The Running Event is the key event for specialty. Mark your calendars now for Dec.5-8, 2012, and Austin, Texas. Tremendous event, retailers, manufacturers, media, a place to see product, talk out issues, stay on top of the buzz. It is what a trade show should be. The key for Formula 4 Media will be able to keep it relevant and timely for the industry.
RBR tweeted highlights from each day, including an excursion to Moonshine, where Saucony exec Tim Knowlton saved RBR's credit card, which was left with bill. Thankfully, the observant bartendress placed the card in the safe, and a nightmare was avoided.
Great to see many industry heroes, including Freddy Doyle, Saucony, minus part of a thumb and Mike Rouse, Active, with arm in sling. On the last day of the event, saw Mark Sullivan, one of the Formula 4 founders (Jeff Gruenhut, Troy Leonard, Jeff Nott) smiling. Hats are off to four guys who gambled all to pursue their dream, and, in the end, do something good for the business of specialty running.
Great buzz from this years show, will be writing about it over the next couple of weeks!
RUNNING INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS CONVERGE ON AUSTIN
TO PROFIT FROM GROWTH OF THE SPORT
The Running Event, Largest Ever, Attracts 1,600
AUSTIN, Texas (December 13, 2011) - Sixteen hundred running industry professionals filled a convention center last week in one of the most running-friendly cities in America with one primary goal in mind: encourage people to run more with the latest performance footwear, apparel and running accessories.
The Running Event(R) Conference and Expo (www.therunningevent.com), the six-year-old brainchild of Formula 4 Media, brought the $850 million running industry to Austin on Dec. 7-10, with conferences, The Running Specialty Hall of Fame and 50 Best Stores recognition dinners, a lightning fast 5K, and 250 exhibitors, up from 175 the year before.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell came to the Austin Convention Center for lunch, and to boast, "We are the fitness capital of the world."
An avid fitness walker, Mayor Leffingwell continued, "A show like this is a catalyst that brings people to Austin. They get to see our city. Walking the show I started thinking I need to get back into running."
Local retailer Paul Carrozza of RunTex, who helped train the Mayor by making him walk backwards uphill, said, "For a new visitor, Austin blows away your expectations of Texas. We're not all tumbleweed and dust bowl. This city of 800,000 is a fitness oasis in the state."
Increasing the popularity of running was much on the minds of manufacturers and retailers alike.
During the 50 Best Stores Awards dinner on Dec. 9, The North Face named Gazelle Sports of Kalamazoo, Mich. the winner of The North Face Never Stop Exploring Award, recognizing the store's programs that encourage both kids and parents to get outside and push their personal limits.
Said The North Face Vice President of Sales Michael Millenaker, "Retailers need to organize more grassroots events and promotions - we all need to work together to find new runners, and not just elite runners."
The TRE Expo was three weeks later this year, allowing exhibitors to display samples of their Fall 2012 products and provide retailers a first look at what's new from top footwear and apparel suppliers, as well as new innovative accessories from a number of entrepreneurial companies. For instance, accessories vying for retail attention this year included: the Hand's Free Dog Leash System; KT Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape; HVLO Headphones in a Headband; Knuckle Lights; Phubby, a cell phone cubby worn on the wrist; and the self-explanatory LegLube Performance Shave Gel for Fast Legs - all designed to enhance the running experience.
Global footwear giant ECCO, which has been in the running category for the past several years, reports generating new leads through its participation in TRE 2011. "The buyers and store owners here represent a Who's Who of the running industry," said Erik Walcott, general sales manager, ECCO Performance. "We're here because we're trying to expand distribution within the specialty running channel."
Adds June Angus of Seattle's Amphipod, "This is the busiest show ever for us. We're already in just about every specialty running shop in the U.S. and the accounts we see here are interested in expanding with us further."
Said Olivier Bernhard, six-time Swiss Ironman Champion and the founder of On Running, "The chance to put shoes on the feet of the most important independent running retailers is invaluable to us. On's innovative CloudTec cushioning system has such a unique feel that it's vital for retailers to experience the difference. You just can't do that on a brochure or website."
At the Running Specialty Hall of Fame dinner, the Brooks Adrenaline 11 won the Independent Running Retailer Association (IRRA) Shoe of the Year; Brooks was also recognized as Vendor of the Year.
The popular Indie 5K, which began in the pre-dawn darkness of nearby Zilker Park, reportedly now lays claim to the fastest industry 5K in the world with a blistering 15:03 first place finish by Benson Cheruiyot, head coach and director of the Kenyon Running Team, who ran representing exhibitor NuCentury Herbs. He finished first among 360 entrants which included fastest retailer Joe McCellon of RunTex (15:22).
Troy Leonard, TRE show director, believes Formula 4 Media's investment in the conference and expo is paying off. "Next year we're hearing retailers will bring more of their staff because TRE's concentrated focus on running is an exceptional use of their time. This all adds to our continued transition from a small boutique expo to a full-fledged trade show."
Adding to TRE 2011's buzz, an independent filmmaker named Shawn David was on hand shooting an upcoming documentary about sneakers called "Laced Up." Local Austin television affiliates gave their viewers a sneak peak from within the closed-to-the public expo. FOX TV aired a round-up of new products, interviewing Running Insight's Cara Griffin, editor at large. KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate, focused on the W.L. Gore & Associates mobile Storm Chamber, part of Gore's Know What's Inside Tour. Austin native Lance Armstrong also tweeted a TRE 2011 welcome to his 3.2 million followers.
The Conference and Expo returns to Austin in 2012 on Dec. 5-8. In 2013, TRE is scheduled for Dec. 3-6.
The Running Event® is a registered trademark of Formula 4 Media, LLC.
For more information: www.therunningevent.com