The Latest in Road Running for Race Directors and Industry Professionals
Inspiring News Amidst the Gloom
By Dave Kayser
Shoe Company News
NPD Group, an American market research company, reported athletic
footwear sales declined by a percentage in the mid-teens during the
first three months of 2020. Although anecdotal evidence points toward
more people running outdoors because of shuttered fitness facilities and
gyms, running footwear sales also experienced a drop in the mid-teens.
Almost all footwear brands declined, with Brooks an outlier with
a mid-single digit increase. The Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3 was
the seventh best-selling shoe by dollar amount.
New Balance released an ad in late March showing a face mask
with the underlying text reading “Made shoes yesterday/Making masks
today.” The Massachusetts company is utilizing its Lawrence production
facility to create the masks, relying on the company’s manufacturing
acumen to quickly begin production. They expect to produce 10,000 masks
a day that will be distributed to medical facilities around New England.
New Balance Foundation is donating $2 million to support local,
regional and global nonprofits to fight the pandemic.
Asics joined the race to compete against the popular Nike
Vaporfly racing flats with the release of the
Metaracer that features an energy-saving Guidesole technology
and a stabilizing carbon plate.
Adidas has received approval from the German government to
participate in Germany’s state-owned development bank. The approval will
allow the company to receive $3.3 billion to help it weather
difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Adidas intends to
repay the loan, including interest and fees, as quickly as possible. The
company has seen its retail sales, which account for 60% of their
business, come to a virtual standstill.
COVID-19 Induced Changes and
In the early days of the
Boston Athletic Association (BAA), organizers of the Boston
Marathon, donated $100,000 to the
Boston Resiliency Fund, which provides essential services to
Boston residents affected by Covid-19. The organization also donated
race-related medical supplies, including gloves, face masks, IV fluid
bags, hand sanitizer, ponchos and face shields to area hospitals. Thirty
bags of Terra Chips, part of the unused marathon post-race refreshments
provided by JetBlue Airways, were donated to the Greater Boston Food
Bank. Marathon sponsor
John Hancock gave $1 million to the Boston Resiliency Fund
shortly after it was launched on March 16.
On Patriot’s Day, the
posted a message on its website thanking a bevy of front-line workers,
from doctors and nurses to delivery and bus drivers for their efforts
and closed by saying, “We’ll wait to start until you reach the finish.”
New York Road Runners donated $100,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency
Relief Fund, a fund designed to assist front-line medical personnel. The
group noted in its donation announcement that many doctors, nurses,
emergency responders and medical professionals support runners at NYRR
New York City’s
Coogan’s restaurant, billed as “America’s #1 Runners Restaurant”
by Olympic historian Walt Murphy, has permanently shut its doors, a
victim of the coronavirus epidemic. The Washington Heights
establishment, opened in 1985 and located around the corner from the
Armory and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, was the go-to
place for a post-race drink. Track and field memorabilia adorned the
dining room, and a framed copy of every issue of Sports Illustrated
with a track athlete on the cover hung on the walls.
Fleet Feet has partnered with
The Run Experience to create Together We Move (FleetFeet.com/TogetherWeMove),
a free virtual training program that offers a day-to-day approach to
physical and mental wellness with a mix of video, audio and written
content on running, strength and mobility, stretching, yoga and
mindfulness. Content is uploaded daily on Fleet Feet’s website and in
The Run Experience app. Also included are workouts, giveaways and
sessions featuring elite runners, including Des Linden, Aliphine
Tuliamuk and Deena Kastor. A weekly YouTube question and answer session
takes place every Friday at 5 pm EDT.
In similar fashion, the
Atlanta Track Club introduced
The Distance, a free online resource for running workouts,
strength programs and diet information. Live strength and mobility
classes are available on YouTube, and virtual athletic challenges will
also be offered.
Just Run, a fitness program for school children, has developed a
fitness-at-home program in response to parent requests. Logged miles
posted on the Just Run website can be viewed on a Run Across the USA
map. Educational points of interest through which teams have run will be
noted, and “Mileage Award Cards” can be downloaded to celebrate
Running Industry Association announced it will defer member dues
for all retailers joining the association and will also give current
members the option to defer dues until January 2021. One valuable
benefit of joining is the discounted freight program, which can save up
to 35% on shipping fees annually, an important consideration as stores
turn even more to shipping products directly to consumers via
Athletics Weekly, or AW, as it is commonly called, has
suspended its print edition until further notice due to the
coronavirus’s impact on the sport of running. Updates will continue to
be published on their social media platforms.
Marathon Tours is expanding its usual menu of Two-fer race
tours to include Three-fer and Four-fer possibilities
to reflect the now crowded fall race calendar. The company is offering
packages such as Loch Ness/Prague and Paris/Dublin and will help plan
multiple race packages for the more adventurous and enthusiastic runner.
