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THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

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traits of the best running store leaders — according to their vendor reps. Page 2 MARCH 1, 2019 on-running.com

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7of theTRAITS best running retailers Vendor reps tell Running Insight what makes the best of the best these days. / By Daniel P. Smith

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endor reps hold unique insight into the running retail landscape. Working with multiple retail accounts and often crisscrossing markets, sales reps for the channel’s major brand players regularly see running stores in action and engage with leadership. Some reps, for example, enjoy candid conversations with ownership about numbers, headwinds and opportunities. Others study how operators manage their teams, oversee their inventory and relate to partners. This ongoing interaction, specifically among the most engaged reps, lends itself to an intriguing view of the run specialty world, the retailers who make it churn and the commonalities of successful stores. Running Insight spoke with active sales reps from running footwear, apparel and accessories brands for thoughts on the shared traits they see among successful running retail leaders. In the interest of capturing honest, unfiltered responses, wet promised vendor reps anonymity in return for their earnest perspective. 1. The best leaders … “are engaged with their staff.” While some running store operators view employees as worker bees rather than fuel to RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2019 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published twice each month, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.

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7 Traits of the Best (continued) the store’s success, savvy leaders value their teams and focus on keeping staff engaged, multiple reps told Running Insight. “If you’re going to be a successful owner in run specialty, then you need top-notch staff and you need to make sure those folks are taken care, which goes beyond compensation and includes future opportunities,” one rep said. “These people need to see a path beyond working solely on the sales floor.” One rep cited an owner who makes a conscious effort to regularly check in with staff, impromptu conversations that touch upon the staff member’s well-being as well as store happenings. “This makes staff feel like they’re part of the process,” the rep said, adding that his most successful accounts feature owners who are present and regularly roll up their sleeves alongside staff. Another rep said a few of the best operators he knows routinely leverage their staff’s talents and interests, whether that’s social media skills, event planning, merchandising or photography. “The smart ones know the talents of their staff and put them to work beyond the sales floor,” the rep said. 2. The best leaders … “understand the business side.” Retail leaders who learn to master – or at least employ others to master – necessary business tasks like accounting and human resources typically capture success. Leaders don’t brush off these often mind-numbing tasks in favor of the “more fun parts of the business,” but instead understand that managing their business stands central to the 4

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survival of their business. “When an owner concentrates on back-office activities, then the store usually does better selling shoes and working with customers, runners, race events and other store-related marketing items,” one rep observed. These same retailers manage inventory with a critical eye and routinely dive deep into the numbers to understand their business from an objective point of view. “Some retailers open up the same orders time and again, whereas the successful owners are good at forecasting their business, which leads to better turnover on product and greater profitability,” one rep for a major footwear brand said. 3. The best leaders … “communicate.” Almost universally, reps consulted for this story identified

communication as a shared trait among top running retailers. Whether it’s with vendors, employees or community partners, they make a point to be open, available and responsive. “In a world of text and e-mail, there’s no excuse for leaving people in the dark,” one rep said. “The best owners, even in their busiest moments, carve out time to answer questions or share an update.” 4. The best leaders … “foster an inviting, welcoming atmosphere.” The vibe of a store, and often the behavior of its staff, can often be tied directly to store leadership. If owners are warm and welcoming, often extending handshakes and getting to know a person’s name, then that usually filters down to employees. If owners champion a clean

store that is well merchandised, bright and safe, then it cultivates a better shopping experience for customers. “Some guys just don’t get that having a pleasant environment with pleasant people is central to their business,” one veteran rep said. “Those who keep that top of mind typically do better.” 5. The best leaders … “collaborate.” Whether it’s with vendor partners, other retailers or community partners, numerous reps identified a collaborative attitude as a defining trait of successful running retailers. “The best owners think in terms of we, not just me,” one rep said. Numerous reps cited examples of running retailers who make a concerted effort to be collegial and generous. For instance, © 2019 Diversified Communications


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7 Traits of the Best (continued) “Stores don’t need to carry everything, but the best owners take an active interest in understanding what’s out there.”

