outside after a long winter,” Conan says. The outreach strategy around HKRS also underwent a revamp during the pandemic. “We have become more creative in our offerings to the families knowing that we want our families to live a healthy lifestyle,” Conan says. “We also recognize that mental health is as important 31

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as physical health, especially coming out of the pandemic.” The Retail Opportunity HKRS attributes its continued growth to its roots as a community-based non-profit organization that brings families with young children together, inspiring them to live an active, healthy lifestyle. “Our races are inclusive and engaging,” Conan says, pointing out that members look forward to weekly races and cheering on their children and their neighbors’ children. “The importance of being an active, outdoor activity allows for personal connections.” That formula can also benefit local run retailers and other sponsors looking to be a part of the HKRS message. Conan says businesses are more than welcome to join in on the weekly fun. “We look for retailers who want to build a partnership with us — a connection to families in their communities, who, too,

want to be active and healthy,” she says. “We look for partners who can help spread our mission, whether in-store, online or on social media, and encourage participation. We also look for retailers who want to be onsite and engage perspective customers at our races.” It already has several national and regional sponsors benefitting from this enviable connection to families and communities. Among them: • Texas Beef sponsors all Texas locations and provides volunteers, HKRS races bibs and swag, along with content for local social media and national about healthy eating and staying active. • Stride Rite has attended races across the country with its contactless Fit Zone, producing an on-the-spot 3D model of any child’s foot to ensure all little runners are fit with the correct size shoe. They also sponsor the HKRS Kids Corner on the website. • Youth Runner has provided digital magazines to runners. • RunDoyen has provided inspiring training videos from athletes and competitive runners to the distance runners. • Giant provides gift cards to locations in Pennsylvania to purchase a healthy snack after the week-five race and content is provided to national social and national newsletter for healthy eating, recipes and free nutrition classes to the Giant Nutritionist Classes • Lidl, in addition to supporting physical races onsite, provides inspiring educational opportunities that help keep kids focus on staying healthy year-round, including online health, nutrition and fitness

programming for young boys and girls in the I Am A Healthy Kid program guide. Also, the chain provides a healthy snack at the week-five race along with coupons to participants. Among the running stores already involved in various capacities are New Balance, Fleet Feet, Bryn Mawr Running Company, Blue Ox Running, Charm City Run, Foot RX Running Asheville, Haddonfield Running Co., Lucky Road and many, many other local stores. These retailers not only get to help pull off a family-friendly community event, they also get some valuable exposure by hosting race bag pickups for hundreds of runners, are welcome onsite at all five races in each Series, can offer in-week training and have the chance to market any other races they may have scheduled. Some stores actually serve as Community Coordinators to help part-time workers earn additional income. Brands, too, are more than welcome to get involved and HKRS is actively recruiting many to be a part of the family. The benefit for both retailers and vendors are that there is much, much more to Healthy Kids Running Series than a bunch of little kids buying their first pair of sneakers. Conan’s goal now is to further build its brand and attract national sponsors who want to join it on its mission of getting children to live active healthy lifestyles. It also wants to partner with national entities that own or manage large housing communities, as it wants to significantly grow participation in affordable and low-income areas next year. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


Racing 2021

Eat Well, Run Well

Saucony ambassador Elyse Kopecky tells retailers why and how they should get their customers focused on nutrition.

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ith Saucony’s launch of the Triumph 19 last month – complete with PWRRUN+ cushioning and premium details that allow runners to focus on their performance – the brand is also is getting serious about promoting the nutritional aspects of training and running. Since the two work in tandem to get runners across the finish line, Saucony enlisted ambassador and two-time New York Times best-selling author, Elyse Kopecky, to help teach people how to pack in the best nutrients and fast in fast and easy ways — just like a marathoner would need. Kopecky is planning to run a top U.S. marathon this fall and has her routine dialed in on how to stay fueled while she puts in the miles. So of course Running Insight interrupted her training for five quick questions to clue run specialty retailers in about the link between nutrition and training for a big race. 1. Please tell us what exactly is the relationship between nutrition and running. For runners food is so much more than just fuel. Without proper nutrition to repair our hardworking bodies, runners aren’t able to stay in the sport for the long haul. Nutrition is essential for recovery, energy, injury-prevention, mental health, sleep and longevity. 2. How did you develop this training and nutrition philosophy? In college I suffered from back-to-back injuries due to poor nutrition. I had athletic amenorrhea, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, low bone density, IBS and anxiety. As soon as I changed my diet to indulgent and nourishing whole foods all my health problems went away. I’m running 32

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Elyse Kopecky is a strong believer in nutrition and training working in tandem for the best results.

stronger and feeling more energized and happy at 40 than I was in my 20s. 3. What advice would you give runners to get them to be more aware of their nutrition as it impacts both their performance and their recovery? Healthy food isn’t just kale juice, but also a juicy burger. Don’t get caught up in fad diets. Just enjoy delicious, homemade food. The single greatest thing you can do to improve your health and happiness is learn to cook. 4. And how does this message translate for the everyday runner, not the elite competitive racers? This message is even more relevant for the everyday runner because the everyday runner often gets into the sport to lose

weight, but then they make the huge mistake of counting calories or following a restrictive diet, which ends up depriving their body of essential nutrients for energy. It’s not a fun sport when you’re depleted, so new runners often have a hard time sticking with their training program because they aren’t fueling correctly. 5. What mistakes do most runners make when it comes to the dual aspects of nutrition and training? Runners get caught up in all the misleading messaging from our $64 billion dollar weight loss industry and lose sight of listening to their body’s cravings and hunger signals. Dieting does not work in the long term and often backfires. The best way to gain fitness is to eat wholesome, delicious meals that leave you feeling satiated. n

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Racing 2021

Fresh Starts

New Balance launches The Stolen Starts to celebrate women on a mission for fitness and positive change. / By Daniel P. Smith

