Well, the weather has been true to form – inconsistent. A mini heat wave some weeks ago has been followed by the cold, rain and even snow.
Interestingly, when we did have the warm spell it was very noticeable how many more people were out running, biking and generally exercising.
This spring will certainly lead into an interesting summer, with many major events, such as Euro 2012, the Jubilee celebrations and, of course, the Olympics. Prior to that, however, we have the London Marathon and other major events in the running calendar, such as Race For Life, which has been instrumental in getting a lot of women – and men – running for the first time.
The Olympics will be interesting and the general consensus appears to be that it will be post-Olympics where we will see an upsurge in public interest and participation in sport. Certainly from a running perspective, we at Hiily experience an increase in demand for products in the weeks after the London Marathon, as it appears that many who have watched the event are motivated to start running themselves.
It is also interesting that we are witnessing more marathons being staged across the country – Brighton, Liverpool, Chester, Manchester, Sunderland and Hull, to name but a few – and it could be that we witness a mini marathon boom again, as we did in the early 1980s, with the first London Marathon being the catalyst.
Hilly will be selling its range of technical performance socks and accessories at this year’s London Marathon Expo (in conjunction with key retailers) and, once again, expects high demand fo its range. Despite the number of specialist stores around the country, many runners still like to purchase products at the expo, which is a major running gathering. The event gives Hilly the opportunity to promote the technical merits of its products directly to the consumer and also promote its marketing strapline – ‘Great Shoes Deserve Great Socks’. We sell a lot of socks throughout the year, but at any running event the majority of runners are wearing non-technical socks, and so there is still a big education programme required.
It’s to be hoped that all these planned events will be positive for specialist running stores in particular, and for those in towns or cities that are hosting major running events they represent a great opportunity to maximise the benefits of the services they can offer.