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Behind the Scenes

  • Weathering the Storm with Triathlete Chris Legh

    The rains began the week of September 9 in Colorado, and they did not stop. By Wednesday evening, residents in the small town of Lyons, Colorado (with a population of just over 2,000) were being asked to evacuate their homes. Among those living in Lyons were triathlete, Chris Legh, with his wife and two daughters, who split their time between the small town and their native country, Australia. At this point, Legh was just one month out from competing in the 35th Annual Ironman World Championship—a race he has said will be his last as a career triathlete.

    As the severity of the flood revealed itself, Legh’s first reaction was to forget about Kona and to just help out. But as the National Guard moved into help, residents were asked to leave. There wasn’t much they could do. In Boulder, the roads for riding and trails for running, were now damaged and closed, and many swimming facilities were shutdown. This was no longer an ideal place to train. Legh and his family went first to a friend’s place in Vail, Colorado, before deciding that their best move was to go straight to Kona. We caught up with him in between training in Kona.

    Can you tell us about Lyons and the flood?

    Our house was better off than most people. For us, it wasn’t a really bad situation, but we realized we were stuck in town and couldn’t get out. A lot of people in town were really messed up. Main Street survived quite well, but the two main businesses that were hit hard (The Fork and St. Vrain Market, Deli & Bakery) are owned by two of our really good friends. We lived in Lyons for 8 years and we were there before the market and the Fork were upgraded. They are iconic places in town.

    Everyone has to deal with mortgages and make sure their businesses survive. We just learned that the Montessori School our youngest daughter goes to will be shutdown for good. And our other daughter’s school has been temporarily moved to Longmont.

    What were your thoughts on leaving?

    I hated it. I knew people needed help. I almost lost my motivation to train because I wanted to help. But the only thing really that made it easier to leave was when I realized I couldn’t do a lot, we pretty much had to leave. It wasn’t possible to stay. But we all hated leaving our street and our town. I love the community.

    What were your options?

    Initially we went up to Vail. We had an option to stay up there and figure out what we were going to do. We were very lucky. Then we decided to head to Kona. I almost didn’t want to tell people I was going to Hawaii because it really doesn’t seem that important right now. But since I couldn’t help, I figured I might as well go do my little race.

    Why is this race a big one for you?

    It’s likely this is going to be my last race. I mean, it’s probably the last time I will call it my career in a sense, in terms of it being my occupation. I’ve been racing professionally for 22 years, I’ll always do something. I’ll never stop competing in something. But in terms of it being my occupation, this is going to be my last race.

    Hawaii was the attraction for me to get into the sport. I had the itch to come back and race it one last time. Luckily, Melbourne Ironman went well for me. Then I did Coeur d’Alene, Calgary, Lake Stevens, I just had to chase points for a couple of weeks.

    Pulmonary edema has limited your racing, how are you feeling about it?

    No one can give me an answer. I can be racing as hard as possible or by myself and it can happen. In the Melbourne Ironman earlier this year it didn’t happen. No one can give me an answer. It’s happened everywhere with no correlation to altitude. At Vail, I’m fine. It’s bizarre to know there’s a good chance you can’t reach your potential. I’ve raced long enough to accept it if it happens. Fingers crossed it doesn’t.

    What are your expectations for Kona?

    If I have the problems I’ve had in the past, it won’t be an ideal ending. If I’m racing well, I’ll have a smile on my face. Then I’ll walk away having enjoyed being here. I’m at a point in my career where I enjoy it and realize there is no real consequence in my performance. It’s a nice place to be. I’m sitting here now in Kona and I love it. I’ve been here and hated it.

    So, if Kona is your last race, will you return to Lyons?

    We were enjoying Colorado, but that’s the shame of it. We’re from Melbourne and Lyons was my one chance to live in a small town. We’ll go back to Lyons after the race, if we’re able to get back to Lyons. We’ll pack and fly home to Australia.  We’ll come back next year, sooner rather than later and finish off the school year.

    But going back to Australia and the beach isn’t a bad option.

    Do you have any words for Colorado right now?

    I hope things improve. I know a lot of the family situations aren’t fantastic. I hope the businesses can survive and we can have our great little town back. More people need to ride out from Boulder when the roads are open to visit and support the town.

