The Runners World Festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I was lucky enough to participate in both 2015 and 2016 too. Every year as I leave, I drive up the steep hill out of Bethlehem thinking: “Could this have been any more fun?” and it’s surprised me each time.
The short version recap is: I had, even more, fun in 2017, how that is possible, I’m not sure.
I was able to participate again as an influencer. As an influencer, we arrived in Bethlehem the Thursday before, and receive a tour of Runners World and dinner with the editors.
The Runner’s World Organic Café has delicious food and to be honest if I worked there, I don’t know if I would ever come home with a paycheck because I would eat there all of the time.
Friday was jam-packed, and we were out of the hotel at 6:45 am. Typically, I’m running at home by then. We did a shakeout run with a good friend Suzanne and Ryan Hall. It was about 30 minutes, relaxed and I didn’t even bring a watch. We stopped and took a photo with the sun.
After that, we met at the Steelstacks and the Altra founder: Golden Harper gave us a briefing on how Altra came to be. He described creating the first Altra shoes in his toaster oven and how the term “zero drop” came about. It’s a fascinating seminar, and if you ever get the chance to hear from him personally, I highly recommend it.
As someone who works in a running store, I nerd out to it anyway, but Altra shoes are unique in many different ways. They are foot shaped and allow the toes to spread out as feet naturally do and are balanced front to back with the same amount of cushion in the front of the shoe as well as the back. You can read my recent review of the Altra Escalante here.
After that, Golden gave us a clinic on form and running more efficiently. It’s always a useful clinic and a few of his tips such as a higher arm swing has helped me throughout racing.
After that, we had lunch and listened to the Mayor Running, himself, Bart Yasso discussed his new book Race Everything.
Bart is retiring after 30 years, and it is always such a treat to have him talk to us and listen to his stories. He gave a powerful speech about various times he has connected with people and it made me tear up. You never know how you are influencing someone.
Finally, we checked out the expo and picked up our bibs. I always appreciate the unique and smaller companies at Runners World. This year anyone doing the hat trick 5k/10k/13.1 received a hat, and anyone doing the Grand Slam 3.8 trail race/5k/10k/13.1 received a nice backpack.
Influencers were also given a tote bag filled with goodies such as socks and fun gear. They even gave us a free one to give to readers. All you have to do is comment with someone that has influenced or inspired you and why. Winner will be chosen over the weekend and announced Monday.
After that, we prepared for the weekend of races. I left Friday feeling inspired by meeting so many different bloggers and Runners World Editors.
I’ll recap both the 5k and the 13.1 in the following days.