In early May at the Running Industry Association (RIA) member summit, Runchella, in Chicago, four members of the run specialty industry – Running Insight’s own Mark Sullivan, along with Pat and Jan Sweeney, of Fleet Feet Sacramento, and Ted Goodlake, of On Running, were inducted into the Run Specialty Hall of Fame. To mark this special event Running Insight takes a run with each of them. 


Mark Sullivan

The Running Event, Running Insight

Mark Sullivan is one of the founders of Formula4 Media and The Running Event (TRE) and former editor of Running Insight. During his time with TRE the show was twice named one of The Fastest 50 Growing Trade Shows in America and grew from 14 vendors and 43 retail attendees to more than 200 vendors and 2000 overall attendees.

In addition to The Running Event, Sullivan developed The Best Running Stores in America program and helped found The Independent Running Retailers of America, now known as The Running Industry Association.

Prior to founding Formula4 Media, Mark was a group VP and editor/publisher at Fairchild Publications, where he oversaw Footwear News and a number of active lifestyle trade publications. He started his Fairchild career at Women’s Wear Daily, where he won the Atrium Award for excellence in coverage of the American Fashion Industry.

Sullivan and his partners sold The Running Event to Diversified Communications in 2018. In 2020, he purchased the SBRnet, which provides sports business data and other resources to students at more than 250 colleges and universities. 

Mark is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Running Insight: What does your Hall of Fame induction mean to you personally?

Sullivan: It’s very flattering and humbling. I’m not big on awards, but this is so meaningful because it comes from the running industry, where I have developed so many special relationships.

What are you most proud of in your career in run specialty?

It would be easy to say the development of TRE, but there are two other instances that stand out for me. One is after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 when the industry rallied and raised $100,000 for the victims by selling T-shirts in their stores. They responded so quickly and with such focus. It was great to be a part of it, even in a small way. The second was in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced so many stores to shut down and we rallied the industry with weekly Zoom calls to share information. Again, it was a great example of the community coming together to support one another. I’ll never forget that.

Any highlights from your time in run specialty?

It’s been amazing to see the growth of the industry. I remember stores that were just starting out and now they are phenomenally successful. And I remember when Hoka and On Running had 10 x 10 booths at TRE and now they are billion dollar-plus brands. It shows that if you come to this market with an innovative idea, you can achieve great things. It’s both exciting and inspiring.

Any lowlights? 

There was one time when a group of retailers accosted me at The Best Running Stores dinner because they wanted to present an award they had thought up at their dinner table over more than a few beers. It got a little heated, but we are all friends now.

Any message you want to send to the running business as you entered the Hall of Fame?

The industry will continue to experience highs and lows, but people keep running and responding to the great service, community and environment that run stores provide. The industry has done a great job of evolving and I am excited to see how it adapts in the coming years.

What keeps Mark Sullivan busy these days?

I am doing a lousy job of being retired. I still work with (TRE show director) Christina Henderson on The Running Event, which I love. I get to stay in touch with the business and she has to deal with all the headaches. Secondly, I bought SBRnet in 2020 with my friend Neil Schwartz. SBRnet provides data and other resources to more than 260 colleges and universities in the United States. It’s a small but fascinating business.

Finally, what’s the future hold for Mark Sullivan — both near-term and long-term?

My new company is launching an event October 6-8 in Baltimore. It’s called Get in the Game and is a joint venture with First and Pen, a minority-owned media company. It will bring together companies from all aspects of the sports business with students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are looking to break into the sports business. 

Over the past 15 years, the industry has made great progress in hiring and promoting women, but companies tell me they need to do a better job with young men and women of color. Our hope is that this event can help speed up that process. I feel great and want to take one more ride on the carousel of developing a new event and believe this is the right idea at the right time and extremely worthy of my time, effort and resources.


Pat and Jan Sweeney
Fleet Feet Sacramento

The husband and wife team of Pat and Jan Sweeney met while working at a start-up employee-owned airline in New Jersey called PeopleExpress. It was there that they developed an entrepreneurial spirit, learned about business management and risk taking. They got married and moved to Washington, DC, area, where Jan worked for the U.S. Dept. of State and Pat at an Environmental Testing management organization. 

In 1994, Pat had his “ah ha moment” when he went shopping for a wetsuit at Fleet Feet Adams Morgan, chatted with owner Phil Fenty and decided he wanted to leave corporate life to own a Fleet Feet Sports franchise. He quit his job to work as a store manager at Fleet Feet McLean under Lea Gallardo and a year later the couple sold their house in northern Virginia and moved to Sacramento, CA, to work for Tom Raynor, who had just purchased the company from Sally Edwards. Jan worked at the Fleet Feet corporate office while Pat managed the Sacramento store across the street, still in its original location in a blue Victorian building. That same year that they moved across the country, they had a son, Conor, now 27-years-old, who grew up in the store’s stockroom and out at races helping the Fleet Feet event team. 

The second year in Sacramento, Raynor bought a building up the block on J Street, moved the store and the corporate HQ to this bigger location and agreed to sell the store to Pat and Jan in 1997. At that time the store had five employees, including Pat. In the subsequent 20 years of their ownership, this flagship store expanded twice, added an Event Management division that became the premier running event management company in northern California, added a coaching/training division that trained 3000 walkers and runners annually, started an after-school running nonprofit for 14 Sacramento elementary schools. The company grew to a combined total of 75 employees in their last year, with retail sales of $5 million annually and combined sales of $6.5 million. 

