Running Insight 9.17.18

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TRAIL TAKES OFF Runners are going back to nature. SEPTEMBER 17, 2018



Trail running breaks new ground as more people yearn to get back to nature. / By Judy Leand

Off the Beaten Path A

s outdoor activities continue to resonate with a growing number of Americans seeking to tune out frenzied modernday life and tune into nature, trail running is managing to attract a broad range of participants in terms of age, gender and ability level. Proponents point out that the sport is fun, easier on the body than running on pavement, less repetitive and dreary than gym workouts, offers beautiful scenery, and can also be very sociable. Admittedly, trail running is nowhere near as large a market as road running, but it is quickly expanding its reach and, coupled with an explosion of races and events, has become an important growth category. “Trail running is an incredibly fast-growing category for us,” says Greg Thomsen, managing director of Adidas Outdoor USA/ Agron, Inc. “[Trail running] encompasses newcomers and weekend warriors looking for a new outdoor pastime, as well as technical ultra-runners professionally dedicated to the sport. “It is in general a very accessible sport for many in the U.S., and is something that gets people out into nature and provides a hearty, meditative workout,” he adds. Besides offering unique competitions, trail running is also booming in urban and suburban areas as more enthusiasts experience the joys of the trail, even within the confines of a city park, he notes. The SFIA’s 2018 Topline Participation Report for Trail Running reveals that there were just over 9.1 million participants in

Naked Running brand ambassador Sondre Amdahl competes in the 2017 Gore-Tex TransAlpine Run.

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2018 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.



Mark Troy Leonard.................................. Christina


Managing Editor....... Michael Jacobsen:


© 2018 Diversified Communications

The Bare Access Flex Shield provides maximum connection to Wom en’s 43.1200° N, 85.5600° W

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the trail, with maximum protection from the elements. • The FlexConnect midsole provides multi-directional agility • A 0mm drop in the heel helps you feel the terrain • Our M Select shield upper resists water for the nastiest running conditions


Trail Running (continued)

UltrAspire athlete Magdalena Boulet winnng the 33rd Marathon des Sables.

2017, up 6.6 percent from 2016, and accounting for five-year average annual growth of 9.6 percent. Moreover, the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) reported that in 2014 (the most recent data available), there were nearly 3000 races on the docket, including trail, mountain, snowshoe, cross-country, mud runs and hill climbs. ATRA estimates that there are now more than 7000 events globally. “There is growing opportunity due to more races and venues and more variety in the events,” explains Nancy Hobbs, founder and executive director of ATRA. Moreover, many trail races are becoming full-fledged events, replete with concerts, beer and wine tents and art festivals. She also says that parks and trail systems are being promoted (as are ski resorts in the off-season), resource management is improving and consumer 4

education focusing on training is more prevalent. Hobbs points to California and Colorado as key trail running hubs, followed by Texas, Alaska, New England, the Asheville area of North Carolina and the Midwest. Vendors eager to invest in product R&D, marketing and event sponsorships are also fueling the category’s growth. For example: • Adidas Outdoor is tied to the annual Audi Power of Four Trail Event & Race with the Aspen Ski Corp. and is the lead sponsor of the annual Aspen Backcountry Marathon. • La Sportiva is a presenting sponsor of the Leadville Trail 100. • 2018 marked the second year of Under Armour’s UA MTN Run Series. • On, following the release of its first line of trail shoes last Fall, partnered with the Discrete