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ooking to elevate opportunities for females in sport and epitomize the brand’s “We Got Now” platform, New Balance recently introduced The Stolen Starts, a spirited group of 11 women who blend a passion for personal health and fitness while championing important issues such as environmentalism, mental health and social justice. Intentionally diverse and international, The Stolen Starts team includes the likes of elite New Zealand sprinter and mental health advocate Symone Tafuna’i; New York City-based running coach Tammy Salazar-Andurand, who aims to amplify marginalized voices in the fitness community; South Korean environmentalist and “plogging” pioneer Soyoung Im; and the United Kingdom’s Shareefa Radford, a body positive activist preparing for the London Marathon. “The beauty in The Stolen Starts is that we’re reaching beyond the clear impact of our professional athletes and creating a wider group of impactful women in our New Balance family,” says Samia Akbar, the Boston-based company’s global running energy lead. According to Akbar, the “Stolen Starts” name draws from the deep inequality between women’s and men’s running, speaking to the reality of women being kept off starting lines throughout history — and ambitiously fighting to change those troubling realities and others. “The idea is to highlight how despite the challenges women all over the world continue to face, we toe that start line everyday,” Akbar says. “Running in this sense is a metaphor for life. Each day presents an opportunity to make progress for each individual and for allies to remain engaged.” The Stolen Starts group will participate 33

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in social takeovers, product testing and development, curated seeding programs, member-designed racing kits and brandsponsored event appearances among other initiatives. At an annual Stolen Starts summit, meanwhile, members of the collective will gather to share ideas on how they can continue to drive positive change in their communities and around the world.

Tafuna’i says participating in The Stolen Starts provides her a significant platform to spread awareness about mental health while also representing her Pacific community from New Zealand. “It’s an honor for me to be a part of The Stolen Starts as it shows young girls and women supporting one another,” Tafuna’i says. “In 2021, there are plenty of seats at the table for all women to thrive and win.” n

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Racing To #TRE21 Expanded Race Directors Education to highlight trends and solutions at The Running Event 2021.

WITH AN EXCITING NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH RUNNING USA AND a focus on the challenges race directors are facing in 2021, Race Director Education at #TRE21 will bring race directors, retailers and brands together for actionable learning and peer-to-peer connection. The expanded educational programming will focus on the key issues and growing opportunities within today’s ever-evolving live event landscape. Held on Tuesday, November 30, in conjunction with retailer-specific education, the Race Director track will feature sessions developed and implemented by Running USA. “Running USA is pleased to be working side by side with TRE to develop educational content for its December 2021 event,” says Christine Bowen, VP–programming, opperations and partnerships, Running USA. “This will be one of the first opportunities for the industry to come together en masse and Running USA plans to elevate the race director content offered at the event while addressing timely topics that are top of mind for all.”

Founded in 1999, Running USA specializes in creating content that provides event directors and organizers the resources they need to grow and excel. The organization will guide the creation and development of the content, including speaker recruitment and participation.

THE RACE DIRECTOR TRACK • Leveraging Your Technology Partners. Hear from a varied panel of technology experts about ways you can utilize your technology partners to engage participants and sponsors. Panelists will also explore operational efficiencies that can be gained using technology. • Best Practices for Returning to Racing. Delve into best practices in returning to racing as it pertains to consumer confidence, powering organizations through adversity and redefining the customer journey for the new landscape. • Content and Storytelling to Engage Participants. Content has never been more important as a tool to engage participants beyond race-specific details. In this session learn about ongoing content sharing that works and will not only captivate your audience, but can also help activate partners. • How to Develop a Win/Win Relationship Between Events and Local Retailers. Hear from industry leaders as they share how events and specialty retailers can work together to support each other. Additionally, panelists will share tips for engaging and building the local running community at large. • Sponsorship 2.0: Attracting Sponsors in a Post-Virtual Event World. With the event world flipped upside down during the pandemic, sponsor relations have shifted. Learn how events and brands have become more creative in their partnerships. Panelists will share lessons learned during the “virtual only” period and what to expect as live events return.

Learn more and to register: https://www.therunningevent.com/race-director-tre21/ 34

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


Too Fast, Too Furious The 2021 Indie 5K at The Running Event heads to the Circuit of The Americas for the annual industry race.

LOOKING TO RE V UP YOUR RUNNING? Then anyone attending The Running Event in Austin, TX, November 30-December 2, should lace up and start their engines because the 2021 Indie 5K is being held at the Circuit of The Americas, the premier destination for

world-class motorsports and entertainment. Yes, Indie 5K runners will be running on the same track that’s home to the only Formula 1 and MotoGP races in the country — the United States Grand Prix and Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. What a unique experience!

In addition, the post-race expo will also once again allow runners to test out sponsoring brands’ products. Admission to the Indie 5K race is included with the purchase of any pass to The Running Event 2021.

For more: therunningevent.com/Indie-5k 35

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


ROAD TO RECOVERY The category is vast, technically advanced and growing with both existing and new runners. / By Carly Russo

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ust as run specialty is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, runners themselves need to recover as they return to – or are just starting – training and races as the weather cools in 2021. From big-ticket tools such as massage rollers, muscle stimulators and compression devices to supplements such as CBD gummies, sleep aids and energy boosters, the options are endless and the recovery category is hot. Even better, the margins for run specialty retailers are impressive. One other benefit: The vast array and technical advances in the recovery category give retailers that little something extra to offer their customers that makes specialty retail, well, special. A Recovering Category “I would say the recovery category is recovering,” says Kelly O’Cadiz, COO of Pacers Running, with seven stores located in Washington D.C. and Virginia. “Due to the pandemic, with so many races being canceled and people not traveling as much, the request for these types of products has been negatively impacted. “Having said that, we have seen a recent bump with the return of fall races and the increase in travel.” Like the run category itself, the recovery category has been all over the place — while some retailers saw a decline in sales, others saw an increase and some leveled out, with the influx of new runners helping to bridge the gap. “We’ve lost the volume of marathon and half marathon customers due to race cancellations, but replaced those with new walkers and runners,” reports Charlotte Walsh, owner of Charles River Running, 36

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Therabody’s Recovery Air is a compression system created to help runners recover faster, with two boots that compress the legs to increase circulation and reduce soreness and fatigue. MSRP: $699

Norwood, MA. “Demand kind of evened out for us.” “We’ve seen a significant uptick in business both in-store and online and, as a result, we’ve seen all categories, including recovery, grow over the last year,” says Justin Burdon, co-founder of Heartbreak Hill Running Company with three stores in Boston and one in Chicago. The Selling Process With a category that is new to so many runners, education is vital, especially because there are so many options from which to choose. Retailers need to have a strategy for selling this vast array. Paying

attention is one of them. “We ask a lot of questions on the fitting bench,” says Walsh. “This gives us time to find out what the injured runner is suffering from and then we can make the best recommendations.” Communication is key in this recovery sector since often customers just don’t know where to turn with so many products available. That’s why retailers are making it their responsibility to become experts so they can properly educate runners about the different methods of injury prevention and recovery. “We consider ourselves educators of the sport and the recovery category is definitely

© 2021 Diversified Communications


For the latest and greatest in recovery products for run specialty, turn to page 38.

part of the conversation,” says O’Cadiz. “They are add-on sales, sure. However, we concern ourselves with the overall well-being of our customers and always guide them to products that will benefit them.” Recovery products might be an add-on sale for some, but that doesn’t take away from their prominence. Certain products have become reliable aids to runners to perform better without pulling a muscle, getting plantar fasciitis or dealing with painful blisters, making them popular for runners and the run retailers who cater to their demand for them. “The two best-selling recovery items at Vac & Dash are the Strassburg sock and the Stick,” says Peter Asciutto, owner of Vac & Dash, Albemarle, NC, who says that since the store’s opening in 2004 they have carried both items in their recovery area. The Strassburg sock, which helps relieve pain from plantar fasciitis, sells consistently to runners and non-runners alike. “Strassburg provides us with as many pamphlets as possible to stuff race bags with and give to our customers,” Asciutto says, who also enjoys many referrals from local chiropractors and podiatrists. “The Stick is also a great recovery item for us,” he adds. “Our best selling season for the Stick is cross-country season.” An Array of Offerings Massage tools and nutritional recovery supplements are among the products runners have been grabbing for years at most run retailers. “Items that are doing quite well are the massage products 37

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of recovery is half the challenge, but product placement works hand-in-hand. Without an inviting display, all of these massage rollers, compression socks and CBD creams are likely to remain an afterthought to those who aren’t aware of the benefits.

The Pro-Tec RM Extreme roller offers a patented design for targeted recovery.

like Theragun and Hypervolt, a long with foa m rollers,” reports O’Cadiz, who names Body Glide, CBD cream, exercise bands, and plantar fasciitis compression socks as the chain’s most reliable sellers. Burdon reports that Roll Recovery and its R8 deep tissue massage roller is a vital recovery product for his business. Walsh says that nutrition is a hot segment, along with other recovery brands such as OS1st, VitalFit Nutrition and Aspen Green. Because so many new runners have entered the sport in the past year-and-a-half, retailers have found that they must make education a staple of the selling process in order to bring awareness to the importance of recovery. It is incumbent on retailers to prevent customers

from making assumptions that could hurt their overall health in the long-run. Indeed, a new responsibility has arisen to keep new runners from ignoring the signs of injury and resisting care when they need it. “We do notice that the new runners and walkers are much more apt to self-diagnose, ignore the injury and or resist the idea of going to a physical therapist,” says Walsh. “Our insole and plantar fasciitis sales are picking up,” reports O’Cadiz. “During the pandemic, the only area we saw growth was with massage guns and CBD products since many physical therapists and massage therapists were not taking patients, so customers purchased these products to use at home.” Emphasizing the importance

Location, Location, Location “We have a dedicated space in the store for all of our recovery products,” says Walsh, adding that their CBDs and VitalFit have their own space near the shoe fitting area. Dedicating a recovery product space is the strategy for Pacers Running, as well. Not only do they prioritize placing the category near the footwear, but they also opt for a demo area on the sales floor rather than a display near the checkout. “We have a recovery/injury area in each store and we try and have as many demo products placed close to the footwear wall so people can test while they try on shoes,” says O’Cadiz. Hea r tbrea k Hill ta kes a slightly different approach. Burdon finds that a designated area is not necessary as a part of his floor plan. “We have recovery products scattered throughout the store. A lot of our runners will use the tools post-workout or after a long run,” he says. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to introduce runners to the recovery section, but run specialty retailers will always try to carry something that will suit every customer’s safety needs and ensure that they can properly aid in the recovery process through education and extensive product knowledge. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


RECOVERY PRODUCTS 2021

DoubleUp DoubleUp Roller is a runner recovery tool that provides muscle relief while standing or sitting. Made to use before or after a run without the need to get on the ground or bend and twist into awkward positions. The patented lever-action frame provides pressure control — from extra-gentle on sore areas to extra-deep on tight knots, helping runners to warm up faster with dual quick-change rollers. MSRP: Recovery Kit, $99; Performance Bundle, $139 Advice for retailers from Carrie Phair, Marketing Director: “Encourage customers to experience the unique feeling of dual rollers plus the impressive range of pressure control. You’ll 10-of10 get a ‘wow!’ reaction on their very first roll. Guide them through some appropriate uses of the quick-change roller styles so they can understand the versatility for muscle warmup, cool down, recovery and therapy.”

Floyd’s of Leadville Floyd’s chewable Full Spectrum Gems are gummy-style gems that come in Cotton Candy and Cola flavors. They are crafted with Full Spectrum CBD from hemp that’s grown and manufactured in the USA and contains a wide array of cannabinoids and whole plant compounds. They come in 30-count 25mg packages and now also in a 10-count size of the 25mg Full Spectrum Gems for runners on-the-go. MSRP: $12.99 Advice for retailers from Julie Rodden, VP–Sales: “Run retailers can remind customers of the importance of full and fast recovery so that they never have to miss a beat. Proper recovery allows runners to maximize their abilities and their time, so that they keep training and running day after day.”

Freeze Sleeve The Freeze Sleeve is a cold therapy compression sleeve providing 360-degrees of even coverage to aching muscles and joints. Designed for use as a daily recovery tool after runs or to help aid in recovery after injuries occur. Available in a variety of sizes to treat all areas of runners’ bodies. MSRP: $49-$75 Advice for retailers from Jonathan Kerner, Director of Sales and Marketing: “Recovery products are booming in the health and wellness industry, so the need for retailers to focus on combining the right mix of recovery tools is an integral part of the category’s success. If customers are healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle, the probability of their needs to purchase products in other categories substantially increases.”

