A first-timer’s insight to The Running Event #TRE16

Back at the office, I’m unwinding from three conferences in 10 days which included The Running Event (TRE to the insider), and I’m already looking forward to attending in 2017. This annual mecca for speciality retailers, vendors, race directors, and working media is a cornucopia of all things running.
Orlando was the site this year kicking off its four-day program on Tuesday, November 28, which included informative sessions, a trade show, awards breakfast, a 5k race through Disney property, and of course many networking opportunities for the registered 2,540 industry professionals.

On hand at this year’s expo were 278 suppliers displaying a variety of gear and innovative technology, sharing tried and true footwear brands, and offering special sneak peaks at training gadgets, hydration products, massage tools and more. It took more than the 16.5 hours spread over three days to walk the floor and meet and spend quality time with each vendor as the aisles were packed with booths ranging from the standard 10’ x 10’ to mansion-like displays covering sizeable footprints.

Day one of the show started just like a race, with all of the eager retailers and media poised for the 3-2-1- GO announcement. The crowd stood in an apron formation atop the escalators ready to merge from a wide berth through the narrow funnel that led down to the show. Sponsor branding was ever-present on much of the real estate surrounding the show, from walkways sporting Adidas Terrex signage overhead, to the Hoka One One escalator signage, as well as the heavily logoed archway at the show’s entrance.


Once past security (only badge holders were admitted), and inside the show, it was best to be armed with a road map of the floor to assist in locating specific vendors. Without a map, one had to rely on overhead signage and familiar logos, and even then, it was hit or miss to find the correct route to a scheduled vendor meeting.

Lesson learned for 2017, is to space meetings at least one hour apart. Back-to-back 30-minute meetings are the mistake of the first-timer. It is nearly impossible to finish up with a vendor in under a half hour and make the next visit on time.

Although I didn’t get to every booth, I did visit (in alpha order): adidas Outdoor, Altra, Balega, Boa, Cambelbak, CW-X, Feetures!, Fuel Belt, GU, Harman, Hickies, Honey Stinger, Inov-8, LPTent, Inc., Marathon Printing, MedZone, MyLaps, Night Runner 270, Nuun Hydration, On, Oofos, Reebok, RRCA, RunGum, Smell Well, Tailwind Nutrition, Theraworx Active, Topo, Trigger Point, and Ultimate Direction. This list of course just scratches the surface and with lessons learned on how to work the floor, my list will grow in 2017.

Some stats from show providers Formula4Media: The 2016 event attracted the second largest retail attendance in its 11-year-history with international retail attendance the highest ever. There were 70 first-time exhibitors and 52 working media. The 870 buyers represented 1,250 retail storefronts from 21 countries, placing it close to the record buyer attendance at TRE 2014. The TRE media planner was a packed 148 pages.

The show returns to Texas for at least the next two years with the 2017 dates set for November 28-December 1, at the Austin Convention Center. ATRA plans to be there to share our take on TRE.
Read this year’s reviews from ATRA.

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