Running USA Starts on Sunday

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The Running USA meeting, held in the San Diego area each February, is one of the most important meeting places of the sport's movers and shakers. This year, the warm weather, and the plethora of topics covered, from youth running, to the state of the sport, are drawing many top footwear, running business, road racing and federation players to the Hilton La Jolla. The recent departure of Craig Masback from USATF should also provide some interesting points of discussion.

The goals of Running USA are quite ambitious and the key is, can a sport that is so disparate, with so many moving parts, find a way to play well together for the common good?

I have visited Running USA twice before and have always been quite impressed. The level of growth each year, the continued involvement and support of key players in the sport, show what Running USA can become.

The goal, at least in my mind, is for Running USA to be the trade organization of the sport-and it has made good growth to that goal. In the areas of road running directors, footwear companies, and infrastructure sponsors of the sport, Running USA has done quite well.

It's challenge is to make this a must be at visit. That is a challenge with so many other events and trade shows on the typical running industry management dance card. There must be value, in terms of a place to meet other players, there must be topics of interest and there must be opportunities to grow the business.

The Running Event, in which one of my employers, Running Network LLC , is involved, happens in November and has found its niche in giving running store owners one show to attend each year to see new product, make deals that will justify their attendance, and the topics and values that Formula 4 puts into the event have made it a must go event.

Running USA is evolving into this, for race directors, and sponsors. The more value it gives, the better the event will grow. Active.com and Gen-A media have been the major sponsors and their support of the event has been good for both companies. But, being a visionary is a tough thing and it costs money. To stay on task, to develop this event, sponsors need to see that having the dream and the support are two very special gifts in this world of immediate gratification.

I will provide a few updates and observations on Running USA during my visit and I hope you will enjoy them. If you have any topics that are of interest, please email me at [email protected]

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