It was March, 2020, shortly before COVID really took hold and changed the world for everyone, when the annual empowerun gathering unknowingly became one of the last industry events for more than a year. Now members of the run specialty run business are looking forward to re-connecting at the group’s special networking event at The Running Event.

empowerun was conceived by two women in the run specialty space – Kathy Dalby, of Pacers Running, and Burke Beck, of Red Coyote Running – looking for authentic and intimate ways to connect female leaders in the industry. Providing a forum for cross-collaboration, and a program for enrichment, empowerun is for women who seek opportunities for self-improvement and a willingness to amplify the female point of view in our organizations and the industry.

“For years we were both typically one of only a handful of women in the room at industry events, sales meetings and other business activities and we knew our experience paralleled a lot of other women in the industry,” Dalby told Running Insight in a profile of empowerun earlier this year. “We felt it important to bring women together, help them further their networks, and invest in women so in the future these events and meetings are more balanced.

“Whether it is feedback on product design, investigating career opportunities or simply knowing you can pick up the phone and call someone for advice, we wanted there to be a jumping off point for these relationships to nurture and grow,” Dalby added. “We know empowerun was the impetus for accelerated network expansion for a lot of industry women.”

Now able to meet once again, at The Running Event 2021 empowerun will be co-hosting a reception for anyone interested in supporting the advancement of women in run specialty.

The group will also be hosting a fundraiser for Trust Respect Access, a broad coalition of reproductive health, rights and justice organizations and leaders who have come together in support of proactive state policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect the dignity of Texans and the judgment of health care professionals, and ensure access to abortion and the support all Texas families need to thrive.

The good news is that after more than a year of virtual get-togethers, the 2022 empowerun retreat will be held in-person in Santa Barbara, CA March 6-8. For details visit or email [email protected].