Education, peer-to-peer discussions, and running of course are part of the five-part series of events being organized by the Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC) at The Running Event. The non-profit’s efforts will be one of the first times its leadership team will be able to bring their message of diversity, inclusion and racial justice to the running industry in-person since it was formed during the pandemic.
“There is no easy fix for companies, no matter the size, when it comes to diversity, and we shouldn’t be looking for one. Companies need to make an ongoing commitment to the work,” explains Robyn Goby, former Fleet Feet executive who is now the western regional sales manager for CEP and is also a part of the RIDC Leadership Team. “We invite everyone to be involved in these discussions but be prepared to be uncomfortable sometimes.”
Other members of the RIDC leadership team are:
Chris Lampen-Crowell, Gazelle Sports (co-chair)
Allison Désir, Oiselle (co-chair)
John Benedict, Playmakers
Martha Garcia, I Am Collective
Verna Volker, Native Women Running
Shannon Woods, Brooks Running
That journey can begin at TRE by participation in any or all of five separate events being organized under the RIDC banner
- “The Future of Running Is Diverse” is a Tuesday afternoon panel discussion for all attendees, moderated by Skot Welch, principal/founder of Global Bridgebuilders and featuring Kathy Dalby, Pacers Running; Britt Olsen, On Running; Joey Pointer, Fleet Feet; and Sasha Spencer Atwood, Tracktown USA, that will offer a conversation about inclusion and racial equity in
running and the difficult yet valuable work that is ahead for the industry.
- Two classes on DEI that can be attended by anyone at TRE: “Hiring a Diverse Staff” and “Don’t Believe Me, Just Watch: How Overlooking African American Customers Is Impacting Your Bottom Line.”
- A Roundtable Discussion led by Lampen-Crowell and Harry Chandler, of Charlotte Running Company.
- The much-anticipated RIDC CommUnity Run, powered by Saucony, on Wednesday morning, that will bring together TRE attendees and the diverse local Austin running community. Runners will have the unique chance to connect with Austin run groups to experience one of the city’s most beloved traditions.
- Finally, there will be an RIDC booth on the TRE show floor where attendees can meet with the Leadership Team and RIDC members and have the opportunity to ask questions and find out what is expected of members.
“If you become a member of RIDC, we are asking you to make a commitment to DEI in your own organization and to hold yourself and your company accountable,” says Goby, who goes out of her way to thank Diversified Communications, the organizers of TRE and publishers of Running Insight, for making a commitment to diversity and supporting the efforts of the RIDC as it defines its mission and recruits members from all walks of the running business.
“The only way we are going to create change is to make that commitment,” Goby says.
It is a commitment that can start at The Running Event.