Last week I traveled to Austin, TX for the annual TRE (The Running Event) conference and vendor showcase. I spent two days attending classes and walking the showroom floor learning all I could about the latest and greatest in the running industry. Here are a few of my takeaways:
Women's comfort and preferences are finally on the forefront of company's minds. Lots of products made especially with female folks in mind as well as arrangements made for mother's (breastfeeding/post-partum) needs were very evident. This message consistently was hit home by the incredible keynote speaker, Allyson Felix, world champion of everything sprinting, and her work for mother's rights and the genesis of her footwear/athleisure brand, Saysh. Photo below is me getting to the conference room early to secure a seat to hear Ms. Felix preach.
2. Classics are always in fashion. I saw lots of brands from my childhood (and have been around a lot longer) resurging and emphasizing their quality, longevity, as well as innovation. Think: Birkenstock, Dansko, Bag Balm
Anyone else's grandparents use this stuff? It's been around since the 1800s as a skin protectant (originally for milking farm animals) and now as a blister/chafing protectant. Works great!
3. Staying in the game is the point. As Simon Sinek author of The Infinite Game says,
If our goal is to build companies that can keep playing for lifetimes to come, then we must stop automatically thinking of shareholders as owners, and executives must stop thinking that they solely work for them. A healthier way for all shareholders to view themselves is as contributors, be they near-term or long-term focused. Whereas employees contribute time and energy, investors contribute capital (money). Both forms of contribution are valuable and necessary to help a company succeed, so both parties should be fairly rewarded for their contributions.
Companies are really demonstrating how COVID-19 shook up how they do business and how they listen to their employees. I was particularly impressed by Dan Sheridan's (President and COO of Brooks Running) story about rewriting the company's mission statement and values with the input of the employees after COVID.
4. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are being taken seriously. Companies are investing in bringing running to and supporting all runners. I was so happy to see a strong Black Men Run (check them out here:
have a strong presence as well non-white speakers throughout the event, Allyson Felix being the keynote speaker was extremely powerful.
GU Gels also has this new delicious flavor coming out called Raspberry Lemonade that helps support: Running on Native Lands
which "aims to make land acknowledgements at trail AND road race events common practice and encourages our partners to go the extra mile by giving back to the communities which the land is borrowed from. With a partnership, we will facilitate in connecting race and event directors with the local communities and encourage event attendees and coordinators to rethink the way we view trails and our connection with the lands by recognizing the lands we are privileged to run on ARE stolen. We are about community building and creating better communication between event directors and Native communities so that attendees can be more respectful of the land they are on. . ."
GU had a cool station where you could look up where you live and see what tribe originally lived on that land (Gainesville, FL: Potano and Seminole tribes) and then make a luggage tag with this information. So creative and so powerful!
5. Trips and work are so much more fun with friends. This trip allowed me to connect and reconnect with lots of folks in the running community (it's a small world, as they say). Especially sweet was meeting up with these two former housemates, Adair and Courtney who were there at the very start of Suda's FitFoot and who just coincidentally live in the Austin, TX area. Such serendipity.
For some reason we thought the lighting and background in the ladies room was our best choice. :) Oh, well. Still a great time!
Found some great trails in Austin!
Safe and good for cyclists, too.
Hillier than I thought!
Found a Gator in Austin!
It was 40 degrees with a cold wind on this run. And it was 80 degrees the afternoon before. Be ready for any weather in TX!
Learned so much and can't wait for next year, TRE 2023!
Stay well, FitFooters!