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RECOVERY PRODUCTS 2021

Heal Again • With the 42 Nights Sleep Program, runners can let their bodies recover and relax with a deeper sleep by rotating three different sleep formulations, without building a tolerance, which aids in their quality sleep. MSRP: $39.99 • CBD Gummies: While providing a sense of harmony and wellness, CBD is not intoxicating, making it safe for runners to incorporate into their daily regimen to help with pain relief, anxiety, inflammation and relaxation. MSRP: $24.99 Advice for retailers from Christine Hammond, Account Executive: “When customers come in for a fitting and you are discussing pain and routines, recommend adding a recovery product. Normally people think of traditional pain relievers that just mask the pain and do not aid in system recovery. Customers can accelerate the timeline for muscle and joint recovery by improving sleep quality and utilizing intentional relaxation.”

Hoka One One • Hoka’s Ora Recovery Slide (top photo) features a Hoka One One oversized midsole and Meta-Rocker into its slide design. Providing support with a dual layer construction that incorporates a soft top layer and midsole/outsole for durability and stability, these slides provide a recovery shoe with traction that’s 100 percent vegan. MSRP: $50 • Hoka’s Ora Recovery Flip combines a Hoka One One oversized midsole and MetaRocker into a flip-flop and features a jersey textile strap that’s moisture wicking and 100 percent vegan. MSRP: $50 Advice for retailers from Chris Cohen, VP–U.S. Sales: “Given the strength of the category, recovery products have not only become an easy add-on sale, but in the eyes of many runners, a necessary one. Retailers who commit to both a robust offering and presentation are reaping the benefits, as consumers are not only looking for great post-run solutions, but footwear that is simply comfortable. Making recovery a priority, through in-store location, assortment, color and try-ons has proven to be an effective and excellent source of incremental revenue.”

Hot Shot Hot Shot is the Sports Shot invented by an endurance athlete/Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist to prevent and treat muscle cramps and reduce next-day muscle soreness. The NSF Certified for Sport, all-natural and non-GMO Sports Shot with a kick targets barriers to performance and recovery at the nerve. MSRP: $3.99 Advice for retailers from Matt Wohl, President and CEO: “There is more than one cause of post-workout pain and soreness, which means one recovery product or method can’t treat it all. Providing recommendations or bundling complementary products can help guide your customers to a better recovery and build the basket size of your nutrition sales. Resources to educate your customers, through emails, store associate training or sampling events, can also support this effort.”

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Lactigo LactiGo is a topical gel with menthol, carnosine and magnesium that helps runners maximize their athletic performance and recovery. This topical gel is banned-substance tested by Informed Sport and works to help reduce muscle soreness during and after exercise. MSRP: $29.96 Advice for retailers from Max Pringle, President, REP Athletic Products: “Recovery is such an important part of training that it needs more emphasis and education in retail locations. Runners that are able to recover better are able to have more happy miles with less soreness, resulting in a better overall experience.”

Lyric The Wi-Fi-enabled Lyric therapeutic handheld massager has a built-in touchscreen and offers guided massage therapies to help temporarily relieve minor muscle aches and pains, relax or energize, and temporarily improve local blood circulation. With the introduction of the Lyric comes Rhythm Therapy — rather than the mono-frequency or “flat line” experience, the Lyric vibrates in a wavelike pattern, mimicking naturally occurring rhythms that have an impact on runners’ bodies and mind. The Lyric includes an optional extension handle for hard-to-reach aches and pains. MSRP: $199.95 Advice for retailers from Hugh Williams, Lyric Co-founder: “It is imperative that retailers both understand and answer unmet consumer needs. We went through an intensive research phase collecting and applying user feedback when bringing the Lyric to market. The result is a device that breathes life into a stagnating massage gun category by offering breakthrough technology that addresses what consumers want at an unbeatable price point.”

Myostorm Meteor 2.1 is a self-heating, vibrating massage therapy ball combining heat with MyoStorm’s Ultrasoothe Vibration technology, designed to facilitate muscle recovery and help reduce chronic pain. Also comes in a mini that’s 50 percent smaller. MSRP: $149; Mini: $119 Advice for retailers from Bailey Carlson, VP–Business Development: “Most people go to a running store to get new shoes. We’ve found that asking customers why they are buying new shoes opens up the conversation of recovery. Many people are trying to combat plantar fasciitis, shin splints or any number of injuries with new shoes and don’t even know that recovery tools can help tremendously.”

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RECOVERY PRODUCTS 2021

Mantra Labs • Mantra Labs’ Hydrate is sugar-free hydration for runners with more than 1200 mg of six electrolytes, marine minerals and vitamins. Formulated with prebiotic fiber, Hydrate supports a healthy gut, glucose levels and digestion while also containing vitamin C and B12. MSRP: $24.99 • Rest is Sleep contains a blend of magnesium, melatonin, Gaba, L-Theanine and adaptogen herbs to aid in better sleep for runners. The non-habit-forming formula was created to help runners fall asleep and stay asleep without waking up with feelings of grogginess. Organically sweetened with zero calories and zero sugar. MSRP: $34.99 Advice for retailers from Paul Janowitz, CEO: “Recovery and sleep are the most overlooked aspects in performance – both mentally and physically. The pandemic has put a focus on mental health and the need for recovery and we now expect to see that permeate the athletic performance community. Focusing on the whole athlete – why they do what they do, and the cyclical nature of performance (push + recover) – opens entirely new avenues for product and revenue for running stores. You can now be a wellness center focusing on mind, body, exertion and recovery. Foam rollers were just the beginning.”

Powerstep The PowerStep Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap aids runners with their RICE treatment routine. The reusable gel pack along provides hot or cold therapy and controlled compression from the adjustable strap to reduce inflammation and pain. Designed to target plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, Achilles tendonitis, joint pain and stiffness. MSRP: $27.25 Advice for retailers from Brett Jewell, Key Account Manager: “Often retailers settle for merchandising recovery products on a lonely display far away in the corner of the store. To sell more of any non-shoe products, try placing items in the field of view during fittings or near the POS. If you like selling the latest and greatest in running accessories, rearrange some wall space to create a New Gear wall feature and update it regularly.”

