The 2012 Running Event is in the Books: Five Takeaways on the Industry

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by: Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
December 11, 2012 

The 2012 Running Event (TRE), the conference and expo for the specialty running shops in North America, was last week in Austin, Texas.

The easiest way to describe TRE is a huge marathon expo, but only for retail store owners, their employees, and the media. TRE is closed to the public.  TRE is all about reaching the specialty running retail buyer. It is so targeted that the TRE press release here shows that of the 2,100 in attendance there were way more vendors and exhibitors than specialty retail buyers.

At TRE there are conferences and talks for the specialty retail store owners. There are lectures about putting on races, marketing, selling, etc. More interesting for most of you is that Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank came and gave a motivational speech.

And yes some of the sports stars were there. America’s best marathoners Ryan Hall (Asics) and Meb Keflezighi (Skechers) were there. Saucony brought the most athletes as it had most of its stars there (Mr 1:42 Duane Solomon, Wallace Spearmon, Lauryn Williams, Molly Huddle). TRE is a place where despite not there being many people in attendance, there are lines to get autographs with runners.

5 Takeways on the Running and the Industry from 2012 TRE

We’ll have more on some of the products coming out of TRE later this week but first 5 takeaways about the industry as a whole and then highlights of Daymond John’s talk.

Saucony’s Porsche Lucas, Molly Huddle, Wallace Spearmon, Lauryn Williams and Duane Solomon at the Saucony Party (Photo Gallery Here)

1) Running Store Owners (and Shoe Manufacturers, Athletes, and Coaches) Are in The How Do We Stay Healthy Business
40-60% of runners get injured every year. As someone said at TRE, the NFL injury rate isn’t that high. Nearly everyone in running (coaches, runners, shoe designers, and athletes) are trying to figure out how to optimally train while not getting injured. Easier said than done.

2) The Human Body Was Not Designed to Run in a Straight Line
If you just run in a straight line, with no cross training, in the same pair of shoes each day, you’re likely to get injured at some point. Running in different shoes on different days, cross training, and lateral movement are all things that can activate different muscles and help us stay healthy.

3) There is No Perfect Shoe
If there was a perfect shoe for everyone, then each shoe company would come out with its one shoe each year. I take that back, there would be one shoe company and it would issue its one shoe. Instead there are tons of shoe companies and tons of shoes. Thus, we’re all left to search for the shoe and brand that is best for us. (Business Editor’s Note: Since finding the perfect shoe is difficult, you should start your search with companies that advertise on LetsRun.com :)  connect with real runners. Thank you Asics, Brooks, Karhu, Puma, and Saucony for your support in 2012).

5) The Minimalism “Fad” Is Slowing

This graph from the presentation by Leisure Trends Group Senior Retail Analyst Liz Stahura shows that growth in the minimalism footwear is slowing. True minimalist shoes will be less than 20% of the market. Likely closer to 10%.

5) Minimalism’s Impact is Here
While not everyone will be running in barefoot slippers soon, every shoe company is trying to make their shoes lighter. The amount of drop on a lot of shoes is coming down. I think just about everyone agrees that unnecessary bulk on shoes is a thing of the past. Many of us didn’t need the barefoot shoe movement to realize this, but the impact of minimalism sped the shoe companies in this direction.

Daymond John Gives His Insights

Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank was one of the featured speakers (Sidebar: A company associated with Daymond owns the Etonic brand. He described it as an iconic brand in the running industry. Others might be more diplomatic and say it is one with potential). Daymond gave an entertaining pep talk with some universal truths for business that were well received. Since the public couldn’t be there and you likely wouldn’t have wanted to pay $800 to hear him speak anyway. Here are some highlights:

  • Think big. Daymon’s mom taught him that “it takes the same amount of energy to think small as it does to think big.”
  • Action trumps everything else.
  • Daymond’s main advice can be remembered with S – H – A – R – K
  • S Set the goal
  • H Homework- do it to reach your goal.
  • A Amore- Love what you are doing.
  • R Are you the brand?
  • K Keep moving forward.

Check back later this week for more from TRE.
2012 The Running Event Photo Gallery at this link or embedded below.

The Expo is an Excuse for Many to Entertain (New Balance Had the Best Glasses)
Saucony Had Plastic Cups, But a Full Fledged Party
Nice Style at Saucony Party
Dee Dee Trotter with Her Nike Swoosh Missing at the Saucony Party
Saucony President Richie Woodworth
Duane Solomon Mr 1:42
At TRE People Actually Want Runners Autographs
Porsche Lucas, Molly Huddle, Wallace Spearmon, Lauryn Williams and Duane Solomon
Lauryn Williams Flashes Her Gold Medal
Brooks' Spaghetti Booth
Nike Had a Small Booth
Asics Had the Biggest (Simon Potts, Designer Simon Bartold and The One and Only Ryan Hall)
Meb Keflezighi with the Go Meb Shoe at the Skechers Booth
Expo Floor
A4 The Apparel Brand is Getting into Shoes
Illumi Nite in the Day
Illumni Nite in the Night
More on this Product Later
LRC Poster Gary B Helping Out at Generation UCAN
Instructions for the Altra Shoes

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