“Disclaimer: I received entry to The Running Event as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
I don’t know where to begin. After being 1 of 20 Pros chosen to attend this year’s The Running Event (TRE) in Austin, TX I was beside myself. We were notified over a month ago so that left 30 days to anticipate the trip. It felt like forever before finally trip week arrived. After packing all things orange, I was ready to fly out to Austin. I was lucky enough to get a direct flight from RDU to AUS, took off 9am EST and was touching down in Austin around 12 CT. I got off my flight and was walking to the airport, within 5 minutes I was being tapped on the shoulder. I turned to see 2 other Bibrave Pros decked out in their orange. After introductions we nabbed an Uber to head towards our hotel. We were all thinking we would have to leave our bags before heading to lunch but surprisingly enough, the Hilton already had our rooms ready. Huge relief to be able to put our bags in our rooms and sit for a minute before heading out.
LUNCH w/ Pro Family
While in route to the hotel we get messaged that another group of Pros were heading to a place called Moonshine that was down the street. All the pros ended up meeting there so everyone was able to meet each other, a lot of them for the first time. I knew a few Pros from a meet in greet after Chicago Marathon in 2016 but I hadn’t met the majority of the pros in person. We laughed, took pictures, enjoyed some good food and chatted about the upcoming weekend. I had a pork belly sandwich that was AMAZING.
After lunch we had a few hours before we were supposed to meet up for our first event, so half of us decided to do a small walking tour. We walked down to one of the Austin signs and took some pictures. After that we headed to the Drischell Hotel to check out their lobby and large Christmas tree. I think the Drischell is the oldest hotel in Austin. On our walk back we had to make a stop at the famous Voodoo Donuts. I am not huge on sweets but my fellow pros got some interesting ones, the most interesting was the vegan $4.00 donut called “Cock and Balls”.(yes, it is what you are thinking)
FIRST MEETING/ZWIFT RUN
Our first official meeting was set to kickoff at 5:30. This would be where we would finally get to see everyone AND we would receive our “swag bag” for TRE. Everyone was excited to see what would be in them. In addition to receiving our bags, 4 of our Pros were chose to do a 3 mile run using the Zwift app which allows you to run will anyone across the globe on a treadmill. This event was pre-planned so there were hundreds of people running at the same time and you could see them on screen or your phone. After cheering on our pros, we were given our swag bags and THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I will be reviewing each item received in our bag in the coming weeks but to name a few; we got shoes from Brooks and Altra, compression from CEP, compressions from Icrediwear, Nuun, hooded jacket from Brooks and Zwift pod to name a few. After more pictures and mingling, we headed to our rooms to put up our stuff before heading to dinner. We also learned we had been invited to party being thrown by Brooks later in the evening.
You can’t go to Austin and not at least try the bbq, right? We had dinner at Iron Works BBQ, which was a few blocks away from the hotel. Since I had pork belly for lunch and went with the brisket for dinner. The food once again was amazing, and we all just enjoyed each other’s company. We learned about each other’s families and where everyone was located. We basically closed down the joint, before packing up and starting the trek to the Brooks party.
We were one of the first to arrive at Cedar Creek Courtyard, and the venue was very nice. We hit up the bar and everyone was looking at us because we were all in our Bibrave Orange, it’s like we were an orange gang. As we were all talking, our community director walks up to me and motions for me to look behind her. Behind her walked in, no other than the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, Desi Linden. We all know she is a Brooks athletic but had no idea she would be there. We were all snapping pictures as she stood at the bar. We she turned to walk out, I had to do it. I asked if she would take a pic and she happily did. She was really nice. After that, everyone came over and asked for pictures…And you know what, she took a picture with every single person that asked. That’s how you would hope all your elite athletes are in person, humble and nice. A cover band took the stage and begin to play music, ranging from Bruno Mars to lots of 80s rock and roll. By this time it was packed with people and so was the dancefloor. The highlight of the evening, after meeting Desi, had to be when the DJ played the Wobble when the band was taking a break. I started it and before you know it, I had the whole dancefloor doing it. Who knew Austin could “wobble”. J We had a scheduled group run at 6:30am the next morning so I left the party around 12:15am and headed back to the hotel. Some people stayed until after 1am, bless them. Lol
Everyone managed to pull themselves together enough to make it downstairs to meet for the run. There were a lot of red eyes but everyone was happy. We took a few group pictures before heading out into downtown Austin. We had our on photographer, so he was riding around on a scooter getting action shots as we ran around. We ran to the capitol building where we again took some group photos, including an infamous jumping photo. After photos we ran back to hotel for a quick breakfast from Panera and heading up to shower. We had about a 45 minute window before we had to meet at The Running Event for our tour.