Cirque Series of mountain races held at ski resorts. • The North Face sponsors The North Face Endurance Challenge events. • Columbia Sportswear is a presenting sponsor of the UTMB endurance race series. • On the educational side, Vibram, which will launch its LiteBase technology in 2019, plans to bring its Vibram Sole Factor mobile cobbler tour to trail running event. Most manufacturers also utilize brand ambassadors and sponsored athletes who provide product testing and feedback as well as brand authenticity. At the grass roots level, a broadening network of groups and clubs provide mentoring along with access to trails, which cuts down on the intimidation of new participants, particularly women and kids. “Opportunity and education are key because they make the experience positive,” says Hobbs. At retail, trail running draws outdoor and hiking enthusiasts as well as road running devotees who want to transition to trail, making for interesting initiatives and product mixes. For instance, at Austin Trail Running Co. in Austin, TX, community outreach director Philip Graves reports that the category is “growing at a huge rate” and currently accounts for 70 percent of the store’s sales. “Our demographic skews toward men, but we’re now seeing more women getting into the sport. We serve true beginners as well as people doing 100 milers,” he says. Graves believes local knowledge is key — particularly awareness of the local terrain. Because Texas hill country is rocky, the shop does well with

shoes that offer protection, such as La Sportiva and Hoka. “Trails and the surfaces you encounter, along with the weather, are completely regional,” points out Allon Cohne, Vibram’s CMO. “You can do research online; however, a professional conversation from your local gear nerd never disappoints.” At Palo Alto, CA-based Zombie Runner, which also houses a café where informal runs often begin and end, coowner Gillian Robinson is seeing more new trail runners who tend to be a little older and are looking for comfortable shoes. Road running accounts for 75 percent of the business and trail 25 percent. Key brands in the store are Hoka, Altra and Salomon, and Robinson also has some new Saucony trail shoes on order for January. “The challenge is that with trail shoes, there’s not as much choice in the fit, particularly widths. There’s more variety in road shoes,” she says. “It’s better to have a perfectly fitting road shoe than a poorly fitting trail shoe.” At Seven Hills Running Shop, a specialty trail running store in Seattle, WA, founder Phil Kochik says that his business has been 70 percent trail and 30 percent road for the past several years. His core clientele is ages 25 to 45, skews 60 percent male and represents all ability levels. Altra is his top-selling brand, and Salomon makes the store’s best-selling hydration vests. “We do well with the hydration vest category and sports nutrition, especially the more real food options like Trail Butter, Muir Energy, Huma Gel, Spring Energy and Skratch Labs.” In the trail running hotbed of Colorado, Twisted Trails Running © 2018 Diversified Communications


Trail Running (continued)

Vibram race team members use trail races as testing grounds for themselves and the brand’s products.

Co. is leveraging its location in Steamboat Springs with an eye toward becoming a destination travel store. Because tourists and locals alike flock to the area’s mountains and trails, the shop carries more trail shoes than most other running stores in the vicinity, according to Co-owner Josh Boles. “For us, trail is 85 to 95 percent of our business and most of our customers are coming from the outdoor side rather than from the road running side,” he explains. The shop is heavily involved with a variety of local events and races and makes a point of working with schools and cross-country coaches. “Steamboat is a small community so we want to make sure we’re taking care of our own,” he says. Meanwhile, in Bend, OR, Foot Zone owner Teague Hatfield is optimistic about the category as a whole. “Although trail running is a small percentage of the overall running industry, it’s an 6

aspirational category with good energy behind the products and a growing number of races,” he says. “Trail running comprises about 35 percent of our total shoe sales and we stock at least 40 SKUs each for men and women,” he adds. “For 20 years, we’ve made trail a strong presence in the store and it’s a point of differentiation.” Like Robinson at Zombie Runner, Hatfield laments that the options for trail shoes are fewer than can be found in the road category, especially regarding widths and variation of design. Fortunately, many vendors, including Merrell, are working to remedy that problem. “We’ve been focusing on expanding our line to include shoes for light, moderate and rugged terrain,” says Erika Derlyo, Merrell’s category manager of trail run and train. “Connection to the trail is the most important thing to consider when building a shoe. Technologies and foams used in

