THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM
ON THE MOVE ACTIVEWEAR TAKES CENTER STAGE IN 2019
JUNE 17, 2019
HOT ON THE
runway Eight key trends are driving the women’s activewear market. By Judy Leand
Sugoi is blending innovative fabric technologies with urban aesthetics in the women’s activewear category. Pictured are the Women’s West Coast Tank (SRP $50) and the Prism 4-inch Shorts (SRP $65). Cover Photo: GoLite.
s more female consumers exercise and prioritize their health, the activewear market is evolving through the development of new technologies that promise to boost comfort and performance while also addressing modern style, fit, functionality and sensibilities. Globally, the women’s activewear market was valued at $124.65 billion in 2017 and will be growing at a CAGR of 8.2 percent during the forecast period from 2018
to 2026, according to Credence Research. Helping to fuel this growth are increased participation in sports, more media coverage of women’s sports, interest in healthy lifestyles and increasing Internet penetration coupled with the growing popularity of online shopping. In the U.S., it’s obvious that women’s activewear pieces such as leggings and tights have become wardrobe staples, easily crossing over from running and active sports to
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more leisurely pursuits such as a trip to the local coffee shop. The upshot is that the ever-broadening acceptance and appeal of women’s activewear isn’t going to vanish anytime soon. With that in mind, here is a look at eight major trends that are already having a transformative impact on the market. 1. SUSTAINABILITY Product and supply chain responsibility, marked by the use of sustainable and recycled
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Hot on the Runway (continued) product using natural materials,” says Chris MacDonald, senior global merchandising manager at Icebreaker. He is extremely bullish on the women’s activewear market, calling it “one of the most vibrant and diverse categories in apparel today.” Sust a i nabi l it y ha s a lso informed major initiatives at New Balance, which is working to continuously increase the amount and percentage of fabrics it uses from post-consumer recycled materials. Sustainable dying methods and the use of recycled paper for hangtags are also part of the equation, and a significant portion of the brand’s 2020 apparel offering will use recycled materials.
New Balance’s Reclaim Hybrid Crop Bra (SRP $65) and Reclaim Hybrid Tight (SRP $90) are made from recycled polyester and organic fibers.
materials as well as eco-friendly manufacturing processes, is a key trend now dominating discussions across the sporting goods industry. Innovations in this area will continue to gain traction worldwide, and many brands—including most of those featured in this article—view sustainability as a top priority. “We are seeing exciting performance enhancements in recycled/ sustainable fabrics. Examples include the expansion of specialty yarns in recycled content, improving performance and much lighter deniers,” explains Caroline MacMillan, design director at GoLite. For instance, 4
GoLite’s ReFly shorts and skort are made with ReFly fabric comprised of 88 percent recycled poly and 12 percent Spandex, which is extremely lightweight, quick drying and moisture wicking, and saves multiple plastic bottles from ending up in landfills or oceans. For future collections, GoLite is looking at closed loop production that recycles mill and factory waste. Sustainability is also at the core of the Icebreaker brand. “We’ve always had deep and transparent relationships with our suppliers. We offer an alternative to the synthetic apparel brands and aim to create performance
2. SUN PROTECTION With rising awareness of the dangers posed by overexposure to the sun, many brands are working to develop apparel with built-in UV protection. Although the concept isn’t new, the technical fabrications and designs have advanced considerably over the past few years and continue to rapidly progress. One of this category’s leaders is BloqUV, a 10-year-old business that has already seen 40 percent growth from 2018. “When we started the company, we couldn’t find lightweight, functional and stylish apparel with UV protection. Now it has become an important trend,” says Corina Biton, president of BloqUV. She notes that the company sends every batch of fabric to an independent lab where it is tested by batch, color, and wet and dry. The brand’s UV protection won’t wash out and it passes UPF 50. Moreover, BloqUV’s
apparel can be used for multiple activities such as surf and swim since the pieces also provide full sun protection when wet. From a design standpoint, all of BloqUV’s women’s tops have hand covers because the tops of hands are the first to show signs of aging. This fall, the company will launch a kids’ collection as well as an expanded accessory offering that will include sun sleeves, bandanas and blankets. Many other brands have also launched collections with sun protection. For example, LIJA, Sugoi and Zensah have each added such apparel to their assortments, and are continuing the R&D process. “UPF protection is definitely at the top of the trend list and something we ensure our collection offers,” notes Linda Hipp, President and Creative Director at LIJA. 3. SEAMLESS TECHNOLOGY AND BODY MAPPING With advances in fabric knitting and manufacturing, and with growing consumer demand for seamless apparel, body mapping is becoming more common. Not only does it work to improve fit, The GoLite ReFly Skort (SRP $60) is made with ReFly woven fabric that weighs 2.5 ounces per square yard and utilizes 88 percent recycled polyester.
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Hot on the Runway (continued)
From left: The BloqUV Sun Sleeves (SRP $28 per pair) provide hand coverage, flatlock stitching for comfort, and a thumb lock cuff. Icebreaker’s NatureKnit Seamless Collection (SRP $80-$125) includes a range of tights and tops. All pieces utilize a 70 percent Merino-Tencel blend that’s knitted in a continuous piece resulting in low waste and minimal offcut fabrics. Reduced seams prevent chafing and engineered knit mesh panels boost breathability. LIJA’s Stella Jacket (SRP $130) is windresistant, moisture wicking and quick drying and the Grind Legging (SRP $110) has a high waistband, a breathable mesh panel, and two hip storage pockets. The North Face Women’s Flight Better Than Naked Short Sleeve Top (SRP $60) is an ultra-lightweight knit-mesh tee with anti-odor treatment and reflective details.
wick moisture and control heat, it is also eco-friendly because it reduces fabric waste. Brands such as SmartWool and Icebreaker both see multiple advantages in the technology. “Sm a r tWo ol’s fo cus on integrated anatomical and body-zoned garments are built for life in motion and capitalize on the need for zero waste production. Knit garments are a great example of naturally zero waste, as you are knitting just the parts of the garment from yarn that you need, not cutting it out of yardage,” says Sue Jesch, SmartWool’s Director of Design. Chris MacDonald, Icebreaker’s senior global merchandizing manager, concurs. “Seamless 6
technology allows body mapping and different knit structures and weights to create zones for breathability or warmth. Seamless can also help reduce wastage of fabric compared to traditional cut and sew.” He adds that Icebreaker has integrated a seamless NatureKnit technology into its SS20 training collection. 4. OUTDOOR INFLUENCE In the women’s active market, there is a rise in the crossover of running gear to outdoor activities. “The modern-day female athlete is always looking for ways to spice up her routine and workout, and we do see a strong love of nature and the outdoors continuing to trend, especially with our
consumer,” says Evie Moe, product director at Cotopaxi. “When we are in the design process, we think about that need for function while running, as well as creating versatile product that can work well in any outdoor adventure.” 5. VISIBILITY For runners, being visible cannot be underrated, especially as more people are distracted with texting and the general use of technology. For this reason, Sugoi developed Zap Technology, a reflective application that utilizes glass beads to reflect light from cars. “We’re putting a big emphasis on our safety category. The Zap collection is a very important group of products
for us and we will continue to develop it more in the future,” says Amelie Mathieu, Sugoi’s product line manager. 6. FUNCTIONALITY AND VERSATILITY These days, most everyone carries a phone, keys and a wallet, but what to do with all of this— plus perhaps a water bottle and snack—when on a run? Many brands now include a pocket or two in their apparel pieces, but FlipBelt is going the extra mile by integrating its popular FlipBelt multi-pocket design into cropped bottoms and shorts. “By integrating FlipBelt into a garment, we can offer a better fit, eliminate bounce, and provide extra © 2019 Diversified Communications
Hot on the Runway (continued)
From left: The Cotopaxi Mariposa Tight (SRP $90) is made with 79 percent recycled polyester and has a high waist and flatlock seams. The Zensah Dean Karnazes Compression Leg Sleeves provide calf support, shin splint relief and help improve circulation and faster muscle recovery. The Incrediwear Women’s Performance Pants (SRP $75) help enhance performance by reducing muscle fatigue and accelerating recovery. The FlipBelt Crops (SRP $56) include moisture-wicking and antimicrobial fabric, a rear zipper pocket, multiple front pocket openings and large phone pockets.
hands-free security,” explains Keenan Gates, FlipBelt’s head of business development. “The new shorts and crops utilize bluesign approved fabrics, and although the garments are designed for runners, they are suitable for a wide variety of body shapes and are adaptable for everyday activities.” He also observes that as women’s activewear has become more ubiquitous, it is also becoming more multi-functional, overlapping from outdoor to running to golf, thanks to soft, technical fabrics. Looking ahead, the company plans to expand both its belt and apparel collections. 7. COLOR AND SILHOUETTE Because the women’s activewear market is large and crosses into multiple categories, there are many opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves 8
aesthetically. However, there are a few overriding trends when it comes to color and silhouettes. For example, Edited.com reports that grays and whites are the most favored colors for new activewear products, accounting for 23 percent of the color palette, and also points to high-rise leggings as the most popular style for replenishments. “Women are looking for base colors beyond black. I’ve seen a lot more dark blues, navy and olive colors trending. For pop colors, different tones of orange and yellow have been strong and moving into 2020, green will be a frontrunner,” reports LIJA’s Linda Hipp. “For silhouette trends, top lengths are getting shorter so crop tops abound for all sports—but that doesn’t necessarily mean showing skin.” Hipp also notes that cutout and
laser-cut details, though not new, are also gaining prominence, and prints continue to be strong. At New Balance, the emphasis is on clean, modern performance. “There was a point where everything was bright and even neon. Then color became more toned down. Now the emergence of bright is back but it is the usage of those colors that is important—unexpected color combos. Having a balance between bright colors and more toneddown neutral shades is a focus for the design team,” says Mary Lawton, global PR manager at New Balance. “That contrast is important in making the sporty bright elements really stand out, be expressive and show through as special.” 8. RESPONSIVE TEXTILES While it’s important for active
apparel to provide fit, function and style, the next step is for it to also boost performance and recovery. Rather than utilize compression, advances here rely on innovative fabric technologies. Toward this end, Incrediwear has worked with physicians and professional athletic trainers to create what it calls “wearable anti-inflammatory therapy” in the form of performance pants and capris that are intended to reduce pain and injury, optimize recovery and improve performance. Unlike compression products, Incrediwear’s technology incorporates semiconductor elements within the fabric which, when stimulated by body heat, release negative ions. The negative ions activate molecular vibrations that increase blood flow and speed, hence optimizing the body’s natural healing process and © 2019 Diversified Communications
Hot on the Runway (continued)
The UA Rush Run HeatGear Tights are made of a proprietary mineral-infused fabric that promotes improved performance and energy return.
