Running Insight 12.22.2019

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The Running Event 2019 Complete Coverage


DECEMBER 22, 2019

2020 VISION The Running Event leads the run specialty business into a challenging new decade.

nessun compromesso


inside 6 Running Shorts Fleet Feet wins big in advertising case against Nike; The Inside Scoop on Roger Federer’s investment in On.

10 The Running Event Report A recap of the most important three days on the run retail specialty calendar in 2019.

14 The TRE Awards The 2019 winners of The Industry Awards

26 The BibRave 100 Awards Photos and winners of the 2019 BibRave Awards, from Best Marathon to Best Swag.

DECEMBER 22, 2019

32 The Indie 5K More than 300 runners turned out for the annual race to determine the fastest retailers and vendors — and squirrels.

38 The Running Event 2019 in Pictures 10 pages of photos from Austin.

58 The Giving Spirit Charitable efforts by retailers and brands are resonating with their customers. / By Daniel P. Smith

66 Photo Album: A Final Look at The Running Event 2019 An editor chooses his favorite moments.

Cover Photo: Andrew Devereaux


© 2019 Diversified Communications



Editor-in-Chief Mark Sullivan

Sales Manager Christina Henderson

Managing Editor Michael Jacobsen

Sales Troy Leonard

Graphic Designer Deborah Page

Daemon Filson

Contributors Brian Metzler Daniel P. Smith Tom Griffen Judy Leand

Glenn Dulberg Mark Sullivan

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

THE RUNNING EVENT Event Director Anne Gray Sales and Event Manager Christina Henderson Marketing Manager Bethany Gilpatrick Sales Troy Leonard Mark Sullivan Daemon Filson Glenn Dulberg Conference Manager Kara O’Brien

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Fleet Feet Wins Big in Ad Case Against Nike Judge rules that the Swoosh infringed on retailer’s ‘Sport Changes Everything’ trademark A FEDERAL JUDGE EARLIER THIS month sided with Fleet Feet, awarding a preliminary injunction barring Nike from using the phrases “Change Everything” and “Sport Changes Everything.” “Because Fleet Feet has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of its trademark infringement claims… Fleet Feet’s [preliminary injunction] motion will be granted,” read a memorandum signed by U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles. According to Eagles, Fleet Feet, through court filings, has already shown a “strong case” that Nike is infringing on its slogans. Eagles noted in her opinion that Fleet Feet has used the marks for several years in its stores and in the races it sponsors. And, according to a report in the Triangle Business Journal, she calls the risk of consumer confusion “substantial, as Nike is spending millions of dollars ($16 million so far, according to court documents) to intensely promote the ‘Sport Changes Everything’ campaign.” In late summer Fleet Feet had filed a lawsuit against Nike over Nike’s advertising usage of phrases such as “Change Everything” and “Running Changes Everything.”

According to the lawsuit, Fleet Feet had trademarked the two phrases and spent substantial resources making those slogans the cornerstones for its brand. “Yet despite that knowledge, Nike in July 2019 launched a national advertising campaign based on the marks ‘Sport Changes Everything’ and ‘Running Changes Everything.’ The first of these Nike marks bears a confusing resemblance to Fleet Feet’s marks, and the second is identical to Fleet Feet’s mark,” wrote Fleet Feet in court papers. The complaint said Nike brand managers have “historically” previewed advertising campaigns with Fleet Feet, but Nike provided no advance notice with this campaign. Court filings show Fleet Feet has spent about $1.9 million on advertising and marketing its brand since Sept. 14. That doesn’t include the $800,000 its company-owned locations have spent, nor does it include the nearly $1.4 million spent on digital media advertising by its online store. During the same time period, according to filings, Fleet Feet’s franchisees and affiliates earned more than $940 million in revenue, resulting in more than $25

million in royalties and license fees paid to Fleet Feet. Joey Pointer, president and CEO of Fleet Feet, said in a statement following the ruling: “The Court’s orders on our preliminary injunction motion speak for themselves, so we won’t comment further on those. But I will say that the choice to file a lawsuit against a company like Nike is one that no one wants to make — especially when we’ve done business together for more than 40 years. We filed our lawsuit because we had to protect our trademarks, for our company and for our franchisees. That said, Fleet Feet values our relationship with Nike and we hope that for the long term we can continue to work together to benefit both of our brands.” Nike, which filed a counterclaim in October against Fleet Feet, has denied wrongdoing in previous court filings. The company filed an appeal of the order following the court’s initial ruling. Nike had intended to use the advertising campaign through next year’s Super Bowl. But without a lift of the injunction, Nike can no longer use the marks and the status of the ad program is in question.

Reebok Goes Green With Forever Floatride With the goal of reducing virgin polyester from its material mix and eliminating it completely by 2025, Reebok has launched the Forever Floatride GROW running shoe. Building on its Cotton + Corn lifestyle footwear collection, and using the design of the Forever Floatride Energy, the shoe replaces petroleum-based components in favor of plant-based, sustainably sourced materials that include castor beans (for the midsole), eucalyptus trees (for the upper), Bloom algae foam (for the sock liner) and rubber trees (for the outsole). The brand’s sustainability efforts are focused on what it calls [REE]GROW, which focuses on creating products made from natural materials, and [REE]CYCLED, which focuses on creating products using recycled or repurposed materials. 6