shoes for the road simply aren’t safe for the trail. “Trail running is a small part of our business today, but it’s our quickest-growing category.” Derlyo adds. “In 2019, we’re launching more trail running product than ever before and we expect to see double-digit growth.” Caspar Coppetti, co-founder of On, says the brand is making a strong push into the outdoors with new trail running models coming out at the end of November. In 2019 it will add competition shoes, long distance models and hiking boots. “We want to make trail shoes that are very runnable. Often, people start in a parking lot and go to a fire road or trail and we want to be sure the shoe works on all these surfaces,” he says. While some brands highlight specific products for particular trail conditions and uses, others espouse the virtues of multi-use. There are compelling arguments for both points of view, but in the end, it all boils down to individual preference. “We are seeing more demand for specific performance characteristics in trail shoes,” says Gretchen Weimer, VP–product at Hoka One One. “In contrast with the broader fitness market, where consumers are demanding more versatile product they can use for everything, trail runners expect shoes built for the specific demands of a specific trail, be it highly technical, smooth or something in between.” Conversely, Bryce Thatcher, fou nder a nd president of UltrAspire, sees growing demand for more versatile offerings. “The Millennial crowd, especially, is drawn to multi-use and wants one product that will work for

At retail, trail running draws outdoor and hiking enthusiasts as well as road running devotees who want to transition to trail, making for interesting initiatives and product mixes. multiple things and they’re willing to pay more for that product,” he says. “They lean toward minimalism and will sacrifice weight for durability, such as choosing one pack for running and mountain biking.” Caroline MacMillan, design director at GoLite, concurs with Thatcher. “For a lot of outdoor athletes, trail running is one activity of many. They expect their clothing to perform for a wide range of endeavors and will be coming to specialty retail looking for brands that support that range,” she says. One thing is certain: As the trail running category continues to blossom, so too does the competition. “The marketplace is dynamic, there are always new brands entering, new ideas launching, new products that help solve a problem,” says Tony Post, founder and CEO of Topo Athletic. “That’s a good thing, by the way. It forces us all to be better, to find ways to offer consumers a better experience, deliver more value and make the sport more fun and exciting.” “Trail harkens back to our evolution as humans. It’s a very primal thing embedded in our DNA,” explains Lindsay Dakota, co-founder and designer for Naked Sports Innovations. “The category is seeing more competition, so it’s important for retailers to be open to new brands and ideas and to be aware of market trends.” n © 2018 Diversified Communications



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Growing demand for off-road running gear brings specialty retailers greater sales opportunities. AS MORE RUNNERS SEEK WAYS TO DISCONNECT FROM their over-scheduled, demanding lives and reconnect with nature, the trail running category is growing. A broadening network of forested paths, mountain trails and urban parks, plus the increasing popularity of adventure races,

backcountry marathons and other events, is inspiring participation at all ability levels and is also proving to be a boon to specialty running retailers. Here, we present three pages of a broad mix of trail-friendly footwear, apparel and gear that’s built to go the distance. n

Hoka One One

The Speedgoat 2 (MSRP $140) can handle all types of technical trails.


The Feline Up Pro (MSRP $169.95) Alpine running shoe provides a close, glove-like fit at the forefoot and heel.


The Switchback ISO (MSRP $140) offers a full-length Everun midsole, a Boa lacing system and an Isofit dynamic upper.

La Sportiva

The Bushido II (MSRP $130) provides slip-on construction that wraps the foot, along with an Air Mesh upper.


The women’s-specific Antora (MSRP $110) is made with Q Form 2 Stability technology and a Vibram TC5+ outsole.


© 2018 Diversified Communications


Hot on the Trail (continued)


NAO + rechargeable headlamp (MSRP $199.95) has 750 lumens of power and utilizes Reactive Lighting for better battery consumption.



The ultralight and minimalist PureRun Vest (MSRP $100) incorporates Air-Mesh construction with versatile storage pockets.

Made with all vegan ingredients, the ADV Skin 5 Set (MSRP $155) utilizes 3D Air Mesh with fast-wicking fabrics, along with MotionFit Trail with Sensifit for a comfy fit.


Created for high-intensity activity, Roctane Energy Drink mix (MSRP $3.25 per single serve pouch) contains carbohydrates that use non-competing pathways to help maximize carbohydrate absorption.



