For those who have been living under a rock and don’t know what we’re talking about, the best way we could describe The National Running Show is… a home for runners, no matter how far or fast you go. To use their own words, they bring together inspirational speakers, the latest kit, cutting-edge technology, expert coaches, the best races and a host of tasty nutrition products all under one roof.
So, Birmingham, here we come. But first, we virtually sat down with Nathalie Davies, Group Event Director for The National Running Shows and Run Show USA, to ask her about all things running and the event itself.
Nathalie has worked in the events industry for the past 11 years, running events in a variety of sectors including technology, marketing, building and franchising. She’s a big fitness fan so working on The National Running Show must be a dream come true. When she’s not working in the events world she’s a busy mum to 2 little ones.
Let’s get to know her.
Hi Nathalie! What do you like the most about your role?
ND> I love everything that has to do with events – from the preparation to the final touch. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I love to run! It’s funny. Before this job, I didn’t like running at all. I still remember my first interview where I said: “I don’t enjoy running; does it really matter?” to which they replied: “You will.” They were absolutely right. I now spend all day talking about running, it got into my blood all thanks to The National Running Show.
What I particularly love about my role is that I get to spend time to work with a lovely bunch of people. You may think that the running industry is massive and that it’d be impossible to know everyone but for some reason we do, and everyone is extremely friendly. As you can imagine, the last two years were very tough, but we are the ones who run. And so, despite all the challenges, we stopped just for a second, but here we are again.
At MAAREE we’re all about sports bras that support your breasts, also thanks to our Overband® Technology. Have you struggled with sports bras in the past?
ND> I wouldn’t say that I struggled but, among the ones I’m happy with, I do have a sports bra that is redundant in my wardrobe. I bought it some time ago and I’m so not comfortable in it. Maybe I should replace it with one that supports me 100%.
The National Running Show is a B2C event. How has the running industry changed over the years?
ND> These past two years have undoubtedly seen an exponential increase in runners, especially during the lockdown. We felt so trapped we needed an excuse to go out – and a lot of people chose to take advantage of the situation to add some more movement in their lives. For newcomers it meant starting from scratch; for runners it meant even more running. The trend was already there though. Even five years ago, we could see how running was already on the map. Ultrarunning, the activity of competing in ultramarathons, started becoming insanely popular. The numbers say that the trail running market experienced a huge growth as well.
Why do you run? What is it that you absolutely love about running?
ND> I’ve always been a fitness enthusiast. HIIT classes will always have a special place in my heart. So, also when it comes to running, I love the fitness element of it. It’s incredibly accessible. You don’t need to go to the gym to run, which not only saves you money but time too. With running, I drop my kids at school and quickly go for a run. The easiness of putting your shoes on and simply getting out the door, well, that’s hard to beat. Plus, I love the headspace it gives me. I noticed it during the lockdown. I needed that bit of me-time to be outdoors, not talking to another human being, but simply there for my body to release endorphins. It was such a blessing.
Speed work or endurance running?
ND> I don’t really have a preference. What I know is that I don’t overly push myself. I run half marathons, true – actually, I just signed up for the London marathon, but to me running fast is not my main goal. I think being injury-free is my aim. That’s why I always try to train properly. I do challenge myself but to me exercise must be a safe zone, a place where you treat (and train) yourself in a healthy way.
Women run on the street and at the park. But they also run the world. And yet, running can still be dangerous for us. What do you think the world can do to ensure this is not an issue anymore?
ND> I’d say, wear the right kit, with high-visibility clothes. Run on safe routes. Make sure you can hear your surroundings (podcasts are cool but safety is cooler). Oh, and use the correct technology for the correct environment.
How do you see women-only gyms?
ND> There should never be a barrier to exercising. If a woman doesn’t feel comfortable working out with men, it would be an awful shame to not give her another option.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through running?
ND> That strength training is everything. When I decided to start running, I was not wearing the right shoes nor building the right muscles. I had a big injury and had to go to physio for it. I should have listened to the advice of doing all the bits.
Any running or fitness trends you foresee for 2022?
ND> The ultrarunning that I previously mentioned – I bet it’s going to be even bigger. I’m in awe of those people who decide to run 100 miles consecutively in extreme conditions. It’s such a challenge both mentally and physically. But also, I do foresee more and more technology for running – think of watches or biomechanics. There’s a continued growth in the tech space for runners.
MAAREE will also be in Birmingham on 22nd and 23rd January. I mean, how could we miss it? What can people expect from The National Running Show this coming year?
ND> The world’s best living corner for runners! There are going to be countless things to shop for and, most importantly, it’s such a cool experience for anyone who loves running. It’s like going to your favourite place with like-minded people.
And what are you most excited about?
ND> To bring my community together: exhibitors like you but also sponsors and runners – all together for two days. It’s been two years since Birmingham hasn’t had its National Running Show, and, despite all the challenges, we can’t wait to come back stronger than ever. I look forward to seeing you and all the MAAREE fans!