Running Insight 4.1.2020

Page 1


APRIL 1, 2020

The running community comes together in a time of crisis. A SPECIAL ISSUE ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Philadelphia Runner sends a message being echoed around the entire industry. Page 15


An Open Letter To The Running Business Community All of us in the running community are facing an unprecedented business environment. Just as our spring season was beginning, the COVID-19 epidemic seemingly overnight dramatically impacted our ability to do business and to communicate, share ideas and collaborate with one another. Running Insight is in a unique position to help our friends in the running business to maintain their unique sense of community through this magazine and online at As you will see in this special issue, we have opened up the pages of Running Insight to brands, retailers, associations and others as a vital avenue of communication between all channels. We recognize the role we can play in allowing our readers and advertisers to keep in touch with each other — we are all in this together. So for our vendors and exhibitors at The Running Event, please continue to send us news about your companies and information on new products. We will help you get the word out. And if you have a coronavirus-related message you want to share with our readers, our pages are open to you. Christina Henderson Event Director

And to our retail readers, continue to tell us your stories – what you are doing to keep your business operating and how you are connecting with your community right now. Also, please let us know how we can support you. We write about a lot of these efforts in this issue and will continue to do so in these pages, in our soon-to-be-launched Running Insight+ weekly digital newsletter – it debuts next week, April 7 – and online at There is no charge to submit this information. We want to keep lines of communication open between brands and retailers until everyone can resume normal business practices. To submit messages, photos, stories and other information to Running Insight, please contact editor Michael Jacobsen at Also, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with questions, ideas, thoughts — anything. Be well and stay connected. Sincerely, Christina Henderson Event Director, The Running Event Publisher, Running Insight

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2020 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published twice each month, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.




Christina Daemon Filson....................................................... Glenn Troy Mark Sullivan.................................................... Michael


© 2020 Diversified Communications

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The Running World Has Changed Amid an unprecedented crisis, running retailers’ creativity, perseverance and spirit shines bright. / By Daniel P. Smith


s the COVID-19 public health tidal wave began sweeping over much of the U.S. landscape in early March, Jenni Peters took a moment in her Baton Rouge home to inject a touch of normalcy into otherwise abnormal days. She grabbed her local newspaper and began doing the jumble. She solved one mystery, then another and another until she arrived upon a fitting word for present times: dismal. “Yes, it is,” Peters thought. At Varsity Sports, Peters’ Louisianabased chain of three run specialty stores, dismal had become the order of the day. Its normal routine – enthusiastic interactions with customers, fun runs and special events – evaporated as COVID-19 forced the closing of Varsity Sports outlets to walk-in traffic and the suspension of group runs. She continued her jumble and decoded its next lexeme mystery: adapt. For Peters, whose operation has endured hurricanes and recessions over the last two decades, the dismal-adapt juxtaposition served as a poignant reminder of what needed to be done. “I got my life lesson from the jumble that day and off we go,” Peters says. Recent weeks have brought stress, anxiety and angst to the running specialty world. That’s a given among the most significant health challenge of the last century, a sliding stock market and looming uncertainty.


Philadelphia Runner is using virtual races to bring its community together. See story on page 15.

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The World Has Changed (continued)

Virtual fittings, like this one by Runner’s Alley, are one way retailers are keeping in touch with and servicing their customers.

But recent weeks have also illuminated the rich, persevering energy that blankets the running retail marketplace. There’s been creativity and compassion, nimbleness and resiliency, fortitude and hustle. “That can-do spirit is what this industry’s all about,” Peters reminds. An Unprecedented Event As COVID-19 rushed into American life, many running stores shifted their operations and service models, communicating regularly with the public via social media and store newsletters to counter a rapidly changing environment. Stores adjusted operating hours, detailed in-store hygiene measures and social distancing practices and promoted curbside pickup, door-to-door delivery, free shipping and fitting appointments. Some, like Medved Running & Walking in Rochester, NY, 6

Second Sole in Ohio and Naperville Running Company raced to build online stores or broaden their current e-commerce offerings. By the day, if not the hour, however, new realities and hurdles emerged, shoving the unimaginable into present times. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the NCAA Track & Field Championships – both indoor and outdoor – as well as the postponement of marquee events like the Boston Marathon and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, not to mention the hundreds of local community races that pepper the American landscape as spring breaks from winter’s grasp. Diversified Communications, the parent company of The Running Event and Running Insight, made the difficult decision to cancel its Best Running Stores 2020 event slated for May, while Darn Tough shut its entire company down – all

340 people who work at its Northfield, VT-based Mill. “We’ve sent our people home asking that we all consider why we are doing this – we have families, we have friends, we have each other,” Darn Tough president and CEO Ric Cabot told customers on March 18. “If limited contact keeps our community safest, that is what we will do.” Retailers initiated one-on-one calls with other retailers and group chats with peers. They confronted weighty, unwelcome topics like business survival tactics, laying off employees and accessing capital. They speculated how vendors and landlords might respond. They wondered how long they could hold on. Across the country, beginning with California on March 19, executive orders began forcing running shops to close their doors – if not altogether cease operations – to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of yesterday

morning, more than half of the states in the union had told residents to stay at home, while dozens of counties and cities across the U.S. have issued similar edicts. As April arrives, running stores are largely pivoting from trying to maintain even quasinormal business operations amid the pandemic to weathering a storm that could include a potentially lengthy disruption to business and threaten organizational livelihoods. On Sunday, President Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines to April 30 and expressed hope that the nation could be on its way to recovery by June 1. “My mind has shifted from what could happen to what is happening,” says Brendan Ba r ret t, co - ow ner of t he Sayville Running Company a nd Smithtown Running Company in Long Island, NY. “We’re trying to take this head on and figure out the ways we can adapt and get through this.” Forging Ahead In the spirit of adaptation, running stores continue cementing their role as connective tissue for their communities — runners and non-runners alike. On social media, in store newsletters and on their websites, run specialty shops are encouraging the support of other local businesses, highlighting the need for blood donations, offering instructions for responsible outdoor activity and promoting the spread of smile-inducing artwork on sidewalks. Two Rivers Treads in West Virginia is providing healthfocused activity sheets and © 2020 Diversified Communications

Messages of optimism at Dick Pond Athletics. See story on page 14.

games for homebound children, while Bluebird Running Company in New Mexico is donating proceeds of a social distancing-themed T-shirt to a local health center. Retailers are directing well wishes and gratitude to healthcare workers, first responders and others battling the pandemic from the frontlines, offering store discounts to such professionals and even donating footwear and compression gear with the help of vendor partners. They’re saluting the grocery store workers, delivery drivers and truckers that are allowing American life to maintain some semblance of normalcy and pace. Run shops a re building 7

online discussions around the best workout music, runningrelated books and the valuable lessons this unprecedented time in American history is spurring. They continue trumpeting the physical and mental health benefits of running and walking, reminding that the road, trails, sidewalks and paths remain open. “Running is not cancelled,” numerous Fleet Feet outlets across the U.S. holler. Stores such as Florida-based FITniche and Fleet Feet in Elk Grove, CA, have recognized runners who staged their own one-person races after event cancellations, while A Runner’s Mind in California introduced Emma, a young woman who

ran one mile every hour for 24 hours. Running stores remain portals of information and inspiration for health and fitness. Oregonbased Run Hub offered live, online classes covering topics such as safe running in the COVID-19 era, foam rolling routine and recovery techniques. An assistant manager at Bostonbased Marathon Sports shared meditation pose directions. As many American residents turn outside for walks and runs, still an accepted antidote – so long as individuals honor social distancing best practices – to the isolation and boredom of home confinement, running stores such as Gazelle Sports in Michigan and Dick Pond Athletics in suburban Chicago have published beginning running programs online. “Let’s keep people moving, active and give them something to look forward to,” says Chris Wilhite, manager of the Dick Pond Athletics store in Park Ridge, IL. “That’s been our goal since 1969 and it remains so today.” Turning to the Virtual World Absent an ability to connect in the real world, many run shops are embracing the virtual one. Two Rivers Treads has begun offering remote gait analysis, while Philadelphia Runner and Runner’s Alley in New England similarly introduced virtual shoe fittings. In Okemos, MI, Playmakers brought its popular Good Form Running classes online, while Columbus Running Company champions Rally Columbus, a free virtual running and walking club. Forced to cancel its popular

“That can-do spirit is what this industry’s all about.” JENNI PETERS VARSITY SPORTS

Superhero Showdown slated for April 11, Skinny Raven in Alaska created a virtual event, encouraging participants to sign up, suit up and run a 5K anytime in April. Maryland-based Run Moore touted a virtual pub run on March 26, inviting runners to take a post-run photo with their favorite post-run refreshment. Meanwhile, Rabbit, the fast-charging performance apparel company co-founded by Santa Barbara Running’s Monica DeVreese, has hosted virtual Happy Hours with its rabbitPROs. Retailers and brands alike continue unveiling challenges designed to motivate a nd engage, especially amid the mass cancellation of group runs, events and races. OS1st’s virtual running challenge has prize packs up for grabs, while Under Armour’s “Healthy at Home Challenge” on MyFitnessPal asks participants to log 12 workouts by April 21. Under Armour is donating $1 for every registration to Good Sports’ efforts to ensure that youth sport leagues have the necessary equipment, footwear and apparel when team play does resume. Run Hub launched its “Go the Distance” Social Media Challenge on March 18, initially directing participants to take a photo of their favorite running trail to be eligible for prizes ranging from Run Hub gift cards © 2020 Diversified Communications

The World Has Changed (continued)

Fleet Feet is letting the world know where it stands on combatting the pandemic.

and Balega socks to gift cards for other local businesses. In its opening two weeks, Philadelphia Runner’s PR Solo Challenge tasked runners to pursue a personal best in the mile and then the 5K. Philadelphia Runner leadership will continue to uncork future challenges designed to propel movement and health. “When we had to cancel our group runs, the first thing we asked ourselves was how we could uplift others, keep connections going and deepen our relationship with the running com munity,” Philadelphia Runner outreach and marketing manager Liz Pagonis says. “The PR Solo Challenge is our way of connecting people and sharing miles, even if we can’t do it side by side.” Amid anxiety-laden times and real concerns about running retail’s future, running stores 8

continue pushing ahead, igniting creativity to support operational sustainability. Fleet Feet in Davenport, IA, created a “Running Is Not Cancelled” kit featuring a mug, Balega socks, goodr sunglasses and other universal goodies. The Run Around the World Challenge hosted by Sayville R u n n i n g C o m p a ny a n d Smithtown Running Company starts today — a virtual event that challenges participants to collectively accumulate miles over the month of April. With a $30 registration fee, the event brings immediate cash into the running stores while gift card rewards for all participants should spur future traffic into the Long Island stores. Speaking of gift cards, many stores are reminding customers that they can buy gift cards now – quite often with bonus dollars attached – to support

local operations. Good Times Running Co. in Katy, TX, took a particularly novel approach: offering 10 percent and 20 percent interest on gift cards redeemed after June 1 and August 1, respectively. Skinny Raven, meanwhile, announced that it would be earmarking 50 percent of all gift card purchases to employees restricted from working, a measure to help combat one of the weightiest pressures on many store owners’ minds: supporting retail associates. I n At l a nt a, B i g Pe a ch Running Company has been tossing a $25 gift card into ever y foot wea r pu rchase, even retroactively sending gift cards to those who had recently purchased shoes from the sevenstore chain. Big Peach founder Mike Cosentino says the gift card represents a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic: the number of minutes and miles American citizens are currently pouring into walking or running. “This could be the special legacy of this virus, as the Pedestrian-Active Lifestyle wonderfully achieves a healthy popularity like never known and enjoyed before,” Cosentino told customers on March 25. No less than The New York Times declared as much in a March 19 story. Calling running the “perfect sport for a pandemic,” the Times observed: “A running boom is taking off. With little else to do – no spinning classes, lap swim hours, boot camps or barre – a lot of people are turning to (or getting back to) running.” Forced to close by government mandate, stores like FootZone in Bend, OR, have

“This could be the special legacy of this virus, as the Pedestrian-Active Lifestyle wonderfully achieves a healthy popularity like never known and enjoyed before,” MIKE COSENTINO BIG PEACH RUNNING

committed to reorganizing and refreshing their physical spaces or, in the case of Kelley’s Pace in Mystic, CT, expanding. Following a state executive order on March 23 to temporarily close his doors, Kelley’s Pace owner Jeff Anderson immediately activated plans to expand into a neighboring 700square foot space he acquired in December. The move enables Anderson to keep some employees working and prepare for brighter days ahead. “We know things will get better and we want to be able to hit the ground running when we can open back up,” says Anderson, who hopes to complete the project by May 1. As numerous vendors delay terms and due dates and some add drop-shipping capabilities to support their retail partners, running stores continue pushing forward, hustling and battling, pivoting and persevering. Adapt, as Varsity Sports’ Peters was fortuitously reminded of weeks ago, is the order of the day. “It’s going to be tough going, but I’m optimistic,” Peters says. “And, really, what other choice do I have? A lot of people are depending on me to make optimistic choices.” n © 2020 Diversified Communications


Retailers Reach Out We opened our pages for run specialty retailers to talk to each other. Here are just a few responses so far.


ometimes retailers just need to talk with other retailers, and they have certainly been reaching out through Running Insight to keep in touch with their community. Here we share some of the messages we have received and the following pages offer some case histories of what run specialty retailers re doing In these challenging times to keep the faith … and to keep in touch with their own run families.

I don’t know what to really put in the subject line. This morning at 8:00 Colorado went under a “stay at home” order until April 11. I know some of my fellow retailers have been under a similar order. We at CRC are working hard to budget our cash and reserve cash to come out of this as well as possible. At the same time we are re-working our employee manuals and job descriptions. We are using this forced layoff to get those things done we haven’t had time to do. We are planning what our store will look like when we finally get a chance to re-open. How many of you like me have said, “If I only had time I’d...” Well, most of us now have time. Use it! We’ve all been here before in other situations in life. I personally like to compare this time to lap seven of a 5000-meter track race. We’ve just gone through the mile in a few seconds above our PR and now we are trying to hang on for dear life — and we always hung on. We may not have always run a personal best, but we crossed that finish line and had given everything. That is what we must do now. The RIA has been a tremendous help with the emails and support. If you need me I’m sitting at home or Zwifting on the bike when I’m not working 10

on any of the above. Reach out if you need to chat, bitch or just call me names. My cell is 719-331-4949. If I don’t answer, leave a message and I’ll call back. I’m still getting spam calls about my car warranty. It’s a 1998 Toyota 4-Runner. I’d take the extended warranty in a second, but after I tell them the year they always hang up. John O’Neill The Colorado Running Company 5262 N. Nevada Ave. Ste. 140 Colorado Springs, CO 80918

PYRC: commUNITY Support

The current situation regarding the country’s response to the COVID-19 virus on a national and local level is evolving daily, if not hourly. Without overreacting, we are

trying to do right for both our customers, and our community. If there is something you want or need, we want to be here to help. If you are unable to visit the store or are uncomfortable coming in, we will help. Just call us with what you need and we will arrange free delivery or drive through pick-up service. Hopefully this will provide an easy way for you to continue in the sport that we all love. A great way to support small local businesses during this time is to purchase gift cards now, for future purchases. As such, we want to announce another effort we will be launching to support our local business owners and residents. Effective immediately and until at least the end of March, we will direct 10 percent of all retail sales and 15 percent of PYRC gift card purchases towards the support of our local businesses

© 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Colorado Running: Forced Layoff, Big Opportunities

and community. We will use this money to purchase gift cards from local businesses and distribute them to local families in need. Thank you for your patience as we all work together to figure this out together. We are so blessed to be part of such a wonderful community and can’t tell you how much we appreciate your continued support. Pace Yourself Run Company, Holly Springs, NC

BibRave: Spreading Positivity

Welp, it’s March and we find ourselves basically on a new planet. And the worst part is, we

might not even get acclimated to this world before it dramatically changes again. But after the 10th or 12th disaster strikes, really all you can do is try to find the opportunity and some positivity. That’s what we’re doing at BibRave. We’re brainstorming the hell out of the industry, and we’re spreading positivity. And now, we want you to join us. Self-isolation and gym closures mean tons of people are logging miles who would not otherwise be running. That means the biggest barrier to entry for our sport – just getting started – is organically being lowered. We see this uptick as a critical opportunity, so we’re

launching a collective movement called “Release the Runner,” a campaign aimed at mobilizing existing runners to encourage and recruit “non-runners” into the sport. This is a totally agnostic, unbranded, organic movement whereby everyone in running – races, brands, vendors, runners – can work together to grow the sport. And we have to grow the sport. We need a bigger pie, otherwise many elements of the industry will not survive. If you want move information on how to get involved email It’s more important than ever for us to work together. Tim, Jess and Team BibRave

“How many of you like me have said, ‘If I only had time I’d...’ Well, most of us now have time. Use it!” JOHN O’NEILL COLORADO RUNNING COMPANY


(Discount applied to all orders when processed)

During this challenging time, we at Pro-Tec Athletics would like to do what we can to help support you. We realize many of you are forced to close doors but for those who are able to stay open or sell online we are offering FREE SHIPPING (some restrictions apply) now through the end of April on any size order. Even with social distancing in place, it is so important we continue to encourage people to remain active. Running is one of the best ways to stay healthy as it strengthens our immune system and relieves stress. Please let us know how else we can help. The run market is and will always remain our top priority. Sincerely, Pro-Tec Athletics


© 2020 Diversified Communications


Kelley’s Pace Marches On Forced to close amid COVID-19, Kelley’s Pace owner Jeff Anderson activates renovation plans. / By Daniel P. Smith


here’s more than one way to survive a crisis – and perhaps make lemonade from the lemons the industry has been given – and Kelley’s Pace owner Jeff Anderson has found a way to at least make the best of a tough situation. With his running store forced to close on March 23 following a coronavirus-related executive order from Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Anderson quickly activated plans to expand and renovate his 40-year-old retail shop in Mystic, CT. “This allows us to focus on something positive and it allows me to keep some of my employees working,” says Anderson, whose store must remain closed until at least April 22 per Lamont’s order. “We know things will get better and we want to be able to hit the ground running when we can open back up.” Anderson, a former advertising executive and nonprofit staffer who purchased Kelley’s Pace in 2014, took over the 700-square-foot retail space adjacent to his storefront last December. “We weren’t quite ready to expand, but it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up,” Anderson says, adding that the former tenant, a plant store, had done a “gorgeous


Kelley’s Pace staff member Erik Van Ruissen helps prepare the Connecticut-based run specialty store for its expansion and makeover, with an eye on a finish date of May 1.

job” building out the space. While Anderson initially slotted construction for the spring, Lamont’s executive order coupled with slowing business amid the COVID-19 pandemic presented Anderson an opportunity to “tear up the store” without a disruption to business. “It makes sense from the practical side since we’re not getting traffic in here right now, but it’s also something positive for me and the team to focus on amid everything else going on right now,” Anderson says. Anderson and some Kelley’s Pace staff members began breaking down and packing up the store on March 24 in preparation for the arrival of construction crews on March 26. The second expansion Anderson has overseen at Kelley’s Pace – he added 250square feet to the running store’s original 960-square-foot layout in 2018 – the new Kelley’s Pace will cover more than 1900square feet. Anderson is pairing the entirety of the former plant shop with 600-square feet from his store’s existing footprint to produce a larger, brighter retail floor showcasing

product as well as a smoothie bar serving protein shakes and other recovery items. The remaining space will be devoted to storage and back-office operations. In addition, Anderson is shifting the Kelley’s Pace entrance to the former plant shop’s entrance, a move that enhances in-store sightlines and ensures a more organized, practical layout. The new entrance will be flanked by a statue of John Kelley, the store’s namesake and a former Boston Marathon champion and U.S. Olympian. “We’ll have an entirely new look that will be better for our customers and our staff,” Anderson says, adding that a larger outdoor gathering space will allow Kelley’s Pace to accommodate its swelling fun run groups. Anderson hopes to complete the project by May 1, hopeful, of course, that he can indeed re-open his business by then amid the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a signal to our community that we’re here and growing and plan to continue serving them,” Anderson says. “I believe that’s an important message to share right now.” n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


Focus on Run Local Palmetto Running Company sets up a fund to benefit its retail colleagues across America.


hile it prepares for its ambitious Eco-Initiative to launch in conjunction with Earth Day later this month – fingers crossed! – Palmetto Running Company, with two stores in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, SC, is certainly not standing still in its response to the COVID-19 challenge. Owner Christian Fyfe and his father, Rob, and sister, Keri Straughn, have established, a non-profit charity fund designed to offer some financial relief to independent run specialty store owners. The site went live over this past weekend. In an email sent out to its fellow retailers across America last week, Palmetto Running stressed that the running industry, and more specifically locally owned running stores, need their colleagues to come together as a community to support each other, their 13

owners, and their employees through these difficult and unprecedented times. That’s where, a non-profit charity fund, comes in. “With your customers’ help, small independent running stores, just like us, will survive these uncertain times and come back stronger than ever,” Christian Fyfe says. “Even though their doors may currently be closed, we hope to help them remain in business and continue serving their community today and through the future. Here’s how it works: At no cost to the store, donations from their customers and friends will provide immediate operating relief. Palmetto Running has collaborated with Run House to create a collection based on their #keeprunning campaign. For every item purchased on, Palmetto Running Company will donate $15 directly to a store. Items for sale include the Social Distance Running Project T-shirt (Sale Price = $25: $10 cost/$15 donation) and the Run Local Tote Bag (Sale Price = $25: $10 cost/$15 donation). “Retailers simply ask their customers to enter the name of their shop when prompted at checkout,” she explains. “As soon as the first donation is made to a store, we will contact them regarding setting up a digital funds transfer through Venmo.” All Palmetto Running asks stores to do is promote and ask their customers to contribute to their fund. They have even provided digital marketing assets that can be used on all social media and website platforms. “We’re pretty excited about the launch of this,” Straughn says. “We have been so moved and saddened by the stories from all our peers out there who have been forced to close and at the same time inspired by everything our friends over at Run House have been doing to motivate people to get outside. We just knew we had to do something more.” n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


Chalk the Walk Dick Pond Athletics promotes positivity with sidewalk messages for runners and walkers. / By Daniel P. Smith


rom pictures of rainbows and widegrinned suns to optimistic messages and inspirational quotes, runners and walkers in suburban Chicago are receiving a dose of positivity thanks to one local running store. On March 20, Dick Pond Athletics’ Carol Stream location, the flagship store of the five-unit chain that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, promoted a “Chalk Your Walk” campaign, urging people to share encouraging notes and images on their driveways and sidewalks on March 20 and 21. “Then, head outside and take a walk and look for other prints and messages written by your neighbors,” the post read. While Dick Pond staff did not create the idea – one of the store’s frequent fun run participants brought it to manager Debbie Crawford’s attention – the store immediately

championed the plan on its social media channels, pushed for the effort to extend beyond the initial March 21 date and has continued to publicize the initiative as a cheery antidote amid gloomy times in American society. “Looking around, so many people are out running and walking now, why not try to put a smile on their faces?” Crawford says. “It’s a feel-good thing to counter the negativity and uncertainty around us.” On the morning of the Carol Stream store’s first cancelled group run, knowing some of her regulars would stop by the store to traverse the running group’s typical route, Crawford stepped outside the store’s front door, drew a smiley face and wrote “Keep Running” in purple, pink and blue chalk. (The darker the chalk, the better it shows up in photos, Crawford reminds.) “I wanted our runners to see something

encouraging and to know that we were thinking of them,” says Crawford, who has also begun painting rocks in vivid colors for people to find along their walking or running routes – another modest effort designed to spur some delight. While Dick Pond customers continue posting photos of the gleeful creations they’ve crafted themselves or discovered on their own runs and walks, Crawford hopes the earnest effort continues to gain momentum. On one recent walk with her husband, Crawford noticed a residential driveway blanketed in whimsical images and kind-hearted messages. It brought a smile to her face and strengthened her resolve to continue promoting the “Chalk Your Walk” effort at Dick Pond Athletics. “Hopefully, people keep it up because we all need a pick-me-up these days,” Crawford says. n

Messages of hope and thoughts of Spring urge Dick Pond’s community to “Be Happy” and “Keep Running.”


