News from the Field

Robert Espinoza - Event Director of the Month


The Edge Newsletter Announces: Robert Espinoza - Event Director of the Month

Robert Espinoza
Founder, Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

Dori Ingalls  

Robert Espinoza says, "Put on an event, not just a race. It's like setting a dinner table – the better the spread; the more people want to eat." As the president, owner and operator of Fleet Feet Sports in Savannah, Georgia, Robert has put on more than just a dinner party or race. Espinoza has almost single-handedly kick started the running scene in Savannah.

Nine years ago, Robert opened his shoe store in Savannah after moving from Austin, Texas. Since then, he helped start the first Susan G. Komen Savannah Race for the Cure in 2009 and partnered with the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series – which is sold-out for the inaugural full and half marathons to take place on November 5th of this year in Savannah. As the race director for the Savannah River Bridge Run, Robert has increased participation to nearly 6,000 attendees. Since becoming the director for Critz Tybee Run in 2009, the event has sold out in 2010 and 2011 and will be expanded to a two-day running festival in 2012.

Not only has Robert helped grow the participation for major Savannah running events, he also helps put on smaller events as much as possible. Robert contributes to 5K races nearly every weekend that help numerous charities raise money and increase awareness for their causes. In April of 2010, major Savannah news station, WTOC, named Robert a Hometown Hero for the "positive impact he has had on the city of Savannah and its residents, charities, runners and walkers."

Robert seems to have mastered the art of attracting attendees to his endurance events. He mentioned that the key to getting participants, managing the process, and building the community is to make it fun. He always strives to get as much of the community involved by playing music, offering great food, and having costume contests, "kiddie" runs, guest speakers, and other post-race activities. After building the fun into the event, he makes sure to market and promote the event through many avenues.

For his race events, Espinoza offers online registration and payment processing through Active Network. Next, he typically sets up a Facebook page for the race to further spread the word. After that, he creates an individual page on the Fleet Feet Savannah website dedicated to the race event. And finally, by distributing an upcoming race calendar, spreading the word through news and radio stations, offering training groups that work towards the event, and advertising a bit more, Robert has successfully built an endurance event. Click here to learn more about how to drive registrations with Active's unique marketing services.

As a client of Active Network, Endurance, Robert Espinoza embodies the traits not only of a great race director, but also a powerful change-maker. For that, he is our Event Director of the Month.

To learn more about Robert and Fleet Feet Sports, visit his website here.

Hydration with a Cause - Nuun



Nuun and Team In Training (TNT) are working together to beat cancer!

The Grape Nuun purple cap tubes have arrived! As one of the Official Product Partners of TNT, Nuun's special Grape purple cap tube will be made available to more than 5,000 retailers across the country in mid-October. To kick off the launch of the purple cap, Nuun set a goal to sell 10,000 Grape tubes for TNT and they need your help! Fifteen percent of all sales from Grape tubes will be donated directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

The LLS has awarded millions of dollars to advance blood cancer research.  Nuun is excited to be part of making a difference.

Rod Bien wins the 2011 Cascade Crest 100 Mile


Rod Bien wins 2011 Cascade Crest 100 Miler

Most people are working towards their first 5K, 10K or even marathon.  If someone asked you to run 100 miles what would your response be?  The Fleet Feet Sports family is proud to announce that Rod Bien, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Bend, OR, has not only won but set the record for a 100 mile race.  The 2011 Cascade Crest 100 Miler located in Seattle, WA was completed by Rod in 18 hours: 27 minutes: 52 seconds.  He was able to run, walk, jog, and take pictures with cows, 3 minutes and 18 seconds faster than the last record holder!  On Saturday, August 27th most of us were helping our children with their first homework assignments, or grocery shopping for the week.  Others were running their long Saturday training run for the 1/2 or full marathon coming up in late October or early November.  But very few of us were rounding the turn on our 12th 100 mile race. 

 What is your favorite off the wall choice at the food stops that most people would find odd?
Bacon late in the race hits the spot!!
Do you have a favorite song to sing to yourself?
No.  When I'm racing, I'm pretty much concentrating on my breath and listening for the competition so they don't sneak up on me!!
When you feel like giving up what do you think about to get you through the run?
This is funny but a lot of time I think about all the money I have spent!  Hotels, gas, gels... money is a good motivator.  I also think about my family.  They have sacrificed a lot to let me train as much as I need to remain competitive.  I feel like it is my responsisbility to pull on the "big boy pants" and race as hard as I can.
Who inspired you to run your first ultra?
My dad was an amazing ultramarathon runner and Navy Seal who ran the entire Appalachain Trail and the California Costal trail.  I pretty much devote all of my running to his honor.
Other than a cow, what was the strangest animal you have seen out on a race?
Gosh, nothing too crazy, believe it or not.  Rattlesnakes, elk, and bighorn sheep are probably the coolest I have seen while in a race.
Have you ever had a run in with a snake?
Several.  One time at Western States 100 I jumped right over a huge  one.  I remember wishing it would just bite me and take me out of my misery.
What shoes did you run the race in?
The Adidas Adios.
Any products you would like to plug in this article?
I run in Patagonia clothing and I think they make the best stuff on the market.  It is lightweight, breathable, with a slim fit.  I also use Carbo Pro for nutrition.  However, with nutrition, you just have to find what works for you as everyone is different.
I am writing this article so it is entertaining for the average person who does not understand why anyone would ever want to run that far.  Do you have any words of wisdom for those thinking about getting into the sport of ultras?
To me, life is pretty easy.  Cars, computers, tv's, and so many conveniences.  I think of myself as a bit of a throwback.  I wish I could have lived in the "Lewis and Clark" era.  I love a challenge where there are no guarantees.  I know that I will always make it to the finish line of a marathon.  With a 100 miler, there are no guarantees and I find that very stimulating and exciting.
Thank you Rod and Congratulations on your sick win.  I hope you are enjoying your 3 minute and 18 second record crushing time.  We are all so proud of you!

Fleet Feet Honors Franchises


Fleet Feet Honors Franchises 

SportsOneSource Media     

Posted: 6/26/2011

Fleet Feet Inc., the franchisor of running specialty stores, honored many of its franchises last week at its annual National Franchise Conference held in Chicago.

One of the big winners was Lisa and David Zimmer, owners of Fleet Feet Sports Chicago, IL, who earned Fleet Feet Sports Brand Builder Award. The award honors franchise for establishing and promoting the Fleet Feet Sports brand in their community and for contributions to the national Fleet Feet Sports network. The two opened their first Fleet Feet store in Chicago in 1996 and now have two in the area.

Stephanie and Carrie Blozy, owners of Fleet Feet Sports Hartford, CT, earned the New Store Development Award, recognizing successful franchises that have been in business more than one year and fewer than three years.

Christi Beth and Matt Adams, of Fleet Feet Sports Brentwood, TN, won the Pinnacle Award for demonstrating excellence in customer acquisition, staffing & customer experience, financial & inventory management, and vendor relations.

Among suppliers, Brooks Sports earned the Supplier of the Year "for providing excellent product, support and services." Fleet Feet noted that Brooks last year became the first brand to do more than $10 million in sales across its 90-store franchise network.

Saucony earned the Vendor Service Award in recognition of support and service levels.

Robyn Goby, director of marketing and communications, was given the Fleet Feet Sports Ambassador Award that recognizes "an individual for being an outstanding advocate of the Fleet Feet Sports brand."

Besides a trade show with sixty specialty vendors, Fleet Feet attendees also participated in education and business planning sessions. A particular focus by Fleet Feet was creating specific business units for training programs in order to streamline management, grow running participation, drive profitability and further upgrade the customer's experience. 

"Training programs have exploded into a major driver for customer acquisition and have helped us evolve into the inclusive community-focused businesses we are today," said Jeff Phillips, president of Fleet Feet. Additional initiatives that were well received included an interactive online employee training tool, a new brand website and the introduction of a cloud-based point of sale system.


Tom Raynor Inducted Into NSGA Hall Of Fame


The CEO of Fleet Feet, Incorporated, Tom Raynor, will be inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) Hall of Fame at a ceremony tomorrow, during the 47th Annual NSGA Management Conference.  The NSGA has honored Sporting Goods leaders since 1956 but this year’s inductees bring the total number of Hall of Famers to only 150.