Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Fri, 09 Dec 2016 23:08:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 The Woman Who Ran All Over the Globe in Record Time http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/the-woman-who-ran-all-over-the-globe-in-record-time_159992 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:41:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159992

Jax Mariash Koudele endured some epic challenges while running ultra-distance races across Sri Lanka, Namibia, China, Chile, and Antarctica during 2016. Photos: Myke Hermsmeyer, 4Deserts.com

Jax Mariash Koudele is the first woman to finish the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus, a series of five 250K ultramarathons over one year.

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Jax Mariash Koudele endured some epic challenges while running ultra-distance races across Sri Lanka, Namibia, China, Chile, and Antarctica during 2016. Photos: Myke Hermsmeyer, 4Deserts.com

Globe-runner

“The landscapes I crossed in Sri Lanka, Namibia, China, Chili, and Antarctica were simultaneously spectacular and brutal,” says Jax Mariash Koudele, who last month became the first woman to finish the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus. “For instance, in Sri Lanka, the first weeklong race of the series, it was often 99 degrees with 99 percent humidity, and for the most part, without an established trail through muddy jungle terrain.”

Koudele, a 36-year-old professional ultra-runner representing the U.S. and Canada, set a world record by becoming the first woman to finish the series of five 250K (155 miles) ultramarathons over one year across some of the harshest terrain in the world. Not only did she nail her goal of finishing the series, she was also crowned the 2016 4 Deserts World Champion after placing first in four of the five races.

“If you can imagine literally pushing your way through sticks—that was the first 10K,” Koudele says. “It’s a place that’s just not meant for running.” Before she’d even run 4 miles, she fell into a leaf-covered hole, like a trap, where she was stuck until another runner pulled her out—her legs bloodied and scraped, but otherwise OK.

After emerging from the jungle, she headed into the Sri Lanka highlands, “a lush landscape of green mixed with tea fields and huge Buddha statues everywhere,” she says. “It really reminded you to be mindful.”

However, without the protection of the jungle canopy, the scorching sun and heat brought on extreme dizziness. “I thought, ‘What am I doing out here—this is crazy.’” She trundled up a couple of switchbacks before collapsing and puking. Each time she tried to get back up, she’d fall again, puke again. So, she crawled for a little while. Eventually she made it to the first checkpoint, where they gave her an anti-nausea pill.

“At that point I had to make a decision,” she says. “I could either quit or I could honor the Lyme patients that I was running for.”

One of the reasons she was competing was to support the LymeLight Foundation, which aims to raise funds to provide medical grants to children and young adults to treat their Lyme disease, which has affected some of her closest friends.

“I decided to manipulate my thoughts,” she says—a strategy she’s honed over many years to overcome adversity. “I imagined I was starting the race over.” While dizziness plagued her throughout all seven days of the race, she finished in second place, even after spraining her ankle on day three.

Each subsequent leg of the series presented unforeseeable challenges, like when the soles of her shoes melted in China’s 130-degree Gobi Desert—one of the hottest days of the event on record. But slogging through the desolate, glacial terrain of Antarctica, the last race, topped them all. “It was the hardest run I’ve ever done in my life,” she says. “The snow was sloshy instead of icy. Your feet hurt from lifting them out of the snow over and over again. On day one, I was crying with severe IT band pain and utter exhaustion. By the end of each day, you’re just ripped apart.”

But the scenery, she says, was mind blowing. “I especially enjoyed running on Damoy Point, a small island with a penguin colony,” she says. Some of the penguins fell in line behind the runners, as if they too were part of the race. “We also heard avalanches in the distance and watched pieces of glaciers breaking off and crashing into the sea. I still cannot believe that I saw that with my own eyes versus it being in a National Geographic article.”

As she took those last snowy steps toward the final finish line, she cried in relief. “I was in total shock that I’d made it, that I was safe, and that I’d surpassed all my goals. I’d dreamed of doing something like this since I was 8 years old,” she says, when she won her first medal in a race.

RELATED: Runner with MS Attempting to Run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in a Year

Wonder Woman

Growing up in Denver, Koudele turned to running—pretending she was Wonder Woman—to give her strength to cope with challenges. “Wonder Woman has been my hero since I was little,” Koudele says. “She spun around and emerged in this radical, magical outfit. She was a woman and she was conquering the world.”

Over the years, the superhero has become Koudele’s personae, and sometimes, she even races in custom-made WW attire (including the metal bracelets) hoping to inspire others to tap into their own superpowers.

“I feel like I’m running for more than myself,” she says. “Things that you think are impossible are not. You CAN do them.”

Her own superpower, she believes, is grit—a dogged determination to just keep moving toward your goals, which she says everyone can develop. “Ultrarunning is 90 percent mental. You can’t listen to the bird on your shoulder saying ‘just quit.’ You gotta flick ‘em off. There’s always a way to get through problems.”

In addition to using affirmations such as just fucking do it, Koudele has learned to smile when things really hurt. “If you’re frowning, your whole body behaves that way. But if you smile, your body chemistry has no choice but to support it.”

Since her victory just over a week ago, she’s hatching new goals, which include expanding Stoked Roasters—a premium coffee roasting company that she launched in 2014 in Hood River, Ore., where she lived part-time before recently moving to Park City, Utah. Its mission is to inspire people to get outside.

“We know athletes want a really good cup of coffee,” she says. “We’re obsessed with making exceptional roasts for outdoor enthusiasts.”

With Wonder Woman behind the brew, perhaps we should all get stoked.

RELATED: Running Around the World in 7 Days

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Is It Wrong to Be Disappointed by a New Marathon PR? http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/is-it-wrong-to-be-disappointed-by-a-personal-best-marathon-time_159707 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:34:32 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159707

David Bowles acknowledges a friend while running through Brooklyn en route to a new PR at the 2016 New York City Marathon on Nov. 6.

Why one NYC runner isn't thrilled about his recent marathon PR because it didn't reflect the kind of race he ran.

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David Bowles acknowledges a friend while running through Brooklyn en route to a new PR at the 2016 New York City Marathon on Nov. 6.

I suppose I should start by saying that I never intended on becoming a runner, let alone a marathoner. Frankly, as athletic as I was growing up, running was just one of those things I could not do. At age 35 I decided to pick up the hobby as a way to get more active and take advantage of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

I started late in the game, as many current runners do, with a couch-to-5K approach. With the target goal of being able to regularly run a 5K. Maybe not with ease, but consistently. Really, I was just trying to get healthy and stay active.

Cut to this year. I signed up and ran my second New York City Marathon on Nov. 6. For those of you who haven’t run it, it really does live up to the hype. The crowds, the cheering, the support. All top-notch. That being said, it is still a marathon.

PHOTOS: Experience the Energy of the New York City Marathon

When I ran NYC for the first time in 2014, it was my second marathon. So I set the goals of running the whole thing and beating my first ever marathon time. Despite headwinds at every turn and the overwhelming tunnel vision that creeped in on 5th Avenue, I was successful in both of these endeavors. It was truly an overwhelming experience. One, which I swore I wasn’t going to try and repeat.

Well, I didn’t really stick to that plan and decided in 2016 to run NYC for the second time. Mainly as a way to stay motivated. I’ve discovered over my short running career, that I need goals. This year I gave myself a PR window to shoot for. I spent 2015 trying to increase my pace and I felt confident that I could not only better my 2014 time, but also crush it. I set out to beat my previous time of 4:21 with a reach goal of sub-4 hours. That would mean bettering my per mile pace by nearly a minute—which is definitely ambitious, but based on previous half marathons, not so far out of reach.

Due to work and weather this summer training became incredibly tricky. I wasn’t able to regularly get in my weekly mileage, nor was I able to hit all of my long runs. However, I got a solid 20-miler in before my taper and I felt great and relaxed.

RELATED: 5 Last-Minute Tips for Running the New York City Marathon

Now, on to the race. This year’s marathon felt very crowded. Maybe it was because I had moved up in waves or there really were a lot more people than 2014. I felt rushed and a little more frantic getting to the start and hadn’t really gone through all of my normal prep (which truthfully isn’t anything crazy).

As I started, I had a game plan in place. Shoot for my reach goal for the first 8 or so miles, back off a little and then push through the end.  This was going amazingly well. I was ahead of target and feeling fine. Making great and quick water stops, coming into the half was slightly ahead of even my reach goal. It wasn’t until the top of the 59th Street Bridge that my legs get a little tight. Then the downhill started to take a slight toll on my hamstrings. All things I had noticed the first time.

Backing off and letting gravity do the work I made my way onto First Avenue. All going well, backing off a little on pace. Then it hit me. Mile 18. Muscles started to go sore, and fast. In fear of having my legs lock up completely, I decided to walk through the water stop and give the legs a little rest. It worked for a block or two and then the cramps started to kick back in. Not how I had hoped getting into the Bronx was going to go. I wanted to walk many times in 2014, but was able to push on. Now, I really did have to walk. I resigned to this fact and held on to the notion that I’ve had a hard time passing people in the past who have run walked marathons. So I took this approach for the last 8 miles. A little bit of regret and disappointment every time I had to walk.

RELATED: Understanding a Runner’s Power Data in the New York City Marathon.

As I came up on mile 25, I realized that I could still indeed beat 4:21, but I’d need to run as much of the last mile and a quarter as I could muster. Not an easy task. I made sure to run out of the park and back in. As well as many feet along the way. Once I made it in, I gave myself one last walk before marker 26. I was determined to push through the end.

Crossing the finish line in 4:16:53 was equal parts pain, excitement and disappointment. It felt surreal. I knew I had beaten my time, which I was very happy about. It just felt as if I hadn’t truly given it my all. As if somehow my need to walk was a failure because it didn’t fit into my overall plan.

As the days have gone on, I’ve come to terms with both of these things. Is it frustrating that I didn’t hit my “reach” goal? In short, yes. Probably more so, because I was so far ahead at one point. Should I let this overshadow my whole experience? Absolutely not. It is still a marathon in the books. A fast one, at least for me, at that.

RELATED: Are You Making These Marathon Training Mistakes?

 

About the author:

David Bowles is a TV Director living in New York City who began running in the spring of 2012. Since then he has completed three marathons and several half marathons. He runs regularly in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and with Iron Runners NYC. Follow him on Instagram: @minivanshoes

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Sneak Peek: 2017 Boston Marathon Celebration Jacket http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/sneak-peek-2017-boston-marathon-celebration-jacket_160001 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:47:21 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160001

Adidas has unveiled the official 2017 Boston Marathon Celebration Jacket.

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Who’s running Boston in 2017? Here’s your first reason to get excited: Adidas has unveiled the official 2017 Boston Marathon Celebration Jacket. The jacket, which sells for $110, features glow-in-the-dark race graphics embroidered on the left chest and back, along with “B.A.A. 26.2” on the back of the neck. It was made with adidas’ Climaproof technology, which means it’s waterproof and windproof yet still breathable.

“This is the most anticipated reveal in our sport each year, eagerly anticipated by new and veteran runners alike,” said Jack Fleming, marketing and communications director for the B.A.A., in a press release. “The jacket has been created to reward not only the accomplishment but also the hard work necessary to run Boston. If our finishers’ medallion is worn for the hours or perhaps even the day following the historic race each year, then the Celebration Jacket is proudly worn to signify the fact that one has crested the sport in a pinnacle and deeply personal achievement.”

The 2017 Boston Marathon will be held on April 17, but the jacket is available in the U.S. now at adidas.com.

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Runner with MS Attempting to Run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in a Year http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/runner-with-ms-attempting-to-run-7-marathons-on-7-continents-in-a-year_159920 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:38:37 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159920

Cheryl Hile poses for a photo at the Honolulu Marathon race expo. Photo: Ronen Zilberman

Hile is seeking to become the first person with MS to run seven marathons on seven continents in less than one year.

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Cheryl Hile poses for a photo at the Honolulu Marathon race expo. Photo: Ronen Zilberman

(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

With Sunday’s 44th Honolulu Marathon fast approaching, San Diego’s Cheryl Hile is just like any one of the 30,000 expected participants: filled with butterflies and excitement and ready to toe the starting line adjacent to Ala Moana Beach Park. Yet her journey is different, unique and special with a story that spans all seven continents.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis, Hile is seeking to become the first person with MS to run seven marathons on seven continents in less than one year. The Honolulu Marathon will be race No. 3 on her year-long quest, which began in South Africa last September and will conclude in New Zealand in June.

“I’m pretty sure I found my mountain with marathons and that desire to conquer it,” Hile told Race Results Weekly.

Hile began running marathons in 2000 and quickly fell in love with the sport. Yet a devastating diagnosis came in 2006 that all but stopped her in her tracks: It was Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disorder that disrupts the central nervous system and prevents messages from being delivered from the brain to the rest of the body.

“I was using running as my means of therapy for depression, because I was depressed about the diagnosis,” Hile remembers. A disease that impacts 2.3 million people worldwide was only a hurdle for Hile.

Hile continued to run but was hampered by foot drop, a common condition of MS where one can’t lift their foot fast enough to walk (or run) without tripping. A neurologist told Hile to lower her expectations when it came to running, words that both angered and inspired Hile to do more than just finish marathons. She vowed to return and leave a bigger impact on the MS community.

While dealing with foot drop, Hile searched for an orthotist to build a custom orthotic that would allow her to run without falling. In 2008 she’d first don the carbon ankle foot orthotic and experience the thrill of running free of fear. A small brace that runs from her ankle to shin would restore her faith in the sport, eliminating falls, bloody knees, and the thought of stopping.

In the eight years since Hile first wore the brace, she’s completed 38 marathons. Now she’s in the middle of her biggest test yet: seven marathons on seven continents. The Honolulu Marathon will be her 52nd marathon overall.

“When I run I roll on the right side and push off on the left. I’ve been able to continue marathon running, much slower now, because I really only have one side of my body to use and push off of. But that’s been my motivation to keep running marathons,” she said.

It was in July of 2015 when Hile and husband Brian—also a marathoner—came up with the idea of tackling seven marathons on seven continents in a year. Both enjoy running and traveling, and wanted to raise money and awareness for the MS community.

Together they planned an itinerary and agenda, starting with the Cape Town Marathon on Sept. 18, then the Buenos Aires Marathon (Oct. 9), followed by Honolulu (Dec. 11), the White Continent Marathon in Antarctica (Jan. 31-Feb. 4, a date dependent on the weather), Tokyo (Feb. 26), Vienna (April 23) and Christchurch (June 12). The cost would be in excess of $53,000, but the possible funds raised and impact on MS awareness would be without limits. (To date Hile has raised $43,740 of the $53,700 needed for the entire trip on crowdrise.com).

RELATED: Running Around the World in 7 Days

“I’ve always known I’ve wanted to do something big. I wanted to do something to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, and this seemed the biggest way,” she said. So far, the quest has had it’s share of ups and downs: the Cape Town Marathon went off without a hitch, full of enthusiasm and excitement, with Hile finishing in 4:54:16. Buenos Aires was a bit of a different story, as Hile was ill with a cold and battled hot weather conditions that exacerbated other MS symptoms like feelings of electric shocks throughout her body. But she finished in 5:06:44, and now she has her eyes on Honolulu.

“Honolulu is one of the biggest marathons in America, it’s up there with New York and Boston and Chicago,” she began. “I’ve done those marathons and I’ve always wanted to do something different. I’ve had friends who’ve run Honolulu and they always talk about how spectacular it is: the organization, the welcoming people, the scenery and in general the whole Aloha Spirit. That’s something I’ve wanted to experience, and the race has been on my bucket list for a very long time. This is just a great opportunity to run Honolulu… Where else can you run a marathon in December?”

RELATED: Bay Area Man Completes Global Marathon Challenge

Hile said she’s looking forward to the trek up and down Diamond Head during the race, a stretch of miles she’s heard have spectacular views and encouraging spectators.

As her dream to conquer seven marathons on seven continents in a year began to take shape and gain steam, Hile connected with other inspiring athletes. Two athletes who she’s gained personal inspiration and advice from are Wendy Booker, the first person with MS to summit Mt. McKinley and six of the seven tallest peaks in the world, and Beth Sanden, the first challenged athlete to do seven marathons on seven continents in a handcycle.

“There have been so many amazing people,” Hile began. “What really touches me most are the people who are newly diagnosed with MS. People have been reaching out to me through Facebook or my blog and they’ve been telling me how they feel better about their prognosis because they know that they can push forward and find ways around difficulties and keep on moving. That’s what really cheers me up and gives me chills. It’s inspiring other people, and that’s really what I wanted to do.”

In Honolulu, Hile aims to finish in the 5-hour range. Once done, she’ll have Africa, South America, and North America checked off her seven on seven journey.

“You want to enjoy and be part of the whole experience,” she said of this race. “That’s really what I’m looking forward to, being part of a large massive group all going for the same goal to finish the marathon. What better place to do that than Honolulu?”

RELATED: Woman With Parkinson’s Runs Boston Marathon

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Visually Impaired Runner Chaz Davis Runs Record-Breaking Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/visually-impaired-runner-chaz-davis-runs-record-breaking-23148-marathon_159896 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:22:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159896

Chaz Davis (right) and his guide, Jacob Huston on their way to a strong finish at the California International Marathon on Dec. 4 in Sacramento, Calif. Photo: Cathi Wallace.