They retired in 2016 and two years ago moved to Bend, OR, where they now bike, hike, cross-country ski, play pickleball and host frequent out-of-town guests and dinner parties. 

They would say their greatest gift of their years in owning Fleet Feet Sacramento is the friendships built along the way within the store, with other store owners and Fleet Feet Inc. staff and the vendor community. They’ve had numerous employees meet at Fleet Feet J Street, get married and have children, others who went on to open their own Fleet Feet stores, while several moved over to the vendor side and are still working in the trade channel. That’s a legacy they are thrilled to pass on to the next generation of retail entrepreneurs. 

Running Insight: What does your Hall of Fame induction mean to both of you personally?

Pat Sweeney: Having been out of the industry for six-and-a-half years, in an industry that came to define us, we certainly didn’t expect anything like this. We were shocked and pleasantly surprised and somewhat disbelieving. We are deeply honored by the recognition especially given the fact that there are so many (past and present) deserving people.

What are you most proud of in your career in run specialty? 

A few things. We feel that we represented our brand really well (it was and is the flagship store). We felt we had a duty to do it right. We are also very proud of our staff. We tried to make the store an extension of our family and treat everyone with respect, help them achieve their goals and keep the whole thing as fun as possible. Many went on to work in the industry and several couples met their future spouse while working together at the store.

And speaking of family, we had our son, Conor, the year we moved to California and that he grew up watching his parents run a family-owned business was definitely meaningful. Conor saw it required a lot of hard work and dedication by all of us. During the summers in middle and high school, he rode his bike to the store to tag socks, prep race packets, work race events and anything else the staff needed and learned his work ethic working at Fleet Feet. Today, at 27, he’s a lobbyist for Susan G Komen Foundation. 

We are also proud of the events and training divisions we created because our leaders were amazing. Our events division became one of the biggest in California, with over 20,000 participants annually, and our training division at its peak coached over 3000 runners and walkers a year. That enabling of customers to achieve their goals was extremely satisfying for me and Jan, our coaches and our events team. 

Any highlights – or lowlights—from your time in run specialty?

We never really had any lows to speak of, but the highlights were many. Two that come to mind were being the first store owners to inducted into the Fleet Feet Hall of Fame and receiving the Sacramento Small Business of the Year award in 2016.

Any message you want to send to the running business as you entered the Hall of Fame?

The landscape of the running business has changed a lot over the years, but one thing that never changes is the need for passionate, personal, high-level customer service. If you can deliver that day in and day out then no one can stop you from achieving your goals.

What keeps Pat and Jan Sweeney busy these days?

I swear we are busier now than ever. Two years ago, we moved to Bend, OR, to facilitate our love for an outdoor active lifestyle. I ride the bike a ton and Jan plays a lot of pickleball (I play some as well — doesn’t everyone?). We hike, Nordic ski, paddle board and of course do the strength and stretching thing so we don’t fall apart. We also entertain/socialize a bunch with our new-found friends in Bend and host many of our friends visiting from Sacramento. We travel pretty frequently. Jan also sits on the Yosemite Board for the national nonprofit Naturebridge, which takes children onto the trails of national parks for immersive science education. 

Finally, what’s the future hold for the two of you?

Near term: Keep doing what we’re doing — we love it. Long term: See previous answer. Life is for having some fun. We worked really, really hard and loved it. Now this is our work — enjoying life, friends and family.


Ted Goodlake
On Running

Ted Goodlake developed a passion for running at age 14 while attending boxing classes when, in preparation for boxing matches against adult inmates from a local penitentiary, he began running long distances. He soon realized a preference for running over boxing. Later in life he then discovered an affinity for sales through the thrill of closing deals and building strong relationships. His passion was promoting emerging brands that required strategic planning and growth management for both the retailer and the brand.

Given an opportunity in Santa Monica, CA, to test a new shoe technology he took a quick run on the sidewalk along the beach and subsequently received a job offer from the nascent Swiss brand On. He is credited with pioneering the On brand in North America in sales and had the privilege of hiring talented individuals and witnessing their career growth alongside the brand.

His resume is impressive:

• Director of Sales for 10 years for On Running North America

• National Sales Manager (nine years), Puma U.S. Running Division

• Western Regional Sales Manager (two years), Gold Toe Socks

• Territory Sales Rep (two years), Brooks

• National Sales Manager (four years), Etonic Sports

• Sales Rep for Etonic and Tretorn brands

Goodlake is also a 12-time All-Conference SEC Track and Field Indoor/Outdoor and Cross-Country and a member of five SEC championship teams representing the Tennessee Volunteers.

Running Insight: What does your Hall of Fame induction mean to you personally?  

Goodlake: Happiness. Validation for years of hard work in a long and enjoyable career.  

What are you most proud of in your career in run specialty?  

Friendships. Creating opportunities for the people I’ve worked with to advance their careers in the industry.

Any highlights – or lowlights – from your time in the business?  

Meeting Caspar Copetti, one of the founders of On, was certainly a highlight of my career, along with starting the growth of sales in North America.

Any message you want to send to the running industry as you entered the Hall of Fame?  

Maintain an entrepreneurial spirit, be creative, be open to change while keeping true to who you are at heart.

What keeps Ted Goodlake busy these days?  

Learning and participating in the stock market as I find it competitive like everything I’ve done with my career.

Finally, what’s the future hold for Ted Goodlake? 

Traveling and searching for new beaches to visit and enjoying family time with grandbabies.