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Movin’ Shoes Launches Elite Development Program

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Aug. 22, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM UTC

San Diego-based running store partnering with Nike to sponsor post-collegiate athletes.

Movin Shoes, San Diego’s original running specialty store, announces the formation of the Movin Shoes Track and Field Elite Development Program.  The program has been created to meet the glaring need of post-collegiate athletes to have support in order to continue to develop and improve in the sport.

The initial reaction to the formation of the program has been extremely enthusiastic. Unique in its design and goals, Movin Shoes is partnering with Nike to assist aspiring Olympic Trials-level athletes. The focus is to bring a sense of community and support to attaining Olympic-level performances in a post-collegiate environment, while also promoting elite competition at the local level.

The program is designed to support athletes competing in all disciplines of Track and Field, Movin Shoes owner Carl Brandt explains. “It’s Olympic Development for all disciplines of Track and Field.  You know, post-collegiate running is bizarre in this country.  The upper crust is moderately well taken care of, and another 10% knows somebody who knows somebody who has access.  But the rest are struggling to survive, figuring how to stay in the sport.  We hope to be a bridge for some of those people.”

The roster is envisioned to have approximately 10 athletes, all of whom will live, train, and compete locally when the opportunity is available.  In addition, participants will have community service mandates to help inspire local students to stay in school, focus on their academic and athletic goals, and work towards the achievement of those goals.

Currently, the roster is comprised of recent UCSD graduates, led by Christine Merrill. Merrill, a 2010 graduate and former NCAA Division II national champion in the 400m Hurdles, has dual citizenship with Sri Lanka. Since her graduation she has set the Sri Lankan national record in the event, won a bronze medal at the Asian Athletic Championships, and was recently chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the IAAF Track and Field World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, which gets underway later this week. She works full time locally as a structural engineer and has continued her training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

Other former NCAA Division II national champions Danielle Thu and Linda Rainwater are also involved with the team.  Thu, a local athlete who attended Monte Vista High and graduated last year from UCSD, won the hammer throw at the 2009 NCAA national championships and continues her focus in that event. Rainwater, a high jump (2009) and heptathlon (2008) national champion, will be focusing her energy on the high jump.

Former UCSD athletes Stephanie LeFever and Kelly Fogarty are also on the roster.  LeFever, two time runner-up last year at the NCAA national championships in the heptathlon and long jump, will continue jumping, while Fogarty, taking a year to compete before going to medical school, specializes in the 100m and 200m and was a 4-time individual All-American in these events.

Movin Shoes is recognized locally as the leader in its commitment to the sport of track and field with three locations throughout San Diego county and numerous coaches and athletes on staff.  S

Interested athletes should contact the program by e-mailing mshoes.odp@gmail.com to obtain an application.

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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