Chaz Davis set a new American record for a debut marathon in the T12/B2 visual impairment category on Sunday at the California

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Chaz Davis (right) and his guide, Jacob Huston on their way to a strong finish at the California International Marathon on Dec. 4 in Sacramento, Calif. Photo: Cathi Wallace.

Chaz Davis ran quite a debut marathon on Sunday at the California International Marathon in Sacramento.

While his 2:31:48 result would be a strong effort for any first-time marathoner, his finish time is especially remarkable given that he is visually impaired and that he only really trained for the 26.2-mile distance for about six weeks.

With the aid of his guide Jacob Huston, the 23-year-old Davis, who is legally blind, averaged 5:47 per mile en route to setting a new American record for a debut marathon in the T12/B2 visual impairment category. He was one of 40 blind runners who competed in the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes Marathon National Championships, which is coordinated in partnership with the California International Marathon each year.

Davis and Huston came through the halfway mark in 1:14:45, which is about 5:42 mile pace. That was slightly faster than planned, but the downhill profile of the course and Davis’ fitness made the miles go by with ease.

“I thought I had a chance to break 2:30 because I felt great through about 20 miles,” Davis said. “But from miles 22-25, that’s when my legs got tight and I slowed up a bit.”

Davis’ story is inspiring and empowering. After going blind suddenly halfway through his freshman year at the University of Hartford, he fell into depression, gained weight from a lack of physical activity and struggled to adapt in everyday life. But through the help of friends, family and running, he’s become a world-class visually impaired runner with the potential for more record-setting efforts.

About midway through his first year of college, Davis was stricken with Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) a rare, incurable genetic disease that causes vision loss. He thought he would never run again, but his teammates encouraged him to get back at it and helped guide him on runs. He wound up running on the cross-country and track teams at Hartford and graduated in May with a degree in criminal justice.

VIDEO: The Inspiring Story of Visually Impaired Runner Chaz Davis

In September, Davis represented Team USA at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, placing 10th in the 1,500m in 3:58.28 (roughly a 4:15 mile) and eighth in the 5,000m (15:15:86) and setting personal bests in both events.

Davis recently moved from his hometown of Grafton, Mass. to Denver, for a 10-month study at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Since he moved to Colorado, he’s relied on several guides to assist him in training, either running with him or riding a bike alongside him. His longest run prior to the marathon was only 16 miles, but he learned a lot from his experience and is confident he can run faster.

He plans to turn his focus back to track and field for a while, but he says he’ll definitely run another marathon. Davis was recently awarded the Richard Hunter CIM to Boston Excellence in Running Award, which gives him the opportunity to compete in the Boston Marathon in 2017 or 2018 on an all-expenses-paid “Team With a Vision” program from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

“I’ve had great support in Denver and that’s what the running community is all about,” he said. “Overall, I felt pretty strong, even though I didn’t have a lot of time after the Paralympics to train for the marathon. I was averaging about 70 to 90 miles per week leading up to it, but I just had to go work with what I had. Honestly, I was surprised that I wasn’t as beat up from the marathon as I thought I would be.”

Davis plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work to help people who have gone through similar experiences to his.

“The blindness has not kept me from my goals and what I want in life,” he said. “I have found a purpose and I want to work with other people like me.”

RELATED: Guiding Amelia: What it’s Like to Guide a Blind Runner

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Miller vs. Hawks: How an Epic 50-Mile Trail Race Unfolded http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/video/miller-vs-hawks-epic-50-mile-trail-race-unfolded_159953 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:15:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159953

An epic battle for first between Zach Miller and Hayden Hawks at the start of The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships near

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On Dec. 3, Zach Miller and Hayden Hawks went out like gangbusters at the start of The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco. Those who witnessed the race were left in stunned awe at the effort those two runners put out from start to finish. Miller, a Nike-sponsored runner, wound up winning the race in a course-record time of 5 hours, 56 minutes, 3 seconds, finishing the final 5K in under 16 minutes. Hawks, a Hoka athlete, was equally impressive, finishing about 2 minutes later, also under the previous course record. (Miller’s time equates to 7:07/mile pace—on a extremely hilly course almost entirely on trails.) Sure, there was a $10,000 first-place cash prize on the line, but you get the feeling these two guys would race this hard for $10. Check out this amazing video from Jamil Coury, Michael Carson and Billy Yang, which captures the action, intensity and drama of the race in vivid detail as Miller and Hawks take ultrarunning to the next level.

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2016 Running Store of the Year—Charm City Run, Bel Air, Md. http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/video/2016-running-store-year-charm-city-run-bel-air-md_159946 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:51:20 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159946

Charm City Run in Bel Air, Md. was named the 2016 Running Store of the Year Award, part of the 50 Best Running Stores in America program

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Charm City Run in Bel Air, Md. was named the 2016 Running Store of the Year Award, part of the 50 Best Running Stores in America program

RELATED: Charm City Run Named 2016 Running Store of the Year

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50 Best Running Stores in America 2016—Hanson’s Running Shop, Royal Oak, Mich. http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/video/50-best-running-stores-america-2016-hansons-running-shop-royal-oak-mich_159939 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:19:11 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159939

Hanson’s Running Shop in Royal Oak, Mich., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016 and one of the four

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Hanson’s Running Shop in Royal Oak, Mich., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016 and one of the four finalists for the Running Store of the Year Award.

RELATED: The 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016

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Shoe of the Week: Saucony Freedom ISO http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-saucony-freedom-iso_159854 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:47:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159854

The Freedom ISO is the first shoe to feature a midsole made entirely of Saucony's Everun expanded thermoplastic polyurethane. Photo: Brian Metzler

Saucony's latest release with an Everun midsole compound is all about about fluidity, flexibility and fun.

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The Freedom ISO is the first shoe to feature a midsole made entirely of Saucony's Everun expanded thermoplastic polyurethane. Photo: Brian Metzler

“Wow, this shoe is all about fluidity, flexibility and fun!”

So said one of our wear-testers after running his first 6-miler in a pair of Saucony’s new Freedom ISO shoe, and for good reason.

