When people join an endurance sport, there can be a number of reasons to stay. Personally, the energy of the community is a big factor for me. As humans, we’re looking for that place of belonging. During the pandemic, there were significant signs of another major boom in endurance sports. This was seen in many different ways, such as sales figures for bikes and a 33% increase in Strava uploads.
Despite this upwards trend, people were more isolated than ever. I ran trails alone for most of 2020 and 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions. The sense of community had vanished. In 2022, trade shows are starting to come back without restrictions. I had the opportunity to go to The Running Event, one such event in Austin, Texas centered around the run. My experience highlighted the importance of trade shows in endurance sports and how they are also vital to the growth of businesses in this community.
The Excitement was Palpable
First off, this was my first trade show in endurance sports and my first Running Event. With that in mind, I almost have an outsiders perspective on the energy in the room. To this point, I had been a dedicated endurance athlete for nearly four years. I have been an ultrarunner for about 2 years now. Naturally, I was blown away by seeing faces I had originally only seen in online media. There were also familiar faces of people I had met at other races throughout the year.
On the business side, I did not meet a single bad person in my time at the event. The outdoors industry is special. The excitement was palpable. There’s a reason this picture is being painted. Every industry is driven by humans. Honestly, I was extremely excited to finally get to put faces behind the names of some of the very brands I had trusted on my journey. This very statement is why this event is also vital to the growth of businesses within endurance sports.
People Follow People
People often stay in stay in endurance sports due to a sense of achievement and a sense of community. The sense of community aspect is vital in the world of business, where it is becoming well-known that People follow people. As an endurance athlete, being able to interact with people from brands, businesses, and humans has made me feel more like I belong to a community than ever before. Truthfully, it has nothing to do with selling. Everything has to do with making connections and realizing that if you really want to work with someone, you will find a way to make it happen. Exchanging details for Run Tri Bike came naturally because the sense of community came first. After starting the decade more isolated than ever, face-to-face connection with people in the target niche is more important than ever.
The Importance of Trade Shows in Endurance Sports
Collecting business cards at an endurance show such as the Running Event, or Endurance Exchange, is the first step to building that sense of belonging and community. What you do with that business card is what is important. Just piling those cards on your desk doesn’t foster community or relationships. It is those relationships that help us build our sports and bring new people in.
In January, Jason Bahamundi will be at Endurance Exchange, where he will look to continue the work that he started two years ago. Part of that work will be to build community and bring fresh faces to the sport. The various breakout sessions and learning opportunities at Endurance Exchange can help RTB foster more inclusivity in triathlon as well as share ideas and thoughts on how to move our sports forward.
Endurance sports are hard, but when we work together we can showcase how magical they can be. Endurance sports are important to many people and it shows when we get together at the various trade shows.
If you’re interested in attending Endurance Exchange please click the link below. We hope to see you there:
About Endurance Exchange
First held in January of 2020, Endurance Exchange annually brings together endurance sports industry stakeholders — including race directors, coaches, athletes, club leaders, officials, retailers and medical professionals — for several packed days of hands-on learning, sharing best practices, networking and collaboration. The event is open not only to those involved in the business of triathlon, but also to multisport enthusiasts of all types as specific athlete-focused sessions will cater to all skill and experience levels.