Friday, October 24, 2008

Running and the incredibly shrinking dollar...

The Running Network’s Larry Eder, who is the publisher of American Track & Field, and other publications, has a very interesting take on the direction of the sport, given the current economic conditions in the United States and around the world.

“Running is something that requires a pair of shoes, at that, some loose fitting clothing, and can be done anywhere. I have run or walked in shopping centers, parking lots, around baseball fields, but the most fun is through trails and park like settings. The truth is, running and walking can be done anywhere.

Running requires a pair of good shoes, which can be found at one of 728 local running stores across the U.S. There are twenty to twenty five brands of running shoes and trail shoes and half of those are excellent product. The others are struggling. Competition in the running and trail categories is brutal and non stop. One either makes it or tries to hang on for the ride. The real laboratory is not in some university, but in any of those stores. As my dear friend, Gary Goettlemann says, " The shoe wall does not lie."

Running will thrive in the current economy. It will thrive because most runners, walkers and would be runners realize that their hour of zen is priceless. The $120 spent on a pair of running shoes pales in comparison to what one spends on the car, even with gas prices dropping. It is a cheap way of providing some solace when the stock portfolio continues to drop, and it is a good friend when you need to work something out, like looking for another job or deciding how to juggle finances for the month.

Running will thrive in this new global financial village, where one person's fear is mulitplied by several million. Where unscrupulous and greedy financiers and investors have compromised a generation of retirement accounts and put into question the very thought of retirement for millions.

First we need to be honest again. Running is all about honesty. Some are fast, some are slow, some are in between. You will probably never see Bill Rodgers walking an eight hour marathon, but you will see three thousand marathon walkers going into local running stores for shoes. Running is a paradigm that allows the slower of us to appreciate the faster of us and vice versa.”

To read Larry’s essay, click here…

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