In recent years, midsole cushioning compounds have been reinvented and, as a result, running shoes are getting better and more dynamic in their construction and ability. In other words, shoe designers have found better materials to use for midsole cushioning instead of some sort of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam that dominated the industry for the past 40 years. Saucony is getting lots of love for its Everun midsole compound, a new expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (e-TPU) material that it unveiled late last year. From our experiences wear-testing the Freedom ISO, it’s clear that Everun offers a good amount of energy return and responsiveness as soft, reliable cushioning. (Saucony placed segments of Everun cushioning in several of its Spring 2016 shoes, but the new Freedom ISO is the first shoe with a midsole made entirely from Everun and the first chance to really feel how it performs.) It debuted at stores on Dec. 1, but our wear-testers have been loving it for the past several months.

Like any material in a shoe, it’s less about the specific characteristics on its own and more telling when experienced as part of a shoe in motion on the run. The combination of the Everun midsole and another thin layer on top of the strobel board under the footbed—along with the snug and secure but “barely there” feeling of the lightweight engineered mesh upper and near-custom fit it provides—makes for a delightful experience. With a 4mm heel-toe offset and a modest amount of foam and rubber under the foot (19mm in the heel, 15mm in the forefoot), the Freedom feels close to the ground but not in a minimalist kind of way.

Everun seems to be about 10 percent firmer than adidas’ Boost midsole foam and the difference is evident in the first few strides. (That’s not a crack against Boost, but it is a definitive statement about Everun.) While heel impacts are dampening and accommodating, the roll-through to the toe-off phase feels sublime and extremely fluid and natural. There’s no inherent support in this shoe (except for what your foot provides), but Everun midsole isn’t unstable or wobbly. There’s also no frenzied bounciness the moment after footstrike and nothing to get in the way of your foot’s natural movement, and that results in a soft and smooth-rolling transition to the forefoot. From there, the shoe’s toe spring design and Everun’s energetic demeanor unleash a microburst of coiled energy that launches the foot on the start of the next stride. The bottom line is that it just feels smoother and more lively than most shoes.

The Freedom ISO is not quite as light as Saucony’s popular Kinvara model (the 2016 Kinvara 7 does have Everun foam in certain places), but it’s slightly lower to the ground and its definitely more inherently energetic—and that’s saying a lot. For all of those reasons, the Freedom ISO is a great do-everything shoe, one our testers deemed worthy of long runs, recovery runs, tempo runs, mile repeats and just about everything with maybe the exception of short and fast intervals. A few testers said they’d definitely use it in their next half marathon, while others said it was their go-to shoe for long runs.

This is the shoe for you if … you’re looking for a modern jack-of-all-trades training shoe with a natural feel and energetic ride.

Price: $160
Heel-Toe Offset: 4mm; 19mm (heel), 15mm (forefoot)
Weights: 9.0 oz. (men’s size 9), 8.1 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Info: Saucony.com

RELATED: Shoe of the Week—New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 2

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50 Best Running Stores in America 2016—Fleet Feet Sports, Nashville, Tenn. http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/shoes-and-gear/50-best-running-stores-america-2016-fleet-feet-sports-nashville-tenn_159931 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:06:59 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159931

Fleet Feet Sports Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America in 2016 and one of the four

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Fleet Feet Sports Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America in 2016 and one of the four finalists for the Running Store of the Year Award.

RELATED: The 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016

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50 Best Running Stores in America 2016—Tortoise & Hare Sports, Glendale, Ariz. http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/video/50-best-running-stores-america-2016-tortoise-hare-sports-glendale-ariz_159942 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:58:54 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159942

Tortoise & Hare Sports in Glendale, Ariz., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016 and one of the four

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Tortoise & Hare Sports in Glendale, Ariz., was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016 and one of the four finalists for the Running Store of the Year Award.

RELATED: The 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2016

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Sneak Peek: Cool, New Running Gear, Apparel and Accessories Coming in 2017 http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/photos/sneak-peek-cool-new-running-gear-apparel-accessories-coming-2017_159772 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:44:53 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159772

A sneak peek of new running gear releases in 2017 from The Running Event trade show in Orlando, Fla.

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We checked out some of the new running gear at The Running Event trade show in Orlando, Fla., Here are some of the cool new things that will be coming out soon.

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Out There: The Merriest Run of All http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/out-there/out-there-the-merriest-run-of-all_159809 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:09:21 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159809

There's no better way to deal with the madness of the holiday season than to go for a run. Illustration: Shutterstock

Columnist Susan Lacke shares ways to spread holiday spirit on the run and a chance to win a prize from Picky Bars.

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There's no better way to deal with the madness of the holiday season than to go for a run. Illustration: Shutterstock

I used to love Christmas and the holiday season. Every year, I’d deck the halls, obsess over ornaments and bake piles upon piles of cookies. I’d scour the stores for the perfect present and play that ridiculous Mariah Carey song on a loop. Okay, fine, I’d sing that ridiculous Mariah Carey song on a loop, because the Christmas spirit does not care about minutiae like pitch or rhythm or a propensity to fill in the blanks with dah-dah-dah IS YOOOOOUUUUUUU!

But now? Ugh. Christmas. I’m over it before Target even starts setting up their Black Friday displays in August.

Christmas is great as a kid, but once you find out Santa isn’t real, it all goes downhill from there. As an adult, Christmas is a non-stop barrage of forced merriment: making the rounds at holiday parties with people you don’t particularly like; buying presents with money you don’t have; reading holiday letters that boast of “everything is awesome” when you know both spouses are having affairs with their dental hygienist; changing the radio station to death metal because for the love of Rudolph, why does everyone play that ridiculous Mariah Carey song?

Ugh. Christmas. Can we just fast-forward to New Year’s Eve? The only holiday when it’s acceptable to drink an entire case of 99-cent champagne. That’s more my speed.

