Trail running is seen as a rapidly growing market. At this year’s OutDoor in Friedrichshafen (18 – 21 June 2017) the subject of running will be presented for the first time in a special Running Center, removing the boundaries between trail running and classic running. Exhibitors in this segment expect strong growth and new customers as a result.
There is no disputing the fact that trail running is an outdoor pursuit, but can running be included as well?
“Manufacturers and athletes alike have increasingly been suggesting that we extend the trail running section to cover the wider concept of running. After all, running is an important part of training for all outdoor activities. This is why we have set up a Running Center for the very first time,” explains Head of Outdoor Stefan Reisinger. This shows that the trade fair is fully on-trend, as the boundaries between trail running and running have long since been removed. Urs Weber, editor-in-chief of the German edition of the world’s leading running magazine ‘Runner’s World’ backs up this view: “The vast majority of trail runners are often active in urban areas as well – and the boundaries are fluid. This is why it also makes sense for OutDoor to eliminate these distinctions that nobody really makes anyway. Running is an outdoor sport.” Even in his own magazine, though, this has not always been the case. Yet the past ten years have caused Urs Weber to change his mind.
For Mathias Schulz, Head of the sports brand CEP of Medi GmbH from Bayreuth, trail running has in fact always been a continuation of runners’ aspirations to reach for new limits: “Many trail runners come from the classic field of running and have merely extended their terrain through the new activity. Those who have still to reach their personal limit in this sector tend to try more demanding targets such as those in ultra running or other extremes“. For sports physician Mathias Schulz, running has always been more than an end in itself. He believes that in many sports running is seen as an aspect of training to build up the necessary stamina. He includes a healthy level of endurance as one of the basic requirements when out in the wilds.
As regards synergies, trade show and industry are in agreement: “Apart from extreme mountaineers and pure city marathon runners, the two categories benefit
mutually from the way the trends are moving,” says Mathias Basedow, Country Manager of the Swedish brand Icebug in Germany and Austria. He believes that
subjects such as weight, comfort and everyday usability have long since caused the boundaries to merge. It is assumed that the synergies will also have a big effect on daily business. The Swiss shoe brand On AG, a new exhibitor at OutDoor 2017, is not just looking forward to “an attractive development that will bring more variety and colour to running as a whole,“ says Sales Manager“ Martin Borgenheimer: “We expect running to become a main topic and look forward to attracting a lot of interest from partners and dealers seeking to strengthen their trail sector. He cites the Running Center as an important reason for going to Friedrichshafen. Seasoned exhibitors at OutDoor are also expecting greater awareness about the topic as well as potential new visitor groups. “Many dealers buy Löffler running items because they are impressed by the quality of our clothing from the Nordic sports and bike segments. Of course, it’s also nice to generate awareness of running amongst those interested in our products and win them over as customers,” explains Lisa Kinz, Marketing and Communication at Löffler. Mathias Basedow shares this opinion: “We have a number of partners who have an outstanding way of combining outdoor and running and are actively gaining new target groups as a result. This is a concept that we want to introduce to other dealers at OutDoor.” Urs Weber is certain that this will succeed. The editor-in-chief is giving an extensive range of talks on the subject of running at OutDoor and emphasises that: “Runners love nature and experience it in a variety of different ways. Running is therefore almost exclusively an outdoor pursuit.”
Jörg Seifert, Managing Director or Lauf-Profis Sport GmbH is also looking forward to the new focus at Friedrichshafen: “We are fully behind the concept and idea of the Running Center as a way of combining the outdoor and running markets. As Sport2000 running professionals, we benefit from the link between outdoor and
running and are able to present our retailers the full spectrum of the market. We’re really pleased with the partnership with the OutDoor trade show and are looking
forward to the rich and varied programme of running-related events.”