Pro-Tec Athletics The RM Extreme and RM Extreme Mini (in photo) handheld rollers offer a patented design and are produced with an injection mold process. Both are contoured to shape select body parts and made from a non-toxic, latex-free, closed-cell EVA/polyolefin foam. MSRP: $24.95–$34.95 Advice for retailers from Jeff Rodgers, CEO: “As we all push our customers to stay active and run, the importance of recovery cannot be overstated. Communicating to your customer the benefits of using recovery tools is sending them the message that you are more about their physical wellbeing beyond just selling them a good pair of shoes. It is also in their best interest to understand the benefits of being proactive with their body maintenance. Having your staff equipped with this information, as well as some product-specific information, will increase the value of your consumer’s retail experience.” 41

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RelieveIt RelieveIt Gel is made with pine rosin, a new botanical anti-inflammatory discovery. It is scientifically proven with endurance runners to prevent muscle soreness. MSRP: $39.99 Advice for retailers from Caleb Williams, President and CEO: “Retailers should tell their customers that a startup brand called RelieveIt has reimagined recovery from products and devices that treat symptoms to natural products that prevent the onset of muscle soreness.”

Roll Recovery The R8 Plus is an FDA-registered medical device that targets the ITbands, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, gluteus and arms. Its adjustable deep tissue massage force helps to improve circulation and reduce inflammation while breaking up muscle adhesions for myofascial release. MSRP: $169 Advice for retailers from Jeremy Nelson, CEO: “The recovery market has never been hotter and these products have always been excellent as a complementary product to footwear. It only takes trying our products once to realize their effectiveness. Customers enter run specialty shops for the unique experience. The feedback we’ve received from our top retailers is that they keep recovery demo products near footwear —­that way when they go back to grab shoes the customer is able to use that time to experience the different recovery tools.”

Rykr Rykr Roll handheld self-massage rollers help relieve aches, pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. They are best used to improve blood flow and oxygen to sore muscles, alleviate myofascial tenderness and treat trigger point knots. The ergonomic design makes Rykr Roll easy to grip and use. FDA-approved stainless steel roller balls and bamboo make this product eco-friendly, too. MSRP: $26–$32 Advice for retailers from John Hetzel, President and Founder: “Always try to cross-sell recovery products with the benefits they provide to muscle recovery to help runners keep running. The ability to demo recovery products in-store is a powerful selling tool as well.”

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RECOVERY PRODUCTS 2021

SoleStretch The Solestretch Foot and Leg Stretcher is a multi-function recovery tool for the legs. It engages the foot at the toes, stretching the plantar fascia, the intrinsic muscles of the foot, through the Achille’s tendon and the posterior leg muscles in one easy motion. Made for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, heel pain, Achille’s tendonitis or those looking to improve or maintain dorsiflexion. The design includes massage features for IT bands, deep tissue massage and pressure point/myofascial release. MSRP: $39.95 Advice for retailers from William Flickinger, Founder and CEO: “Ensure that your team is well-versed on the recovery tools in your store and is trained to ask open ended questions that will initiate a conversation and that the tools are in the line of sight of the customer when they are trying on shoes and/or checking out.”

Therabody • PowerDot is Therabody’s electrical muscle stimulator that gives runners a new way to support temporary pain relief, boost recovery and build strength and endurance. The device brings the proven concepts of NMES (muscular) & TENS (nerve) into lightweight pods that runners can use hands-free. Smart Recovery AI technology understands activity and connects to an intuitive mobile app that offers guided programs designed to help with pad placement and intensity settings. MSRP: $199–$349 • Theragun Pro merges commercial-grade deep muscle treatment with personalized app experiences that help to reduce muscle soreness, improve mobility and increase relaxation. \\\ MSRP: $599 Advice for retailers from Benjamin Nazarian, CEO: “Recovery is the newest pillar of fitness and running. An educated retail staff can help explain the importance and benefits of recovery and Therabody’s products to customers. As the creator of the percussive therapy category, the Theragun can help runners with their warmup, recovery and injury prevention. We provide the necessary support to help retailers provide a better customer experience and generate additional revenue.”

Tiger Tail • Tiger Tail Energy Mat soothes and energizes tired feet. Covered with stimulating acupressure heads to send tingling relief, the mat is portable and washable. MSRP: $24.95 • Dry Soak Water Therapy Pillows provide the relief of a Jacuzzi without getting wet. The pliable bags conform to the body and can withstand 600 pounds of pressure. These latex-free, odorless, food-grade bags are available in one, 2.5, and five gallon sizes. MSRP: $17.95–$24.95 Advice for retailers from Spring Faussett, Founder: “Offer customers an opportunity to give something a try and attempt to hand them the product they are looking at. Even though a customer is ‘just browsing,’ the simple question, ‘Would you like to try this?’ with the gesture of handing them the product will open surprising doors with the customer, both in conversation and in motivation to try. When offered to try the product with the product being handed to them, I’ve seen trial rates go up 10-fold and the sales close rate of those actual tries move to a 50 percent success rate or more. With just those simple tactics you can move a customer from just browsing to sold.”

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RECOVERY PRODUCTS 2021

Monkee Mount Monkee Mount was designed for runners to reach those hard-to-reach places using massage guns. It allows runners to reach the upper back, shoulders and neck without straining the already sore muscles they’re trying to relieve. It can be attached to a door frame or squat rack, then runners can add the massage gun and adjust the height and angle for a hands-free massage. MSRP: $65 Advice for retailers from David Mills, CEO: “Incorporate recovery products in to cool downs and warmups for store-based run groups. Work with brands to train staff on how to get the most out of products. Get products out of the boxes and on to the shop floor for customers to try.”

Tailwind Tailwind Salted Caramel Rebuild is based on a patent-pending perfectly complete protein, made from organic rice protein and supplemented with amino acids to make that protein complete. Along with carbohydrates, healthy fats from coconut milk and electrolytes to replenish glycogen stores and rebuild runners’ muscles after a workout. Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free. MSRP: $3 for individual servings, $38.99 for 15-serving bag Advice for retailers from Greg Talbert, Key Account and Outside Sales Manager: “As athletes, we train every day. And to get the most out of training, the better we recover for each day’s workout, the better we progress towards our goals. Recovery is key. If your body feels and responds better the next day after a hard workout by using recovery products you are going in a positive direction.”