The Soft Flask 500ml handheld hydration flask (MSRP $20) is made of TPU material that conforms to the hand. A built-in hand strap makes it easy to carry.


The Essential Bottle Pack MSRP $34.95) comes with a 550 ml UltraFlask Hybrid Bottle and can also hold a large cell phone


Hot on the Trail (continued) The North Face

The women’s Flight Trinity shoe (MSRP $140), part of the Ambition collection, has a EXTS Outsole System.


The lightweight Cloudventure Waterproof trail shoe (MSRP $169.99) boasts an On waterproof/breathable membrane.


The Suunto 9 (MSRP $599) multisport GPS watch includes FusedTrack technology that combines GPS and barometric data with movement sensors to improve track and distance accuracy.

Topo Athletic

The Terraventure 2 (MSRP $120) has a hook and tunnel gaiter system and a Vibram XS Trek outsole.


The Spra (MSRP $74.99) features Schoeller Coldblack cooling fabric and Naked power mesh sides and back.

Territory Run

The All Day Tee (MSRP $45) is made with eco-friendly Sport Café fabric that contains recycled coffee grounds.


© 2018 Diversified Communications


Whirlaway Sports Stakes Its Turf Retailer’s annual tent sale has grown from a modest affair to a celebrated event. / By Daniel P. Smith


The Whirlaway Sports Center staff was all fired about about its 16th annual tent sale in June.

ith an imposing 40-by-120 foot white tent and a steady stream of people flowing in and out, Dave Kazanjian insists it only looks like a circus. In fact, the active scene last June on Merrimack Street in Methuen, MA, was Whirlaway Sports Center’s 16th annual tent sale. A staple of the Whirlaway Sports’ calendar, the annual four-day affair attracts customers from New England towns dotting the Atlantic Coast. “This isn’t just a sale. It’s an event,” beams Kazanjian, owner of the 35-year-old running specialty store that’s made multiple appearances on the 50 Best Running Stores in America list. “People start asking about it in January and it’s grown far beyond our expectations.” When Whirlaway hosted its first tent sale in 2003, Kazanjian viewed the it as an eyecatching opportunity to sell long-lingering inventory. He ordered a 40-by-60 foot tent and filled it with discounted running shoes and gear. Customers’ ongoing appetite for the annual sales event and Kazanjian’s willingness to stomach additional investment, however, spurred bigger things. Today, at 120 feet, the tent is twice as long as it was in the sale’s inaugural year. “But that’s as big as we can go because we’re already next to the dumpsters at the end of the parking lot,” Kazanjian says. Though Whirlaway sits on a 16-acre parcel that includes a golf driving range and it sells an assortment of other sporting goods, the tent sale is largely devoted to running inventory and features several thousand pairs of running shoes as well as running apparel and accessories. “Runners are in heaven,” Kazanjian says. The Uncontrollable Variable


© 2018 Diversified Communications

Photos: Josh Albert

Over the last 16 years, Kazanjian and his Whirlaway crew have endured the full

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Whirlaway Tent Sale (continued) range of Mother Nature’s wrath during the tent sale weekend. From downpours and lightning to swirling winds and excessive heat, Kazanjian has seen it all and remains grateful for sidewalls. “Weather is always a variable and a potentially devastating one we have no control over,” Kazanjian says. The ideal tent sale weather? “Nice, but not too nice that people forget to visit us,” he jokes. Enticing Deals Galore

Kazanjian purchases product throughout the year for the tent sale and vendors contact him directly about closeout deals. “With such a large tent, you


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“This isn’t just a sale. It’s an event. People start asking about it in January and it’s grown far beyond our expectations.” DAVE KAZANJIAN, WHIRLAWAY SPORTS CENTER

need to fill it up or it will look empty,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, though — you want to buy enough, but not too much.” T h a t s om et i m e s m e a n s Kazanjian is sitting on inventory for long periods of time or rolling unsold items back into the store’s clearance area. “Sitting on some dead money like that would drive the real business folks crazy, but we want to put out deals that will entice

