Top brands including Nike, Garmin, ASICS, Brooks and Hoka ONE ONE collected trophies as The Running Awards celebrated their biggest event yet, in front of over 450 of the very best in the industry on April 19 at The O2 London.
After more than 150,000 votes, the awards’ fifth year saw multiple previous winners, Strava (Best App), Ronhill (Men’s Clothing) and Shock Absorber, mix with several new winners such as Tikiboo (Women’s Clothing Brand) and Nuclear Races (Best Obstacle Event).
The ceremony opened with a networking event followed by The Inspiration in Running Award which went to 11-year-old George Mathias, following his ‘Run with George’ campaign to raise money for Alder Hey Hospital that saved his younger brother. The inspiring youngster was presented with his award by Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, founder of parkrun, following their partnership with The Running Awards.
With such a focus on charity in the industry it was the largest fundraising event on the planet, The Virgin Money London Marathon, that was presented Gold in the Large Marathon category by Marathon Talk’s Martin Yelling. In fact, with two days still to go it was revealed that their partner Virgin Money Giving had already supported their runners in raising over £18 million for charity.
Following parkrun’s decision to remove themselves from the Best Event Series to support other events there was a lot of competition in the category, and the 2018 award went to Northern Irish outfit Born2Run, who organise award winning events such as Born2Run Castlewellan and Dambusters 10K. This was an impressive accolade as they pipped popular organisers such as Great Run and Race for Life to first place.
The evening concluded with the awards for Best Small and Large Charity. A large charity is defined as a registered charity with a turnover of more than £5 million per annum, as regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Scotland, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or the OSCR (Scotland). The awards were split to recognise the vast amount of charities that support and work with runners for their causes. Alzheimer’s Society took their first Gold after a fantastic year of work, very closely followed by Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK. In the Small Charity sector, The Running Charity placed first, followed by A Mile in Her Shoes and The MS Trust.
A new category, Best Professional Running Blog, saw winners Running Shoes Guru join over 100 other top influencers in the world of running, for the Altra Bloggers Forum occurring just before the ceremony. Here the top bloggers networked and listened to talks from leaders in varying parts of the industry such as Paul Hoborough, a past physio to Paula Radcliffe, William Pullen, author of Best Book 2018 Run for your Life – Mindful Running and of course, new shoe brand Altra who introduced their latest innovations.
Another speaker was Dion Leonard, Ultra-Runner and author of award winning ‘Finding Gobi’, who went on to present Best Fun Run to The Muddy Dog Challenge, which raises funds for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. This fitted well as the story is of the runner’s friendship with Chinese stray desert dog, Gobi, as they ran across the desert.
Editor of the awards, Sam Corrick, said: “It was great to see the newer companies compete. You of course come to expect some of the well established brands to dominate their category, but this year the new competition reflected the changes in a fast-moving industry. Increasing our votes by over 50 per cent was no doubt a factor and we get these numbers by keeping nominations and voting free, thanks to the support from our partners Alpha Crew, Altra, parkrun, Primo Events, Sports Insight and The National Running Show.”
One of these highly voted for and important sets of categories to runners are, of course, the retailers. SportsShoes.com walked away with a trophy in each of their two categories including Gold in Online Retailer. In the post-award interviews, they saw the mixture of the effort that goes into both the range available and the expert advice given as reasons they topped the voting. Up & Running and Scotland-based Run4It also received first places in their retailer categories.
Having returned early from covering the Commonwealth Games the BBC’s Mike Bushell, with many special guest presenters, presented the Gold trophies to the winners.
The running awards 2018 gold winners
Large charity: Alzheimer’s Society
Small charity:The Running Charity
Clothing & shoes
Men’s clothing brand: Ronhill
Shoe cushion: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton
Shoe lightweight: adidas Adizero Adios
Shoe neutral: Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Shoe support: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
Underwear & socks: Runderwear
Women’s clothing brand: Tikiboo
Women’s sports bra: Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra