“If you look at fandom in other sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer, the audience is largely spectators, right?
The difference with our world is that everyone in this sport is presumably running at the same events that most of the pros are running - they’re immersed in it for their own training, their own goals, their own interest in finishing a race, and things like that. So that's the challenge.
Certainly, trail running has grown and there's more of a following of the pro athletes..but it's also smaller than we think relative to the outside world.”
Brian Metzler joins the Singletrack Podcast to discuss trail running fandom, marketing our sport to a broader audience, doping, prize money, the changing events landscape, and the value of sports journalism in ultrarunning.
Brian has produced storytelling content for publications like Outside, Trail Runner, Runner’s World, Competitor, and Sports Illustrated, as well as several books, including “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” and “Trail Running Illustrated”.
(0:06) - the content preferences of trail running fans
(11:39) - marketing trail running to a broader audience
(28:19) - “trail running is the future” for some shoe companies
(37:11) - concerns about the growth of the sport
(44:32) - shakeups in the trail running event landscape
(56:00) - it is better for a few athletes to dominate or have more mystery in the results
(62:16) - doping in trail and ultra running
(82:08) - if and when we’ll see a media outlet dedicated to pro trail running
(88:54) - the value of trail running journalism
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