If left to her own devices, my Inner Grinch would become all-consuming during the month of December. She’d tear down the tinsel and set fire to the neighbor’s inflatable snowman (my Inner Grinch really hates inflatable yard ornaments for some reason). She’d still eat the cookies, though, because even Grinches crave baked goods after a 15-miler in the snow.

But last Christmas, I discovered the trick to canceling out my Inner Grinch. My husband, fed up with my—er, we’ll call it “pleasant disposition”—kicked me out of the house.

“Go for a run,” he said, hoping a few miles would burn off my bad attitude. So I did. On my way home, I gave a Picky Bar to a homeless girl while stopped at a crosswalk. It wasn’t an intentional act of charity—if anything, I wanted to assuage my own guilt for ignoring her and her mother at what felt like the world’s longest red light.

But her reaction was so joyful, so grateful, it took me by surprise. It was just a nutrition bar – I had dozens more at home – and yet for this girl, it was a rare treat. After years of scouring stores for so-called “perfect” Christmas presents in stores, I had stumbled onto it without realizing it. I went home, loaded up a backpack, and set about running around town to distribute more Picky Bars, warm socks, and Christmas cheer. Take that, Inner Grinch!

After writing about my experience in a column, “Making Merry On The Run,” it’s become a thing with runners. It’s been kind of cool to see this small, but growing movement of giving take place in our endurance community. For most people, running is a selfish act, one done in the pursuit of an individual goal or, in some cases, the avoidance of a personal displeasure (I’m convinced 90 percent of the miles run in December are to get a break from visiting family members). But what if we could all use running as a vehicle to bring joy to others?

That’s my challenge to you this Christmas—skip the metrics and find the merry instead. Use your run workout to make the world a better place. This whole thing started with a Picky Bar, so it’s kind of cool to announce that this month I’ll be giving away prizes from Picky Bars for those of you who are making merry on the run. The crew at Picky Bars is all about good deeds—just last week, they donated more than 9,000 bars to a food bank!

For a chance to win a groovy prize from Picky Bars, share with us how you are making merry on the run—take a picture, shoot a quick video, or write a tweet or Facebook post. Share it with Competitor on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #runmerry. We’ll randomly choose and notify winners via social media on Dec. 31. That’s right—if you do good, you’ll get good.

There are many ways to spread the holiday spirit during your run:

  1. Carry a bag of small, lightweight supplies and distribute supplies to the homeless along your route. Especially needed items are socks, gloves, chapstick and food items like beef jerky or nutrition bars.
  2. Wear an ice scraper mitt and clear the windshields of your neighbors’ cars before they wake up and head to work.
  3. Volunteer to take the dogs at your local animal shelter for runs.
  4. Take a garbage bag on your run and pick up trash along your favorite trail.
  5. A-carolin’ you go. Collect a group of runners to jog from home to home, singing Christmas carols.
  6. If you see a charity bell-ringer along your route, make a detour to a nearby coffee shop or convenience station to deliver him or her a hot chocolate.
  7. Donate the medal from your holiday fun run to a charity like Medals4Mettle.
  8. Mentor a new runner. Run at their pace. Offer support and encouragement.
  9. Run in a busy park, dressed in a festive costume (Santa is always a surefire winner). Offer high-fives to any runner who crosses your path.
  10. Donate blood. Too many runners avoid this during the regular season for fear of performance impacts, but if you’re eating ten pounds of Christmas cookies a day, you’re probably not worried about setting a PR this month.

 

Go forth and be merry, my friends. Tis’ the season.

RELATED: Out There: The War on Christmas Cookies

About the author

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). She lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah with three animals: a labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete husband. Lacke claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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Video: The Inspiring Story of Visually Impaired Runner Chaz Davis http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/video/video-inspiring-story-visually-impaired-runner-chaz-davis_159904 Tue, 06 Dec 2016 22:57:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159904

Watch this inspiring story about visually impaired runner Chaz Davis. He became blind halfway through his freshman year of college,

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Watch this inspiring story about visually impaired runner Chaz Davis. He became blind halfway through his freshman year of college, falling into depression and gaining weight from lack of physical activity. But he has found his way again, through running. He represented the U.S. at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and set a new marathon record for a visually impaired runner with a 2:31:48 effort at the California International Marathon on Dec. 4 in Sacramento, Calif.

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Photos: Scenes from 2016 Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & Half http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/photos/photos-scenes-2016-humana-rock-n-roll-san-antonio-marathon-half-marathon_159720 Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:36:59 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159720

Thousands of participants gutted through the 13.1-mile and the 26.2-mile distances in rainy conditions on Dec. 4.

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Perseverance was the name of the game at the 2016 edition of the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 4. With temperatures in the 50s and in rainy conditions, thousands of participants gutted through the 13.1-mile and the 26.2-mile distances. Olympians Jared Ward and Meb Keflezighi also took part in the race as pacers, and helped encourage runners along the course. Regardless of the weather, these snapshots from the weekend races show that runners still had a good time.

MORE: Mark Pinales Triumphs in Half Marathon at Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio 

Photos: Kevin Morris, Photorun.net

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Mark Pinales Triumphs in Half Marathon at Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/mark-pinales-triumphs-half-marathon-humana-rock-n-roll-san-antonio_159717 Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:31:36 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159717

Photo: Kevin Morris, Photorun.net

The 23-year-old University of Texas graduate, Mark Pinales clocked in a 1:05:27 half-marathon time at Sunday's race.

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Photo: Kevin Morris, Photorun.net

Perseverance was the name of the game at the 2016 edition of the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 4. With temperatures in the 50s and in rainy conditions, thousands of participants gutted through the 13.1-mile and the 26.2-mile distances.

The first runner to cross the finish line on Sunday in the half marathon was 23-year-old University of Texas graduate, Mark Pinales, who clocked one hour, five minutes, and 27 seconds.

“It was a fun course,” he said afterwards. “There were a lot of great guys out there. I was nervous about the rain last night. The point of coming here was to give it my all. It was a mental battle to do this in the rain with the slippery roads.”