© 2019 Diversified Communications

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running shorts The Inside Scoop on Roger Federer’s Investment in On. / By Mark Sullivan ON RECENTLY MADE HEADLINES around the world when it announced that tennis great Roger Federer had invested in the company and would take on an active role in product development, marketing and enhancing fan experiences. “Roger will also play a role in developing the athlete spirit that’s at the core of our brand’s high-performing culture,” the company said in its official announcement. At The Running Event earlier this month, On co-founder Caspar Coppetti shared the following insights on how the deal between the Swiss tennis legend and the Swiss shoe company came together and what it means for the brand. RI: How did this all come together? Coppetti: We were aware that Roger was a fan on the brand and Switzerland being a small country it was inevitable we all met. Conversations started when the five partners and Roger all ended up having dinner one night. And then… Roger has a great sense of style. He’s typically named one of the best dressed men in the world and he’s also a serious collector of athletic footwear. His style is a mix of high performance and elegance, which we see as a perfect match with On. His vision is that he wants to be an entrepreneur and get involved in shoe development and different aspects of the business where he can make an impact. From our first meeting to the announcement, it took about 18 months.

What has it been like there since the announcement? Considering the madness that surrounds him on a daily basis, Roger is incredibly down-to-earth. We were with some run groups in Central Park in Manhattan right after the announcement and we had a van set aside for Roger but he just hung out with everyone. After we were there for about half an hour, about 500 people and four paparazzi had gathered, but Roger just took it all in stride. Talk about the Swiss connection. Roger is like royalty in Switzerland and might be even more popular outside of the country. Sometimes I feel as though we don’t fully grasp what we have in him — a great athlete and a gentleman.

Shelbourne among those downsized at New Balance New Balance recently downsized by two percent of its global workforce, eliminating 100-plus jobs in late November. The one termination that most affected the running market was that of Dave Shelbourne, who had been with the brand for more than 30 years and was known as a fierce advocate for the run specialty business. Shelbourne, affectionately known as “The Godfather,” was a driving force within New Balance for focusing 8

C a n you d i s cu s s t h i s agreement from a sports marketing angle? At On, we like to innovate and that extends to the sports marketing space, too. Adidas invented modern sports marketing and Nike has perfected it. We believe our relationship with Roger can change the formula. Consumers are not stupid. They know that companies pay athletes to wear their shoes and apparel. And now, you have athletes like Stephen Curry speaking out against brands that pay them. Running is authentic. You can’t fake it. Athletes become involved with us because they love the product and Roger is the latest example of that. You’ve been asked whether you’ll get into the performance tennis shoe market. Does that make any sense? The performance tennis shoe market is very small, so that likely doesn’t make sense. But we see some possibilities with tennis-inspired lifestyle product. The companies we compete against have back catalogs of 50-year-old tennis shoes that they now sell as lifestyle product. Until now, we didn’t have a legitimate reason to be in that space, but now we do. We don’t compromise on performance and never will and anything we do will be true to the brand.

on the run channel and having key styles such as the 860 sold exclusively at specialty. Earlier in his career, Shelbourne oversaw the brand’s business in Canada. At that time, the brand was struggling in the United States, but Shelbourne helped establish a strong business in Canada that continues today. The downsizing cut across all divisions of the company. Tom Carleo and Kevin Adams, two long-time execs in the running business, remain in their current posts.

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The Running Event Shines Again in Austin The annual trade show took the running specialty industry by the horns in early December.


he Ru n n i ng Event , held December 3-5, 2019 in Austin, TX, marked the 14th year for North America’s largest running specialty trade show and expo to showcase the latest and greatest for running-related retailers, businesses and brands. Produced by Diversified Communications, this year’s Running Event reported record overall participation, the largest floor plan in its history and strong international retailer attendance, along with countless new vendor-partner relationships and the announcement of a brand refresh of Running Insight magazine. The Running Event reported more than 260 exhibitors and more than 2500 total attendees at this year’s show. “After honing in on the valuable feedback provided by our exhibitors and retailers, we made significant changes to The Running Event that were well received and commented on by numerous attendees during the show, said Anne Gray, event director for Diversified Communications. “We left Austin feeling full of energy for what’s ahead and we are already coming up with new things for 2020!” The newly adjusted three-day event hosted breakout conference sessions for both retailers and race directors, two days of exhibitions, demos and much more. Highlights from The Running Event include: • New Product Showcase Winner. Set up on the trade show floor, attendees scoped out what’s new for 2020 and voted on their favorite product. The 2019 winner: Kahtoola for new winter traction system, EXOspikes. The winner was gifted $1000 for the charity of their choice. • The Big Pitch Winner. Attending retailers had the opportunity to win up to $5000 for presenting a winning idea to some of the best in the running 10

The Running Event 2019 drew a crowd of more than 2500 attendees and 260 exhibitors to Austin.

business. The challenge: Develop and share a campaign that would attract younger customers to their stores. The 2019 winner: Palmetto Running Company of South Carolina, which received the $5000 first prize for its eco-initiative to tie in running with Earth Day 2020. Running Niche walked away with second place and $3000, and 605 Running Company came in third place and took home $1000. • Indie 5k Winners. Fastest Retail Team: Naperville Running Company; Fastest Manufacturer Team: Nuun Hydration; Fastest Female: Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, 16:28; and Fastest Male: Mustafa Mohamed, 15:11. “The show was outstanding, as always,” said Craig Carlock, CEO of Omega

Sports. “We connected with key vendorpartners and further cemented important relationships, particularly in footwear. In accessories and apparel, we saw many new items that we can consider for next year. We left the show rejuvenated and excited about products, relationships and opportunities.” To close out The Running Event, Thursday’s evening Industry Awards honored six retailers and individuals for their special contributions to the business of run specialty. The 2019 recipients were: • Brooks Run Happy Award, Running Lab • Nike Just Do It Award, Bekah Metzdorff, Mill City Running • IRRC Canadian Store of the Year

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A Record Running Event (continued)

The 2020 Running Event is set for December 1-3, right back in Austin.