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Whirlaway Tent Sale (continued) Scenes from A Tent Sale

people to come, be happy and tell others,” Kazanjian says. “If profit was the sole goal, then I’d probably do things quite a bit differently, but this is about more than a making a buck.” It’s All in the Prep

Kazanjian says producing the four-day event requires a good four months of preparation. There’s advertising the sale, which Whirlaway does through direct mail, local print publications and social media. There’s readying inventory, including tagging items with prices. And then there’s coordinating staff and meals and stocking the tent. “To do it right, it’s a lot of work,” Kazanjian says. “I’d tell anyone thinking of hosting a tent sale that this is not something to rush into. It is what you put into it.” Tent or no tent, service still reigns, Whirlaway’s high-touch, sit-and-fit experience exists in the tent just as it does inside the store and Kazanjian says the pomp and scale of the tent sale allows his team an opportunity to introduce quality footwear to people who might otherwise not visit the store. “We pride ourselves on service and when we can represent who we are, especially to folks who aren’t familiar with us or might have only been pulled in by the promise of deals, that really impresses customers,” says Kazanjian, who intentionally “overstaffs” the tent sale with 15-20 associates to ensure customers receive proper attention. “Tent sale or not, it’s still our reputation out there,” he reminds. Continuous Improvement

Over the years, Kazanjian and his team have added elements 18

“With such a large tent, you need to fill it up or it will look emptyIt’s a fine balance.” DAVE KAZANJIAN

such as music and makeshift dressing rooms and learned how to effectively troubleshoot onthe-fly problems. Still, Kazanjian knows there’s always room for improvement. After 2017’s tent sale, the Whirlaway team identified 32 points for improvement, all of which were addressed in 2018. Following the tent sale this past June, the Whirlaway crew identified another half-dozen potential improvements and are considering additions such as food trucks to further boost the festive atmosphere. “We’re constantly tweaking the formula and brainstorming ways to make things better,” Kazanjian says. Enduring Motivation Admittedly, Kazanjian questions if the annual event is worth the sizable effort it requires. Yes, the tent sale produces cash flow, but it is an undeniably expensive proposition demanding a significant investment of money and manpower, time and energy. “That week alone, I’ll work over 90 hours and it beats us all up pretty good,” he says. “And, honestly, I hate to look too closely at the final numbers.” So why endure it year after year? “It’s fun, high energy and festive and people like it,” Kazanjian says. “I see it as a thank you to our customers and an opportunity to generate goodwill, which is worthwhile in itself.” n © 2018 Diversified Communications








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New Balance Unveils NYC Marathon Lineup The ‘Mosaic of New York’ is celebrated with 2018 Marathon Collection.

New Balance has incorporated symbols of NYC in its official shoe, including the Statue of Liberty in a a copper-y gold and a mosaic motif in the apparel line.


he mosaic of New York is the theme of the 2018 New York City Marathon collection of footwear and apparel recently introduced by New Balance. “New York is often called a melting pot, but at New Balance it’s more than that,” says Deirdre Fitzgerald, New Balance executive VP–apparel. “We think of New York, and the Marathon with over 50,000 participants coming from more than 100 countries, as a beautiful, diverse mosaic of people and cultures; where you do not lose your individuality but rather keep it and become part of a larger tapestry.” The mosaic motif is evident in the multicolored outsoles of the shoes and also in the patterns of women’s running tights and other apparel items. In fact a graphic print used 20

in apparel is inspired by an aerial image of the starting line magnified many times over. The Statue of Liberty is also an inspiration in the collection. The original color of Lady Liberty, a bright copper-y gold, is captured in detailing on the shoes and in the lining of several outerwear pieces. The gold lining, branded as NB Radiant Heat, is reminiscent of the shiny Mylar blankets presented to runners as they cross the finish line. “We wanted to bring together fashion and technology,” Fitzgerald says. NB Radiant Heat features fabrics that are coated through a plasma process, resulting in enhanced heat reflecting properties. “Our jackets and vests feature a bonded construction for a truly wind resistant body, a PrimaLoft ThermoPlume fill for warmth without weight, combined with the