The Running Event was in the convention center and it pretty much took over the whole place. They split us up into 2 groups before we headed out to visit. We were to visit the booth of each of the brands that had products in our swag bag. It was great hearing more about some of our favorite brands AND learning about some new brands we had not previously heard about. A few of the booths that stood out were Arcanum, Handful. Incrediwear and Altra. The spokesperson for Arcanum was exceptional, she provided a lot of detail without over selling it. Arcanum makes a product that makes use of activated hemp. Handful makes workout bras and tights for women(so I didn’t get any of their product) but the owner was entertaining. Amazing how she had an idea and without a couple weeks had her first prototype for the bra. All the ladies in the group said they loved the product. Incrediwear makes compression socks, sleeves, and tights. They had Olympian Manteo Mitchell in their booth telling us about how the product help him rebound from injury. If you don’t know Manteo, he was on the USA Olympic 4 x 400 team in the London 2012 games. He broke his leg on the first leg of the race but still finished. Finally Altra spokespersons were all passionate about their shoes. They showed us all the upcoming shoes and special edition shoes in the making. We actually ran out of time talking to them, so you know the conversation was a good one.
After we finished our required tour, we were free to walk around to all the other booths and see the products. We were on a time crunch since it was starting to shutdown but still managed to see a few booths. Learned out a brand Untapped, which use pure maple syrup to create energy waffles and gels. They product was REALLY tasty. Also learned about a new company called Muir who makes a kind of food paste instead of the usually gels runners used. We were able to try several of their products and they were exceptional. Since it was more of an expo, majority of the products were not for sale but some people were still able to score some products for FREE. Someone got a free bra from Handful, another was able to get a free duffle bag mailed to her from Vooray and one guy got a whole outfit(shorts and shirt) from a brand called UGlow.
In between the expo and before dinner a few of us decided we wanted to go sightseeing on the scooters. I had never rode one of the scooters and figured I wanted do it back home so I joined them. The scooters are so much fun and really inexpensive. A thirty minute ride ended up only being about $5, you just had to be careful not to take out the pedestrians walking on the sidewalks. Lol. We had heard about this place called Graffiti Park that we wanted to find. It was everything we were told. It is basically a huge park that graffiti artist can come and paint their art. We walked around and took pictures before climbing to the top where you could see the whole Austin skyline. Breathtaking view. Hopped on our scooters and headed back to hotels to change before dinner.
A few pros flew out after the expo but still a good amount remained. A good amount were flying out on Saturday(including myself) so we decided to try to do one last dinner with everyone. We made reservations at the House of the Rising Tuki-San. I had a Mongolian beef that was AMAZING. Outside we said our goodbyes since everyone’s flights were leaving at different times and even a few people were staying until Sunday.
BACK TO REALITY
My flight was at 7am on Saturday morning, so I scheduled an uber for 4:45am. Before I could even get to sleep, I had to figure out how I was going to fit all the stuff from the swag bag into my carryon suitcase. I had to Tetris it up, and loose the shoe boxes but in the end I made it all fit. The uber was on time an I was at the airport by 5:15am. I worried about getting through TSA because some of the products we got were over the 3oz limit, but I guess I was lucky. I wasn’t stopped and they didn’t pull my bag…WIN. Later in the day I heard from a few different pros that said their bags were pulled and some even said their Nuun tubes were all swabbed, but eventually they were able to get through with no future delays. The flight took off on time and I was in the friendly skies headed to NC, back to reality.
TRE was simply an amazing weekend, and I couldn’t have asked to spend it with a better group of people. The Pros are all from different areas of the world but you would have thought we had known each other for years because when we might it was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. Everyone got along and genuinely enjoyed hanging out with each other. The laughs were endless, and a lot of the pictures were epic. I can’t think BIBRAVE enough for allowing me to participate in such a epic event. Maybe I will be back to TRE in 2019. 😉