Positioning The Running Network LLC for the future, by Larry Eder


While runblogrun.com is my labor of love to the sport I love, my job is being President of The Running Network LLC. In that role, I am posting this letter on positioning The Running Network LLC for the future.

October 11, 2008

Dear Friends,

On Monday, October 6, 2008, certain publications currently represented by The Running Network LLC announced that a new rep group had been formed to represent their national advertising interests and that, as a result, they would be leaving the Network at the end of 2008. This was not a surprise to any of us. 

First, let me thank those of you who have reached out to me through notes, phone calls, and text messages of concern. I want to assure all of you of both my health and the health of The Running Network LLC.  We are both doing fine.  Evolution is a good thing, and in this case, the change has been coming for some time. In fact, it gave us the opportunity to think hard about how The Running Network LLC can meet the needs of its readers and advertisers over the next decade.  As part of this process, we spoke to many of our close friends in the industry, as well as to our major accounts. Their suggestions and comments were invaluable to us and indicative of the mutually beneficial relationships we value. I want to assure you that many of our plans were reviewed by our major accounts.

The health of The Running Network LLC is robust. We have been around for twenty-two years. We have parted ways with many of our publications with mixed feelings. But we have also taken steps to make The Running Network LLC into a more representative group for the entire running community. In 2009, we will be joined by a number of new publishers bringing to twenty-four the number of publications in The Running Network LLC. These established national, regional, and city publications represent all of the key running markets in North America.

We believe that this new lineup will improve our reach into the running community while streamlining the number of publications. These publications have the high-quality print reproduction capabilities that national advertisers demand and twenty-two of our publications will be glossy. The majority of our circulation (nearly 85%) will be subscriber-based or direct-mailed, meaning that our direct relationship with the reader will be even more secure than it was before. As in the past, our publications will not accept mail order or Internet ads for running shoes, cementing our relationship with the grassroots running store and the IRRA, the Independent Running Retailers Association. 

The Running Network LLC has always been, and will continue to be, about celebrating the diversity of the sport, from prep runners to women runners, from new runners to fitness and core runners. With a print publication rate base of 650,000 (and remember, we've surpassed our rate base for more than a decade) and twenty-four websites (twelve brand new and four more in production), in 2009 The Running Network LLC will be even better poised to answer the needs of race directors, running store owners, and national advertisers who have entrusted us with their marketing messages for the past two-plus decades.

In addition to working with advertisers to make connections between runners and companies, The Running Network LLC has always taken an active role within the culture and sport of running in the U.S. We have presented and hosted running industry gatherings, supported IRRA, USATF, RRCA, and many running events, and underwritten some of the most prominent awards in our sport. Relationships in our sport are built over decades, with thoughtful time spent at thousands of finish lines, speaking to race directors, race finishers, and industry members. 

The Running Network LLC and its twenty-four publications and their publishers are already on the move for 2009. And as former competitive runners, we look forward not only to our established competition, but to any new competitors that may arise!

As always, you may call me anytime (608.239.3785), text me, or email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!

For more information on the Running Network, please check: http://www.runningnetwork.com

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