For 10 of the last 11 years, running-crazed gear manufacturers and buyers have converged in Austin every fall for their annual industry show.
Shoe companies, accessory manufacturers and makers of nutritional items unveiled their latest and greatest, in hopes of getting their goods stocked in stores that cater to the 51 million runners who live in the United States. Buyers got to peek at products that wouldn’t appear on store shelves until the following spring.
But this year, the Running Event is skipping Texas and heading instead to Florida.
Show organizers say they had to move the show – just for a single year, they insist – because of a scheduling conflict at the Austin Convention Center. The 2016 convention is scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Orlando, but will return in 2017.
“Moving to Orlando was not done by choice,” said Mark Sullivan, president of Formula4 Media in New York, which puts on the trade show. “We were pre-empted by an event in the Austin Convention Center we were told occurs once every eight years.”
The invitation-only show is a coveted ticket here in the fitness capital of Texas.
Last year, 307 exhibitors participated in the Austin show, which attracted more than 800 running store owners and executives. The show also drew 87 journalists from both running and mainstream print, electronic, and social media outlets.
Shoes always take center stage, with manufacturers like Nike, Reebok, Asics, Mizuno, New Balance and Saucony in attendance. But accessories, clothing, energy snacks, drinks and other items got attention, too. In 2014, wearables earned big buzz; last year, anything to do with obstacle racing was hot.
Besides gear heads, the show brings in running stars like Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi, Olympic runner Kara Goucher and ultra runner Hal Koerner, who mingle with participants. The event includes a lineup of runs and races, too.
“Thanks in part to its running-friendly community, ease of access, and great food and entertainment, we owe much of our success to Austin,” Sullivan said. “You can rest assured that we’ll be back in Austin for three years starting in 2017 when the dates are Nov. 28-Dec. 1.”