accelerating recovery. “While Incrediwear puts the focus on function, we acknowledge that part of an active lifestyle is incorporating activity into your daily routine.
Incrediwear ensures our wearable anti-inflammatory therapy can go from the morning run to running errands to running a business seamlessly,” says Megan Russell, VP-marketing at Incrediwear.
Looking ahead to the 2019-2020 season, the brand is focusing on an overnight recovery collection. Under Armour is also investing in the category and recently launched UA Rush apparel made from an engineered mineral-infused fabric that promotes improved performance and energy return. In the technology, which was developed in partnership with Celliant, the minerals are broken down into active particles and are then melded together to form a proprietary blend. The blend is then infused into the fibers that are ultimately knit into the highperformance fabrics used in the collection. The fabric works by absorbing body heat and converting it into infrared energy that
The SmartWool Women’s Merino Sport Ultra-Light Hoodie (SRP $130) features a shell fabric made of 100 percent recycled nylon with a DWR coating.
is re-emitted back into the body. This recycled energy increases temporary localized circulation, promoting improved performance, energy and recovery. n
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A Dozen Words of Retail Wisdom
Big Peach Running Company’s Mike Cosentino tells them how its done.
“Entitlement selling is dead and if you are still selling that way, RIP baby.”.” MIKE COSENTINO, BIG PEACH RUNNING
4. “What your team wants from you is a better boss, a bigger vision from that boss and a brighter vision from that boss.” 5. “Big Peach is the friendliest place on the plant. Did we borrow that from Disney? Yes, we did. And you should, too.” 6. “We want our employees to listen to what our guests want to talk about. We are not the hero on the stage. We are the guide on the side to our guests.”
Big Peach’s Mike Cosentino shares his passion for retailing with the NSGA Conference audience.
Following are a dozen of his comments to a crowd of full-line retailers and independent team dealers, many of whom could certainly use some of his overall enthusiasm and retail savvy. 1. “People ask me what’s our secret. There is no secret. We are very clear with our team and anyone can figure it out — pay attention to the environment we provide for our guests and the interaction we have with our guests. Everything falls into those two buckets.” 2. “If we are not working hard every day, if we simply manage, we become less relevant every day.” 3. “We have four core values. One, our best business asset is our team. Two, Make It Better. Three, always choose service excellence. Four, we take run seriously. This is Big Peach Running Company and it never changes.”
8. “Unless you are delivering an experience, you have no authority to determine your margins and your prices.” 9. “I went kicking and screaming into e-commerce, but right now we are spending a lot of money upgrading it.” (Editor’s note: Big Peach currently does less than 10 percent of its business online.) 10. “Social media is important to us and we can influence but we can not control what message our guests are sending. It used to be called ‘word of mouth.’ Now it is called social media.” 11. “Entitlement selling is dead and if you are still selling that way, RIP baby.” 12. “Our competition is not in the world of sports. I would offer that we are in competition for limited resources of time, money and attention. If we win that competition, then we are in it to stay.” n
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Photo: Courtesy of NSGA.
t took a run specialty point of view to liven up a recent sporting goods conference — and Mike Cosentino from Big Peach Running Company in Atlanta was the perfect guy to do it. The occasion was the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) 55th annual Management Conference and 21st Annual Team Dealer Summit in Braselton, GA, not far from Cosentino’s home turf. He was invited as a speaker on a panel ambitiously titled “Improving the Sporting Goods Retail Experience.” With more than $10 million in annual sales from seven stores (and one Big Peach on Wheels mobile unit) and more than 100 employees in the Atlanta area, Big Peach certainly has improved the retail experience in its highly competitive market. “Running is who I am,” Cosentino told the audience. “It is what has defined me, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. But many of us are not that great at store design and retailing. We have to be very aware of how we do it and not be afraid to ask for help.”
7. “Work is theater. Every business s a stage. We are all performers on it every day.”
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BOSTON MARATHON 1982
BOB WALLACE’S TRUE STORY (AND OTHER LIES)
An unabridged, unedited, un-redacted, unprofessional edition from the mind of Bob Wallace.
ike all stories, there has to be some introduction, some background and unrelated bull to fill in the dead time and space. My story of the 1982 Boston Marathon has been hijacked and I’m attempting to set the record straight before I forget the whole thing and start believing the story that has been floating around for years. I should have copyrighted it years ago and been living on some exotic island walking around in a grass skirt. Next time, next life. Here is the build up to the real story, with only a few lies. In the winter of 1981 I was living in Omaha, Nebraska, and training for that year’s edition of the Boston Marathon. There’s the first lie that you missed. I was surviving in Omaha, not living. Nobody lives there in the winter. Anyway, one morning I was out running and needed to take a pit stop. I found a vacated, run-down house and did my business. As I was treading gingerly down what remained of the driveway I hit an especially icy spot. On the way down, face forward, limbs spread out, I see the bottom of a broken beer bottle, sharp edges 14
pointed upward. Somehow I made some body moves that would have put me in any internationally renowned and respected ballet troupe. I managed to land on both hands and knees and limped home. After struggling for another six weeks with a sore knee and running 120 miles a week I finally broke down and went to see a doctor. And it wasn’t a shrink. He poked and prodded until in desperation he ordered me to lay down on my back on his examination table. He tells me to straighten my legs, takes the closest ankle and proceeds to lift the attached leg until it is at 45 degree angle and I am screaming for mercy, for my dead mother and calling the doctor every word that is four letters long. He totally disregards me and walks around to the other side of the torture table. I am sweating profusely by this time and living in the future. The immediate future. I brace myself for I know what is going to happen next. He grabs the other ankle and lifts that leg ordering me to stop being a baby, to keep still and to shut the f up. All in a very professional tone I’m sure. The leg goes
to about the same angle before he shows a little humanity and lets the ankle and leg crash to the table. It’s a Stretch
He looks me straight in the eye and says “There’s nothing wrong with your knee”. However, he continues, “You have the hamstring flexibility of a 117-year-old dead person who has been stored in a freezer for the last 23 years. Maybe that’s why your knee hurts. What’s more, you’re in serious need of some psychiatric help, although I doubt if anyone in their right mind will treat you”. Slowly I’m getting his drift. Maybe stretching once a month could be beneficial. I wouldn’t overdo it. Maybe five minutes one month and build up to six minutes over the next decade. Apparently, my assumption was incorrect. He orders me to stretch for five-to-10 minutes every waking hour until the knee pain goes completely away. Being an over achiever, I get on it. I go back to work and every hour I do my stretches. On the second day I can’t walk. Give me childbirth in a phone booth, a rusty nail in the eye, pull out my finger
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Bob Wallace’s True Story (continued) I reconsider water boarding not to be a viable alternative to running a 120 miles a week. But it’s close. I have to think long and hard to make a decision between those two options. The net result of this drama is I miss Boston in 1981, but my marathoning that year has more to it. The ‘Real’ Bob Wallace?
Bob Wallace wearing #9 on his way to a ninth place finish.
nails one by one; anything but more stretching. Being a compliant patient I call the doctor and beg for mercy. Maybe amputation would be a more suitable alternative? He asked what I’ve been doing. Stretching every hour, just like you told me. It’s the first time in my life I ever got close to following directions. “No, no, no” 16
is the response. Three times a day is good. The doctor explains he tells people to stretch hourly, expecting them to get two to three stretches in a day. Then he asks me whether I’ve seen a shrink yet. Great. I back off my stretching routine, the people in the office think I’m less crazy than they did a few days ago. Over the next few weeks my knee pain lessens.
Shortly after the Boston Marathon that I missed I talked to the wife of a runner who ran the race. She asked me how I finished. I told her I didn’t run. “I heard your name on the radio, you were leading the race at one point,” she explained. So, in the ’80s there wasn’t TV coverage of the Boston Marathon. This was before Al Gore invented the World Wide Web, when telephones where attached to the wall and email wasn’t a word. The Boston Marathon coverage was a few horses and riders with carrier pigeons that they hoped could make it back to the radio station with a note attached to its leg before the gas lanterns were lit. Yes, the good old days. I repeat, that I was in Omaha freezing my arse off and didn’t run Boston. I blew it off. Maybe there was another Robert Wallace crazy enough to run a marathon. My memory is not great, but I knew I did not run the race. A few weeks later I get some mail, it has a picture of an old geezer finishing the marathon in four-plus hours and this other person, wearing a number 30, arms stretched up above his head finishing next to him. Did I want to buy a 4X5 photograph of myself finishing this prestigious event? 30, that’s my number, that’s not me. What’s going on? Not wanting my name in the
results at four-plus hours, not wanting my totally unknown reputation to be completely destroyed, I promptly wrote a letter to the Boston Marathon Board, attached the photograph proof of the imposter wearing my number 30 and demanded an explanation of how this criminal could show up, get my race number, lead the race and have my name printed in the results? A few weeks later I get a response back from Boston, with my unviolated race number and an explanation that the race number in the photograph was a different color from a different race and my name would be removed from the results. My reputation was reestablished to its prior low, low level. I would be able to walk the streets at 3 a.m. and not be called bad names. There is justice in this world after all. Although not much. Heading to Duluth
My stretching and a few weeks off training, along with missing Boston in 1981, worked out well in the end. In June that year I travelled to Duluth, Minnesota, and finished third to Dick Beardsley and Garry Bjorklund in a PR of 2:13:14. Of course, by the time I finished, the two of them had showered and had lunch. Sadly, I was second the year before, improved two to three minutes and still got blown away by those two. The story I heard was that Dick worked for Garry in his running store. As Dick was making his break late in the race Garry reminded Dick of who he worked for and if he wanted a recommendation for his next job. Apparently Dick has very selective hearing especially while running a faster than five-minute © 2019 Diversified Communications
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Bob Wallace’s True Story (continued)
Wallace’s Boston Trophy in a place of honor
mile pace. It happens. Now we’re done with the warm up, here’s the 1982 Boston Marathon as seen through my eyes with a little color thrown in to keep it interesting. Try your best to stay awake. The race has been called the Duel in the Sun, of which I played no part, in the competitive portion of the event. In those days the Boston Marathon started at noon. The qualifying time was 2:50 for men and 3:20 for women. Boston didn’t care how old you were. If you were a 97-year-old woman, you had to run a 3:20 marathon or faster to qualify. Age groups 18
be damned. Being a sponsored Adidas runner they had arranged housing near the starting line as well as transportation. Bob and Grete
The late Grete Waitz was the star of the marathon in those days. She pretty much won every race she entered. The Adidas athletes waited outside our hotel and two large station wagons (woodies) pulled up. Grete, husband Jack and an Adidas kingpin get in the first vehicle and it takes off in a cloud of exhaust fumes. About 12 of us scramble into the second wagon.