owners who connect with other retailers to swap ideas and collect other viewpoints or those who work with vendor reps to discuss better ways to highlight and move product. “We are doing the same thing: selling products, a lifestyle and a way of life,” one rep said. “Collaborative partnerships are what business is all about.” 6. The best leaders … “are product aware.” Numerous reps said they admire leaders who are consistently engaged with learning about new product, including offerings from niche vendors. “Stores don’t need to carry everything, but the best owners take an active interest in understanding what’s out

there,” one rep said, acknowledging that such vast product awareness could run counter to his own interests as a brand rep. “Let’s remember this is specialty, though, and we can’t be handcuffed to existing product lines. The best owners have their eyes open to find what’s truly special.” 7. The best leaders … “are dynamic thinkers.” Instead of being frustrated, complaining and hiding in the stockroom, successful running store owners explore ways they can evolve and adapt their business, a few vendor reps told Running Insight. For instance, savvy owners regularly change the look of their showroom so customers

consistently see something different when they visit. They also work to create unique store experiences beyond demo runs, actively working with their brand partners to provide experiences that are distinctive and beneficial for both parties. “They don’t take that ‘woe is me’ attitude, but proactively look for ways to improve and grow,” one rep said. Smart retailers also “think about owning their marketplace,” one longtime rep said, and reflect on what that means in terms of expansion, location and community partnerships. “Some sign the same old lease in the same tired strip mall and wait to see what happens rather than hustling to be the change themselves,” the rep noted. n

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Coming Out From Under Can Under Armour finally turn the corner in performance run? / By Daniel P. Smith

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pend a few minutes talking with Topher Gaylord, Under Armour’s senior vice president and group general manager of run, train and outdoor, and the executive returns to one simple, yet telling word time and again: more. As in, expect more from Under Armour. More product innovation. More engagement with runners. More focus on and service in the run specialty channel. More HOVR. A lot more HOVR. Today, this focus on more – conscious, calculated investments designed to improve Under Armour’s position in the running landscape – stirs optimism throughout the company’s Baltimore headquarters and fuels intrigue among run specialty retailers, many of whom have been waiting for Under Armour’s running product to match its overall marketplace buzz. With the early 2019 launch of five new performance running shoes, a revised corporate setup that prioritizes run and a refined go-to-market strategy rooted in deepening the brand’s ties to running culture, there’s rising confidence that Under Armour might yet unlock its immense potential in the running marketplace. “We’re creating a new and energizing run experience for our consumers,” Gaylord promises. A Decade of Running Amid swelling brand popularity, Under Armour jumped into the performance running world in 2009, unveiling six silhouettes – four road and two trail options – in its first running footwear collection. “The running category is the largest footwear market we have entered to date and we are excited about our progress toward becoming a leading athletic footwear brand,” CEO Kevin Plank wrote in the company’s annual report that year. Under Armour’s opening year in running, however, mirrored the performance of most rookie years: uneven. In an October 2009 8

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The HOVR Infinite is described as the flagship model of the Under Armour HOVR lineup debuting in 2019.

Baltimore Sun story, Under Armour’s thenpresident David McCreight said that the company’s initial foray into the performance run marketplace had met the company’s goals. At the same time, though, he noted that the company was revamping its running shoes and had replaced its head of footwear. “We knew it would be a multiyear journey, so we’d rather get in the field, play offense, set our expectations and then continue to adapt and evolve the strategy,” McCreight told the company’s hometown newspaper. If anything, Under Armour’s initial year in performance run served a prelude to the immense learning curve ahead and the ground Under Armour, a generation or two behind many of its shoe-wall competitors, needed to make up. Despite the debut of three separate cushioning technologies and the Speedform upper

technology that leveraged Under Armour’s highly prized apparel expertise, despite earning inroads in other recreational arenas from football and hunting to golf and basketball, where endorser Steph Curry had become one of the globe’s most popular athletes, despite expansive brand affinity, particularly among Millennials and the up-and-coming Gen Z set, despite credibility with performance product and an undeniable cool factor in the American consciousness, Under Armour nevertheless struggled to gain traction in the running world. “In run specialty, you need a story and a full product lineup and Under Armour struggled with that,” says Josh Levinson, owner of the seven-store Charm City Run chain in Baltimore. At the close of 2016, in fact, Under Armour had less than one percent market share in the

© 2019 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Under Armour (continued)