Presented by New Balance, Frontrunners Victoria • ASICS Sound Mind Sound Body Award, Fleet Feet Mt. Pleasant/Somerville • Saucony Run for Good Award, Charm City Run • Ubuntu Award Presented by Ba lega, Playma kers, Okemos, MI New sustainability initiatives were taken at The Running Event in 2019 and moving forward to reduce the carbon footprint that trade shows leave behind. This included the removal of aisle carpet as well as no longer providing carpet for booths in the standard booth packages. In addition, all attendees of The Running Event received a reusable water bottle courtesy of Nathan to use during the

“The show was outstanding, as always. We connected with key vendorpartners and further cemented important relationships.” CRAIG CARLOCK OMEGA SPORTS

event and beyond. Two new education sessions also highlighted sustainability from a business standpoint as well as for race directors and the future of diminishing environmental impact at races. The dates for next year’s The Running Event are set, and the show will return to Austin on December 1-3, 2020 To learn more click on n

WITH YOU FOR THE JOURNEY Thanks for visiting us at TRE! If we missed you, please contact us for info on our latest running gear additions and special offer! SALES@FITLETIC.COM


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Industry Awards PRESENTED BY:

Six Stores and Individuals Honored for Outstanding Efforts in Community, Runner Development and Leadership.

The 2019 Award winners: Saucony Run for Good Award Presented by Saucony Charm City Run Baltimore, MD Run Happy Award Presented by Brooks Toni Reese Running Lab, Brighton, MI ASICS Sound Mind, Sound Body Award Presented by ASICS Chris and Amy Minkel Fleet Feet Mt. Pleasant Mount Pleasant, SC The Ubuntu Award Presented by Balega Playmakers, Okemos, MI Canadian Store of the Year Presented by New Balance Canada Frontrunners Victoria Victoria, BC, Canada Nike Just Do it Award Presented by Nike Bekah Metzdorff Mill City Running, Minneapolis, MN 14

Big checks were being handed out like they were made out of paper at the annual Industry Awards Party on the final night of The Running Event. In top photo, Running Insight editor Mark Sullivan (right) presents Palmetto Running Company with the $5000 prize for winning The Big Pitch contest. In bottom photo, Kahtoola received the $1000 prize for winning the inaugural New Product Showcase Award.

Š 2019 Diversified Communications

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CHARM CITY RUN Baltimore, MD Recognizing a retailer who inspires kids to run their world through communitybased youth running programs.

THE SAUCONY RUN FOR Good Award, which recognizes a retailer who inspires kids to run their world through community-based youth running programs, is committed to improving the lives of children by helping prevent and reduce childhood obesity,” explained Saucony’s Joe Toth “Running comes back to

goodness,” he said, “and Run For Good is about chasing that dream.” Living that mantra is the 2019 recipient, Charm City Run, Baltimore, MD, which has organized a youth cross-country race series since it first opened its doors back in 2002 and the series now includes seven low-cost races that attract young runners of all

backgrounds. The Saucony Run for Good Award includes a $5000 grant to further the recipient’s efforts in youth running. In receiving the award, Charm City’s Will Murdoch simply said, “If you ever have a chance to watch kids run, you know what this is about because it is the best thing ever.” n

It seems like the entire Charm City Run team turned out to receive the Saucony Run for Good Award during the TRE Industry Awards party.


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Celebrating a specialty retail store employee who brings a glass-half-full approach to his or her job every day.

“THIS AWARD IS presented to an employee who brings a ‘glass-half-full approach’ to their work every day,” said Brooks VP–sales Rick Wilhelm. Toni Reese of Running Lab in Brighton, MI admits she was not looking to make a career change when she was approached about running the store. “The owner Ken said you always seem so upbeat and are great with people, you can do this,” she said upon accepting the award. Ken Larscheid, the owner of the store, said “the glasshalf-full approach is just the start of who Toni Reese is. Toni was a customer of ours and I

eventually became Facebook friends with her after doing a trail event with her. I started to notice that Toni would always be posting about going out for a run with someone. The difference was that it was someone different all the time. Every time she posted about her run, it was someone different in the picture. Sometimes they were brand new to running and she had just met them the day before or they were long-time friends of hers, it didn’t matter who it was. She invited anyone on a run with her. I knew that was special and rarely seen. A lot of runners tend to either run

Toni Reese holds the Brooks Run Happy Award presented to her by Rick Wilhelm.


alone or stay in their own pace or comfort circles when it comes to running partners. Not Toni. I reached out to her to just talk to her about what she was doing currently as a career and realized she was so much more.” Larsheid said Reese “can put a positive spin on anything, but still be productive and move things forward. All my reps love her, the staff she manages loves her and, most importantly, customers love her. I cannot even count anymore how many times customers have poured out to me how much they love Toni and say she is one of the best things to happen to the store.” He said her enthusiasm and positive attitude is infectious. “Toni and I converse a lot about the store and business and I cannot think of a time where she has shown frustration or hostility towards the job in the three-plus years she has been a part of Running Lab. We always work through whatever the situation and in the end it always ends up positive because of her. If everyone would just put a smile on their face every day they go to work like Toni, its infinite the possibilities in this world. We need more Tonis. This is why she deserves the Run Happy award.” n

© 2019 Diversified Communications





Fleet Feet Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant, SC ASICS believes that the key to a healthy and happy lifestyle is through a sound mind in a sound body. The winner of this award embodies these values on a daily basis in both their personal and professional lives.


