They say everything is bigger in Texas — and that certainly held true last month as The Running Event 2023 took over the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, and hosted thousands of industry professionals at a record-breaking event.

Taking place from November 28-30, more than 4000 specialty retail professionals and brand representatives gathered for the 17th edition of TRE. That marks a 27 percent increase in attendance from 2022. 

But attendance wasn’t the only big thing in Texas that week. The 79,000-square-foot exhibit hall was nearly 20 percent larger than last year and the space featured 314 brands showcasing the latest footwear, apparel, technology, nutrition — and pickleball (more on that later). In addition to seeing the latest products, attendees accessed dozens of educational sessions and networking.

“The week was a special one for our industry and for the TRE team,” says Christina Henderson, TRE event director. “We’re always asking ourselves, ‘How can we be better? How can we be more than a trade show?’ From the education and networking to the new opportunities available, we left Austin feeling inspired by and proud of the run and outdoor specialty industry — and our attendees and exhibitors feel the same.”

Among the many highlights:

• TRE 2023 opened with a bang at a trail cleanup at the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, held in partnership with ASICS and the Low Impact Alliance. It was the first time the cleanup was held prior to the opening of TRE and it proved to be a good move, attracting well more than 100 participants who collected 1000 pounds of trash from the trails, woods and even Lady Bird Lake in an mini-armada of kayaks.

• Soon after the cleanup the TRE23 conference program began, featuring 23 sessions focused on the latest industry insights and best practices. Deep dive sessions in the morning were followed by an afternoon of sessions with topics that ranged from Artificial Intelligence to Leadership Training to Gen Z. 

• Also on Tuesday was 2023 keynote “Running Through Today’s Retail Landscape,” presented by Melissa Gonzalez, principal of MG2 and founder of the Lionesque Group. She took attendees on a journey to learn how independent run specialty retailers can adopt some of the best practices and merchandising ideas of the bigger retailers — and how these same independent stores can successfully compete by being agile and creative.

• The largest exhibit hall in TRE’s history opened November 29 to a long line of attendees and media. In addition to exploring the latest products coming to market, attendees accessed more educational sessions at the Training Camp Theater and received professional headshots at The Hub. 

• Did we happen to mention pickleball? A full-sized court was built on the TRE show floor sponsored by K-Swiss, Selkirk Sport, OS1st and Currex. Visitors learned about the business opportunity presented by the fastest-growing sport in America. Two sessions, the first focusing on Why Sell Pickleball and the second explaining How To Sell Pickleball, attracted significant interest in run retailers considering carrying the sport. Other attendees were happy simply to get some playing time and demo some products on the regulation size court.

• Bringing a bit of modern media to the show was the inaugural TRE Livestream, hosted by PR Project’s Tommie Runz and Gary Koutsoubos. Creating a more inclusive and transparent event, enthusiasts and industry professionals at home had the opportunity to hear from brands and retailers – and even Running Insight editor Michael Jacobsen – while gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the industry’s largest trade event. Broadcasted directly from the exhibit hall, all interviews featured on the livestream can be found at

• It was a bit damp on Thursday but that didn’t stop hundreds of runners heading out to the annual Indie 5K and Keen’s One Mile Walk at Camp Mabry — with Sound Running’s Cross Champs starting close behind.

• The Running Event closed on a celebratory note with the 2023 Industry Awards Reception, which included the 2023 Best Running Stores celebration. After recognizing all of the Best Running Stores, the four finalists were honored: Fleet Feet Louisville, Mill City Running, Palmetto Running Company and Running Lab. Palmetto Running was named Store of the Year.

Mark your calendars: The Running Event 2024 is all set for Nov. 19-21 back at the Austin Convention Center.