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run specialty channel, according to industry data. “Go back five or even three years ago and I wouldn’t say we had high-performance, differentiated product,” Gaylord admits, adding that success in run always starts “on the feet.” Under Armour’s success in run would demand more. Much, much more. Staging a Transformation Under Armour’s more intentional, aggressive push to become a relevant player in the running world started about three years ago, Gaylord says. That’s when Under Armour began transitioning its business from one of classifications – footwear, apparel and accessories – into one built around sport categories, including run. “We weren’t organized effectively to go after performance run … and had no holistic approach to integrate into running culture,” Gaylord says of Under Armour’s previous corporate setup. The internal shift forced Under Armour, a global enterprise currently boasting some $5.2 billion in annual sales, to more intently focus on the run category’s specific needs, whether that applied to marketing, distribution or product innovation. In short, Under Armour’s run folks directed their sole attention to the everyday Joes and Janes who make up the world’s largest participation sport — some 58 million people in the U.S. alone. Running, Gaylord reminds, “is an incredible place for Under Armour to be.” That revised corporate structure spurred Under Armour’s biggest splash in the running market to date: the February 2018 debut of its HOVR platform.

Designed in collaboration with Dow Chemical, the cushioning system aims to provide two often-at-conflict qualities — cushioning and responsiveness. “A plush ride with snappy energy return,” Gaylord calls it. HOVR’s first two footwear models, the HOVR Sonic and the HOVR Phantom, captured a positive global response and propelled Under Armour’s overall footwear revenue to $1.1 billion over the last fiscal year, underscoring a compelling opportunity for the brand. “We really believe the HOVR ride is superior to any other ride you can get out there and we’re proud of the work we’ve done here,” Gaylord says. The development of HOVR coincided with the evolution of one of Under Armour’s other pillars of differentiation in the running space: digital connectivity. In 2013, Under A r mour purchased MapMyRun, an acquisition that signaled Under Armour’s early bet on the confluence of digital and physical worlds. With the February 2019 release of the HOVR Infinite, HOVR Guardian, HOVR Sonic 2 and HOVR Phantom/SE as well as the April release of the HOVR Velociti 2, the brand has solidified those connections by embedding a sensor in every shoe at no additional cost. The sensor shares traditional metrics such as distance and pace with next-level stats like stride length and cadence that open the door to coaching. “We’re not just reporting the news, but also telling you how you can understand elements of your gait to improve,” Gaylord says. At the Consumer Electronics © 2019 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Under Armour (continued)

Under Armour’s digital ecosystem brings it all together in 2019.

Show in January, meanwhile, Under Armour also debuted the UA Wireless FLASH headphones in partnership with JBL as well as an update to the MapMyRun App for the Samsung Galaxy Watch. These developments highlight Under Armour’s work to blend the brand’s connected running shoes with the items many runners reach for a regular basis. And according to Gaylord, Under Armour will continue to explore “how shoes can connect with technology in a seamless way that enhances the experience.” A Plan to Compete With models like the HOVR Infinite, a neutral training shoe Gaylord calls the HOVR platform’s f lagship model, and the HOVR Guardian, Under Armour’s first true foray into the stability category, Gaylord and his cohorts believe they have product that’s up to snuff in the performance run marketplace. The next step is to solidify the brand’s relationship with retailers in the run specialty 12

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channel, individuals Gaylord calls “beacons of authenticity and influence.” “To be a great running brand, it starts with high performance running footwear and requires a commitment to the run specialty channel,” Gaylord confirms. To that end, Gaylord promises enhanced service, a sales organization dedicated solely to run specialty, marketing investments into elite athletes that drive awareness and credibility – the company’s roster now includes the likes of sprinter Natasha Hastings and up-andcoming mid-distance star Rachel Schneider – and products unique to running retailers, which could include early launches of new colorways and styles. “The run specialty channel is an area we need to invest in … and 2019 is the year we kick this off in earnest,” Gaylord says, acknowledging that earning trust and credibility in the channel takes time. Gaylord points to the HOVR Trialing Tour as an example of Under Armour’s genuine

