The Running USA Meeting started on Sunday, February 10, 2008. The opening reception, sponsored by realbuzz.com, Gen A Media and Active Network was telling. Over 350 people were in attendance. Most of the attendees were race directors, companies marketing to race directors and potential sponsors of the sport.
By any standards, this was a successful opening. However, the future of the organization does hang in the balance. Is Running USA a trade organization? Does it stay patient and continue to grow at 20-25 percent a year, offering a series of meetings that are attractive to running sponsors and race directors, or does it try to be everything to everybody and dilute the attraction it is building to a certian segment of the sport?
The Hilton La Jolla was a perfect setting for Running USA’s national meeting. While much of the country is under Ice Age conditions, Torrey Pines golf course and Torrey Pines National Preserve were alive with golfers, runners, walkers and hikers. The golf course is stunning, built on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean.
The Torrey Pines national preserve has dirt trails and an old road which is frequented by bikers, runners, walkers and hikers. All shapes and sizes, all speeds and distances. But, most importantly, these people were active. And that is the key.
Running USA, like our sport, is at a historic juncture. Either we become the home of getting active, whether it be running, walking, jogging, racing, the sport has a place for you, or we become a home of the elite of the sport and become then a group of gawkers, instead of participators.
Running USA, over the next few days, will determine the direction of its future. From picking a CEO, to picking additional opps for the sport. Running USA can go in several directions, but in the end, it has to choose where to place its future. Will it be an elite organization or will it combine elite, youth and recreational fitness to give this part of the sport some leadership?
We shall see how Running USA chooses its future over the next few days…
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