© 2020 Diversified Communications


Finding the Social in the Solo In the age of social distancing, Philadelphia Runner’s PR Solo Challenge ignites connections. / By Daniel P. Smith


hile running is often a social endeavor, something run specialty stores across the U.S. celebrate with pub runs, races and other themed events, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded the social activity become a solo one. Rather than dodging that temporary reality, Philadelphia Runner has embraced the forced transition with its PR Solo Challenge and an unwavering mission to #KeepPhillyRunning. Launched on March 17, the campaign invites runners to share their miles and favorite local running routes, while store staff have marked courses and hosted pop-up challenges with prizes. 15

“With everything going on, we can all do our part to practice social distancing while staying socially connected,” Philadelphia Runner said upon announcing the PR Solo Challenge on Facebook, Instagram and email. Philadelphia Runner co-owner Ross Martinson describes the PR Solo initiative as an attempt to “stay positive and keep our community going.” The novel effort came together quickly, a nod to Philadelphia Runner’s motivated team as well as its community-driven spirit. Over the March 14-15 weekend, store leadership brainstormed ideas and crafted the PR Solo framework. On March 16, Philadelphia Runner created a Facebook

group before introducing PR Solo the following day. Within one week, the group boasted more than 1000 members. “When we had to cancel our group runs, the first thing we asked ourselves was how we could uplift others, keep connections going and deepen our relationship with the running community,” Philadelphia Runner’s outreach and marketing manager Liz Pagonis says. “The PR Solo Challenge is our way of connecting people and sharing miles, even if we can’t do it side by side.” During the campaign’s shortened first week, Philadelphia Runner challenged participants to chase a personal best in the mile. In week two, PR Solo graduated to the 5K distance. An evolving initiative amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s ongoing swirl, Pagonis says future challenges will likely involve longer distances, hills and daily streaks. “We’ll continue to develop weekly challenges and find creative ways to engage our community,” Pagonis promises. On the PR Solo Facebook group, runners have celebrated personal bests and nearpersonal bests as well as the positive jolt of energy a hard-charging run provided. “I am getting faster and am this close to hitting my 5K personal best from three years ago. Missed it tonight by eight seconds,” Nikki said on March 26. “I let my legs run wild in this beautiful weather and they finished with negative splits for this #5kweek2 #PRsolo,” Mikki wrote that same day. “I wasn’t trying to PR but rather wanted to see where my body and mind took me for 3.1 miles.” Participants are encouraging others, praising successes, liking photos and discussing running routes, collective efforts that are bringing connection and purpose to presentday times that can spark feelings of isolation and weariness. “Every day, we’re hearing from people excited that we’re putting a good face on tough times,” Pagonis says. n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


That Howe-2 Spirit Can’t get to the local run specialty store for supplies? No problem, Howe2Run delivers.


arc Cameron, manager of Howe2Run in Savannah, GA, applied some of his store’s well-known “howe-2” spirit in his efforts to service and stay in touch with its local run community in late March and into April. It is as simple as making its own deliveries of essentials to its customers who are sheltering in-place or isolated in their homes. Knowing that nutrition is important to runners and a supply that can run out fairly quickly – like toilet paper – Howe2Run instituted what it calls “Nutrition Delivery.” In this case, the store started delivering its nutrition products to its customers in and around Savannah, many of whom are under shut-in-place orders, others that may have family members battling other underlying health issues. “This way we have been keeping our runners/family stocked during these trying times,” Cameron explains. “It also allows us to keep proper social distancing recommendations. “Many were training for various races that were cancelled but are still getting out for their runs and continuing their training,” Cameron adds, and the store wanted to make sure they kept up their nutrition routines. “We know how i mpor t a nt nutrition is, so we have been delivering it to them.” The response has been overwhelmingly positive, he reports, and and runners are very grateful — something he hopes will pay off in increased loyalty when this crisis passes. Here’s how it works: Howe2Run takes an order over the phone and then staff 16

Above: The Howe2Run community looks to keep in touch during the COVID-19 challenge. Below, one of those community members, Eric Carpenter, appreciates his delivery of UCAN from the retailer.

members use their own personal vehicles to deliver the items ordered — right to the front door, or perhaps while out on a run. The service not only helps maintain its customer base in these unprecedented times, but it helps the Howe2Run staff stay connected and feel it is contributing to the health and well-being of its community. “As for everyone’s overall state of mind, people are trying to stay positive, especially in our Run Family, as we call it,” Cameron says of the challenge of navigating the crisis. “But cases in Georgia do continue to rise, there is much uneasiness as you can imagine.” n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


Running the World Sayville Running Company and Smithtown Running’s virtual event brings runners together. / By Daniel P. Smith


s the spread of COVID-19 shuttered his two run specialty shops and race timing business in Long Island, NY, Brendan Barrett and his team at Sayville Running Company and Smithtown Running Company concocted a daring plan designed to both inspire collective movement and support business operations. On March 21, the stores announced Run


Around the World: A (Social) Distance Project. Set to begin April 1, the $30 virtual event challenges participants to accumulate miles over the month of April together. The more miles the group completes, the more everyone wins If the group collectively runs the length of the U.S. (2802 miles), all participants, regardless if they’ve logged a one-mile walk or 100 miles on local streets, receive a $20

“This is something people can latch onto, a positive goal they can chase with others and then be rewarded for at the end.” BRENDAN BARRETT SAYVILLE RUNNING CO., SMITHTOWN RUNNING CO.

gift card. If the group traverses the entire circumference of the globe (24,901 miles), participants earn a $30 gift card. If the group successful loops the world twice, the running stores will award $40 gift cards. “This is something people can latch onto, a positive goal they can chase with others and then be rewarded for at the end,” Barrett says, adding that the stores will offer raffles, prizes and motivational checkpoints to keep spirits high in the Run Around the World Strava club. The brainchild of Smithtown Running Company manager Mike Petrina, Run Around the World builds off the stores’ popular February Challenge, a now-annual event that tasks participants to run every day in February. With Petrina presenting a rough draft of the idea, store leadership refined the Run Around the World plan through ongoing brainstorming sessions in advance of its March 21 debut. “We just kept bouncing ideas around and it kept growing,” Barrett says. For Sayville Running Company and its sister business in nearby Smithtown, the virtual challenge props up the running community and the retail businesses simultaneously, according to Barrett. It provides runners an ambitious goal they can work toward collectively with hearty rewards at the end, while also bringing immediate income into the running stores and enticing future purchases via the gift cards. “It’s a win-win and that’s something we’re always after,” Barrett says. n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


Vendors Up Their Games How running industry vendors are dealing with the uncertainty delivered by a massive health crisis.


he examples are almost too numerous to report of running vendors making impressive efforts to support both their run specialty retailers as well as their customers and the healthcare workers on the front lines of battling the COVID-19 crisis. We invited these vendors to use the pages of Running Insight to spread the word about their efforts and to send a message to the run specialty community. These pages are a collection of many of those efforts and we continue to include them on

Altra: Brands, Retailers Coming Together

The most important and impactful thing brands can do during this time is collectively come together to support specialty retail. We all need to spread the message to consumers to think about local stores first before purchasing online. Consumers can call ahead, see if the stores are offering curbside pickups, purchase gift cards, etc. If brands come together in different ways to support our specialty retailers during these times, we can all together help make a positive impact. We were born out of the backrooms of specialty retail and we are sensitive to how this is impacting our retail community. So, the first thing we have done is extend additional dating to all of our specialty dealers in North America. Cash flow is the most important factor for a store that is closed or an employee out of work. We, at Altra, are also looking into creative ways to activate the communities around these stores to assist during this global crisis. Each day brings new information that must be taken into consideration and balanced against multiple factors that affect the business, employees and community. In the early days the run specialty retailers carried the Altra brand on their backs, so 18

now is the time for us to give back and be a beacon of hope.

100 miles to support NYC COVID-19

Starting with a simple “Hello World,” one individual with a connection to the run industry is doing his small – well, 100 mile – part in supporting struggling run specialty retailers. We’ll let David Kilgore, an employee at On and a New York City local, tell his story in his own words (Note: His run too place on Friday, March 27, but the effort is ongoing): “My name is David Kilgore and I am an athlete and employee at On. As a NYC local, I’m on a mission to give back to the city during this tough time and also challenge myself. “On Friday 3/27 I will be running 100 miles back in my hometown of Palm Bay, FL. After facing the tough fact that most of my races were canceled due to COVID-19, I wanted a new way to push my limits. I am running to raise awareness and donations David Kilgore

for the communities needing it most. “Your donations will contribute to Gift Cards that I will be purchasing from struggling NYC run specialty stores. Stores that I typically work with on a daily basis. Those Gift Cards will then be donated to NYC Health + Hospitals to provide front line medical workers supportive footwear while they are working long days keeping my city healthy. Thanks all and see you out there! Here’s a link to his Gofundme page: /f/6s2cf-covid19-community-support

Swiftwick: Take A Deep Breath

Now more than ever people are turning to running as a way to get outside and clear their minds. Swiftwick is here to support run specialty stores and keep our community moving forward by providing drop-shipping services with no surcharge, no minimums and free shipping via our B2B website — Check out our new spring socks and remember to take a deep breath and keep chasing adventure, one day at a time. Please contact sales@swiftwick. Jill Williams, Sales Coordinator

Enda: The Joy of Running

I think many of us are going through something like the five stages of grief as the world we knew disappears before our eyes. I’ve seen it in others and feel it myself. I’ve been going through denial, anger, bargaining and depression. I hope soon to find acceptance. Going through this process, I’ve heard from people who have doubled their running volume. Others who are discovering comfort in running for the first time. Personally, I got out to run five times last week, but I’m struggling to find my running groove with my mind on the state

© 2020 Diversified Communications





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Vendors Up Their Games (continued) of the world. No matter where you are in your grief and running journey, if you need new kicks then we are here for you. All the logistical services we use to get you shoes are still operating smoothly. The world isn’t ending, just changing in ways we’ve never seen before. We’ll make sure to let you know if any of those changes mean we won’t be able to deliver. But in the meantime, if you need fresh shoes whether long run or speedwork, we’ve got you covered. I guess the thing I’d add would be to say we’re nervous and optimistic about the uncertain future we’re entering. The next few months are going to be tough. But there seems to be more people than ever discovering the joy of running. So let’s keep going and build a better and more meaningful running world as we emerge from this. Stay safe out there, Weldon Kennedy Co-founder, Enda

Miler Running: We Still Have Running

We have been thrown into a global crisis, but fortunately we still have running. Running is inherently a solo endeavor much of the time. With the extra space in our minds and the streets, now is the time to embrace and explore what running alone can do. With that in mind, we will be hoping for the safety and health of our community and thankful for those on the front lines fighting this pandemic.


As a New York City-based brand, Miler Running has felt the effects of the coronavirus epidemic first hand.

As a New York City-based brand, this crisis truly hits home. Our local factory partner is closed indefinitely and our fabric production from Europe has also halted. Our online store will remain open. Our thoughts go to these partners and our customers who we wish for the best of health. Ben Morrow CEO / Founder MILER RUNNING @milerrunning

Nike: Social Distancing App

Last week Nike released a new advertising campaign to express the importance of social distancing during this time. “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance,” the ad release across social media

reads. “Play inside, play for the world.” The campaign promotes the brand’s workout app and comes as it announced that programming on its Nike Training Club app is now accessible to users free of charge. The subscription-based service includes studio-style workouts, training programs and tips from the athletic giant’s master trainers The message, developed with Wieden + Kennedy Portland, follows Nike’s announcement that the brand, its foundation and leaders would be committing more than $15 million to support COVID-19 response efforts. Those funds will support some of the brand’s hometown organizations, including the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Recovery Fund created by the Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Health

& Science University to improve statewide care coordination in Oregon, increase patient access and ramp up operational readiness for expanded diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

Kahtoola: Banding Together We at Kahtoola want to reach out to all of our friends in the outdoor and running community and beyond to communicate our support for everyone’s collective efforts to get through this pandemic together. The health of our families, associates and customers is our top priority. Like many othe r businesses, we are implementing operational changes and following recommendations to do our part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Currently, our headquarters remains open and ready to

© 2020 Diversified Communications



We hope you’re safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. At RICS, we’re working remotely and overtime with retailers nationwide to analyze inventory to address cash flow concerns, make plans to re-open, and evaluate technology needs. We can help you! Reach out at if you’re a RICS client or if you want to discover why over half of run specialty retailers use RICS. Jason Becker RICS Software, Chief Executive Officer

Vendors Up Their Games (continued) ship so that we support the dealers and customers who rely on us, but we are also giving our associates the ability to work from home, as well as closely monitoring any changes that may require us to take further action. Locally, as businesses close indefinitely, we are redirecting some of our resources to help our Flagstaff community and those more severely impacted. We’ve found that our local food bank is in fairly urgent need of sandwich materials for “to-go” meals in an attempt to avoid larger groups. We gathered those supplies and delivered them so kids and other members of our community could eat. These are only first steps in supporting our community and as things progress, we plan to stay on the ready for any local support we can provide and encourage others to do the same. Our belief in the positive characteristics of people is what drives our business. We want to continue to engage our community and band together because we feel strongly that when our basic needs are met, we have a responsibility to add to the collective needs of others in whatever ways we can. We are figuring this out dayby-day, just like the rest of you. Please share ways you’ve found to offer support so we can build on one another’s ideas and be ef fective in our efforts. We’re confident that we’ll all get through this, and the best way to do that is together. Be well. Stay


positive. And if you can, get outside! Danny Giovale, Kahtoola Founder and Owner

Recover Brands: #SupportLocal Fundraiser

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the country, closing stores and shutting shops, North Carolina-based Recover Brands unveiled its #SupportLocal fundraiser, which invests $10 from every shirt sold into its small business partner fund. The funds then get distributed directly to its small business partners to provide immediate operating capital relief during these challenging times. In just the first 24 hours, the shirt raised $1625 of the sustainable apparel brand’s goal of $25,000. It is hoped that all money raised will help keep the local business community on its feet. “The coronavirus affects us all – all industries, communities and individuals – in one way or another and the economic impact it has had on small business has been significant and immediate,” explains Bill Johnston, founder of Recover, of its decision to launch the effort. “The goal of this fundraiser is to rally our community to support small businesses during these challenging times. By purchasing this shirt, you know your money is going directly to small businesses to help keep the lights on.” Recover, who ma kes all of its tees and apparel from recycled plastic bottles, has had success in this fundraising

approach before. In November 2018 the brand raised $130,000 for Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts with its #CAREolinas Tee. And with its Protect Our Parks tee from 2017 – a fundraiser that began with Recover donating proceeds directly to the National Park Foundation for every Protect Our Parks original tee sold – the program has expanded and evolved into a wider initiative with evergrowing pa r tnersh ips a nd impact. For further details on the #SupportLocal fundraiser:

GU: The Need to Move

We feed the need to move... A lifetime of spor t and adve nture gives us pe rspective when things get challenging during these difficult and uncertain times. We appreciate that movement can make us feel alive, healthy and connected. We know that physical activity has a positive impact on our health and calms our minds. We acknowledge that movement is a privilege, and we feel gratitude for that.

We need movement now more than ever. We will truly miss the opportunity to be with our community during training and races. These gatherings give us inspiration and validate our purpose. We will miss fueling you at aid stations, cheering your strength during races, and celebrating with you at the finish line. However, we appreciate deeply the need to make sacrifices that will benefit our global community. Now, more than ever, our creativity and determination will help us find ways to get through this together — at GU we call this longevity. In the coming weeks, we’ll share the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over the last 27 years supporting you, so that we all come out of this situation stronger and more resilient. Brian Vaughan Chief Endurance Officer

SynchroKnit: Rambling Runner Virtual Race Series

With race cancellations all over the globe leaving runners at a standstill, SynchroKnit, the technology-driven brand from Wigwam Mills, is sponsoring the Rambling Runner Virtual Race Series to help people continue to move, train and stay connected. The series will include virtual races of 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon distances spread over eight weeks. These virtual races are free and open to everyone with a Strava account and a device that can track the run. To join:

© 2020 Diversified Communications

SynchroKnit goes Rambling with its virtual race series.

ramblingrunner. “All runners know a good run is the best way to burn off stress,” says Tom Wheeler, president and CEO Wigwam Mills and a lifelong runner. “During these strange, uncertain times, take care of yourself and get out on your run, if you can, and add a fun element of virtual competition. Running is a natural for social distancing. “From all of us at Wigwam, our hearts go out to all who are impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly,” he adds. “Please stay healthy!” 5K: March 28-29 10K: April 4-5 Half-Marathon: April 18-19

the campaign Zensah will be donating a pair of its premium compression socks for each pair purchased. It works like this: For every pair of select compression socks or leg sleeves purchased, the consumer will be given the option to write a gift message that will then be passed along with the company’s donation to a healthcare worker. These

can be simple messages like, “Keep up the good work!” or “Thank you for all you do for us!” or something more personal if this disease has affected you or your family. The company issued this statement: “Nurses, doctors, EMTs and other healthcare workers are grinding through long hours and putting their own health

at risk to care for the sick and help prevent the further spread of the virus. They cannot do it alone and they need all the support we can give if we are going to be successful in stopping coronavirus in its tracks. “Doctors, nurses, and EMTs are on their feet all day, and their legs can easily become fatigued. From both scientific research and testimonials from the many healthcare providers who have worn Zensah over the years, we know that wearing our compression socks can minimize that fatigue, making it easier for them to do their dangerous jobs.” Zensah is asking healthcare workers who feel they can benefit from its compression technology, to email Giving@ to start the giving process.