Field General, a real time GPS asset tracking software company,
has retooled its flagship product to give race directors a platform to
launch and manage virtual runs. Among other things, the program sends
out invitations and establishes a leader board and has the ability to
download individual results and post a celebratory results page.
Directors can try out the program at
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series rolled out a
Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Series, a “web-based platform
allowing runners to race, engage and connect with a new series of weekly
races, challenges and rewards.” Virtual races will be offered in a
variety of distances with participants tracking their activity by a GPS
device and uploading that activity to the member dashboard. The first
event drew more than 11,000 runners from 80 nations and all 50 states.
Spartan’s Gym Protection Project will offer up to one million
free event entries to members of fitness facilities who continue to pay
their dues. Paid-up members will receive a free entry into a Spartan,
Tough Mudder or DEKAFIT event in 2020 or 2021 by entering basic
information on a form at the company’s website. The program was designed
to help affected fitness facilities stay afloat until they can re-open.
Big Sur Marathon Foundation is marketing “The Coast Will
Clear” T-shirts, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the
Community Foundation for Monterey County’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Hightech Signs has adjusted its manufacturing facility to
produce CDC-compliant non-medical face masks. The masks are available in
toddler, youth and adult sizes. Custom masks in quantities over 100 with
a logo or pictures can be created. Hightech intends to give one mask to
a local charity for every one sold, with a goal of distributing 250,000
masks. Order info is at
BibBoards, which developed a method to secure race numbers on
clothing without making holes, is now producing
face mask snaps after receiving requests from healthcare personnel
for such a device. Regular mask straps have caused irritation behind
worker’s ears after wearing masks for long periods of time. BibBoards’s
snaps can alleviate the irritation by securing the elastic bands to
hats, skull caps and bandanas or to each other behind the head.
Ashworth Awards has reconfigured its manufacturing capabilities
polycarbonate face shields. The company is promising a fast
turn-around time and large quantities of the shields are available.
Leslie Jordan has added
face masks to its product line-up. Custom designs are available,
with a minimum order of 1500 pieces.
Individuals looking to
keep up with the dizzying pace of cancellations and postponements
brought on by COVID-19 should consider a subscription-based tracking
service provided by Race
Results Weekly for $225.00. The listings, including contacts and
websites, is provided as a Google document that is updated every
Wednesday. Click here for a sample file:
To order, send an e-mail to Jane Monti at
email@example.com using the
subject line "Calendar Service."
provider RunSignUp announced
that it is dropping its standard race reserve requirement to cover
chargebacks from 20% to 10% and its overall payment account reserve
requirement from 10% to 5%. The changes reflect the lower current volume of
chargeback requests mostly due to cancelled events.
NYC Marathon Champ Silva Does
Treadmill Run to Honor Medical Personnel; Runners Warned Off Boston
1991 New York City
Marathon winner German Silva, who famously used his race winnings
to bring electrical service to his remote village in Mexico, recently
ran a marathon on his home treadmill to honor frontline medical
personnel. The 52-year-old achieved his goal of completing the distance
in under three hours by finishing in 2:52, at the same time urging
others to run any distance to honor the workers and to stay inspired.
With the number of
coronavirus cases spiking in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker and
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took to the airwaves urging runners not
to run an unofficial Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day so as to
keep everyone safe and not impact already strained law enforcement
personnel. An often-run television commercial did the same. The message
sunk in, as only a few runners were seen on the roads between Hopkinton
and Boston on Patriot's Day, all of whom maintained social distancing.
COVID-19 caused the
cancellation of the RRCA's annual meeting in March, which led to the
RRCA opting to elect its new slate of officers electronically. The new
RRCA officers are:
George Rehmet -
President (new in this role)
Barb Jewell -
Blaine Moore -
Sue Brown Nickerson -
Samantha Collmar -
At-Large Director (new)
In the aftermath of the
New Balance Falmouth Road Race cancellation and transformation
into a virtual event, with the attendant loss of its significant
economic impact on Cape Cod businesses, race organizers plan to purchase
$25,000 in gift cards from local businesses that will be randomly
distributed to virtual race entrants. Registration for the virtual event
opens on May 18. Other charitable activities are also being considered
by the race officials.
Japan Running News
reported via a blog post that the
Chiba Aqualine Marathon, scheduled for October 18,
has been cancelled. What made the cancellation noteworthy was
that race officials cited the economic impact of the coronavirus
pandemic on sponsor companies as the reason for the cancellation. Full
blog report at
Dave Kayser worked for the National Park Service for over 30 years before turning his full attention to writing for Road Race Management Newsletter and collecting old running shoes. He started his running career in 1966 and currently trains exclusively on his three bikes.