Pinales recalled that a pack of seven runners formed early in the race and that it came down to trying to position himself within the pack in order to shield himself from the wind and rain.

“About mile seven or eight, I decided that I was going to go for it at mile 10 and increase the pace to try and drop people,” Pinales said. “It was a battle of wills from there.”

Pinales also said that once he made it to the front, he told himself not to look back. “I didn’t care if there were seven guys or one behind me at that point.”

Pinales’ win on Sunday was his first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race. Second and third in the men’s half marathon were Nicholas Too (1:05:42) and Paul Sugut (1:05:50) respectively.

The women’s half-marathon champion was Anita Perez (1:20:46).

“Coming into this, I wanted to get top five, so I am very excited to win it,” Perez stated. She said that when she woke up in the morning she realized it wasn’t raining like the forecast had called for, so she and her coach decided to head out at 6:00-per-mile pace and take it from there.

However, Perez admitted that the conditions wasn’t the only challenge for her. At mile nine, her hamstring tightened up. “I was worried about that, but was able to nurse it through to the end,” she said.

Perez was using Sunday’s race to gear up for a marathon in January. Perez’s closest rival was Kara Ford (1:21:59) who took second. Third place went to Nora O’Malley (1:24:17).

In the marathon, Joel Harris triumphed with a thrilling sprint finish in 2:36:41. “I tried to stay at a 5:50-5:55 pace at the start. I got in with a good group through mile 16,” he recalled. “At mile 21, I saw the lead runner and a lot of great support encouraging me to go after him. The gap started closing and I made it my goal to stay right behind him. I was an inch away from him and when I saw the finish I gave it everything I’ve got.”

Chris Frisch (2:36:42) took second in the marathon, and the final podium slot was awarded to Ricardo Carrillo (2:39:06).

Liza Hunter-Galvan won the women’s marathon in 2:57:17. “In my 24 years running marathons, I’ve never run one in the rain,” she said. “I’ll take this any day. It could be worse with the heat.”

For Hunter-Galvan, Sunday’s race was the last marathon in her long career. “It’s very emotional for me. This was where I ran my first marathon, and how fitting it was to run my last in San Antonio,” she said holding back tears.

Second place was awarded to Janessa Dunn (3:08:00), while third place went to Jennifer Kimoto (3:09:10).

The event also hosted a 5K. As with all Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events, entertainment was never in short supply as bands and cheer zones bolstered all the participants along the streets of San Antonio. The Boston-based alternative band Guster took to the stage at the post-race Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series to give everyone something to smile about.

PHOTOS: Scenes from the 2016 Humana San Antonio Marathon & Half

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New Year, New You? Only If You Make It Happen http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/training/new-year-new-make-happen_120423 Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:32:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120423

How do you make 2016 your fittest year yet? Here are some tips.

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January is considered a month for resolve, renewal and rejuvenation. Oh, and resolutions too. But that’s a lot of pressure. Instead of making daunting, unrealistic or too-easily-broken resolutions, set reasonable goals and take action to achieving those objectives and put yourself on a consistent path for an epic year.

Set Goals

Make a long-term plan for what you want to accomplish in the spring, summer or fall—whether that means getting fit for a half-marathon, running your fastest marathon, planning a vacation around an overseas trail race or tackling your first 50-mile ultra—and then set out the steps it will take to get you there.

RELATED: 16 Weeks to Your First 50K

Take Action

Start this week! Commit to those goals. Download a training program. Join a weekly running group. Hire a coach. Sign up for fitness classes. Buy new running shoes. Do 100 sit-ups every morning as soon as you wake up. Just start doing it. Right now. Then you can add some push-ups. And yoga twice a week. Don’t wait until the first week of January zips by.

RELATED: How to Beat 6 Common Running Excuses

Be Consistent

Work, school, family and daily tasks can get in the way, but only if you allow it. Plan your week around specific daily workout times and make it happen. Aside from long weekend runs and races, it really only takes an hour a day (or sometimes even less) to put you on the path to achieving your goals. It won’t happen unless you make it happen on a regular basis.

I have an old Nike T-shirt with a slogan that reminds me that what we do is pretty simple: “Eat right. Get plenty of sleep. Go like hell.” Set goals, take small steps and be relentless in your pursuit in the new year.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Become a Faster Runner Right Now

RELATED: New Runner—Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

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Jacob Puzey Runs a World Record for 50 Miles on a Treadmill http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/jacob-puzey-runs-world-record-50-miles-treadmill_159684 Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:24:46 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159684

Jacob Puzey averaged sub-6-minute mile pace for 50 miles en route to a new world record on a treadmill. Photo: Brian Metzler

Altra Elite athlete Jacob Puzey ran an average pace of 5:56 per mile to set the new world record for the fastest 50-mile run on a treadmill

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Jacob Puzey averaged sub-6-minute mile pace for 50 miles en route to a new world record on a treadmill. Photo: Brian Metzler

Altra Elite athlete Jacob Puzey ran an average pace of 5:56 per mile to set the new world record for the fastest 50-mile run on a treadmill at The Running Event trade show on Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla. Puzey finished 50 miles in 4:57:45, shattering the previous record of 5:57:31 by nearly an hour. His en route marathon split time was 2:38.

Fans from all over trade show packed the Altra booth the cheer on Puzey to the new world record. Puzey is an experienced ultrarunner who ran the entire 50 miles in the Altra Paradigm road shoe on a ProForm Boston Marathon Treadmill. Puzey stayed hydrated with soft drinks and electrolytes and fueled with potato chips, stopping for a bathroom break only once.

Puzey’s wife Amy, along with their 6-month old daughter Ashima, gave him motivational Post-It notes on the treadmill console during his run, with messages like “Nothing is impossible!” and “Arise from the dust and be men!” and “Be strong, be grateful, have courage!”

“I felt surprisingly great,” says Puzey, who owns a 2:22 marathon PR. “I didn’t have super high expectations, I just wanted to see if I could run the previous record’s pace. I happened to feel really good today and going at a 5:56 pace felt great. I put one foot in front of the other on the treadmill and just kept going.”

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Charm City Run Named 2016 Running Store of the Year http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/news/charm-city-run-named-2016-running-store-year_159664 Fri, 02 Dec 2016 02:19:28 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159664

Members of Charm City Run celebrate the 2016 Running Store of the Year Award on Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

Charm City Run was named the 2016 Running Store of the Year on Dec. 1 at The Running Event trade show in Orlando, Fla.

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Members of Charm City Run celebrate the 2016 Running Store of the Year Award on Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

Charm City Run was named the 2016 Running Store of the Year on Dec. 1 at The Running Event trade show in Orlando, Fla.

Charm City Run has earned a reputation as a local hub for running in northeast Maryland. Known for its approachable staff, great training programs and community spirit, the Charm City Run store in Bel Air, Md., has established itself as a place that engages and serves all levels of runners from all walks of life.

The business (which is now five stores strong) was started by Josh and Kara Levinson in 2002. They had been living in Austin, Texas, and were huge fans of the RunTex stores there. While visiting family back in Baltimore during a Thanksgiving holiday, Kara told Josh “this place needs a RunTex” and a light bulb went on. It wasn’t long before Josh began researching the business and put their house on the market with the intent to return to Baltimore and open a store. (He went so far as to volunteer at RunTex to learn how to fit runners into shoes and better understand the day-to-day operations of the business.)

Now, almost 15 years later, Charm City Run has been recognized as the best in the business.

“We’re not just selling shoes, we’re in the business of changing lives, and that’s what we enjoy doing,” Josh Levinson said. “We’re here to help people in our community. That’s what we’re all about, and that’s what makes a loyal customer and a loyal community. I’m someone who enjoys leading a team, and if we’ve done anything right, it’s that we’ve found the right people who are full of integrity and honesty and caring. That’s how we’ve built our reputation.”

Charm City Run is known for its smart business practices, great customer service and its commitment to its local community. The Charm City crew puts on numerous races, organizes training programs, gets behind local school programs and pushes their passion for running and fitness to everyone who walks through their doors. Also, Charm City Run donates 1 percent of its sales to an environmental, educational or physical fitness non-profit mission in the state of Maryland.

Every year, Competitor magazine partners with Running Insight trade magazine to identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America. It starts with readers nominating their favorite shops on Competitor.com. Then there is a rigorous evaluation process, which includes runner nominations, mystery shopping to assess customer service, credit ratings from vendors, and assessments about local programs and community commitment.

“The staff of Charm City Run emobodies everything that is great about locally owned running stores,” said Competitor’s editor-in-chief Brian Metzler. “They share their passion of running by taking the necessary time to help each and every customer. Running is for everyone and Charm City Run makes everyone feel like they belong.”

RELATED: The Top 50 Running Stores in America for 2016

Other 2016 running store award winners named at The Running Event included:

2016 Canadian Running Store of the Year
Runners Soul, Lethbridge, Alberta

Ubuntu Award for Giving Back
Naperville Running Company, Naperville, Ill.

Just Do It Award
Burke Beck, Red Coytote Running & Fitness, Oklahoma City

Never Stop Exploring Award
Varsity Sports, Mandeville, La.

Here are the 2016 finalists for the 2016 Running Store of the Year award:

Charm City Run
Bel Air, Md.

Fleet Feet Sports
Brentwood, Tenn.

Hanson’s Running Shop
Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Tortoise & Hare
Glendale, Ariz.

RELATED: Top Shops—Past Winners of The Running Store of the Year Honors

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why You Should Shop at a Running Specialty Store

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Shoe of the Week: On Running Cloudflow http://running.competitor.com/2016/12/shoes-and-gear/shoe-of-the-week-on-running-cloudflow_159629 Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:39:12 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=159629

This new lightweight performance trainer from Swiss shoe brand On Running offers a buttery smooth, natural ride and a good amount of

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On Running is a small, upstart running shoe brand from Switzerland that has quietly created a stir over the past few years. Utilizing some new concepts (namely its “Cloudtec” cushioning system) and aesthetically clean designs, it has made runners of all abilities do a double-take or at least take a second look. OK, looks aren’t everything … but the ride of its new Cloudflow shoe certainly is.

Like many of On Running’s other shoes, this new lightweight performance trainer offers a buttery smooth, natural ride, a comfortable fit and a good amount of energetic pop. Although it’s a low-to-the-ground speed-oriented trainer, it has ample amounts of cushioning from its 18 uniquely shaped “Cloud” cushioning pods under each shoe. (They’re different sizes and shapes according to how each contributes to a specific portion of the heel-toe roll-through process of the foot on the ground. It’s all about soft landings and energetic toe-offs.) The responsive ride is enhanced by a rockered profile and a firm but flexible board sandwiched between the foot and the outsole.

Our testers reported that the Cloudflow fits so well that it almost felt like it was an extension of their feet. The clean designs of the upper aside, its the unique combination of woven mesh material that accommodates to the slight nuances of foot shapes (especially in the forefoot) and yet enough midfoot support from thin but strong saddle-reinforcement straps. The thin, padded tongue is one more high point that rounds out the luxurious fit.

On Running debuted the shoe just before the New York City Marathon and offered a free pair of shoes to runners willing to run 26.2 miles through the Big Apple in them on race day. (Watch the video of that challenge here.)

This is the shoe for you if … you’re looking for a next-level training/racing shoe without limitations ideal for anything from short and fast repeats or racing from 1 mile to half marathon distances.

Price: $140
Weight: 8.0 oz. (men’s size 9), 6.7 oz. (women’s size 7)
Heel-Toe Offset: 6mm
Info: On-Running.com

RELATED: Shoe of the Week—New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 2

RELATED: Flat-Out Fast—6 New Racing Flats for 2016

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