THE SOUND MIND, SOUND Body Award has historical ties to the ASICS brand, according to Kevin McHale of ASICS, going back to 1949 when Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka started a shoe company that we know today as ASICS. “What’s special about Mr. Onitsuka’s story is that he founded the company around a vision and idea that is very different than many of us would expect. “In 1949, Japan was a decimated country. A few years removed from a significant defeat in World War II, the spirit of the nation was broken. And Mr. Chris and Amy MInkel with ASICS’ Kevin McHale. Onitsuka saw that it was severely vision for the brand was born from the desire affecting the morale and spirit of the youth of Japan. to lift the youth of Japan from the demoralizing So instead of watching it continue, he decided to aftermath of World War II.” do something about it and change it. McHale cited the following examples of the “Mr. Onitsuka knew how powerful sport and Minkel’s community involvement: movement were. These two activities not only • Mount Pleasant Track Club (Track and Field 350 lead to a healthy mind and a healthy body, but kids; XC 200 kids). they could bring a community and nation together. • Palmetto Tribe (Youth Tri program). And through sport, he could raise the spirits of the • Girls on the Run. people of Japan, and bring about hope. • Charleston’s Health Charleston Challenge. “The Sound Mind, Sound Body Award honors • Cancer to 5k (providing shoes to cancer survivors a retailer who lives this same philosophy out on a running their first 5k). regular basis. It honors a retailer that understands • Assisted seven local elementary schools with that a healthy mind and a healthy body can not production of their color run fundraisers. only change people’s lives, but it can also change • Managed “Bears on the Run,” a program to procommunities. vide shoes for schools’ running programs. “Our selection for the Sound Mind, Sound Body • Produce three races with 90 percent of the profaward is Chris and Amy Minkel, owners of Fleet its of $55,000-plus a year going to Low Country Feet Mount Pleasant/Somerville in South Carolina. Food Bank By utilizing the sport of running to inspire health, • East Cooper Community Outreach, Dorchester movement and community, the Minkels embody the Paws Animal shelter and Goose Creek Police/Fire spirit of Onitsuka-san, founder of ASICS, whose benevolent fund. n

© 2019 Diversified Communications

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Presented to a store that makes a tremendous difference in its community.


THIS AWARD IS presented annually by Balega to a store for outstanding community service. In the past, the award was presented to stores such as Marathon Sports in Boston and Jackrabbit Sports in New York for their outstanding response to disasters that befell their communities. The 2019 Ubuntu amounts to a lifetime achievement award for Playmakers. In his presentation speech, Paul Perrone, of Balega, said Playmakers epitomized what the community spirit in run was The Playmakers team accepts the Ubunto Award from Balega. all about. Munson, took him under their we can all do together.” In accepting the award, wings and helped him every step Last year, with the help of Brian Jones, a co-owner of of the way. Their support and its community, Playmakers put Playmakers, harkened back to commitment in helping him and 6000 pairs of shoes on feet of the store’s founders, Curt and the community was what drew local community members inJudy Munson, and how excited Brian to come work at Playneed through programs like the his team was when they found makers and eventually become homeless veteran organization, out they would be awarded the a co-owner. The foundation of school closets for kids, the soup Ubuntu. “Of all the awards that Playmakers being at the heart kitchen, The Boys & Girls Club are presented tonight, this is the of the community first, is what of Lansing and many more orgaone that means the most to us drew all the owners – John Benenizations. The store put hundreds because it goes to the heart of dict, Jones and Tom Keeno – to of socks on the underserved what we do, which is serve the Playmakers. elderly population through No community.” “When our community memSeniors without a Christmas and In the fall of 1986, Jones, a bers support, participate and shop provided Thanksgiving dinner junior at Michigan State Uniwith Playmakers, they are giving for those in need. versity and a member of Phi back,” Jones said. “It’s not about “We don’t always hear the Kappa Tau, reached out to his what Playmakers does for the story, but we know our comlocal running store to put on a 5K community. It’s about community munity is making a difference,” for his fraternity. Then owners supporting community and what Jones said. n of Playmakers, Curt and Judy

© 2019 Diversified Communications



THERE WERE THREE FINALISTS for the IRRA Canada Store of the Year, presented by New Balance, were Boutique Endurance, Forerunners Main Street and Frontrunners Victoria. “All do what it takes in their community to be successful,” pointed out Jim Kwasnicki of New Balance, in announcing Frontrunners Victoria as the recipient of the 2019 award. Frontrunners is a locally owned and operated retailer specializing in footwear, apparel and fitness programs to support an active lifestyle. Frontrunners

is Vancouver Island’s most comprehensive running and athletic footwear establishment, with a knowledgeable and experienced staff to help local runners find the footwear and technical clothing that will suit their needs. Frontrunners is also committed to helping the community as a sponsor of many events, charitable foundations and athletic associations. “We make it a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” said Nick Walker in accepting the award. “We are locally owned and community driven and that is the formula for our success.” n



Minneapolis, MN THE NIKE JUST DO IT AWARD is presented to an outstanding woman executive in run specialty retail for tremendous leadership, mentoring others and promoting participation. Bekah Metzdorff, of Mill City Running, Minneapolis, MN, certainly fits that description, said Nike’s James Osborne, who presented Metzdorff with the award at The Running Event. “This award recognizes a woman who has made an impact on her community,” Osborne said. “With a passion for running, Bekah did what many of us did — she followed a crazy dream 24

to create a community where people feel they belong. She has been on a mission to make everyone feel they can run their best.” Metzdorff, he added, has always had “a steadfast belief in herself to create a community of runners that didn’t have this community.” This belief and her success in creating this community are the reasons she received the award. “This is kind of unreal,” Metzdorff said. “I can’t help but think of the women who influenced me and showed me that I can do it my way. “Keep running,” she added. n

Bekah Metzdorff and James Osborne from Nike.

