The examples are almost too numerous to report of running vendors making impressive efforts to support both their run specialty retailers as well as their customers and the healthcare workers on the front lines of battling the COVID-19 crisis. We invited these vendors to use the pages of Running Insight to spread the word about their efforts and to send a message to the run specialty community.
Altra: Brands, Retailers Coming Together
The most important and impactful thing brands can do during this time is collectively come together to support specialty retail. We all need to spread the message to consumers to think about local stores first before purchasing online. Consumers can call ahead, see if the stores are offering curbside pickups, purchase gift cards, etc. If brands come together in different ways to support our specialty retailers during these times, we can all together help make a positive impact.
We were born out of the backrooms of specialty retail and we are sensitive to how this is impacting our retail community. So, the first thing we have done is extend additional dating to all of our specialty dealers in North America. Cash flow is the most important factor for a store that is closed or an employee out of work.
We, at Altra, are also looking into creative ways to activate the communities around these stores to assist during this global crisis. Each day brings new information that must be taken into consideration and balanced against multiple factors that affect the business, employees and community. In the early days the run specialty retailers carried the Altra brand on their backs, so now is the time for us to give back and be a beacon of hope.
100 miles to support NYC COVID-19
Starting with a simple “Hello World,” one individual with a connection to the run industry is doing his small – well, 100 mile – part in supporting struggling run specialty retailers. We’ll let David Kilgore, an employee at On and a New York City local, tell his story in his own words (Note: His run too place on Friday, March 27, but the effort is ongoing):
“My name is David Kilgore and I am an athlete and employee at On. As a NYC local, I’m on a mission to give back to the city during this tough time and also challenge myself.
“On Friday 3/27 I will be running 100 miles back in my hometown of Palm Bay, FL. After facing the tough fact that most of my races were canceled due to COVID-19, I wanted a new way to push my limits. I am running to raise awareness and donations for the communities needing it most.
“Your donations will contribute to Gift Cards that I will be purchasing from struggling NYC run specialty stores. Stores that I typically work with on a daily basis. Those Gift Cards will then be donated to NYC Health + Hospitals to provide front line medical workers supportive footwear while they are working long days keeping my city healthy.
Thanks all and see you out there!
Here’s a link to his Gofundme page:
Swiftwick: Take A Deep Breath
Now more than ever people are turning to running as a way to get outside and clear their minds. Swiftwick is here to support run specialty stores and keep our community moving forward by providing drop-shipping services with no surcharge, no minimums and free shipping via our B2B website — dealers.swiftwick.com.
Check out our new spring socks and remember to take a deep breath and keep chasing adventure, one day at a time.
Please contact sales@swiftwick.
Jill Williams, Sales Coordinator
Enda: The Joy of Running
I think many of us are going through something like the five stages of grief as the world we knew disappears before our eyes. I’ve seen it in others and feel it myself. I’ve been going through denial, anger, bargaining and depression. I hope soon to find acceptance.
Going through this process, I’ve heard from people who have doubled their running volume. Others who are discovering comfort in running for the first time. Personally, I got out to run five times last week, but I’m struggling to find my running groove with my mind on the state of the world.
No matter where you are in your grief and running journey, if you need new kicks then we are here for you. All the logistical services we use to get you shoes are still operating smoothly. The world isn’t ending, just changing in ways we’ve never seen before. We’ll make sure to let you know if any of those changes mean we won’t be able to deliver. But in the meantime, if you need fresh shoes whether long run or speedwork, we’ve got you covered.
I guess the thing I’d add would be to say we’re nervous and optimistic about the uncertain future we’re entering. The next few months are going to be tough. But there seems to be more people than ever discovering the joy of running. So let’s keep going and build a better and more meaningful running world as we emerge from this.
Stay safe out there,
Miler Running: We Still Have Running
We have been thrown into a global crisis, but fortunately we still have running. Running is inherently a solo endeavor much of the time. With the extra space in our minds and the streets, now is the time to embrace and explore what running alone can do.
With that in mind, we will be hoping for the safety and health of our community and thankful for those on the front lines fighting this pandemic. As a New York City-based brand, this crisis truly hits home. Our local factory partner is closed indefinitely and our fabric production from Europe has also halted. Our online store will remain open.
Our thoughts go to these partners and our customers who we wish for the best of health.
CEO / Founder
Nike: Social Distancing App
Last week Nike released a new advertising campaign to express the importance of social distancing during this time.
“If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance,” the ad release across social media reads. “Play inside, play for the world.”
The campaign promotes the brand’s workout app and comes as it announced that programming on its Nike Training Club app is now accessible to users free of charge. The subscription-based service includes studio-style workouts, training programs and tips from the athletic giant’s master trainers
The message, developed with Wieden + Kennedy Portland, follows Nike’s announcement that the brand, its foundation and leaders would be committing more than $15 million to support COVID-19 response efforts.