NB Radiant Heat lining to give the runner a pinnacle warming experience,” she says. The Marathon NB Radiant Heat will be available in a marathon exclusive copper color with the suggested retail prices ranging from $160 for the vest to $260 for the jackets. The New Balance 2018 TCS New York City Marathon Collection features four footwear performance models: the FuelCell Impulse (a new addition to the marathon line-up), 860v8, 1400v6, and Fresh Foam 1080v8. Distinctive design elements on the lace aglets, sock liner, tongue label, NB logo, midsole and outsole set these styles apart in celebration of the Marathon. In addition, the collection will feature a number of branded accessory and lifestyle items, including gloves, hats, pullovers and graphic tees, tanks and sweatshirts. n

© 2018 Diversified Communications


TRY IT FEEL IT BELIEVE IT NEW 3.0 COMPRESSION RUN TIGHTS Available in full, ¾, and short lengths


RUNNING INSIGHT *** Hurry! Rates for the All Access and Day Tripper passes will increase by $50 after October 4, 2018. ***

The Running Event 2018 Taking Shape Education sessions to feature four well-known keynoters; Retail Registration is now open.


our major keynote presentations and 10 breakout sessions aimed at helping running specialty retailers run their businesses better and more profitably will highlight the groundbreaking Conference portion of The Running Event 2018. • Barbara Thau, contributing retail writer for, will focus on “What Specialty Running Stores Can Learn from the Big Guys While Leveraging Their Indie Edge.” • Dan Mann, former retailer turned author, and founder of The Mann Group, will describe, “How Digital is Changing the Customer Journey.” • Neil Schwartz and Patty Kelly, of SportsOneSource, will present “The Only Numbers You Need to Know About The Running Market.” • And finally, well-known speaker Parker Karnan will share his annual “State of the Industry” report. The conference will also feature a separate professional development track aimed at race directors and retailers interested in profiting from the events business. Admission to this track can be booked at the link above and includes a luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 28, that will celebrate the release of the BibRave 100, the 100 best races in North America ( n

RETAIL REGISTRATION ga=2.26238719.397456257.1535384618-1842715298.1523976154

Three Great Retail Packages Retailer registration for The Running Event 2018 is now open! Retail Packages include: • All Access Pass ($650): This includes all Conference Sessions that take place Nov. 27 and 28; all educational and social events that take place on the trade show floor; all networking events, including the Opening Night Reception presented by Balega & Implus Brands, the Best Running Stores in America Awards & Banquet and all Daily Fun Runs and The Indie 5K. • Day Tripper Pass ($350): The package includes all Conference Sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 27 and 28, and full access to the trade show on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28, 29 and 30. Also included are all educational and social events that take place on the trade show floor and all networking events, including the Opening Night Reception presented by Balega & Implus Brands and all Daily Fun Runs and The Indie 5K. • Trade Show Pass ($60): This includes full access to the trade show on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28, 29 and 30, including all educational and social events that take place on the trade show floor and all networking events, including the Opening Night Reception presented by Balega & Implus Brands; and all Daily Fun Runs and The Indie 5K. RIA and IRRC members are entitled to $100 discounts on the All Access Pass. Invite a “buddy” and they pay half price. Invite five buddies, and everyone pays half price. Hotels registration is also open. Official TRE hotels and special rates can be found at: Retailers with any questions should contact Mark Sullivan at

New Areas Highlight the The Running Event 2018 Trade Show Floor In addition to the Conference, The Running Event Trade Show floor will feature a number of new areas that will also offer educational presentations. The Trailhead at TRE will bring attention and education to the growing trail category. The American Trail Running Association will manage the content for the Trailhead Stage, which will be open throughout the trade show. Also new this year is the SportStyle Select area, a curated presentation that will include a sock bar, instruction on proper sports bra fitting techniques and an array of functional, yet stylish sportswear.