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It was a happy bunch of 2019 BibRave 100 Award recipients following their annual luncheon at The Running Event.

The BibRave 100 The Best Races in America were all honored during annual event at TRE.



ibRave, the running industry leader in grassroots digital marketing, unveiled the 2019 edition of The BibRave 100: A Definitive List of the Best Races in America, during a luncheon at The Running Event in Austin, TX. The BibRave 100 includes the Top 20 Marathons, Top 20 Half Marathons and Top 25 10 Miles or Less. The Flying Pig Marathon was voted The Best Marathon in America, while the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon topped the list of Best Half Marathons. The full results, including recipients in the Best Weekend Experience, Best Medals and Swag and Best Themed Races categories, can

be found at and on the following pages. All races listed on The BibRave 100 received The BibRave 100’s plush mascot, Benjamin, along with multiple other awards from sponsors. “We’re so excited to see The BibRave 100 continue to grow and become a key part of how races market their events,” said Tim Murphy, co-founder of BibRave. “The Running Event put on another amazing award luncheon and it was great to see so many events attending the conference. Congratulations to all the races that made the 2019 edition of The BibRave 100.” The BibRave 100 was sponsored by MYLAPS, Ashworth Awards, Aftershokz, Recover Brands and EnMotive. n

© 2019 Diversified Communications

The BibRave 100

Above, the happy award recipients from the Carlsbad 5000 — John Smith, Ashley Gibson and Travis Gibson. Top right, the BibRave team members (from left) — Kimberly Fulmer, Andy Wallace, Julia Montag, Tim Murphy and Jessica Murphy.

Best Marathons in America TOP 5 MARATHONS 1. Flying Pig Marathon 2. Missoula Marathon 3. Walt Disney World Marathon 4. Marine Corps Marathon 5. Boston Marathon (Other finalists, in alphabetical order) Asheville Marathon Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Left, Don and Stacy Stoner from the Tomoka Marathon. Right, BibRave co-founder, Tim Murphy (right), cracking jokes with Mark Colpoys from RAM Racing.

Big Sur International Marathon

The #1 Marathon in America being awarded to John Cappella from Flying Pig Marathon, by Mike Schmitz of MYLAPS and Tim Murphy.

Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Half Marathon

CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon Honolulu Marathon IMT Des Moines Marathon Kansas City Marathon presented by Garmin Life Time Miami Marathon Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Napa Valley Marathon TCS New York City Marathon Tomoka Marathon Yuengling Shamrock Marathon


© 2019 Diversified Communications

The BibRave 100 Top 20 Half Marathons in the U.S.

Top 25 10 Miles or Less Race in the U.S

Top 10 Best Weekend Experience in the U.S.



(In alphabetical order)

1. OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon 2. Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam® 3. Eau Claire Half Marathon 4. St Pete Run Fest Half Marathon 5. Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon

1. AJC Peachtree Road Race

3 Daughters St Pete Half Marathon

2. Army Ten-Miler AUSA/KBR 3. The Great Pumpkin Run: Cincinnati 5K 4. BolderBOULDER

Bass Pro Shops Fitness Series Marathon Weekend

5. Medtronic TC 10 Mile

Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon

(Other finalists, in alphabetical order) (Other finalists, in alphabetical order)

Allstate Hot Chocolate Chicago 5K

Amica Newport Half Marathon Asheville Half Marathon

Anthem Wicked 10K presented by Bon Secours in Motion

Cohick Half Marathon

BankNewport 10 Miler

Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

Freedom’s Run Half Marathon

Blue Cross Broad Street Run

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon

Boilermaker 15K presented by Excellus

Missoula Half Marathon

Carlsbad 5000

OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Cooper River Bridge Run

Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon

Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K

Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon RunSedona Half Marathon St. Elizabeth Healthcare Honor Run ZOOMA Amelia Island Half Marathon ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon

Top 10 Best Medals and Swag in the U.S. (In alphabetical order)

Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon Missoula Marathon Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

Top 10 Best Themed Races in the U.S. (In alphabetical order)

Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run

Allstate Hot Chocolate Chicago 15K/5K

Fleet Feet Liberty Mile

Anthem Wicked 10K presented by Bon Secours in a

Life Time Torchlight 5K Ocean Road 10K

Flying Pig Marathon

Quad-City Times Bix 7 Represent Running Across the Bay 12K Statesman Capitol 10K presented by Baylor Scott & White Health T9 Mermaid Run San Francisco

Fort2Base Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas San Francisco Giant Race presented by Alaska Airlines Santa Hustle® Chicago 5k and Kids Dash presented by CD One Price Cleaners

TD Beach to Beacon 10K Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K

Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler presented by Bon Secours In Motion

The Green Lion Award

The Great Pumpkin Run

Eau Claire Marathon IMT Des Moines Marathon Life Time Miami Marathon Shark Bite Half & 5K St. Elizabeth Healthcare Honor Run Half Marathon ZOOMA Amelia Island Half Marathon

(In alphabetical order)

Bank of a Chicago Marathon

The Redefine Possible Award

Flying Pig Marathon Marine Corps Marathon

Ted Metellus, Vice President of Events and Technical Director of the TCS NYC Marathon at New York Road Runners

OUC Orlando Half Marathon TD Beach to Beacon 10K

ZOOMA Texas Wine Country Half Marathon

Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

Bucktown 5K

Cowtown Marathon


Flying Pig Marathon

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon

AACR Philadelphia Marathon Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon

Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate

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The Indie 5K Timing courtesy of Chronotrack and Athlinks Services.

