How Running, Fitness, and Recreation Companies are Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak –

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With retail stores, gyms, and studios across the country currently closing their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, several companies in the running and fitness industries are stepping up to support their employees and others affected by the pandemic.

Some businesses, such as Brooks and Lululemon, have promised to pay their retail workers full compensation while the retail stores have closed. Others, including Nike and Under Armour, have pledged to donate money to support coronavirus response efforts.

It’s important to note that large companies are perhaps better suited than smaller ones to weather the financial loss of temporarily closing their stores. Many smaller operations—including local running stores, fitness studios, and event organizers—are struggling to stay afloat without customer foot traffic or races to pull in revenue at this time. Here are some ideas on how to support your local running community.

During this uncertain and isolating period, lifting each other up is of utmost importance. Here, we’re highlighting a few of the generous ways that companies in the running, fitness, and recreation industries are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re keeping an eye on how other companies are supporting COVID-19 relief efforts and will update this list when possible. Also, please tell us in the comments if you know of a company assisting its employees and the greater community during this time.

The coronavirus spread is a rapidly developing situation. For the most up-to-date information, check resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.


In light of the outbreak, Nike closed its stores in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, the company reported in a press release. Currently, Nike-owned stores in South Korea, Japan, parts of China and in many other countries are open and operating normally. To help support those suffering due to the current circumstances, Nike has committed to donate more than $15 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.

According to Nike’s website, $10 million of that donation will go toward relief efforts close to the the company’s Portland headquarters: the Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Community Recovery Fund created by the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Oregon Health and Science University, which is working to improve statewide care coordination in Oregon, increase patient access, and ramp up operational readiness for expanded diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

Under Armour

Under Armour also announced that it’s closing its retail stores in North America through March 28 (customers can still order online). Additionally, the fitness company pledged $2 million to help support people affected by the pandemic.

Of that donation, $1 million will go toward Feeding America to help support hunger relief efforts as a result of current school closures and quarantines. The remaining donation will help support Good Sports, a nonprofit that provides youth sports leagues with necessary equipment, footwear, and apparel. To raise funds, Under Armour is encouraging people to take on the 30-day Healthy at Home fitness challenge on Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun apps; when users join the challenge beginning March 23, Under Armour will donate up to $1 million to Good Sports.


Lululemon announced that its retail shops in North America and Europe will be closed through March 27, but you can still stock up on leggings online. To help support its hourly employees through this quiet period, the company promised to pay its workers for their scheduled shifts for the full two-week period, according to a press release from the Lululemon CEO. Additionally, the company instituted a relief pay plan that guarantees 14 days of salary protection for any employee fighting the virus.


Like Lululemon, Brooks has also promised to fully compensate all of its employees who work in the company’s retail stores, which are temporarily closed nation-wide. Meanwhile, all of the corporate employees at Brooks will continue to operate remotely.

In a letter posted on Instagram, Brooks CEO Jim Weber expressed his sympathy for members of the running industry who are impacted by the pandemic. “It is difficult to see running events around the world cancelled. We stand behind race organizers who are making tough decisions to protect the health of the running community. It is also difficult to see retail partners suffering as they manage through their own impacts,” he wrote.

Weber continued, “We encourage all who can to get outside and put one foot in front of the other, as we know it will make your day better.”


Keen is doing its part to support relief efforts by providing shoes for those on the frontlines of fighting the virus. The company pledged to provide up to 100,000 pairs of shoes, which are worth about $10 million total, to the healthcare workers and families who have been impacted by COVID-19. The company is asking for people to send in nominations for anyone who could use a pair of shoes at this time, and they’ll provide them with a new pair of shoes at no cost.

“Whether these shoes help a worker stay comfortable during a long shift or simply allow people to get outside to breathe in the benefits of nature while safely practicing social distancing, we feel compelled to share our strengths for the common good,” Keen posted on its website.

Outdoor Voices

Activewear brand Outdoor Voices has closed its retail shops and suspended all company-hosted group runs and events until March 27. During the shutdown period, all shop employees will continue to be compensated for their scheduled shifts. In the meantime, the company, which promotes #DoingThings, will be encouraging its fans to be active during this time—whether that means a living room workout or solo run—by sharing workout inspiration on The Recreationalist and @outdoorvoices.


Athleta has announced that it will be closing its stores for two weeks starting Thursday, March 19, and like many other brands, the company will be fully supporting its employees with pay continuity and benefits during this time. While many people remain socially distanced, Athleta has encouraged fans to share how they’re staying active at home on Instagram using the hashtag #homebodies.

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