Skratch Labs Vegan Chocolate Recovery Mix is vegan recovery packed with complete protein from peas and rice, carbs and electrolytes in a rich chocolate flavor to get it all back after a long, tough workout and speed up recovery. MSRP: $35.50 Advice for retailers from Annie Dwyer, B2B Sales Manager: “Helping consumers understand the science behind recovery with assistance from employees or displays will help them select a product that meets their needs and that they will use and enjoy consistently. Consumers often look for protein in recovery mixes, which is important, but, particularly for runners, a recovery drink with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio will ensure athletes are supplying their bodies with the nutritional building blocks necessary to recover quickly and effectively.”

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running shorts On and On It Goes: Forbes takes a look at how On and Roger Federer got together and thrived. On the eve of its successful IPO in midSeptember, On Running was the subject of an excellent feature on forbes.com that provided insight into how the Swiss running brand and Roger Federer got together to make it one of the hottest running shoes on the planet. The article by Forbes staff writer David Dawkins and headlined “How This Swiss Shoemaker Convinced Tennis Legend Roger Federer To Invest in Its ‘Frankenstein’ Sneakers,” is excerpted here. THE FIRST VERSION OF THE FIRST On shoe was so ugly the founders called it ‘Frankenstein,’ says David Allemann, one of said three founders of Swiss running brand On over video conference, hours after the company’s initial public offering in New York. Allemann recalls the moment over a decade ago when his friend, former Iron Man pro athlete Olivier Bernhard, presented his shoe idea to him and another friend, Caspar Coppetti. “The shoe looked ugly as hell [and was] cobbled together. But when Caspar Coppetti and I ran [in] it, we said ‘Wow, that’s a unique sensation.’ [Similar to] riding a full suspension bike, or carving skis,” he says, describing a product engineered for a single purpose, in this case — running. The ugly shoe that felt great to wear gave the three friends an opportunity to improve upon the running shoe offerings from Nike, Adidas, Puma and New Balance and build a business. The three men co-founded On Holding AG in Zurich in January 2010 and quickly won over a core customer base of joggers happy to pay around $180 a pair for superior running shoes. The company emerged from the pandemic as a global brand with a loyal following and revenue of more than $425 million in 2020, up 59 percent in a year. More recent results point to further growth: On’s net sales for the first half of 2021 hit $343 million, up 45

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85 percent compared to the same period in 2020. As of 2020 On had shifted 10 million pairs globally. The sales, the sight of these new shoes everywhere and a central On idea – to get rid of vulcanized rubber and reengineer a shoe around the take-off and landing point of the foot – also caught the attention of the most famous man in Switzerland, 20-time grand slam tennis star Roger Federer. “Switzerland is a small country,” Allemann says. “At some point he called us and said, ‘Let me buy you dinner.’ And so we had dinner together [and] he said: ‘I’m a big fan of your product, everybody around me is wearing them.’ We said, hey, why don’t you become a co-entrepreneur together with us. We want to have huge chunks of your time – if you allow – because I think we can do great things together. Fortunately he said yes. He invested his own money into On. And he spent 20 days in the lab with us developing the pro tennis shoe.” Federer, who knows better than anyone the size, power and reach of the gargantuan global sportswear giants, appreciates the intimacy of the product and his relationship with On. “They are smart, really nice people with a passion for what they do.” Plus, he adds over email, “they are amazingly nimble — they

adapted so quickly to the pandemic and the requirement to shift to e-commerce.” It sounds like a harmonious relationship. Says Federer, “We work very closely together on product design. They really listen and they want to get as close to perfect as possible.” I n 2 019 On announced that Federer had invested an undisclosed amount in On. The company describes Federer as a “friend and partner” who “spends many days with us in the On lab working on his namesake sneaker franchise and his tennis competition shoe.” On would not confirm the size of Federer’s stake, because it falls below the five percent threshold that requires public disclosure; Federer too would not comment. Sportico estimated his stake to be around three percent, worth roughly $300 million. On has found footing serving fitness enthusiasts seeking a high-performance running shoe, but also what the company describes as the “culturally obsessed lifestyle consumer” more likely to build environment and ethical concerns into their buying habits. That has especially resonated with U.S. customers. While its sneakers are sold in nearly 60 countries, about half the sales are to Americans. Any explanation why? “Word of mouth,” Bernhard says today. Adding that, “If it wasn’t for the strength of the technology, it would have been impossible.” But the combination of an innovative product, sold at a premium price both online and in the more up-market fitness stores, helped On ride a wave of sales for those hoping that by spending a few extra dollars, they might better burn the calories compounded by the lockdown hours spent on the couch.

© 2021 Diversified Communications


running shorts Fleet Feet Partners With Athletic Brewing On Non-Alcoholic Beer Offering ATHLETIC BREWING COMPANY, a non-alcoholic brewer, has partnered with Fleet Feet to bring its flagship brews, Run Wild and Upside Dawn, to running communities in three markets across the U.S. Beginning last month, Athletic Brewing’s non-alcoholic beer was availabl e in Fleet Feet’s Austin, TX, Delray Beach, FL, and Sacramento, CA, stores. Launched in 2018, Athletic Brewing holds a nearly 50 percent share of the non-alcoholic craft beer category — the industry’s fastest-growing segment. In 2020, Athletic grew almost 500 percent year-over-year for the second year in a row. Much of Athletic Brewing’s success stems from targeting healthy, active, mindful adults — Fleet Feet’s core customer. “Fleet Feet is the retail leader we all support in the running community, making this partnership a perfect fit for us,” says Bill Shufelt, Athletic Brewing founder. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce our product to more of the people who were among the very first to embrace Athletic Brewing: runners.” The partnership will come to life through a variety of local activations at the three Fleet Feet stores, including fun runs and happy

Meb Keflezighi Joins Kilter Board of Advisors Meb Keflezighi has joined the Kilter Board of Advisors, a new group committed to advancing the platform’s social engagement that connects active lifestyles with important causes. Meb will be joined on the Kilter Board of Advisors by his brother and athlete manager, Merhawi Keflezighi, who also represents athletes and influencers. Seth Braddock, Kilter founder and CEO, says Keflezighi, who is spearheading the MEB Foundation that

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hour events, all of which will feature samples of Athletic Brewing’s IPA and golden ale. Fleet Feet will then have cold single cans and six-packs available to purchase from custom in-store refrigerators. “From pub runs to beer miles, there’s an undeniable cultural connection between running and beer,” says Joey Pointer, president

and CEO of Fleet Feet. “Our customers turn to our local owners, operators and outfitters for advice and guidance on the latest running gear, apparel and accessories. This partnership with Athletic Brewing offers us another exciting opportunity to broaden what our customers can turn to us for in their pursuit of a healthy and active lifestyle.”

supports healthy lifestyles for youth, recognizes the significance of combining social impact with health and wellness, and will begin his involvement with the mobile app platform with an event, Kilter’s Fall Hustle.

its name from RoadRunner Holdings. Its p o r t foli o of b r a n d s in clu de s SaltStick, JoJé Bar, Vitassium and now Bonk Breaker. “It is not unique for most entrepreneurs, but the business of Bonk Breaker has faced so many hurdles over the years,” says Bonk Breaker founder Jason Winn. “But my passion for the brand and supporting athletes could not be higher than it is right now. I’m truly excited for the future of Bonk Breaker with Alete’s backing.”

Alete Acquires Bonk Breaker Alete Active Nutrition has acquired Bonk Breaker Nutrition, a nutrition brand popular among runners, cyclists, triathletes and professional sports teams. Alete Nutrition recently changed

© 2021 Diversified Communications


running shorts Lines We Like ... Lucyd Eyewear, Saucony Endorphin Pro+, Princeton-Tec Alloy-X, Injinji OTC Sock

LUCYD SMART EYEWEAR. Lucyd, the makers of Bluetooth-enabled sunglasses, has launched its lineup of Smart eyewear designed for the running market. The Lyte Sport capsule collection of its Lyte frames offers a sleek contoured design, high-performance smart features and an attractive price point matching traditional eyewear. Lucyd’s simple two-button control scheme makes it a snap to skip through music tracks, pause music, change volume, answer phone calls and activate voice assistants, without pulling out a phone. The open-ear audio allows for situational awareness. MSRP: $149

SAUCONY ENDORPHIN PRO+. Billed as “a once-in-a-lifetime limited release” that will only be available in extremely limited quantities and will not be restocked, the Endorphin Pro+ is Saucony’s fastest carbon-plated shoe remixed for performance. The shoe has a new super-light upper that gives runners enhanced breathability, a secondskin to unlock race-ready potential and a trail spike attitude blended for the demands of distance — allowing runners to truly push their limits.

PRINCETON-TEC ALLOY-X LIGHTS. Princeton Tec’s new Alloy-X offers dual-fuel rechargeable technology and a powerful 400 lumens in a sleek and compact design. With its attached clip, the pen light can be secured to a pocket, belt or pack for quick and easy access to light and its 28-hour burn time on low is ideal for use as a back-up light if others become drained on a longer adventure. Alloy-X also features textured knurling to ensure a firm grip, as well as a one-touch tail switch.

INJINJI ULTRA COMPRESSION OTC SOCK. Since this is the Recovery Issue of Running Insight we liked what we found in the Injinji Ultra Compression OTC, which combines graduated compression to reduce fatigue with a patented toe sock freedom, blister prevention and balance. It is designed for long races and highmileage training days to start compression at the ankle and continue up the leg to aid circulation and blood flow. The five-toe design eliminates skin-on-skin contact to minimize the friction that can lead to blisters. Lycra and mesh keep feet cool and dry and reflective strips improve low-light visibility. MSRP: $49

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running shorts Reebok Debuts National Geographic Collection; Partners With goodr on Kits

REEBOK HAS LAUNCHED ITS FIRST Reebok x National Geographic collection, a full-family footwear collection that pairs Reebok performance and lifestyle silhouettes with design details inspired by National Geographic’s visual storytelling from around the world. Highlights of the Reebok x National Geographic collection include: • Nano X1 Adventure (MSRP: $140): With durable and versatile design features, the Nano X1 Adventure supports all things outdoor fitness and adventure. It is inspired by the environments explored by National Geographic. • Floatride Energy 3 Adventure (MSRP: $120): The running shoe is inspired by the world’s oceans. The first, in unisex sizing,

The Athlete’s Foot Appoints President The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) has named Matt Lafone as president and GM of Americas, responsible for managing operations in North, South and Central America. He will report directly to the company’s new owner and global executive chairman, Param Singh. Prior to TAF, Lafone was COO for Payless ShoeSource over seeing design, development, supply chain, 48

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features colors as deep and vibrant as the ocean’s depths, with glow-in-the-dark detailing on the heel, laces and forefront and a sock liner graphic showcasing the sea and waves. A women’s shoe reflects the world of cosmos with color shifting and glitter details throughout and a cosmos graphic sock liner. • Classic Leather Legacy AZ (MSRP: $90) is inspired by the world’s deserts with on-trend monochromatic sand color tones, textures and graphic details. • Club C (MSRP: $80): Paying homage to forest habitats, this new take on the Club C features foliage graphic details on the sock liner and tongue and a twotone suede on the upper reminiscent of a forest.

The Reebok and National Geographic collection is available on Reebok.com/ nationalgeographic. In other Reebok news, it has entered into a collaboration with sunglass brand goodr to create two ’90s-inspired kits for Run and Beast featuring Reebok’s Nano X1 and Floatride Energy 3. Starting in early September, consumers could purchase both kits on reebok.com, goodr.com and select U.S. retailers – each comes with a pair of goodr Recess Ree-Mix sunnies and a coordinating pair of Reebok performance shoes in a ’90s inspired colorway. The Reebok x RUN goodr kit comes with a pair of high-performance running shoes, The Floatride Energy 3. The Reebok x BEAST goodr kit comes with a pair of Reebok’s Nano X1 training shoes.

marketing and franchising for its 750 international stores. Prior to Payless, he was the VP–sport style for Puma driving its wholesale revenue and leading sales, planning, marketing and merchandising strategies. TAF retail sales are on target to hit $500 million in 2021 and the company has seen growth above 40 percent in the first six months of 2021 versus 2020 and 14 percent above 2019.

© 2021 Diversified Communications


running shorts Gore Unveils Innovative Expanded Polyethylene (ePE) Membrane for Consumer Products THE CONSUMER BUSINESS OF GORE & Associates has unveiled expanded polyethylene (ePE) as a new complementary material platform to serve as the basis for its membrane technologies. Gore’s new ePE membrane will appear in Gore-Tex brand consumer products – including running footwear and apparel – beginning in the Fall/Winter 2022 season. Products featuring Gore’s new ePE membrane will be introduced in a selection of consumer end uses such as, general outdoor and lifestyle garments, lifestyle footwear and snow sports gloves from customers such as Adidas, Arc’teryx, Dakine, Patagonia, Reusch, Salomon and Ziener. The announcement of Gore’s new ePE membrane reaffirms the Gore-Tex brand’s

commitment to responsible performance — defined by Gore as applying the brand’s experience, science and capabilities on a continuous journey to unlock new levels of

FootBalance Partners with IPGL FootBalance, the global foot health company and maker of custom insoles, has agreed a partnership with a new capital investor, IPGL, that will enable the company to accelerate its expansion and growth while bringing it closer to its mission to support more people with better foot health. FootBalance’s 3 D f o o t s c a n n i n g t e c h n o l o g y, MyFootBalance, offers consumers an all-in-one fitting experience from personalized foot scan, biomechanical foot analysis and custom product recommendation. “IPGL is a great fit for FootBalance, having ex tensive knowledge and expertise across technology, retail and medical service sectors,” says FootBalance CEO Klaus Rauhansalo. “ To g e t h e r we p l a n to g r ow t h e FootBalance brand, invest in our proprietary MyFootBalance 3D foot scanning technology, further develop our product portfolio and extend our distribution and geographic reach.”

Craft Partners With Rock ‘n’ Roll Series The Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series and Craft Sportswear have entered into a partnership that makes Craft the Official Athletic Footwear Partner for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series. This collaboration launches the cobranded Craft x Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series shoe in three limited-edition colorways — black, red and yellow. This exclusive mid-distance running and training shoe will be available on the official Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series merchandise e-commerce store at www.runrocknrollstore.com and at all 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series events. As part of the X-series, the Craft x Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series collaboration features a multi-purpose running shoe that follows the natural contours of the foot. This Craft design features a lightweight and breathable engineered mesh upper and an ARC Foam midsole with launch pad at the forefoot and landing pad at the heel

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both performance and sustainability. According to the company, the new ePE membrane: • Leverages high strength-to-weight ratio to create extremely lightweight and thin composites that are still mechanically robust. • Enables durable performance and a low environmental footprint. • When combined with polyurethane (PU), the result creates a durably waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane. • Combination of the ePE material and low membrane mass results in a lower carbon footprint, as measured by Higg MSI. • Advances Gore Fabrics Division’s goal for being free of PFCs of Environmental Concern* (PFCEC) over the lifecycle of its consumer products.

that provides cushioning and response. In addition, X cables run under the midfoot and behind the heel to secure and stabilize the foot — offering a balance between support and flexibility for a natural stride. FitRankings Teamed With Merrell FitRankings, the connected fitness and health platform, has teamed up with Merrell to bring the Shared Steps Go Further Challenge to life. Throughout the month of September, participants used the power of shared steps to help break down barriers and make the outdoors accessible to more youth by benefitting local and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) agencies across the United States and Canada. Participants could walk, run or hike towards a shared goal and Merrell donated $1 for every mile traveled to BBBS, up to $40,000. With each mile logged, participants helped Merrell and BBBS offer additional outdoor activities for Bigs and Littles.

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Racing 2021

ONE MORE THING Five training tips retailers can share with their customers from the Reebok Boston Track Club pros

The Reebok Boston Track Club pauses to provide some training tips for run retailers: Top (L-R): Colin Bennie, Paige Stoner, Josette Norris, Amy-Eloise Markovc Bottom (L-R): Alex Rogers, Justyn Knight

1. HYDRATE, EVEN IF YOU AREN’T THIRSTY “Staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial. Start drinking water as soon as you wake up and consistently take it before, during and after training. Your body and performance on race day will thank you!” — Marty Hehir 2. RUN WITH A PARTNER OR JOIN A CLUB — IT’S MORE FUN THAT WAY! “The beauty of running with a friend or in a club is that you can play off of each other’s strengths as you work together to reach your goals. Having someone training with you can bring a huge comfort. Not only does it help hold you accountable, but it also provides enduring experiences and memories. Whether it’s a tough workout or recovery day, a partner can encourage you to dig deeper or remind you to slow down. For me, the miles always fly by talking to a friend.” — Josette Norris 3. FUEL UP WITH SIMPLE, WHOLE FOODS “Fueling before a run, you want to stick to simple carbohydrates such as bananas, white bread or oatmeal. It’s okay to 50

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include a little bit of protein and fat, such as peanut butter, but mainly you should consume an easily digestible carb source to provide that quick energy that you need.” — Paige Stoner 4. CHOOSE THE BEST SHOE OPTION FOR YOU “Test out your options and choose what works best for you and your feet. Treat yourself and have a few different styles of shoe depending on what kind of running you have planned for that day. My go-to is Reebok’s Floatride Energy Symmetros for all of my longer runs — it has the perfect balance of bounce and cushion to keep my feet happy mile after mile. On shorter runs, I love Reebok’s Floatride Energy 3 — it provides great bounce with a little less weight on your feet, the best of both worlds.” — Colin Bennie 5. COMMIT TO REST DAYS – ACTUALLY. “Rest. Rest. Rest. It’s really that simple, but it’s often overlooked. Anyone training, pro or not, should commit to rest days. We always say let’s make the hard days hard and make the easy days easy. They’re equally as important.” — Coach Fox

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Running Insight 10.1.21  

Running Insight 10.1.21  

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