Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The weather has finally broken, the official arrival of spring is less than ten days away, we are renewed in our training efforts, and few things bolster that renewal more than a new pair of running shoes, snappy apparel, or some high-tech running gear.

Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to conduct book signings at three local running stores.

If you're a runner, male or female, of any age or ability level, you owe it to yourself to shop at the local running shop near you.

Local running shops are owned and staffed by runners who are extremely "Hands on." The products they recommend are more than often products they themselves have tried. They will recommend the shoe for you, and they will allow you to "test drive" the shoes by going for a run in them before you buy..

Local running shops conduct clinics, hold group runs, and sponsor local races and events. They are integral part of the local community as well as the running community.

The following personal experiences, I'm sure, will coincide with experiences you've had with your local running shop.

On Small Business Saturday, back in November, I spent an afternoon at A Running Start,, in West Reading, Pennsylvania. They offered local snacks and beverages to those who stopped by. The courteous and professional staff treated each customer like an Olympic champion, and owner, Sorita Fitzgerald, a runner and triathlete, was right there, assisting customers and staff. Just last week, a local runner and friend, Janelle Hooper, showed me her new pair of Hokas, told me how much she loved the shoes, and how Sorita, at A Running Start helped and fitted her for the new footwear.

 On Friday, March 13, A Running Start will conduct a St. Paddy's Day Pub Run. They hold group runs ans speed workout sessions throughout the year.

Before Christmas I spent a delightful evening at the Emmaus Run Inn, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. They also offered a delicious Holiday spread for customers, including a sampling of a local craft beer. Again, the staff offered courteous service and advice to everyone. I met up with an accomplished running friend, and veteran of many Lehigh Valley races, Franny Gough, who offers his wealth of knowledge  and expertise to those who stop by. One of the best runners to come out of the Lehigh Valley, Mark Will-Weber, who is also a renowned coach and author of the terrific new book, entitled Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt, was on hand to sign books, and owner Chris Schmidt, another "hands on" running store owner, was there to assist customers. I just checked out the Emmaus Run Inn website and discovered a great sale on Garmin watches. It's worth checking out.

On a bitter cold evening in early January, I visited the Chester County Running Store,, at their Pottstown location. While folks struggled to run outdoors, given the frigid, icy conditions, Chester County Running Store owner, Don Morrison, utilizing a vacant department store, offered an indoor running night. Runners were afforded the opportunity to run in pleasant conditions, and Don joined in with them, logging several miles. In addition, a Garmin watch representative was there to answer questions, and a local chiropractor was on hand to assist runners.

The Chester County Running Store conducts Saturday morning long runs from their Pottstown store location, and they host and sponsor many running events throughout the year.

Local running stores are the lifeblood of our running communities. Visit one soon. You'll be glad you did.