It appears that the run specialty is back running at full speed as The Running Event 2022 once again laid claim as the most important three days of the year on the industry’s calendar. The event, held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Austin, TX, boasted the largest show floor ever – 66,340-square feet to be exact – 279 exhibiting companies, a full slate of packed educational sessions, an expansion into the outdoors specialty with the new Switchback section and enough special events to keep everyone busy and inspired.

Indeed, inspiration seemed to be the buzzword at TRE, as the more than 3200 run and outdoor specialty retailers, brands and industry professionals uniformly agreed that the industry has coped with the COVID-induced challenges and disruptions of the past three years and has emerged stronger and more resilient than ever.

“From retailers and event management professionals to exhibiting brands and our partner organizations, everyone at this year’s show was buzzing with energy,” says Christina Henderson, event director of The Running Event and publisher of Running Insight. “The excitement around the educational program, the exhibit hall and the new initiatives for 2022 was evident and everyone on both sides of the aisle was ecstatic with the value provided at this year’s show.”

Some of the highlights:

• TRE 2022 opened Tuesday, November 29, with a conference program featuring dozens of sessions covering the latest industry trends, best practices and career development insights. 

• Also on Tuesday was the standing-room-only keynote presentation “Daring to Do Things Differently,” presented by Olympian and Saysh founder Allyson Felix. 

• Tuesday closed with the Opening Night Reception, providing an opportunity for exhibitors and attendees to network and celebrate Day One of TRE 2022.

• The largest exhibit hall in TRE history opened its doors Wednesday, November 30, to a long line of attendees waiting to rush over to the Brooks Running booth for a free pair of sneakers. Specialty retail professionals explored new products and met with brands while also tuning in to educational sessions at the Training Camp Theater, located on the show floor. 

• New for 2022, Switchback at TRE provided a space for outdoor specialty retailers and brands to connect, learn and do business while also accessing new opportunities within the run specialty space.

“Rumpl was a first-time vendor at The Running Event and we were thrilled with the success we had at the show,” says Patrick O’Neil, VP–revenue at Rumpl. “We were able to introduce the Rumpl brand and our category-defining puffy blankets to the run specialty retail community while forming great connections with many like-minded brands.”

• Thursday kicked off with the Indie 5K, where 400 runners and walkers hit the track at Circuit of The Americas – home to the only Formula 1 and MotoGP races in the country – and then explored the post-race expo. 

• Strava challenge Strides for Progress concluded with more than 4100 participants logging nearly 73,000 miles of activities, far surpassing the original goal of 35,000 miles. As a result, $30,000 of donations will be equally distributed to five Texas nonprofits: Austin Angels, Austin Justice Coalition, The Lilith Fund, The Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund. Donations were made possible by premium partner Body Glide and partners Brooks, Hoka and OS1st. The Running Event also contributed toward the total donation.

• On Thursday the show floor continued with the inaugural For Every Run Film Festival, presented by Pacers Running, CITIUS MAG, and The Running Event. Emceed by CITIUS MAG’s Chris Chavez and Kyle Merber, the festival recognized the best content from the world of running and screened the top films, featured selected photography and provided space for industry professionals and creators to come together.

• Following the film festival, the 2022 Best Running Stores and Industry Awards Reception kicked off with Balega, Brooks, On and Saucony each presenting awards to individual retailers and stores. (See sidebar for recipients of these awards.) 

The 2022 Best Running Stores were then recognized, unveiling the Top Four Best Running Stores: Fleet Feet Louisville, Ridgefield Running Company, Palmetto Running Company and Shu’s Idaho Running Company. Ridgefield Running Company was named 2022 Store of the Year. (see page 34 for a complete report on the 2022 Best Running Stores.)

• Closing out TRE 2022 on Friday was the show’s first-ever Trail Cleanup. Retailers, brands and TRE event management headed out to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail to pick up trash and give back to the beloved Austin trail.

The Running Event and Switchback at TRE 2023 is scheduled for November 28-30 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX. 


The Run Industry 

Honors Its Own
One of the highlights of the closing night party at The Running Event was the annual Industry Awards ceremony, presented by a number of brands and recognizing individuals and stores for their special contributions to the run specialty business.

• The Saucony Run for Good Award was presented to 1st Place Sports.

• The Ubuntu Award, presented by Balega, went to Charm City Run.

• On’s Impact Award went to Nick Kovaleski, of A Runner’s Mind.

• The Brooks Run Happy Rising Star Award was presented to four individuals: Tom Mansfield, Charm City Run; Lance Muzslay, Sole Sports; Josh Lacan, Red Coyote Running and Fitness; and Andrea Lehmkuhler, Point 2 Running. One of the more emotional moments came with a special Brooks Run Happy Rising Star Award to Kelly Lanzafame, of Fleet Feet Rochester, who passed away earlier this year after her nomination for the award. n