SportStyle Select will be managed by 3 Dots Design.

TO EXHIBIT: For more information about exhibiting at TRE 2018: Christina Henderson; 214-263-4706., @therunningevent

© 2018 Diversified Communications

athlete: Rory Bosio, 2-Time UTMB Champion artwork: Dennis Mukai reference photograph: Luis Escobar






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running shorts Jackrabbit Expands National Footprint, Acquires Rhythm Running in Tennessee


ackRabbit was extremely busy as summer draws to a close. First, it completed the acquisition of Nashville-based Rhythm Running. Then it finalized plans to open two new stores in Houston, TX, and Tampa, FL this month. JackRabbit is currently operating 62 stores in 18 states along with its e-commerce platform at The addition of the Houston store expands the JackRabbit footprint in the state of Texas to 12 stores. “We are excited to have the opportunity to acquire Rhythm Running and enter the vibrant Nashville market,” says Bill Kirkendall, CEO ofJackRabbit. “We could not be happier to have them join our JackRabbit team.

“We are also excited to expand our footprint in Texas with our new store opening in Houston and our entry into the state of Florida,” he adds. “We are committed to the continued growth of the JackRabbit store base and digital platform with the full support of our employees, management team and shareholders at CriticalPoint Capital.” JackRabbit is owned by CriticalPoint Capital, a private investment firm based in Manhattan Beach, CA. Brooks Rocks ‘n’ Rolls

Brooks Running and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series recently unveiled a “Run Together” initiative that encourages athletes to run together in support of a healthy

lifestyle. “Run Together” is intended to encourage people to nominate their friends that are new to running in to a contest to win Brooks gear along with Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series entries. The fully immersive media campaign will include print, social media and website advertising. One grand prize winner will be selected to win a trip for two to San Antonio to run alongside Desiree Linden as a VIP and Brooks Running athlete. Linden, a Brooks and Rock ‘n’ Roll Ambassador, won the Boston Marathon in 2018, becoming the first American to win the race since 1985. The grand prize will include airline travel to and from San Antonio, hotel accommodations,



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running shorts Rock ‘n’ Roll VIP Access and Brooks performance running gear. Brooks and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series will also host the Brooks Invitational Mile on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, November 11, 2018. Twenty professional female and male runners will race down the Las Vegas Strip at night with cash prizes distributed to the top finishers. Pro-Tec Gets Extreme

Pro-Tec Athletics recently released the RM Extreme Contoured Roller Massager. The handheld roller massager provides a controlled deep tissue massage, while the contoured surface effectively wraps around select body parts. The 21-inch non-flexible design provides leverage to allow the user


to control compression level. The RM Extreme (MSRP: $34.95) is made from a latex-free, closed cell EVA/Polyolefin foam to provide durability and ease of cleaning. This design allows users to achieve a deep tissue self-massage to release muscle tension, promote flexibility and improve joint mobility. It can be used alongside the Orb Extreme (MSRP: $24.95) and Orb Extreme Mini (MSRP: $14.95) for a full body extreme package. The Orb Extreme is a 4.5” deep tissue massage ball that provides a multidirectional roll for the user to target specific muscle groups. The Orb Extreme Mini has a three-inch diameter and is used primarily for single point massage to allow for a myofascial release.

© 2018 Diversified Communications


A Long Mile A casual conversation resulted in an established Community Event on Long Island, New York.

