Often meetings like this can turn into a product dog and pony show where all we see is the same product that reps will be bringing weeks or months later. Emphasis was directed to the aspects that sometimes are uncomfortable to hear but are necessary if improvement is to be had. Like many companies Nike has seen the recent economy affect business, yet the specialty running business, has been a bright spot. I look forward to the progress we made here and the improvements to come.
Tomorrow is the Nike Cross Nationals to be held at Portland Meadows horse track. It should be a very exciting day and even Nike employees who travel to top events like big city marathon and Olympic trials say that they love this event. As a former high school coach I'm excited to see what a great event this will be for these young runners. I'm jealous I was never able to bring a team here.
Today's run was very good as I got 9 miles in with our host Kevin Paulk from Nike, Chris Farley from Pacers running store in Virginia and Bob Wallace of Run On in Dallas. Both Bob and Chris are good friends and I manage to see them a couple of times a year. Bob owns four stores in Dallas and placed 9th in the Boston Marathon in 1982. He has one of the best stories on perspective. When he got to his room after the race he was asked by the housekeeping lady how he did. Bob excitedly told her he was 9th and her reply was "too bad, maybe you'll win next year".
As we waited to start from the Lance Armstrong building (all buildings are named after Nike athletes) American mile record holder Alan Webb was waiting in the lobby. Webb is also from Virginia and Chris introduced us. As a former miler it's been a cool opportunity to meet Jim Ryan, the first high school miler to break four minutes, last month in Dallas and now Webb, who broke Ryan's HS record. Alan is a really nice guy and doesn't deserve the crap he gets on running message boards for his "failures" to live up to others expectations.
I managed to come in last place in the group shop at the Nike employee store as I spent significantly less money than anyone else. The winner was Tom Suddeth from Virginia who dropped $1,200 including the shipping of the overloaded cart back home. One needs to remember that everything is at least 50% too, so quite a haul for Tom. The day concluded with a nice meal and several beers with the group and Leslie Lane, the Global VP for running footwear for Nike (yeah, its a big job). Enjoyed hearing some of his stories and some of the Phil Knight stories that others related.