Mag for a million runners launches this month

First, the guys behind Gripped went for climbers. Then they went for triathlon competitors. Now they're launching their biggest mag yet in a bid to reach runners across Canada. That's a lot of shoes!

Toronto-based publisher Gripped is set to launch Canadian Running Magazine this month. The mag will hit newsstands in Ontario on Feb. 21, Quebec on Feb. 25 and the rest of the country on Feb. 26.

The company’s third and largest magazine will include articles on the latest running issues, fitness tips for all seasons, diet and nutrition information, in-depth features, running routes and expert reviews of the latest footwear, fashion and accessories for runners.

Advertisers signed on for the first issue include Adidas, Merrell Canada, The North Face, Mizuno, Salomon, Asics, The Running Room, Zoot Sports, Oakley, Saucony, Hammer Nutrition, General Nutrition Centers (GNC Live Well), ING Ottawa Marathon, Reebok, New Balance, Pearl Izumi, Fuel Belt, GU Sports, Nathan Sports and Brooks.

Gripped launched Gripped: The Climbing Magazine in 1999. Triathlon Magazine Canada followed in March 2006. ‘Canadian Running Magazine has the potential to be three or four times larger in both circulation and revenue than our other magazines,’ says publisher Sam Cohen.

The Canadian running magazine market has significant room for growth, he contends. In the US, Runner’s World sells about 25,000 subscriptions in Canada and 10,000 copies on the newsstand – with total US sales of 600,000. Based on population, Cohen says Canadian Running Magazine has the potential to reach 60,000 Canadian subscriptions. Distribution points will include most Shoppers Drug Marts and all major airports, as well as independent retailers.

The mag’s website,, will launch on Feb. 15. At launch, advertisers expected to have a web presence (with banners) include Adidas, A6 and Nutrition Club (for a product called Cytomax).

Editorial director Dave Chaundy-Smart tells MiC that promotion backing the magazine’s launch will include advertising on specialty websites, presence at consumer shows and direct mail, while some event sponsorship is in the works for the future.

Gripped reports that Canada is home to more than one million runners. Point-of-purchase sales figures suggest that about $300 million worth of running shoes were sold in Canada in 2005, and Canadians will buy more than two million pairs of running shoes in 2008.

Other fast facts? A record 54,317 runners signed up for The 2007 Vancouver Sun Run, Canada’a largest 10K road race. More than 12,500 runners registered for the 2007 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half & 5K. There are more than 500 running races in Canada, and even small ones have 300 to 800 participants.