The David Torrence Mile.


any years before he became a world class miler, Kyle Merber worked at Sayville Running Co. on Long Island in New

York and had a conversation with store owner Brendan Barrett about starting a “cool event” to promote the store. In that conversation, world class runners would mix

Kyle Merber (Hoka One One), Meet Director, with Chris O’Hare and Cory McGee.

with kids and students from the community to compete, have fun and go home happy. “Of course back then, we weren’t that busy, so we had time for conversations like that,” Barrett tells Running Insight. “But I remember those conversations and am thrilled at what they have led to.” Last week Sayville Running Co. and its sister store Smithtown Running celebrated the fourth running of what is now known as The Hoka One One Long Island Mile. More than 200 runners, including Merber and many of his world-class colleagues, competed along with kids, students and locals in 12 sections. The opening section for local runners featured times in the 12- to 15-minute range, while young kids raced “once around the track,” according to Barrett. The race took place on the first day of school for local students and several days after the 5th Avenue Mile in Manhattan, which along with Merber’s conections, helped attract an elite field. Merber also helped bring in his personal sponsors, Hoka, Polar, Feetures! and Xendurance, to sponsor the race, as well. “We love having them all involved and it’s a great to have Polar as a Long Island-based company, as one of the main sponsors.” Polar sponsored a prediction contest where spectators “predicted” who would win various heats and then had their names pulled out of a raffle to win prizes. For Hoka, Barrett says the race has helped grow awareness for the brand. “A lot of our customers remember Kyle from when he worked here and his connection with Hoka and their support of this race has re-inforced what people are hearing that this is an up and coming brand,” he explains. Merber and Barrett admit the store doesn’t make much money on the event. “That wasn’t the point when we first talked about it,” he says. “The idea was to build awareness for our stores and differentiate them from the big boxes and it’s certainly done that.” n

© 2018 Diversified Communications



50 Best Running Stores Returns in 2019 Selection process begins in December as the annual event moves to Tucson in May.


he second edition of The 50 Best Running Stores in America Awards and Conference will take place May 20-22, 2019 at the El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort in Tuscon, AZ.

The 50 Best Event will include conference sessions created especially for better running stores, the awards presentation, networking and team-building activities and the opportunity for stores to meet with key brand partners in a relaxed setting. Vendors will set up in hotel suites and meet with groups of retailers in pre-arranged sessions. Retailers are organized into “teams,” which allows the retailers to forge relationships with one another over the course of the event. “We learned a great deal from hosting the first freestanding 50 Best event last year in Minneapolis and are going to incorporate those learnings and other feedback into the 2019 event,” says Christina Henderson, event manager for The 50 Best and The Running Event. Among the new ideas that will be put into place for 2019 are: • Earlier Dates, May 20 -22. “By holding the event in May, The 50 Best store owners will get a first look at new product from major brands right after those brands hold sales meetings. This will be a great value

The El Conquistador Tucson, setting for the second edition of the Best Running Stores in America event.


NEW IDEAS FOR THE 2019 EVENT • Earlier Dates • Revised Timeline • Resort Setting

for retailers and will be a great benefit of being named one of the top stores in the country,” Henderson says. • Revised Timeline: Stores will now arrive Sunday night and have a chance to settle in before working Monday and Tuesday and celebrating Tuesday night. “This will be a more relaxed timeline than last year,” Henderson says. “There will be plenty of time for meetings, networking and business sessions.” • Resort Setting: “This is a beautiful property,” Henderson says. “Attendees will be able to relax and celebrate. Plus, the setup of the resort allows for Vendor Suites to all be located close together, which will make the meetings easier to attend and more convenient for all.” The selection process for the 50 Best Stores will begin in December, 2018, with winning stores being notified by March 31, 2019. The process includes mystery shopping store evaluations and a rigorous examination of the store’s community service. Sponsorships for the 50 Best Awards & Conference will be limited. Brands who sponsored the event last year will have first right of refusal. Companies interested in sponsoring the event should contact Christina Henderson at n

© 2018 Diversified Communications



NOVEMBER 27-30, 2018 • AUSTIN, TX

An interactive, educational area on the exhibit hall floor devoted to the growing trail running category. Featuring presentations from top athletes, brands and retailers who will highlight opportunities around this evolving business.

Presenting Sponsors:

Content Partner:

Research Partner:

Supporting Sponsors:

Special Seating Sponsor:

Visit for more details and a daily presentation schedule.

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