Those funds will support some of the brand’s hometown organizations, including the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Recovery Fund created by the Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Health & Science University to improve statewide care coordination in Oregon, increase patient access and ramp up operational readiness for expanded diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
Kahtoola: Banding Together
We at Kahtoola want to reach out to all of our friends in the outdoor and running community and beyond to communicate our support for everyone’s collective efforts to get through this pandemic together. The health of our families, associates and customers is our top priority.
Like many other businesses, we are implementing operational changes and following recommendations to do our part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Currently, our headquarters remains open and ready to ship so that we support the dealers and customers who rely on us, but we are also giving our associates the ability to work from home, as well as closely monitoring any changes that may require us to take further action.
Locally, as businesses close indefinitely, we are redirecting some of our resources to help our Flagstaff community and those more severely impacted. We’ve found that our local food bank is in fairly urgent need of sandwich materials for “to-go” meals in an attempt to avoid larger groups. We gathered those supplies and delivered them so kids and other members of our community could eat. These are only first steps in supporting our community and as things progress, we plan to stay on the ready for any local support we can provide and encourage others to do the same.
Our belief in the positive characteristics of people is what drives our business. We want to continue to engage our community and band together because we feel strongly that when our basic needs are met, we have a responsibility to add to the collective needs of others in whatever ways we can.
We are figuring this out day-by-day, just like the rest of you. Please share ways you’ve found to offer support so we can build on one another’s ideas and be effective in our efforts. We’re confident that we’ll all get through this, and the best way to do that is together. Be well. Stay positive. And if you can, get outside!
Danny Giovale, Kahtoola Founder and Owner
Recover Brands: #SupportLocal Fundraiser
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the country, closing stores and shutting shops, North Carolina-based Recover Brands unveiled its #SupportLocal fundraiser, which invests $10 from every shirt sold into its small business partner fund. The funds then get distributed directly to its small business partners to provide immediate operating capital relief during these challenging times.
In just the first 24 hours, the shirt raised $1625 of the sustainable apparel brand’s goal of $25,000. It is hoped that all money raised will help keep the local business community on its feet.
“The coronavirus affects us all – all industries, communities and individuals – in one way or another and the economic impact it has had on small business has been significant and immediate,” explains Bill Johnston, founder of Recover, of its decision to launch the effort. “The goal of this fundraiser is to rally our community to support small businesses during these challenging times. By purchasing this shirt, you know your money is going directly to small businesses to help keep the lights on.”
Recover, who makes all of its tees and apparel from recycled plastic bottles, has had success in this fundraising approach before. In November 2018 the brand raised $130,000 for Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts with its #CAREolinas Tee. And with its Protect Our Parks tee from 2017 – a fundraiser that began with Recover donating proceeds directly to the National Park Foundation for every Protect Our Parks original tee sold – the program has expanded and evolved into a wider initiative with ever-growing partnerships and impact.
For further details on the #SupportLocal fundraiser: recoverbrands.com/supportlocal
GU: The Need to Move
We feed the need to move...
A lifetime of sport and adventure gives us perspective when things get challenging during these difficult and uncertain times. We appreciate that movement can make us feel alive, healthy and connected. We know that physical activity has a positive impact on our health and calms our minds. We acknowledge that movement is a privilege, and we feel gratitude for that.
We need movement now more than ever.
We will truly miss the opportunity to be with our community during training and races. These gatherings give us inspiration and validate our purpose. We will miss fueling you at aid stations, cheering your strength during races, and celebrating with you at the finish line. However, we appreciate deeply the need to make sacrifices that will benefit our global community.
Now, more than ever, our creativity and determination will help us find ways to get through this together — at GU we call this longevity. In the coming weeks, we’ll share the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over the last 27 years supporting you, so that we all come out of this situation stronger and more resilient.
Chief Endurance Officer
SynchroKnit: Rambling Runner Virtual Race Series
With race cancellations all over the globe leaving runners at a standstill, SynchroKnit, the technology-driven brand from Wigwam Mills, is sponsoring the Rambling Runner Virtual Race Series to help people continue to move, train and stay connected.
The series will include virtual races of 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon distances spread over eight weeks. These virtual races are free and open to everyone with a Strava account and a device that can track the run. To join: strava.com/clubs/ramblingrunner.
“All runners know a good run is the best way to burn off stress,” says Tom Wheeler, president and CEO Wigwam Mills and a lifelong runner. “During these strange, uncertain times, take care of yourself and get out on your run, if you can, and add a fun element of virtual competition. Running is a natural for social distancing.
“From all of us at Wigwam, our hearts go out to all who are impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly,” he adds. “Please stay healthy!”
5K: March 28-29
10K: April 4-5
Half-Marathon: April 18-19
Zensah: ‘Buy One, Give One’ Campaign Launched
Zensah, the maker of high-performance compression apparel, has started a “Buy One, Give One” campaign to get compression socks to healthcare workers. As part of the campaign Zensah will be donating a pair of its premium compression socks for each pair purchased.
It works like this: For every pair of select compression socks or leg sleeves purchased, the consumer will be given the option to write a gift message that will then be passed along with the company’s donation to a healthcare worker. These can be simple messages like, “Keep up the good work!” or “Thank you for all you do for us!” or something more personal if this disease has affected you or your family.
The company issued this statement:
“Nurses, doctors, EMTs and other healthcare workers are grinding through long hours and putting their own health at risk to care for the sick and help prevent the further spread of the virus. They cannot do it alone and they need all the support we can give if we are going to be successful in stopping coronavirus in its tracks.
“Doctors, nurses, and EMTs are on their feet all day, and their legs can easily become fatigued. From both scientific research and testimonials from the many healthcare providers who have worn Zensah over the years, we know that wearing our compression socks can minimize that fatigue, making it easier for them to do their dangerous jobs.”
Zensah is asking healthcare workers who feel they can benefit from its compression technology, to email [email protected] to start the giving process.
Oofos: Donating Footwear To First Responders
Recovery footwear brand Oofos is donating more than 1000 pairs of shoes to nurses and medical professionals across the country.
The donation locations include Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Swedish Hospital in Chicago, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida, Presby Cardiovascular Institute at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Palomar Medical Center Poway in California, Hackensack Meridian Health at Pascack Valley Medical Center in New Jersey, and Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta.
In addition, Oofos has partnered with ID.me to provide an exclusive discount for nurses online at oofos.com. Nurses are asked to verify their credentials at check-out using the ID.me button to receive a unique coupon code for their purchase.
RICS: Helping With Technology
We hope you’re safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. At RICS, we’re working remotely and overtime with retailers nationwide to analyze inventory to address cash flow concerns, make plans to re-open, and evaluate technology needs. We can help you!
RICS Software, CEO
Strava: Get Out and Run
Strava, with more than 50 million athletes and one million more joining every 30 days, and in a place to help both runners and retailers find a location to get out and run, has unveiled Routes, a tool to help athletes find the best places to run and ride.
With more than three billion activities uploaded from all over the world, Strava makes the claim that that it “knows where athletes actually run and ride.” The new Routes tool uses that knowledge to provide route recommendations personalized to athletes’ preferences for location, distance, surface type (pavement or dirt) and hilly or flat terrain. It makes for an tool for anyone looking to run while maintain their social distancing.
Superfeet: 3D Printing
A week after a announcing that it was opening its doors to help those needing access to personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Superfeet and sister company Flowbuilt Manufacturing have started production of PPE masks with 3D-printed elements.
It took less than a week for Superfeet employee-owners to mobilize their product development and operations departments to pivot from insole production to making life-saving equipment using their Ferndale 3D printing and manufacturing facilities. Approximately 30,000 of these PPE masks will be produced and distributed to hospitals in the Pacific Northwest immediately.
“We started conversations with local hospitals and healthcare workers last week and discovered a massive need for PPE, as demand has skyrocketed over the past few weeks,” says John Rauvola, CEO and President at Superfeet. “You can feel the pride our team of employee-owners takes in being able to create something tangible to help combat this pandemic and better protect our community’s first line of defense.”
Superfeet had sent a call-to-action challenging their local community to get involved. Another Washington-based company, Pioneer Aerofab – a business focused on manufacturing airplane interiors – quickly joined the cause and is supplying the mask’s hood portion.
Medical facilities in need of personal protective equipment, can reach out to [email protected].
Addaday: Remain Optimistic
In these uncertain and unprecedented times, we at Addaday recognize that many of you have been forced to make tough decisions for the health of your employees, your customers and your businesses. We have not been immune to the challenges — our distribution facility in California has been scaled back due to the lockdown and we have had to make some tough business decisions.
But we remain optimistic. Looking ahead to the resumption of business as usual in the coming months – and anticipating a high demand for our new innovations – Addaday’s operations in Asia remain at full capacity. Our R&D and software development reside in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Taiwan and have been unaffected.
Addaday stands with you in these difficult times. We have been working closely with retail partners to provide solutions to our shared business challenges and remain poised to help the industry rebound as we look ahead.
Vic Yang, CEO and founder, Addaday
New Balance: $2 Million To Support Relief Efforts
The New Balance Foundation has committed $2 million in grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support local, regional and global communities.
“We firmly believe it is our civic duty to support our communities in need around the world,” says Anne Davis, managing trustee New Balance Foundation. “We are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis. Guided by our values, NB Foundation will remain generous, flexible and responsive recognizing the uncertainty created by these challenging times.”