I, along with one other participant, get the luxury of being stuffed into the luggage section in the fetal position for our hourplus journey to the start area. My hamstrings were not concerned in the least. Upon arrival at our pre-start housing us second class runners were ushered down to the basement while Grete, Jack and the Adidas big boys enjoyed a light breakfast, TV and comfortable seating upstairs. The downstairs dwellers, which soon grew to about 30, just stood in line sharing the one bathroom. You got your business done, flushed and went to the back of the line. It was a great way to warm up for a major marathon. Not that I am still bitter some 35 years later. No bitterness at all. Not one little bit. Ask my shrink. But it was better than what most of the participants were offered. Shortly before noon we were summoned outside and led to the starting line. Grete was of great assistance here. As our group made our way, runners and spectators would turn to see what the commotion was about, they would see Grete and take a couple of steps backwards and the rest of us would file past hurriedly. It was fun viewing it from behind. Us “elites” had a special roped of section behind the start line where we could stretch a little or whatever you do before racing as fast as your tight skinny legs would move for 26.2 miles. I have a few memories from standing around in the coral before the marathon started. Firstly, I saw Holly W., who was a half-miler at UTEP when I was there. I was surprised to see him at the start of this race especially.
In those days the Boston Marathon started at noon. The qualifying time was 2:50 for men and 3:20 for women. Boston didn’t care how old you were. If you were a 97 year old woman, you had to run a 3:20 marathon or faster to qualify. Age groups be damned. That’s quite a jump from the 800 to a marathon. In college I didn’t regard Holly as an especially smart student. Like running a marathon was evidence of high intelligence. But in college if he was told to run the first 400 in 52 and then sprint home he would do it to the extent of his physical ability. Usually that meant a split of 54 and walking home in 68. But he never questioned what he was told to do. We caught up for a few moments. Then an unknown runner started talking to me about the race, if I had run it before, did I know the course, what was my mother’s maiden name. All the usual stuff that fills your time before a race. He warned me of all the downhills in the first 10 miles and to make sure I didn’t go out too fast. I assured him I’d take it easy at the start. Then I saw Bill Rodgers, who I had met in Omaha and jogged over the Pepsi 10K course the day before the event. He was a headliner for that series and raced nearly every weekend across the nation. He greeted me, remembered my name, which impressed me, and we spoke for a couple of seconds. Nice bloke, great personality. Eventually we were called to the start. I’m already feeling the © 2019 Diversified Communications
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Bob Wallace’s True Story (continued) As you may or may not know, I’m not the most emotionally stable person in the world. Ask any shrink who has attempted to treat me. All have failed, miserably. Ask even the ones I’ve put into retirement or better still put into a padded cell. sun and probably getting sunburnt. Hydration wasn’t a big deal back in the day. In fact, I can remember that the national and international marathons were not allowed to have water stops until after the first 15K. Such were the rules made up by officials in three-piece suits who smoked and most likely never ran a step in their lives. Anyway, the ropes came down and the gun was fired and off we go, downhill. At the 10-mile mark, the clock showed at 49:50, I felt a tap on my shoulder and my unknown friend from the start line says “I told you not to go out too fast.” I still don’t know who he was and have never seen him again. I should have listened to his advice. A little late now. In retrospect he was pretty smart; especially for a marathon runner. One of the few other parts of the race I remember clearly is running up Heartbreak Hill. I looked up and literally couldn’t see where I was supped to run. The hot weather brought out everyone with their BBQ’s and beer and obviously crowd control wasn’t a high priority. But then again with those qualifying times who needs crowd control? Luckily, a motor cycle cop came to my rescue and led me up the hills. I’ve never been so grateful to suck exhaust fumes 20
for three miles instead of oxygen. It was the only way I could have fought my way through the crowds. At some stage, around 20 miles, my police escort ends and I’m left on my own. Apparently the three-piece suiters had the wisdom to place a few miles of crowd control barriers. By this time I would have been happy to have been part of the crowd. My legs were shot, my quads no longer working, and my hamstrings even shorter than when I was four-foot tall. I’m dehydrated, sunburned and seeing images of giraffes walking on lakes filled with milk. My give a shitter has given up, I just wanted to finish and get the torture over and done with. 21 Miles and Counting
At the 21-mile mark I’m looking for the finish line knowing full well it’s not going to be around the next corner. Of course, the crowd is encouraging me with “you’re almost there” and other such lies. If I had the energy I would have told them what they were full of, but I’m out of energy. I continue to shuffle between the barricades and the crowds, stumbling and tripping over the invisible cracks in the road. I don’t remember stopping at any of the aid stations. I was completely out of fuel. WTF, it’s the Boston Marathon. Finally, with a set of borrowed binoculars, I saw the finish line and sprinted towards it at a snail’s pace. Let me tell you, those snails can really move. They are fast. I don’t care what you believe. Somehow I finished and made a sharp right turn towards the refreshments and medical professionals in a multi-level parking garage. The first person I see