commitment to running retailers. This month, so-called HOVR Crafts will begin traveling across the U.S. to running stores, events and trailheads to offer product demos and help runners understand Under Armour’s digital ecosystem. “We know word of mouth matters in the core running community, so it’s important we embed ourselves in that community,” Gaylord says, reminding that Under Armour’s strong relationships with younger consumers, in particular, can help serve up the next-generation consumer to running stores. “We have an amazing relationship with these [young] consumers who are excited about Under Armour and have a real desire to consider the brand for their running activities,” he says. Gaylord also says Under Armour is aggressively attacking “white space,” namely looking at the runner through a more holistic lens. Whereas runners once largely considered “hammering out miles” as the key to improvement, Gaylord contends that the modern-day runner views performance through a layered prism that includes recovery, nutrition and other areas “beyond the run.” At the company’s Global Innovation Hub for Footwear Design in Portland, OR, a runspecific team of designers and researchers have partnered with elite athletes and coaches from some of Under Armour’s top collegiate programs to begin developing a run training system Under Armour can democratically deliver to the masses. “With Under Armour, we have an achievement-minded consumer and here is a way for us to connect with that demographic,” Gaylord says, adding

that the brand’s foremost mission is to “make all athletes better.” Under Armour’s more intense focus on run has retailers like Levinson, who has carried Under Armour product at Charm City Run for the last 15 years, encouraged about the brand’s potential in the run specialty marketplace. Doubling Down “At the top, it seems there’s more of a long-term focus on run and a commitment to sticking with it and building a complete lineup,” Levinson says. “Given consumer interest in Under Armour and the money they have for research, there’s plenty of reason for optimism, but I still want to see patience, taking the good and building on it and, in time, getting to four or five solid footwear SKUs.” On a February 12, 2019, conference call with investors, Plank confirmed that would be Under Armour’s focus moving forward. “What you’ve heard us say incredibly clearly is we’re going to double-down on performance,” Plank said. With improved product, including a future pipeline of innovations Gaylord says “will blow runners away,” as well as heightened levels of service that make it easier to do business with Under Armour and enhanced marketing targeted to running consumers, Gaylord believes Under Armour can achieve something that has thus far eluded the corporate powerhouse: success in the performance run marketplace. “We’re ultimately committed to a more significant investment in the run category from both a product innovation and marketing perspective,” Gaylord assures. Or in a simple, single word: more. n © 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Bad Retail, Good Chocolate A cautionary tale of poor retailing — and one small player that did make the sale. / By Tom Griffen

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hadn’t planned to stop but found myself lured by the artistic and seductive signage. The messaging something akin to This way to delicious treats! And since I was in that hungry place between an early lunch and what looked like a late dinner, I obeyed. The path led me towards an old brick building. Deep ochre slabs stacked three stories high. Aged mortar swatched with moss holding up this remnant of local history. I wondered about its past lives. How many businesses had set up shop here? How many

entrepreneurial up-and-comers to hawk their wares before committing to a traditional lease. A soft start, of sorts. A place to hone their customer service skills and maybe, if they are good at the game, make a buck or two. This place was all food vendors. A confluence of aromas. Varying degrees of movement, but mostly folks waiting for action. The singular line at a colorful stand in the corner made me wonder if anything else was open. I beelined to the attractive bustling to give it a look. Turns out it was a

dreams were realized? How many dollars exchanged? I considered the multitude of people through the years who walked in with a hankering for this or that. People like me at that very moment. The heavy door ingested me. A gentle vacuum of warm air lured me in from the cold. My eyes needed a second to adjust. I raised my nose, inhaled the space. I’d been in places like this before. In fact, they are popping up all over. Repurposed structures, often old factories or some other landmark of American industry, now gutted and filled with the flurry of an outdoor market, albeit inside and semipermanent. More upscale than a swap meet, far cozier than a mall, these spaces allow

taco stand. The cook chatted with customers while aptly warming homemade tortillas. She’d confirm their desired filling, offer a selection of sauces, then pass the carefully situated plate to her partner who’d take the money. The flow was mesmerizing. And though my stomach was grumbling, I was worried tacos would be a bit too much. I needed a snack, not a meal. I did a lap, peering at others’ specialties. Most sellers were thick into their phones, swiping away or liking things. They didn’t even notice me. Others made eye contact and maybe one or two stood up from their perch to give closed-lip smile our head nod. I mirrored their greeting and walked right past. While preparing to reenter the chill