Oofos: Donating Footwear To First Responders

Recovery footwear brand Oofos is donating more than 1000 pairs of shoes to nurses and medical professionals across

Buy One and Give One as part of Zensah’s campaign for healthcare workers.

Zensah: ‘Buy One, Give One’ Campaign Launched

Zensah, the maker of highper for ma nce compression apparel, has started a “Buy One, Give One” campaign to get compression socks to healthcare workers. As part of


© 2020 Diversified Communications

Vendors Up Their Games (continued) the country. The donation locations include Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Swedish Hospital in Chicago, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida, Presby Cardiovascular Institute at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Palomar Medical Center Poway in California, Hackensack Meridian Health at Pascack Valley Medical Center in New Jersey, and Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta. In addition, Oofos has partnered with to provide an exclusive discount for nurses online at Nurses are asked to verify their credentials at check-out using the button to receive a unique coupon code for their purchase.

RICS: Helping With Technology

We hope you’re safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. At RICS, we’re working remotely and overtime with retailers nationwide to analyze inventory to address cash flow concerns, make plans to re-open, and evaluate technology needs. We can help you! Reach out at if you’re a RICS client or sales@ricssoftware. com if you want to discover why over half of run specialty retailers use RICS. Jason Becker RICS Software, CEO

Strava: Get Out and Run

Strava, with more than 50 million athletes and one million more joining every 30 days, and


in a place to help both runners and retailers find a location to get out and run, has unveiled Routes, a tool to help athletes find the best places to run and ride. With more than three billion activities uploaded from all over the world, Strava makes the claim that that it “knows where athletes actually run and ride.” The new Routes tool uses that knowledge to provide route recommendations personalized to athletes’ preferences for location, distance, surface type (pavement or dirt) and hilly or flat terrain. It makes for an tool for anyone looking to run while maintain their social distancing.

Superfeet: 3D Printing

A week after a announcing that it was opening its doors to help those needing access to personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the COVID19 pandemic, Superfeet and sist er compa ny F lowbu i lt Manufacturing have started production of PPE masks with 3D-printed elements. It took less than a week for Superfeet employee-owners to mobilize their product development and operations departments

to pivot from insole production to making life-saving equipment using their Ferndale 3D printing and manufacturing facilities. Approximately 30,000 of these PPE masks will be produced and distributed to hospitals in the Pacific Northwest immediately. “We started conversations with local hospitals and healthcare workers last week and discovered a massive need for PPE, as demand has skyrocketed over the past few weeks,” says John Rauvola, CEO and President at Superfeet. “You can feel the pride our team of employee-owners takes in being able to create something tangible to help combat this pandemic and better protect our community’s first line of defense.” Superfeet had sent a call-toaction challenging their local community to get involved. Another Washington-based company, Pioneer Aerofab – a business focused on manufacturing airplane interiors – quickly joined the cause and is supplying the mask’s hood portion. Medical facilities in need of personal protective equipment, can reach out to covidresponse@

Addaday: Remain Optimistic

In these uncer tain and unprecedented times, we at Addaday recognize that many of you have been forced to make tough decisions for the health of your employees, your customers and your businesses. We have not been immune to the challenges — our distribution facility in California has been scaled back due to the lockdown and

we have had to make some tough business decisions. But we remain optimistic. Looking ahead to the resumption of business as usual in the coming months – and anticipating a high demand for our new innovations – Addaday’s operations in Asia remain at full capacity. Our R&D and software development reside in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Taiwan and have been unaffected. Addaday stands with you in these difficult times. We have been working closely with retail partners to provide solutions to our shared business challenges and remain poised to help the industry rebound as we look ahead. Stay strong. Vic Yang, CEO and founder, Addaday

New Balance: $2 Million To Support Relief Efforts

The New Balance Foundation has committed $2 million in g ra nts i n response to t he COVID-19 pandemic to support local, regional and global communities. “We firmly believe it is our civic duty to support our communities in need around the world,” says Anne Davis, managing trustee New Balance Foundation. “We are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis. Guided by our values, NB Foundation will remain generous, flexible and responsive recognizing the uncertainty created by these challenging times.”

© 2020 Diversified Communica


stay safe



Vendors Up Their Games (continued)

Darn Tough: Best Is Yet to Come “We have yet to produce our best sock” is a line you’ll hear us say often. That still reigns true. We aren’t going anywhere, Run Specialty. We’re in this together, and we’ll emerge stronger, together.

OS1st: Sending Love To Independent Retailers

After the success of the #OS1schallenge, OS1st expanded independent retail support to include drop-ship options that assist its family of local retailers with e-commerce, fulfilment solutions and social media advertising. Its mission through this tumultuous time is to keep its local stores top-of-mind with their customers and celebrate with them on the other end. Stay strong, and we will get through this together. Photo Credit: Helen Davies via Instagram

Hoka One One: Partnerships

To our industry friends and partners, While the world around us has been shifting dramatically, so too has the way we are collectively running our businesses. COVID-19 has forced


us all to evaluate every area of our operations and make difficult decisions. Yet, while these are unusual and difficult times, we have been inspired by the amazing resiliency, creativity and passion we see every day. The running industry is a unique and amazing community – a fact that’s been confirmed by all of you, our partners, as well as the consumers you serve. As we travel through this moment in time together, we hope the programs we shared early on are helping. We are all working hard to ensure our businesses, our employees, our retailers, our consumers and our families can stay active, pursue their passions, and above all, remain safe. We want to thank you for your partnership — yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are in this together, are here to support one another, and will

continue to support you and your customers at the highest level. Time to Fly, The Hoka One One Team

Cotopaxi: Joining the #OneUtah Campaign

Through Silicon Slopes, the voice, hub, and heart of Utah’s startup community, business leaders such as Cotopaxi have committed to raising $5 million to help Utah respond and assist those impacted by COVID-19. Benefit Cor poration and Cotopaxi, as part of this effort, have designed the #OneUtah T-shirt campaign, proceeds of which will be donated to support this fundraiser. The T-shirt and its message promote unity, positivity and hope in a time where those things are needed more than ever. The #OneUtah T-shirt will be promoted by the Governor’s office, Silicon Slopes,

and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. “As a founder and CEO of a Utah-based company, I am committed to doing my part to help our state weather the unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19,” says Davis Smith, CEO and founder of Cotopaxi. “Cotopaxi is proud to join forces with like-minded local companies to support nonprofits addressing this pandemic.” The T-shirt design features the #OneUtah hashtag, which serves as a representation of the united response the Utah community has taken. The T-shirt launched March 27, 2020, at cotopaxi. com/oneutah. All proceeds from the sale of this T-shirt will be directed to Silicon Slope Serves, a COVID relief resource, which will then be distributed to various local partners supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. For more information, visit n

© 2020 Diversified Communica

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



The Road Ahead Running Industry Association survey charts the challenges run retailers are facing from the COVID-19 crisis.