is Alberto Salazar laying in a kid’s wading pool covered in ice. That’s what you get for running so fast. Me, on the other hand, am covered in sunburned skin. That’s what you get for running so slow. Not wanting any of the hot chowder that Boston is famous for giving to the finishers, I make my way towards the hotel where I know the Adidas big wigs will be in a room with air conditioning and frosty beverages. I enter the hotel lobby in my sweaty running gear, number still safety pinned to my top. I wait for an elevator, get in with some hotel guests who give me more room than I require and head to the desired floor. I’ve been finished probably 10 minutes. Off I get and head down the hallway to the Adidas room. Coming my way I see a cart full of dirty sheets and towels. I know this thing is not on remote control. As it pulls up beside me I see a short lady dressed in all white who is pushing the cart. She stops. She looks at me. Here I am, sunburned, sweaty, and dressed in my running gear. I smell worse than the cart she is pushing. “Did you run in the race today?” she asks. (Obviously she’s not going to be hired as a detective anytime soon.) “Yes” I reply excitedly. “How did you do?” By this time I’ve got a shit eating grin from one ear to the other. “I finished ninth!” I reply, mustering as much excitement as I could under the circumstance without doing cartwheels and dancing up and down. Without a change in facial expression or tone of voice she responds, “Better luck next year.”
Turns away and proceeds down the hallway with her cart. Apparently it’s hard to impress some people. WTF!!!!! Really? I’d run my guts out and the first person I’ve actually spoken to is totally unimpressed with my efforts. “Better luck next year.” For crying out loud, which I don’t make a habit of doing in public. Ninth at the Boston Marathon. May all your towels be covered in irremovable stains. Better Luck Next Year?
As you may or may not know, I’m not the most emotionally stable person in the world. Ask any shrink who has attempted to treat me. All have failed, miserably. Ask even the ones I’ve put into retirement or better still put into a padded cell. But the “Better luck next year” comment put me immediately into a deep dark depression. I’m on the 17th floor of a hotel, a couple of paces from my shoe sponsor’s room and I’ve just been slammed by the cleaning lady for only finishing ninth at the Boston Marathon. Until 30 seconds ago I thought I was set for life. I’d make millions, be on the cover of Rolling Stone and maybe do a few TV commercials. But no, I probably couldn’t get a job pushing dirty sheets down the hallway at some overpriced hotel for $3.20 an hour according to this lady. My mind starts racing. What excuses can I come up with for finishing only ninth at Boston? I’m seconds away from meeting up with the Adidas monkeys. I didn’t hear the starting gun. I usually start with my right foot forward, this time I started with my left. It didn’t work. I got squeezed off my spot on the starting line and had to start © 2019 Diversified Communications
Bob Wallace’s True Story (continued) on the second row. I missed my drink at 12.7 miles and couldn’t recover. I had to stop and wait for more runners at Wellesley College because I was afraid of being attacked by the screaming teenage girls. I ran off course and did an extra seven miles. I had to reapply sunscreen. I thought I was in eighth. Someone must have taken a short cut. I had to face the consequences. Head down, depressed, devastated, I shuffled as quietly as I could into the Adidas room. Nobody even turned around. They were either busy counting shoe brands of finishers or drinking frosty brews. They probably
thought I was the cleaning lady. I picked up my stuff. As I was leaving the room someone said to me “You know, we call you The Phantom.” “Why?” “Because you show up at races, run and leave. You never talk to anyone. Just show up, run and leave.” I left the room. I did not say a word. The next year Adidas came out with a running shoe named the Phantom. It was the lousiest piece of shit I’d ever put on my feet. I never asked if it was named in my honor, because I didn’t talk to people. So this is one of the many reasons I’m the way I am today; a cynical, skeptical, piece of work with a chip on my shoulder. My Boston trophy, a unicorn on its
back legs, is in the basement; hidden from view so I don’t have to relive the whole humiliating story again. It’s one of the few running trophies I have kept. I have written this account of my experience of the Boston Marathon to clear up the stories that have been passed along over the years. I dedicate this story to the two coaches I had over the years, the late Roy Whitehead in Australia, who started my running journey, and Ted Banks, my college coach. Ted memorably yelled at me across the track as I fell off the pace during a workout, “Have a little pride in yourself Wallace!” Such fond memories made me the runner I am. For the record, I only ran Boston once. n
As I was leaving the room someone said to me “You know, we call you The Phantom. Because you show up at races, run and leave. You never talk to anyone. Just show up, run and leave.” I left the room. I did not say a word.