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The vendor was out from behind the counter, wiping down a tall glass display case filled with a spectrum of brown, geometric shades. She saw me coming. “Hi,” she said. “Welcome to my chocolate stand.” outside, I noticed a vendor’s cart near the exit. I’d missed it coming in and a quick mental rewind told me it wasn’t open upon my arrival. Now it was alive and glowing under a soft lamp. The vendor was out from behind the counter, wiping down a tall glass display case filled with a spectrum of brown, geometric shades. She saw me coming. “Hi,” she said. “Welcome to my chocolate stand.” Her reception drew me in. Made me curious. I approached and she introduced herself. Conversation started small, the usual stuff, but then I asked about her story. Turns out her son has serious nut allergies. The severity of which would keep an airline from serving the usual mid-flight snack. She and her husband were sick and tired of having to endure the limited options of sweets available to people with allergies, so they took matters into their own hands. Started a business. Her story made me want some. “What should I get?” I asked. Even though I had my eye on the caramel cups. “Definitely I’d recommend the peppermint patties,” she said. “They are legendary!” Never in my life had anyone in a retail environment called anything “legendary,” which is probably why I bought the pack of three patties for 12 bucks. Yeah, they were expensive. But everything about my brief experience with her made the cost irrelevant. Her greeting, her vulnerable sharing of her story, her confident suggestion and her poetic description of those doggone peppermint patties – legendary – filled me just enough to hold me over until dinner. Now I am singing her praises to anyone who listens. That’s what good retail does. n

© 2019 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Standing Out Paul Kirwin provides insight into how specialty retailers can be noticed in a crowded environment.

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aul Kirwin is the founder of 3.5 and has spent more than 20 years working with specialty retailers. He recently wrote his first book, “Stand Out in the Age of the Consumer,” and Running Insight asked him about the book and his thoughts on how retailers can be better marketers. Running Insight: You say that consumers receive 360 marketing messages a day. How do retailers cut through that incredible clutter? Paul Kirwin: Yes, it’s hard to believe, but that’s why consumers have found ways to ignore all the noise. Instead, they focus on voices that deliver them authentic opinions about a product. Retailers and retail associates are still a part of that authentic voice, but they should know that 90 percent of consumers consult reviews when making a purchasing. The good news is that 50 percent of these consumers end up in a store to buy. Retailers can be proactive by employing a tool that helps them understand and make decisions on this big voice. You built a company that focused on the last three feet of the sale. How has that last three feet changed today and what should retailers know about that? That three feet is now more important than ever. When consumers walk through that retail door they are well researched, have money in their pockets and want to touch and talk about their potential product choices. Retailers should make sure their sales staff can engage on a higher level, have options when the product isn’t in stock, and when it is … close the deal. What’s the most important aspect of the Consumer’s Path to Purchase today and how will that change in the coming years? The Path to Purchase is all about personalized research. But in today’s connected world, personalized doesn’t mean knowing 16

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those reviews. This information flow will help retailers with everything from stocking the best products (that match up with what shoppers are reading in reviews) to having informed conversations with shoppers about the consumer rating of products. It will also tell them about their brand partners’ performance in the general market place.

a person. Through product reviews, shoppers have unprecedented reach into a highly relevant and authentic data set of experiences other purchasers have had with the products they’re considering. And they’re looking to validate their own storyline with what they read. One of my favorite examples is a baby safety gate manufacturer whose product was often used by pet owners. The review star average was dragged down by some pets jumping over the gate, a problem they would never have with babies. Parents were able to see past the negative reviews referencing pets to find their own storyline: that these gates worked well to keep their babies safe. In the future all of this will become faster and even more convenient. However, there will always be a need for that human touch: talking with friends, visiting with retail salespeople at stores, reading online reviews from the average Joe and joining communities. As these tribes or communities grow, their buying power and influence will also grow. Talk about Brand Report Cards and how retailers should assess their brand partners. Retailers should assess their brand partners by benchmarking them through the eyes of the consumers. Retailers should insist that brands measure reviews and then share the results. This starts with the star average assigned in product reviews and continues with the sentiment and textual trends of

