“This is the craziest sh*t to happen in running this week.” This is the line Jamil Coury (Jam Jam) begins each episode of his iconic Mountain Outpost News and he did so again as he presented a live edition of Mountain Outpost News at the 2019 The Running Event (TRE) in Austin, Texas. For the second consecutive year, the Trailhead stage served as the resource, promotion, and educational meeting point for all things trail running. As trail running has seen a huge uptick in participation over the past few years, it was inevitable that the discipline would be included in international-level running show like TRE.
TRE is the premier conference and expo for running specialty retailers. The three day conference kicked off December 3 with the Best Running Stores Summit, awarding the coveted 50 Best Running Stores in America, a highly prized distinction in the running retailer world. This was followed by interaction with sponsor brands, keynotes speeches, speed networking sessions, breakout sessions, “The Big Pitch”, where running stores presented their ideas in hopes of being award $5,000 to carry out said idea, and, what TRE is known for, the party! The Opening Reception was the way to unwind and hang out with the “characters of TRE” socialize, eat, drink and be merry while listening to the live music.
Day two is when the real action began, with the opening of the Trade Show. With about 250 exhibitors, the expo floor resembled a retailer and running enthusiast’s version of a candy store, featuring giveaways, interactive competitions, games, happy hours, incredible new products and technologies…along with a lot of business meetings. Hey, running can’t all be fun and games. Running retailers caught up on new and upcoming products, interacted with brands they may not be carrying and ordered products for their stores. The day ended with a party hosted by goodr, where everyone received a customized pair of sunglasses while they partied among giant flamingos in a venue which resembled a jungle. Yes, even the Flamingos were wearing pink monochromatic glasses.
Day three began bright and early with the Indie 5K, a cross country race with the prize of running store bragging right. The show floor opened and the mountain, trail and ultra runners came down from their mountain perches, kicking off the Trailhead activities with a film of the venerable Gediminas Grinius and his Grand Slam of Ultrarunning journey.
That was followed by the first of the speaking sessions presented by ATRA Steep & Rocky member, Boa Fit System.
The talk was titled Redefining the Future of Fit: Boa’s Commitment to Biomechanics and discussed the technologies and science that goes into pioneering the award winning product by studying how the human body functions in their state-of-the-art Performance Fit Lab, in partnership with the University of Denver.
The next session, presented by ATRA Steep & Rocky member, Saucony and hosted by Vice President of Public Relations Sharon Barbano, was title Dirt Power: Getting More Women into Trail Running and featured the newly minted World Mountain Running Champion and Saucony sponsored athlete, Grayson Murphy, President of Saucony Anne Cavassa, Ultrarunning Hall of Famer Marcy Schwam, ATRA Executive Director Nancy Hobbs, and head of Saucony Trail products Katie Pyle. The discussion revolved around how to attract and empower more women to lace up their shoes and hit the trails. Though female participation continues to rise, the sport of trail running is still male dominated. The panelist touched on topics of community and local retail partnerships, education and growing women’s participation in trail events.
How to Build Your Trail Running Community presented by ATRA Steep & Rocky member Salomon Running delved into the opportunities that running specialty stores have to capture a new audience as more and more people are taking to the trails. Special guest and ultrarunning champion, Courtney Dauwalter spoke on the topic, sharing some of her experiences. The panel consisted of Erin Cooper who is the Run Marketing Manager Salomon NA, Steff Gardner Community Marketing Manager Salomon, Greg Lanctot Race Director for Pacific Coast Trail Runs, Jake Crowe from Playmakers running store out of Michigan.
Piggy backing on the previous panel discussions, professional trail runner, Erik Stanley, and HOKA ONE ONE athlete and professional ultrarunner, Patrick Regan, spoke on the panel entitled How Can Your Shop Build and Serve the Local Trail Community? Stanley, who created Trail Roots Running in Austin, offers custom training plans for individuals and hosts weekly group runs along with online coaching. In his coaching and group runs, he addresses the physical and mental aspects of training. Regan also offers a coaching service, Patrick Regan Running Coaching Services. He put his sentiments into action when two days later when he won the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championship title at Brazos Bend in a new course record of 12:21:43. Congratulation, Patrick!
The next panel was on a topic that is becoming extremely popular in the trail running community and elsewhere in the general public: CBD. The panel titled CBD Products and the Everyday Athlete was covered by the people at Floyd’s of Leadville and Floyd Landis himself. They discussed the insights, misconceptions and science behind CBD and athletes. The presence of CBD companies was abundant with no less that 10 represented at TRE. One CBD company that was particularly impressive was Venga CBD, touting a water soluble technology that allows your body to absorb 5 times the amount of CBD into your bloodstream compared to non-water soluble versions. This will allow athletes to reduce inflammation and pain caused by training, allow them to sleep better, reduce anxiety and allow them to train at a higher level. We are excited to announce that Venga CBD became an ATRA Switchback Member at TRE!
Another one of our ATRA Double Track members, Tecnica, presented on their revolutionary fully customizable trail running shoes technology with the announcement of ORIGIN. In 20 minutes trail runners can get a shoe that is molded to fit their feet, both the footbeds and uppers, with the CAS (Custom Adaptive Shape). The footbeds and shoes are placed in a compressed and heated sleeve to allow custom fit and feel. Check your local running retail for details.
The grand finale was the live Mountain Outpost News episode flanked by our supporting partners, Trail Butter, which donates $5 from each jar of RWB Tribute Blend directly to support the US Mountain Running Teams, and Sufferfest Beer. Watch the episode! A big thanks to TRE, our ATRA members, speakers and panelists and Jam Jam for an educational, productive and fun Trailhead showcase. We are glad we could be part of the craziest sh*t to happen in running last week.
We met up a lot of our ATRA members, including every single one of our Steep & Rocky members and spoke to a lot of running specialty stores all across the country. If you are a specialty running store who carries trail running products, send us a message to be featured in our Spotlight on Specialty series. Check out all of our Spotlight on Specialty presented by Saucony articles: