Tami, Jonathan and I just returned from the annual Asics Gold Account Meeting held at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale AZ. This event brings the top 200 Asics dealers who specialize in Running Specialty products from across the US. We had many breakout sessions over the course of 3 days that focused not only on the new footwear, apparel and accessories for the fall, but also presentations from industry leaders such as Jim Dion, a well regarded retail sales consultant as well as Simon Bartold, the chief research consultant for Asics who lives in Australia.
Simon had several key findings that were particularly interesting. Studies that showed how proprioception of the foot can influence toe off pattern, how to minimize the pain of osteoarthritis in the knee, how estrogen has the potential to increase the chance of injury in female athletes, and how the different bones of the foot work through the gait cycle. He also showed a small group after one of his sessions a quick and easy taping technique that’s effective in helping ease the pain of plantar fasciitis – all fascinating stuff.
We were introduced to the new and much improved Spring 2010 apparel lines for men and women as well as the new Tempo Run Footwear Collection. This grouping of lightweight trainers and racers is geared to meet the needs of the serious runner/racer. Models include: Gel-Hyper Speed 4 (same midsole/outsole, new upper), the DS Racer that replaces the Bandito, The Piranha SP 3 (still super light, with a new upper and outsole), the Gel-Tarther a model borrowed from Japan that is considered a lightweight trainer/racer here in the US, but it’s probably considered a stability trainer in Japan. The Gel-DS Trainer 15 which actually uses the last and tooling from their most popular edition of the DS Trainer, the 6th and 7th editions and finally the new Gel-Speedstar 4, a big improvement over the previous model. Overall, a very exciting lineup due out 1/1/10.
Additional activities outside of meetings included an evening at the Arizona Diamondbacks Game with the Gold Account group being hosted at the TGI Fridays in the upper bleachers down the 3rd base line. The next afternoon was the “Epic Run” held at North Mountain Park. I ran just under 60 minutes and covered I think 5-6 miles, very rough terrain with lots of hills and turns and the ever present cactus looking to stab you, it sounds worse than it was because it actually was a nice experience. Asics was kind enough to help us replenish our energy stores by having pizza and drinks following the run. The other runs were held at 5:45 AM and circled one of the many golf courses on the property.
On the final day, the sessions ended at 1:00 and we had the afternoon to ourselves. I went to the larger of the 2 pools at the resort and floated on the lazy river, hit the water slides and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool with many of the Asics staff. The meeting ended with the closing session hosted by Dan Patrick of ESPN fame. He would ask someone from the audience to shout out a question or the name of an athlete and he would give his opinion or tell a funny story. I got a kick out of it. Later that night he was standing with a few Asics people and I introduced myself and asked if he remembered me. He said I looked familiar and wanted to know how he knew me. I said “You came to my house in 1988 to do a story on my roommate at the time, Mark Conover.” His eyes widened and he said “I thought I recognized you!” I asked if he remembered the night. He said 2 things stood out in his mind “The guy t-boning his truck into the old car parked in front of the house pushing it onto your front lawn and the fireplace full of empty beer cans.”
Overall a great event.