Marketers talk a lot about Authenticity. What is your POV on that? Authenticity is now a ground game. When brands respond to bad product reviews with an 800 number or a long URL, that’s not authentic. When the brand representative tries to be personal without introducing herself, that’s inauthentic. When she doesn’t have the power to immediately fix a problem, that’s not authentic. When a brand shoves mass advertising into the marketplace while ignoring the messaging created in product reviews, that’s not authentic. To stand out, you must be human and that means listening, incorporating the language of the user into your advertising, pushing power down to your customer service reps so they can engage human to human, and having respect for where the real power in the marketplace is. Consumers want humanity and it sells. You write about the “Loyalty Loop.” What is that? Consumers are fast and fickle beasts. They rely on information they obtain on their own from one another, not only at the click of a mouse but at the uttering of “Siri” or “Alexa.” Studies have shown this reliance on user-generated content is to increase with younger generations. To win loyalty, today’s brands and retailers must have an ear to the ground for these conversations and make decisions that help them with product quality, communications and brand quality. This is how to win loyalty today. n

© 2019 Diversified Communication


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RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts Polar San Diego Summit this month to focus on training and injury prevention.

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hysical Therapist to the stars Gino Cinco and Endurance Coach Jim Vance are the headline speakers at The Polar Running Summit, which will take place in San Diego on Saturday, March 16. The one-day summit is free and open to all runners and retailers and will take place at Cinco’s studio, Function Smart Physical Therapy. The Summit will focus on proper training, running form and injury prevention. “This event is for all runners, from elites to citizen runners,” says Stan Brajer, Polar’s SVP– sales and marketing. “All runners now have so much information available to them, but we’d really like to focus on how they can use that information to run more efficiently and prevent injuries.” “We chose San Diego because

From left: Gino Cinco, Jim Vance, Bob Babbit and Dan Guillory

there is such a big concentration of athletes in the San Diego area,” Brajer adds. Cinco is the trainer and physical therapist for a range of athletes, including Meb Kef lezighi and golfer Phil Mickelson. “If you look at the longevity of those athletes, you can see what proper training, diet and sleep habits help you accomplish,” Brajer says. “We’ll be talking about all that and more.”

Bob Babbit, the founder of Competitor magazine and a member of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, will be the moderator for the one-day summit, which will also include: • Terence Mahon, the founder and head coach of the Mission Athletics Club, who will talk about “Mastering the Metrics: Looking at the running technology for the endurance athlete.” • Dan Guillory, founder and head coach of West Coast Road

Runners and cross-country coach of Cathedral Catholic High School, who will talk more to citizen and high school runners about “Understanding technology for improvement.” The Polar Running Summit will take place from noon to 5 p.m.. The address is: Function Smart, 10803 Vista Sorrento Parkway, Suite 100, San Diego, CA. To register: Trade.shows@ polar.com n

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n support of National Foot Health Awareness month in April, OS1st is offering its first “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” promotion for the entire month. The program includes all of the OS1st “Socks with Purpose” products and is a brick-and-mortar-only promotion. “OS1st is the number one brand for Plantar Fasciitis solutions and bunion relief in the run market and we see this as a great opportunity to not only support our retailers, but to increase the awareness of how important taking care of your feet is for the running community,” says Josh Higgins, president of OS1st. “April is a busy time for runners as they increase their activity and we want to help them stay healthy through their season.” n

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© 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts Fleet Feet’s new Rewards Program uses app to let customers earn ‘Miles.’

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leet Feet has launched its revamped customer rewards program in conjunction with a new app. In addition to a traditional spend-andget purchase-based program, the Fleet Feet Rewards Program allows customers to earn “Miles” to redeem for running trips, race entries, branded apparel and gear and other running-related items. “We wanted the rewards and opportunities customers could earn to include offerings both nationally and locally that would excite, inspire or delight,” says Ben Cooke, VP– operations for Fleet Feet. Through the app, customers create an account and select their local Fleet Feet as their home store for access to local offers and

special events. Customers can also link their account to their Strava or Garmin profile and accrue Reward Miles for the physical miles logged from running or walking. Customers earn additional Miles specifically through engagement on Fleet Feet’s social media channels, checking in at store training runs or by attending local in-store special events. “The app and program allows us for the first time in brand history to recognize and reward our customers based on how they both choose to shop and engage with us, making this program truly customer-centric,” Cooke adds. Customers accumulate points on purchases from any Fleet Feet store or online at fleetfeet.com. Every dollar spent creates

one point. For every 150 points accrued, customers earn a $15 reward for redemption at any Fleet Feet location and at fleetfeet.com. The Fleet Feet app also features both a journal tab and events tab, where customers can browse the latest blog posts, search for upcoming fun runs or training sessions, access exclusive content and answer trivia questions for additional Miles. App users have the opportunity to enter the sweepstakes offerings to both the Leadville Trail 100 Run and the Chicago Marathon through April 20 and June 19, respectively, by redeeming 50 accrued Miles apiece. Almost all Fleet Feet 176 locations in 37 states had rolled out the Fleet Feet Rewards Program locally as of February 25. n