My sincere gratitude to Rebecca for her editing skills and patience. Bob Wallace is the founder of Run On! In Texas and coauthor “Running Your Bucket List Marathon.”
LEAVE IT ALL ON THE TRAIL
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running shorts ATRA Partners with OrthoLite to ‘Connect with the Trail’
A Race to the Moon
he American Trail Running Association (ATRA) recently launched its newest program, Con ne ct wit h t he Tr a i l, a grassroots, community-building initiative sponsored by OrthoLite, with support from Salomon and Balega. The #ConnectWithTheTrail program will invite trail runners to share imagery from the trails on their Instagram and/or Twitter channels, using #ConnectWithTheTrail and tagging ATRA and OrthoLite in their post for an opportunity to win a curated product package from OrthoLite, Salomon and Balega. “Our hope is to enhance the trail running experience for athletes at every level with superior comfort and performance thanks to our innovative insole technology,” says Dan Legor, global director of marketing for OrthoLite. “We’re looking forward to deepening our commitment to the trail running community and engaging with them through the Connect with the Trail program.” Imagery submitted as part of the #ConnectWithTheTrail program should fall into one of the following categories, with a goal of inspiring other trail runners and sparking conversation amongst the community: • Emotion: Reflect the emotion one experiences on the trails and illicit a “Wow” response from the viewer. • Responsibility: Speak to the 2019 ATRA 22
theme of “Trail Running Responsibly,” showing runners sharing the trail with multi-users (e.g., running with their leashed dog, or pitching in on a trail maintenance day). • Community: Celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion at trail races, or on group runs Each month, the ATRA team will select an image that represents at least one of the above categories to be featured on its social channels and website. The individual who submitted the selected image will receive a custom product package from Connect with the Trail’s presenting sponsor, OrthoLite, and supporting partners, Salomon and Balega. “We expect this to be a really engaging campaign and are excited to see what the running community submits to illustrate their trail running spirit and how the community shines,” says Adam Chase, ATRA president. “We are grateful to our sponsors, OrthoLite, Balega and Salomon, and look forward to rewarding those who submit the best image each month.” Connect with the Trail officially launched this month and will continue throughout 2019, giving trail runners an opportunity to share their experiences and further grow the community. Instructions on how to engage and future program updates will be promoted via ATRA’s social media channels and website on an ongoing basis. To learn more about ATRA, visit www.trailrunner.com
Lace them up tight! The National Air and Space Museum has announced its latest commemorative activity – Race to the Moon – as part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Race to the Moon is a 50-day virtual race on the social fitness app Strava that will challenge participants to run 50 miles in 50 days. The race started June 1 and ends July 20. Race participants are encouraged to share photos of themselves using #RacetotheMoon, connect with other runners across the country and enter to win exclusive Apollo 50 content and prizes. At the end of the challenge, all challenge participants will receive a surprise. Official rules and information on how to join the race are available at https://airandspace.si.edu/racemoon. More information and updates on the museum’s Apollo 50th anniversary programs and events can be found on the museum’s Apollo website.
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running shorts Obit: Gabriele Grunewald Loses Her Battle With Cancer Tributes are pouring in from around the running world to Gabriele Grunewald, the middle distance runner whose battle with a rare form of cancer ended last week when she passed away at the age of 32. Grunewald was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2009. Due to tumors, her salivary gland was removed in 2009 and her thyroid was removed two years later. She had surgery to remove a roughly five-by-six-inch cancerous tumor from her liver on August 26, 2016; a surgical oncologist performed a right hepatectomy to remove the tumor as well as the affected right lobe of her liver. Throughout all this, “Gabe” continued to train and run. She represented the United States at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships and finished in ninth place in the 3000 meters. She was the national champion in the 3000 meters at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Grunewald placed 13th in 1500m final at 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Grunewald placed third Wanda Sports Coming to U.S.