Each year during The Running Event, manufacturers and retailers alike look forward to battling it out on the Indie 5K course. The race is always fun and fast and this year was no different. More than 300 runners lined up at the Lions Municipal Golf Course on the outskirts of Austin on Thursday morning, December 5, to find out who were this year’s fastest retailers and manufacturers. Results are below.



1. Mustafa Mohamed......................................................................... 15:11


2. Calum Neff..................................................................................... 15:19

Male Retailer Winner: Willy Fink......................................................... 15:27

3. Lucas Manring............................................................................... 15:27

Female Retailer Winner: Julie Wiemerslage........................................ 18:31

4. Willy Fink....................................................................................... 15:28 a6. Noah Rasmussen......................................................................... 15:59

Top Female Exhibitor: Stephanie Rothstein Bruce............................... 16:27 Top Male Exhibitor: Mustafa Mohamed............................................... 15:10 Top Female Store Owner: Alia Polsgrove............................................. 23:38

7. Nick Hird........................................................................................ 16:13

Top Male Store Owner: Nick Walker................................................... 17:38

8. Mike Andersen............................................................................... 16:19

Top Retail Teams:

9. Stephanie Rothstein Bruce............................................................. 16:28 10. Thomas Breitbach........................................................................ 16:42



1. Naperville Running 2. RunAbout Sports 3. Playmakers Top Vendor Teams: 1. Nuun 2. Picky Bars 3. Diadora

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The Indie 5K In Pictures

And they’re off for the running of the 2019 Indie 5K! At the end everyone celebrated their participation in their own unique way.

For complete Indie 5K results:


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The Indie 5K In Pictures

They are coming AND going down the first fairway of the XC Indie 5K course. Below left, first-place finisher Mustafa Mohamed crosses the finish line, slightly ahead of the squirrel from Squirrel’s Nut Butter. At right, Nuun let runners take out their frustrations on a post-race pinata.


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The Running Event in Pictures The most important three days of the year for the run specialty business provided plenty of action.

From early-morning runs to late-night awards ceremonies – and for virtually every moment in between – Austin, TX, became the center of the run specialty universe as The Running Event 2019, held December 3-5, took over the Austin Convention Center and Hilton Austin — and many other points around town. Running Insight photographer Andrew Devereaux was there to catch all of the action, as these 10 pages of photos from around TRE illustrate.

A lot of personal treadmill bests were chased by top runners at the Zwift booth, including by Hoka marathoner Stephanie Bruce.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures EDUCATION

Parker Karnan (above) kicked off the Best Running Stores Summit. At top right, Chris Farley challenged Charm City’s Josh Levin and Ellen Brenner of Fleet Feet Buffalo during the State of Run Retail panel session. At right, Melissa Worth (New Balance), Jim Weber (Brooks) and Robin Goby (Fleet Feet) explored the evolution of the run retail channel. Bottom right, the three finalists in the inaugural Big Pitch contest. Below, the action at the Speed Networking session.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures EDUCATION

It was sitting-room-only for most of the educational sessions on the day before the Expo opened. At top right, keynoter Lisa Hallett provided an emotional explanation of her wear blue: run to remember project. Right, Leslie Cunnigham, of The Mann Group, talks about how to build a strong bench. And no first day of a trade event is complete without swag bags for all attendees.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures OPENING PARTY

For some reason the Goodr group came dressed as pineapples to the Opening Night Party. Other attendees simply enjoyed the music, food and drinks in more traditional casual business attire. At right, Tanya Pictor and Paul Perrone of Balega enjoy the festivities.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures CELEBRITIES

There were many Meb sightings at the Indie 5K and on the show floor. Right, Olympian Billy Mills (on left). Below right, two-time Olympian Anthony Famiglietti, of Reckless Running and Sportsafe CBD, recovers after running a sub-four-minute mile at the Zwift booth. Below, marathoner Deena Kastor talks shoes, research and broken ankles with ASICS’ AJ Andrassay.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures THE SHOW FLOOR

Aftershokz (above) was larger than life, Diadora was a place for new ideas, Tailwind offered some recovery from the TRE pace and, of course, Brooks was a first stop for retailers looking to score a free pair of new shoes.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures THE SHOW FLOOR

Special areas at TRE included the new Training Camp (above), the always-popular Sock Bar (top right) and the inaugural New Products Showcase. Below, The Running Event was an ideal place for a number of podcasts recorded right on the show floor.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures THE SHOW FLOOR

Anthony Famiglietti ran a sub-four-minute mile at the Zwift booth (above). Others focused on finding hot new products at On and 361O.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures THE SHOW FLOOR

There is no better way to end a successful and profitable day at The Running Event than with a cold local beer or margarita right on the show floor.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures PRODUCTS

Products galore on the show floor (clockwise from top left): On Running, Ciele, Brooks, Under Armour and Saucony.


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The Running Event 2019 In Pictures PRODUCTS

More new products (clockwise from top left): Diadora, OluKai and Salming. Below left, all Expo visitors received a Nathan refillable water bottle as part of the sustaintability initiative at The Running Event.