Brooks Goes Green for St. Patrick’s Day

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rooks Running has unveiled a St. Patrick’s Daythemed shoe, the Launch 6 Shamrock Shoe (MSRP: $100). The limited-edition Brooks Launch 6 Shamrock Shoe was available Feb. 21 at retailers and online at brooksrunning.com/stpatricksday. The Launch 6 features a new engineered, one-piece mesh upper and internal bootie for a breathable and lightweight fit. The shoe’s BioMoGo DNA midsole and rebounding rubber outsole offer a springy feel underfoot © 2019 Diversified Communications

while a Midfoot Transition Zone gets the runner from heel to toe quickly. The upper of the Launch 6 Shamrock Shoe has multiple symbols of good luck iconic to the holiday, including four-leaf clovers and horseshoes. An all-over tonal green coloring features plaid accents on the heel collar and tongue. Accompanying the shoe is the Run Lucky Pacesetter Tee ($34), Run Lucky Pacesetter Sock ($17) and Run Lucky Sherpa Hat ($27). n

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International Success for Tinman Elite Although Adidas involvement in running seems to be dissipating – at least in the U.S. – the red-hot Tinman Elite club is making waves for the brand. The Boulder-based group coached by “Tinman” Tom Schwartz recorded its second straight USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in December. But then in one week in February, the team racked up three national titles in three countries — Sam Parsons, German indoor 3000m; Jordan Gusman, Australian outdoor 5000m; and Drew Hunter, U.S. indoor 2-mile (in photo). Hunter’s win was the most impressive, as he ran a USATF championship record and worldleading 8:25.8 from the slow heat several hours before the fast heat.

Pacific Pursuit 10,000 With the idea of giving national-class American runners a chance to race a 10,000-meter time trial early in the season, Roots Running Project founder and head coach Dr. Richard Hansen organized the Pacific Pursuit 10,000 on Feb. 17 in San Diego. Rainy weather delayed the races by a day and the results weren’t quite as fast as most had hoped, but it was deemed a success nonetheless given that it happened months before the fast track 10Ks at Stanford and Portland. Noah Droddy (Saucony/Roots Running) won the men’s race in 28:32 by outkicking Jerrell Mock (Siemers Dreamers TC) down the stretch, while Hoka/NAZ Elite teammates Kellyn Taylor (32:13) and Stephanie Bruce (32:15) took the top two women’s spots.

Daniels Earns Shot at Western States When Nike Trail Running athlete Matt Daniels attempted a 100K trail race in Texas in January, he tripped and knocked himself unconscious. The 30-year-old redeemed himself on Feb. 16 at the Black Canyon Ultra 100K in Mayer, Ariz. Wearing a pair of Nike Terra Kiger 4, he won the race by 25 minutes and set a new courserecord of 7:20:28 to earn a Western States entry. Although he admits he’ll have his work cut out for him at the June 29-30 race, he has gotten a lot of notoriety for being the first sub4-minute miler to ever enter the race. (Daniels ran a 3:59 mile during an AllAmerican college career at Adams State, which came after a two-year stint in the Navy and one semester at the University of Oklahoma.)

Teen Sensation Sets American Record Athing Mu, a 16-year-old from Trenton, N.J., stole the show on the final day of the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships on Feb. 24 at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Facility in Staten Island, N.Y. A day after setting a new national 600-meter high school record with a 1:26.23 semifinal victory, Mu, outfitted entirely in Nike gear, blasted her way to a new American record of 1:23.57 in the finals, missing the world record by 0.13 seconds. That puts her in the company of legendary American track prodigies Mary Decker and Mary Cain and current wunderkinds Sydney McLaughlin and Katelyn Tuohy.

© 2019 Diversified Communications

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