and a whopping 91 percent have jumped on e-commerce platforms, or are actively exploring that option. 3. The situation needs to improve, fast, or the channel is going to be facing permanent damage. The majority of stores reported that they can only keep paying furloughed employees for one to three months. Even more concerning are the 31 percent of retailers who say that if this crisis extends for that long they’ll be forced to close permanently. “It’s important for the entire specialty run community to understand the full context of the issues we face so we can collectively work on solutions and, eventually, a plan to emerge from this and get back to business,” Schalow adds. RIA will be conducting a follow-up survey as the situation develops to better understand the trends. “We certainly hope to see an up-trend, but if not we’ll at least have the data we need to make informed

decisions and craft action plans,” Schalow says. “Regardless, without the data we’re just feeling our way around in the dark.” While this survey addressed the challenges retailers are facing, the association will be sending a vendor survey within the next week so retailers can understand the challenges that their brands face as well. “Everyone is feeling the pain, but we want to understand the challenges to every facet of the business.,” Schalow concludes. “That information will allow us to focus our energies to ensure that all members of this community are able to meet the challenge.” Anyone who wants more information is welcome to visit the RIA COVID-19 Resource Guide. RIA has also added the COVID-19 Retail Survey, along with a lot of other helpful information:

© 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash


cting quickly as the coronavirus pandemic began to make an impact on run specialty retailers – store closings, disrupted supply chains, cancelled races and runs – the Running Industry Association (RIA) reached out to its members in late March to gauge the actual extent of the disruption on its members’ businesses. The results are startling — offering both bad news and perhaps a ray of hope as the industry reacts to these unprecedented challenges. “Anecdotally we knew that the channel was in crisis, but it became clear very quickly that without hard data we wouldn’t be able to fully understand what was really going on out there,” explains Terry Schalow, RIA executive director. “We all know it’s bad, but how bad? How are retailers adjusting? What time frame are we looking at before things get truly dire? We needed answers to these questions in order to craft the appropriate support plans.” Realizing that it was an industry-wide problem, the association sent the survey out on March 24 to every retailer in its database and it is providing the results from the more than 100 retailers that responded to every running brand. “We feel strongly that the entire run specialty community needs to be a part of the solution, so we’re pulling every store and every brand into the conversation,” Schalow explains. The three major takeaways from the research: 1. Retailers are down big in March and expect be down even more in April. But May projections show a bit of expected improvement, so they’re somewhat bullish that recovery is on the not-too-distant horizon. 2. The vast majority of retailers in the channel are moving aggressively to keep sales flowing in the face of store closures. For example, they’ve quickly ramped up curbside pick-up and home delivery services

Click here for the full RIA report

RIA Survey Results ... CURRENT STORE STATUS (as of March 27, 2020)

Doors Closed 68.4% Doors Open 10.5% Open, Reduced Hours 14.7% ___________________________ March Results March 2020 Sales vs. March 2019 Sales Down 21-40% 25.8% Sales Down 1-20% 23.7% Sales Down 41-60% 21.5% Sales Down 61-80% 14% Sales Down More than 80% 9.7% ____________________________ April Forecast April 2020 Projection vs. April 2019 Sales Down More than 80% 29% Sales Down 61-80% 23.7% Sales Down 41-60% 20.4% Sales Down 21-40% 17.2% Sales Up or Flat Negligible ____________________________

SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGIES What strategies/platforms are you using to capture sales? Online orders/Shipping from store 78 stores Taking advantage of vendor drop ship 70 stores Home delivery 67 stores Curbside pickup 64 stores ____________________________ Using E-commerce Yes 61.5% No, but exploring it 29.2% No 9.4% ____________________________ Connecting with customers Using social media 91 stores Sending emails 78 stores Phone calls 33 stores

Reason for Hope May 2020 Projection vs. May 2019 Sales Down 21-40% 26.9% Sales Down 41-60% 18.3% Sales Down 61-80% 16.1% Sales Up or Flat 17.2% Sales Down 1-20% 12.9%

BUSINESS HEALTH Laid off or furloughed staff? Yes, some of staff 49% No 29.2% Yes, entire staff 21.9% ____________________________ Paying wages while furloughed? No 62.9% Yes, but not full wages 22.9% Yes, full wages 14.3% ____________________________ How long can you maintain wage support for furloughed employees? 1-3 months 62.5% Less than one month 35% ____________________________ Cash reserves on hand 1-3 months 51.1% 1 month 28.9% 3-6 months 15.6% ____________________________ How many months can you manage to keep your business going before you consider permanent closure? 1-3 months 31.1% 3-6 months 27.8% Indefinitely 26.7% 6-12 months 12.2%

RIA Unveils COVID-19 Resource Guide THE RUNNING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (RIA) HAS assembled an online resource guide to assist the run specialty community during this challenging period. The RIA COVID-19 Resource Guide is a collection of relevant information on a variety of topics to help keep run specialty businesses afloat. The RIA is opening this resource up to members and non-members alike in an effort to support the entire specialty run channel. Among the topics:


Brand Support Reference Guide Financial Resources Staying Connected with your Customers Customer Communications Business Strategies To be added shortly are a number of other topics, including Employee Resources, Peer Sharing and Online Sales Platforms.To access the guide:

Š 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts Retailers share information in Digital Town Hall hosted by Running Insight and The Running Event THE INAUGURAL RUN SPECIALTY Digital Town Hall, organized by Running Insight and The Running Event as a means to connect the run specialty business in the age of the COVID-19 Pandemic, was held yesterday afternoon via Zoom Meeting. Attended by 90-plus run retailers around the country, the Town Hall featured presentations by consultants Parker Karnan and Jim Dion and was moderated by RI’s Mark Sullivan. Sullivan laid the groundwork for the interactive discussion by sharing these two facts from the recent Running Industry Association survey of its members (see page 28 for the full story on the report). • 69 percent of stores were closed; 10 percent stores were still open and 15 percent were opened with fewer hours. • As for cash on hand, 51 percent of retailers had enough for one-to-three months and 29 percent had enough to get through only one month. Sullivan opined that running stores are in better shape than a lot of other similar size businesses. (Note this study was wrapped up by March 27 and estimates are that more stores have closed and furloughed employees since then.) Dion, who was a psychologist in his prior life before becoming a retail industry consultant, explained that uncertainty is what is scaring people. “We are very frightened of the unknown and the unseen,” he said. “This is creating an awful lot of stress in people’s lives. You know what that leads to? It leads to toilet paper,” he added. “This obsession with toilet paper is an example of when we feel out of control, we have to get that control back to get us sane. Buying toilet paper is that attempt to begin to feel safe. “Control is what today is all about,” Dion continued. “There are a lot of things that we can be doing today. We can’t let inertia take over, but when there is this uncertainty, it is so easy to dial it back.” His advice: First and foremost, you need to have a plan — a best-case plan, a worst-case 30

plan and then a most-likely plan. Dion suggested stores spend this time going back and studying POS data. “Study the information you have in your systems that you probably have not had the time to do before,” he said. “Do as much as you can to learn during this time about your best customers. When we get back to normal, you will be ready to go.” Another idea: Take the time to educate your staff. “Imagine if you didn’t run for six months and then tried to get out and run. Then imagine your staff not doing anything all this time and then going back to work.” Karnan went on to share some of what he has been doing with stores he works with in terms of cash flow and other aspects of retailing. To be totally honest, he said, most stores he is working with have not been thinking about a 26-week plan — most of his conversations have contained four, eightand 12-week scenarios. “In times of crisis, the best decisions are the short-term, quick ones that are made loudly,” he said. “We control what we can based on the information we have today. These are leadership positions we can take.” Have A Plan of Action He suggested four areas to explore and question: 1. With 75 percent of the population under stay-at-home orders, what is your sales plan when they are not out shopping? 2. What is your marketing message. How do you make sure you are the catalyst for your community? How do you advertise and communicate that you are still available? 3. How do you take care of your team? 4. What do your finances look like? What should you do in talking to your creditors and what is going to be available for you from the government stimulus? In response to a question from a retailer at the virtual gathering, Parker was asked if retailers should go to their landlords first

“I am spending money I need to spend now as quickly as I can while I still have it.” RICH WILLS FITNICHE, LAKELAND, FL.

in seeking relief. “There’s no harm in asking,” he said. “So, yes, probably the first place you want relief from is your landlord. “Asking the landlord for abeyance on rent is the challenge many retailers have faced,” continued Karnan, who pointed out that some landlords are basing rents on percentage of sales while others are agreeing to any rent abatement by adding it on to the end of a lease. A wide-ranging discussion among the retailers then covered topics ranging from Payroll Protection Programs, maintaining employees, what to do with all of the down time now and how to invest resources and time now (redo website, design virtual fitting technology, create instructional videos, explore government resources, offer delivery Options, create virtual events). “I am spending money I need to spend now as quickly as I can while I still have it,” said Rich Wills, of Fitniche in Lakeland, FL. “The sport of running will come out of this very solid,” concluded Sullivan. “Running participation will be up for sure and the sport will be strong. But races, particularly large events like the Chicago and New York Marathons, will be different from past years, and the specialty retail will have changes forced upon it.” Running insight will be hosting more of these Run Specialty Digital Town Hall events in the coming weeks. Any retailers interested in participating should contact Christina Henderson at The transcript of the Run Specialty Digital Town Hall will be made available on this week.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts

“AS THE CORONAVIRUS BRINGS LIFE to a near-standstill, people are discovering, or rediscovering, one of the most basic exercises: running.” So begins an article and photo essay in the March 22 New York Times that called running “a built-in form of social distancing.” The Times wrote that while the racing world, like the rest of the world, is on hold, “you wouldn’t know it by looking at public parks, streets and trails across the United States,” where running, along with walking, is by far the exercise of choice for people shut out of gyms and health clubs and with no sports to watch live or on television. A running boom is taking off.” And this headline: “All You Need: Shoes, and Some Space.” Accompanied by photos showing runners in various places through New York City and Washington, D.C. – under the Brooklyn Bridge and jogging a path near the U.S. Capitol – the article labels running as “the perfect sport for a pandemic.” 31

Here’s a description of an afternoon scene in New York by author Talya Minsberg: “Cabin fever is driving out the masses. Kids on scooters are chasing their huffing and puffing parents, some of whom have coaxed their own children to run, with mixed enthusiasm. Teenagers on bicycles are barking at their parents to catch up, like an elite coach prepping an Olympic hopeful. “There are runners in jeans and runners in expensive ‘athleisure’ kits that look like they have never seen sweat. There are people wearing classic Converse and Nike Vaporflys and every shoe in between. There are families pulling each other with games of ‘first one to the light post wins’ and friends running with an awkward amount of space between each other.” The newest runners are easy to spot, the article continues, “falling into one of three camps: overexcited, overstriding or overly dramatic about the hill up ahead. But a transformation comes quickly. A few blocks later and it’s easy to see the release on the faces of runners who have found their new outlet.”

It is the community of runners that is so familiar to the run specialty business, along with the do-it-yourself nature of lacing on a pair of sneakers and hitting the track, road, trail or sidewalk, that is attracting a nation being told to stay six feet from other individuals and to self-isolate to help flatten the curve of coronavirus spread. So who knew, along with all of the research and heroic work of the medical community, that running retailers are helping the cause in this national emergency by doing what they do — urging people to get out and run? Or, as the Times piece concludes, “Run in any country, in any park, at any time, spot another runner, and chances are you’ll greet each other with the slightest nod. You’re out here too. In this time, as more and more people hit their parks, streets and trails, make sure to nod at your fellow runner. “We’re all still out here.” For the full article: https://www.nytimes. com/2020/03/19/sports/running-exercisecoronavirus.html

© 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo: Unsplash

New York Times: Running is the ‘Perfect Sport for a Pandemic’

running shorts Advance To Acquire The Ironman Group ADVANCE HAS ENTERED INTO A purchase agreement with Wanda Sports Group to acquire The Ironman Group in an all-cash transaction. The Ironman Group and its portfolio of assets, which include its flagship Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlons, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and the Epic Series of mountain biking races, among other events, makes up the largest mass participation sports platform in the world.

From a single race on Oahu, Hawaii, in 1978, The Ironman Group has owned, organized, promoted and licensed endurance events for more than 40 years. The series now consists of more than 235 events in more than 50 countries across triathlon, running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking. Each year more than one million international athletes participate in an Ironman Group race. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé

Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data, and Pop. Advance has indicated that it is committed to the future of The Ironman Group and believes in the long-term strength of its brands and the dedication of its athletes, communities, employees, and fans. Advance is a private, family-owned business that invests in a range of media and technology companies.

Running USA Releases U.S. Running Trends Report The number of runners registering for organized races in the U.S. was down slightly in 2019, continuing a six-year gradual drawback of mass participation in recreational road racing. According to Running USA data analysis, the industry peaked in 2013, when 19 million runners crossed the finish line at U.S. running events over all distances. The number of people registering for U.S. road races in 2019 compared to the previous year declined 2.7 percent from 2018 to 17.6 million, according to data compiled by Running USA with the help of a consortium of event registration companies including The Active Network, imAthlete, Race Roster, RunSignup, Race Entry, Run Reg and many individual events. This year will certainly be an anomaly when it comes to participation trends, given the large number of races that have already had to cancel previously scheduled events due to COVID-19. The majority of runners of U.S. road races in 2019 continued to be a highly desirable demographic for sponsors: 60 percent female and 49 percent are between 25 and 44 years of age. The most popular distance runners

compete in remains the 5K, which racked up 8.9 million registrations in 2019, and was the only distance recording an increase year-over-year.

the heel provides maximum protection and impact resistance. In the updated crew length style, the cushioning also reaches higher over the toe area for increased comfort and durability, while the differentiated elastic bands provide compression and fit. Unique to all Balega products, these socks feature a hand-linked toe closure system for a seamless, non-irritating fit. The new Spring 2020 colorways for the Ultralight Crew include Neon Lime, Wildberry and Cobalt. The Ultralight No Show ($14 MSRP) sock is available in all new bright spring colorways, including Flu Orange andNeon Lime.


Balega Expands Ultralight Collection

Balega International is expanding its Ultralight collection for Spring 2020 with the introduction of new colorways in the Crew and No Show models. The new styles were available online and at specialty retail stores March 15. The Ultralight Crew ($15 MSRP) combines fine performance yarns with protection-based design to create a sheer, lightweight performance running sock. The socks feature Balega’s proprietary Drynamix moisture wicking fibers and reinforced microfiber mesh ventilation panels to keep feet cool and dry. The enhanced, strategically shaped cushioning that follows the contours of

Addaday Bolsters Marketing and Communications Team Addaday has appointed Hugh Williams as chief marketing officer and Kristin Goett as communications director. Williams joins Addaday after more than 20 years at global marketing agency, Weber Shandwick, where he was the GM of its Denver office. Goett brings five years of in-house communications experience across brands, including DISH Network and the University of Denver, as well as serving as a columnist for Triathlete Magazine.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

Product Showcase Advertisement: New products from running vendors.

HOTSHOT HOTSHOT is a 1.7oz Sport Shot scientifically proven to prevent / stop muscle cramps and reduce muscle soreness helping athletes push harder, train longer and finish stronger. Invented by a Nobel Prize winning Neuroscientist / Endurance athlete with results published in Muscle & Nerve magazine, Wall Street Journal and The Journal of American Athletic Association. The MSRP IS $3.99 / bottle and MOQ as low as 24 bottles. Email us at for more info.

COTOPAXI The Batac is a stowable daypack that excels in fast-and-light hikes, daytrips, and other excursions. Each Batac is made with remnant materials by employees who decide exactly how each one looks. In other words, no two are exactly alike. The Batac’s zippered closures and an unstructured design maintain security and versatility during adventure of all sorts.


CURREX In addition to our RUNPRO™ insoles for running, we are announcing the launch of our new SUPPORTSTP™ insoles for walking. SUPPORTSTP™ insoles are the perfect companion for a daily walk to maintain fitness. Our premium insoles provide dynamic arch support and superior cushioning that has been scientifically proven to increase comfort and help prevent injury. CURREX currently has product in stock and available to ship. If you would like to place an order, please contact or 844-428-7739 or 844 - 4CURREX.

MILER RUNNING The Base Running Singlet ($90) is made from lightweight performance mesh knitted in Switzerland that is both breathable and moisture wicking while providing superb four-way stretch and a luxurious, silky feel. Bonded NoSo seams and hems reduce chafing and lie flat for a minimalist look. The Base Running Short ($110) has the same lightweight performance mesh and bonded NoSo seams plus a built-in liner of soft Italian microfiber. Three discrete interior pockets hold essentials securely against the body.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

We are all in this together

The COVID-19 Pandemic knows no boundaries, no colors and no genders. We are, indeed, all in this together. Please stay safe, practice social distancing and we WILL get through this ... together.

Photo: Unsplash

The editors and writers of Running Insight, and Running Insight+


Š 2020 Diversified Communications

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