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The Giving Spirit Charitable efforts by retailers and brands are resonating with their customers. / By Daniel P. Smith


anji is serious about doing good. Over the last seven years, the Boston-based company has paired its vibrant performance apparel – distinctive, eye-catching pieces inspired by cultures around the globe – with a genuine mission to fund water projects around the world. The combination of a humanitarian purpose and high-quality apparel has helped Janji capture media attention, record yearover-year sales increases and earn a spot in more than 200 run specialty stores. “We truly believe people want a story behind the brands they use,” Janji cofounder Dave Spandorfer says. Every season (spring/summer and fall/ winter in Janji verbiage), Janji features a different country and works with a local artist to create looks inspired by that nation’s culture and history. Two percent of sales from each season’s line-up, then, are funneled to clean water projects in the featured country. To date, Janji’s efforts have led to the installation of water filtration systems in schools across Nepal, comprehensive hygiene education in Peruvian schools and increased levels of water and sanitation service in rural areas of Bolivia. As prominent running industry brands like Janji, Balega, Superfeet and GU align themselves with social causes, it offers running retailers an opportunity to add depth to conversations with customers, piggyback on noble causes and further distinguish themselves as people who care. Brands Doing Good “In 2019, more than ever, stores need to differentiate themselves and getting aligned with social causes is important because the future of run specialty comes down to community and storytelling, something run specialty has the ability


On March 8, 2019, Cotopaxi and the International Rescue Committee brought 15 refugee youth to Cotopaxi’s Salt Lake City offices to apply for college and employment opportunities with one-onone assistance from Cotopaxi employees. Photo credit: James Roh

to do as well as anyone,” Spandorfer says. The run specialty channel has no shortage of brands embracing a philanthropic bent. The GU Gives program supplies small organizations with grants to support fitness, health, education, youth sports and other causes, while the nutrition brand also devotes 10 percent of all sales from select flavors to a specific cause. The Happy Trails Energy Gel launched in 2019, for instance, supported trail-building organizations while 2017’s release of the Campfire S’mores Energy Gel delivered more than $40,000 to the Conservation Alliance’s Public Lands Defense Fund. Each year, Superfeet earmarks one percent of its sales to local projects around its Washington headquarters as well as national partners like Medical Teams International and Camp Corral. Just last year, Superfeet funded 4000

nights of paid lodging at a temporary housing facility for military families who have loved ones in medical care, a year of rent relief for a local center that provides recreation programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and 5250 pounds of fresh organic produce to a local food bank. Outdoors brand Cotopaxi devotes one percent of its revenue to the Cotopaxi Foundation, which awards grants to nonprofits that address basic needs in the Americas. Over the last two years, the foundation has provided some 5000 bed nets to families in Ecuador at risk of contracting malaria, supported healthcare providers in 85 remote villages in the central Andes and Amazon and helped upwards of 700 indigenous youth complete primary education in Colombia. In late September, Merrell teamed up with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in

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The Giving Spirit (continued) Delaware to launch a cobranded trail running shoe — the limited-edition Merrell Agility Synthesis X Dogfish. With that release, Merrell donated $10,000 to The Conservation Alliance, an environmental organization to which Merrell has contributed more than $1 million over the years. Balega Pays It Forward Also this fall, Balega released two socially minded collections. Its Grit & Grace Enduro socks directed $1 to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, while sales of limited-edition Hidden Comfort socks benefit the Lesedi Project, Balega’s non-profit organization and giveback initiative to strengthen South African and American communities. “These programs say to

consumers, ‘We are a socially conscious manufacturer and these are the values we care about,’” says Chris LampenCrowell of the five-unit Gazelle Sports run specialty chain in Michigan. But do the giveback efforts resonate? Brands across the run specialty are doing good. How does that resonate with consumers? With retailers? An assortment of surveys, studies and reports over the last two years confirm consumers’ swelling interest in socially conscious brands and corporate values. To wit: An international study by Unilever revealed that one in three consumers were actively choosing to purchase goods from brands they believe are involved in doing social or environmental good, while 87

This October, Balega unveiled its latest Grit & Grace collection (left). Balega directs $1 from every pair of Grit & Grace Enduro socks to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. Then on November 1, Balega introduced a limitededition collection of its popular Hidden Comfort socks to benefit the Lesedi Project, Balega’s non-profit organization committed to strengthening South African and American communities.

percent of consumers in Cone Communications’ CSR Study said they would purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. W hen done genuinely, Superfeet local giving committee chair Jessica Spencer

says giveback programs can stimulate brand loyalty and sales by inspiring confidence and trust in a brand. Superfeet has discovered this firsthand with its own consumer testing. “When faced with a choice between two products that are similar, knowing that

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The Giving Spirit (continued)

Merrell’s spirited collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery led to the limited-edition Merrell Agility Synthesis X Dogfish trail runner — and a $10,000 donation to The Conservation Alliance. A pinnacle member of The Conservation Alliance, Merrell has contributed more than $1 million in funding to the environmental organization.

your purchase of a particular product will make a positive impact can be a deciding factor,” Spencer says. But a noble purpose alone

doesn’t move product, Janji’s Spandorfer contends. He says two things must occur: The effort must appear authentic, not “tacked on,” and the

product must be up to par. “Even if you have the world’s best mission, the product needs to be there,” says Spandorfer, noting that Janji’s growth has been sparked by positive reviews of its apparel as well as various industry honors, including Editors’ Choice awards from Runner’s World. While consumers largely appreciate GU’s meaningful philanthropic efforts, GU marketing communications manager Brian Gillis similarly acknowledges that the product itself – taste and effectiveness in GU’s case – ultimately drives consumer purchases. Though product remains king, Lampen-Crowell touts these brand giveback programs

as another potential talking point between Gazelle staff and customers. “[These giveback programs are] not the first thing we’re going to mention, but if we have an opportunity to build out the message and these programs resonate with a specific customer, then it’s a win for everyone,” he says. Yet more, by carrying such products and speaking to their charitable side, LampenCrowell says Gazelle can show customers its values as well. “Running specialty lives and thrives because we are community builders and advocates,” Lampen-Crowell says. “Here’s another way we can show that.” n

See you in Austin in 2020! DECEMBER 1–3, 2020 • AUSTIN, TEXAS


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The Giving Spirit (continued) Working Together: How brands and run shops are promoting good at the store level RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANT role running shops play in storytelling, some brands are becoming increasingly intentional about providing retailers with the resources to promote and champion their giveback programs and other philanthropic initiatives. Calling small businesses among the “greatest supporters of conscious capitalism,” Cotopaxi director of impact Annie Agle says Cotopaxi has worked to make “mission a point of commonality” with its retail partners. This mindset manifests itself in impact collaborations and impact events — so-called Questivals. Janji, meanwhile, has provided

retail partners in-store signage communicating the brand’s purpose and distinct points of its story. The apparel company has also hosted clinics for store staff and outfitted retail staff in Janji product. “Getting staff jazzed about Janji is so important because they’re the ones on the frontlines who can share our story,” Janji co-founder Dave Spandorfer says. Superfeet, too, recently created spe cial point- of-purchase and in-store signage highlighting the company’s giving story. It has also begun incorporating giveback updates in its retailer newsletter and providing ready-to-use assets stores can

leverage to share Superfeet’s one percent giving. Superfeet local giving committee chair Jessica Spencer says Superfeet looks forward to working closely with its retailers to determine the effectiveness of these recently installed efforts. For running retailers like Gazelle’s Chris Lampen-Crowell, heightening the visibility of these giveback programs can only help. “How we can all better engage with these causes and our customers is an important part of the conversation we (running store owners) need to have with sales and marketing leaders and our vendor reps,” Lampen-Crowell says. n



















For additional information, please contact: Phone: 1-800-678-6483 Email:jgreenspan NITEIZE.COM 63

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Just Tie Their Shoes, Please It’s the most basic of services, yet too many neglect it during the sale. / By Tom Griffen


t mystifies me when I come across a run retailer who, in the process of fitting a customer for shoes, skillfully removes the wads of paper stuffing, gracefully loosens up the laces and then hands over the shoe like a sommelier might present a bottle of wine. As if to say, “Here, tie ’em up yourself, I did my part by grabbing them from the back room.” Folks, I am here to tell you this is not specialty. No matter how much choreography is employed during this delicate exchange, it’s a dropped ball in the overall experience. Not to mention the fact that it also makes you complicit as an enabler of the customer’s bad shoetying habits. And they most likely do have bad habits! You know as well as I that the majority of customers are, well, extremely challenged when it comes to lacing up their trainers. There’s lots of room for improvement in the general public’s footwear-tying wheelhouse. Like, a lot. If you aren’t inserting yourself in this moment with your customer, you’re missing a chance to deepen your connection with them. And given what we are up against as brick-and-mortar retailers, that’s a pretty major self-sabotaging fail. When I see someone tie their shoelaces wrong, I cringe. And by wrong I mean a few things: The laces have too much slack, their tautness is absurdly uneven, the tied knot is uncentered and sloppy. Poorly tied shoes are a huge pet peeve of

You know as well as I that the majority of customers are, well, extremely challenged when it comes to lacing up their trainers. There’s lots of room for improvement in the general public’s footwear-tying wheelhouse. Like, a lot.


mine. Especially so when I see retailers sit back and watch it happen. Bad shoe-lacing habits, however, come as no surprise. Most of us were taught how to tie our shoes back in kindergarten, but never offered an advanced class. We’ve mastered the bunny ears, the rabbit hole, the square knot in lieu of a granny, but not much else. But anyone who has been slinging shoes for a while knows that lacing is a huge part of a good fit. Now it’s up to us – as specialty run retailers dedicated to improving our customers’ active experiences – to teach people precisely how to do it correctly. The best way to teach them is to show them. Rather than dishing the shoe over to the customer, I recommend you prep it,

put it on the foot, and then tie it. Insist that this is part of your job. They might scoff a bit, maybe even recoil, semisurprised that someone’s offering them such pointed attention. To this I say, “Great!” Play up the vulnerable moment while keeping things lighthearted. “Sit back and relax,” you might say. “Imagine this is your time at our running spa.” Folks will laugh a bit at your cheesy line, but it works every time precisely because of its campiness. Tying shoes, in so many cases, can be an unforgettable moment. Make sure it is one. Because being unforgettable is what makes your customers remember you before placing their next footwear order on Amazon. n

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Last Look: A TRE Photo Album An editor chooses his favorite moments from The Running Event 2019 in Austin.


t was quite a week in Austin for the 2019 version of The Running Event, with celebrity sightings, picturesque runs, enough new products to stock 1000 stores and all of the top people in the run specialty business all in one place at the same time. It is tough to pick out a few of the best moments of the 14th annual event, but here are one editor’s thoughts on his four favorite moments of TRE. By Michael Jacobsen

Clockwise from top left: After months of preparation, The Running Event was finally ready to welcome the crowds into the Austin Convention Center. I met with Meb at the Indie 5K and offered him some running tips, while he helped me finally spell his last name correctly — Keflezighi. The winners of the inaugural The Big Pitch contest try to figure out how to scan their big checks into their bank accounts. I liked that TRE was a family affair for Rebecca Hohenstein, of Tortoise & Hare, who attended the Best Running Stores Summit with seven-month-old Quinn.


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