Wanda Sports Group Co., the Chinabased owner of Ironman, the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series and Cape Epic mountain biking event, has filed an initial public offering in the U.S. Wanda Sport lays claims as “the number one provider of mass participation sports events in triathlon, mountain biking and running globally (based on revenue and number of events organized in 2018),” according to its prospectus. Its brands include Ironman, Ironman 70.3, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and the Cape Epic mountain biking event. The Beijing-based company also claims to be the number one full-service sports marketing company and the number two full-service sports marketing company with number one positions, among such 24
at 2016 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships and 12th in 1500m final at 2016 United States Olympic Trials. As she raced and trained, her battle with cancer inspired many in and out of the running world. She spoke openly of her illness and found time to write letters and notes to others who were sick. “We are heartbroken at the passing of Gabe Grunewald. In her time with Brooks and in all she did, Gabe was brave, inspiring and caring,” said Jim Weber, Brooks companies, in football and winter (Olympic) sports, as well as the number three position in summer (Olympic) sports. In 2018, the company owned, or had rights in respect of, more than 20 world championships, including the FIFA World Cup Russia, the Ironman World Championship and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Wanda Sports had 2018 revenue of $1.29 billion, up about 15 percent from a year ago, with profits of $62 million, a 31 percent drop from the previous year. Tecnica Unveils The Origin Trail Shoe
Tecnica’s custom-fit trail running shoe, The Origin, for SS20, pulls from Tecnica’s history in developing ski boots. There are four versions in the family with different outsoles, midsoles and levels of support in the uppers, so the result is the same performance
Running CEO. “We remember and celebrate the tenacity she brought to the track every time she spiked up and the compassion she shared with runners from all backgrounds. Gabe made our sport better. Our condolences go out to her family, friends and everyone she touched with her story,” “Thank you Gabe for your inspiration. Your life and your running personified the meaning of perseverance and gratitude. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with Justin and your families,” tweeted Meb Keflezighi. And Chip Gaines, the host of “Fixer Upper” TV show, who trained with Gabe for the past two years tweeted: “I knew @gg_runs for less than 2 years, but those weren’t an ordinary 2 years. Time for her was more like jet fuel, and she burned through every drop. I’m going to go on a long jog today in honor of you gabe! and I promise, til we meet again.. to be Brave! #BraveLikeGabe” In her honor, Gaines raised more than $500,000 in donations to St. Jude’s Hospital, which he matched with a personal donation.
for every runner. The upper contains thermomoldable sections in the areas that tend to have the greatest issues with fit. Retailers are equipped with a machine that allows them to mold the shoe to the customer in 20 minutes. Tecnica had introduced this technology in a hiking boot, the Forge, last year.
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running shorts Global Running Day Celebrated by the Run Community on June 5
UA Logs Seven Million Miles
In celebration of Global Running Day, Under Armour wrapped up its 30-day #StartTogether challenge on the MapMyRun app, which encouraged runners to log 30 miles in 30 days. The goal of the 30-day challenge was to unite runners from around the globe. Since it can be hard to start running, the #StartTogether message was created to encourage athletes to start somewhere, even if it’s just with a single mile each day.
Superfeet Acquires RSscan
Superfeet last week acquired RSscan International, a leader in movement analysis and personalized products for elite athletes throughout Europe. This merger expands Superfeet research capabilities and personalized manufacturing facilities to Europe, giving consumers increased access to personalized products in Europe and the U.S. The Superfeet and RSscan union expands both organizations’ expertise in biomechanical research and analysis, and personalized product technology and development. Together Superfeet and RSscan teams include more than seven biomechanists, two complete R&D teams, pressure plate development and manufacturing, and state of the art insole and footwear production facilities in the U.S. and Europe.
More than 57,000 runners participated in the challenge on MapMyRun, logging almost two million workouts over the course of 30 days. Together, participants logged seven million miles.
Runkeeper brand’s #DearShoes social giveaway and in-app challenge and events in nearly 50 U.S. ASICS stores and outlets, the brand asked runners to share their stories and celebrate. Runners were encouraged to spend some time with their most supportive running buddy – their shoes – and join the company by writing their ASICS shoes a love letter, celebrating the ups or downs they have, to be entered for a chance to win. They were then asked to share their love note (and a photo of their ASICS sneakers) with the hashtag #DearShoes on Instagram or Facebook between May 29 and June 30 to be entered for a chance to win a pair of GEL-KAYANO 26 running shoes.
ASICS Loves the Run
ASICS and its ASICS Runkeeper app celebrated Global Running Day in the United States with a nationwide activation that gave runners and run lovers a platform to share why they love the pastime. Through
“Joining forces with the RSscan team brings more like-minded, exceptionally talented members to the Superfeet fold. Having worked with the RS team closely on the ME3D personalized insole and Fitstation technology platform, it is clear their vast expertise and technology leadership complement our existing capabilities, we’re honored to have them on board,” explains John Rauvola, Superfeet CEO. “As technologies and innovations continue to drive our industry, this merger continues our ability to lead the way and explore new opportunities for people to experience the Superfeet shape.” “While working with Superfeet on the Fitstation platform, we saw the power of our elite level research and technology being applied to the Superfeet vision for
personalized products available for everyday people,” said Friso Hagman, RSscan CEO. “We are happy our research and technology work will make an on-going contribution to improving the lives of people.” Spartan Partners With Craft
Spartan, the globe’s largest obstacle course race, and Craft Sportwear have jointly created the Spartan RD Pro by Craft designed to specifically address and advance the needs of obstacle course race participants. It features superior drainage through its Hydrain technology and better grip via its OBSTA-Tech outsole. Available in men’s and women’s version, the shoe ($140 MSRP) is now available for pre-order at Spartan.com. It will be available at Spartan events early this summer.
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