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 15 Chuck and Bella

    chuck_bellaDialog between Bella and Chuck (otherwise known as Chuck The Dog)

    Bella: So Chuck I hear we’re going to be the first co-dogs of Newton, pretty exciting right?  I’d say we’re pioneers like Newton Running shoes.

    Chuck: dog dog dog dog dog dog,  I’m Chuck The Dog, squirrel, bike, car, butterfly.

    Bella: CHUCK! Focus!

    Chuck:  Sorry, you know I distracted easily and just want to be friends with everyone.  In fact it’s pretty well known that I will do anything for a scratch behind the ears.

    Bella:  I do know that, but few people know that you were unofficially banned from the office for a little while after strolling into the office of Jerry Lee, co-founder and CEO, and peeing on his desk.  This is true isn’t it?

    Chuck:  I can not lie, this is true.  But I’m from Southern California and everyone knows things are a little more laid back there!  The truth is I’m a little devil and cannot be trusted.  In fact I get by solely on dashing good looks and devilish charm.

    Bella:  I on the other hand am completely the opposite.  People call me sassy, emotional and standoffish.  The truth is though that I had a rough start with life, but things are getting better and I’m really starting to like visits to the office.

    Chuck:  It’s true.  Like everyone, running makes things better and since we’ve been hitting the trails you boss me around less and aren’t quite such a bratty little sister.

    Bella:  Thank you, I think?

    Chuck: You’re welcome.  So what else should we tell these people about how awesome we are?  We do lead pretty incredible lives.

    Bella:  We do, we’ve both run 100+ mile weeks, we both like to chase cows and after reading a number of the dog blogs that came before us I’m quite proud to say that neither of us are afraid of thunder.

    Chuck: It’s true, thunder aint got nothing on us!  Plus both of our owners travel a lot for work so we’re constantly getting to have sleepovers, houseguests and meet new friends.

    Bella:  I think you like hanging out with new people a little more than me but I know what you’re saying!  Well, it’s been great chatting with all these wonderful folks out there but I think it’s time that I head back underneath  thedeck for a nap and I’m sure there is a butterfly or shiny reflection for you to chase…..Chuck! Get back here and say goodbye to everyone….The shadow will still be there in a minute!

    Chuck: Ahhhhh!  Sorry, thanks so much everyone for spending some time with us and next time you come bring food.  Seriously, we’ll eat anything, people food, dog food the neighbor’s cat/rabbit or guinea pig food.  Even something that just looks like food we’ll eat it.

    Bella:  Thanks everyone and run strong!

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 14 Daisy

    DAISY1Hello my name is Daisy! I’m the newest member of the Newton Dog family.

    I was born at the end of May and every week my biological Mom would send pictures of me getting bigger to my new mom in Colorado. This became known as “Woof Wednesday”. There was stiff competition between me and that hump day camel but I won out as the camel has gone to pasture & I am living it up at the Newton School of Running.

    My mom thinks I’m wicked cute- but don’t let that fool you. I’m a bit of a sheep in wolfs clothing. I act soooo cute & then I flip my wolf switch where I run around like a crazy puppy and jump and nip at people. My mom keeps talking about taking me to class to get trained up… but I don’t think it’s much of a threat because I hang out at a school all day and nothing too authoritative happens there. They even have this cool display that has these neat socks hanging off of it that just sit there and wait for me to come by & play with them. My mom frowns upon this but Timmy thinks it’s funny- so I’m going to keep doing it.

    Speaking of the School of Running, I even have my own fan club of ladies from the bank next door that come over to visit me. Come to think of it… I heard that the school was much less inhabited before I came and now there are people flocking to the door to hang out with me!

    I am happy just hanging out but I love to go on adventures. The car isn’t my favorite place but it brings me to visit lots of cool stuff so I tolerate the ride. Once I adjust to the altitude I will be spending my mornings on runs with my mom. Times are tough this high up… I sure hope she brings me back to visit her people at sea level soon!

  • Losing Weight to Triathlon: Fleet Feet Spokane’s Wade Pannell

    FleetFeetWadeSix years ago, the owner of Fleet Feet Spokane, Wade Pannell, was living in Bozeman, Montana. The former competitive cyclist — in both road cycling and mountain biking — was working in resort real estate development and wining and dining more than he was working out. “I was sixty pounds heavier and needed to get fit,” says Pannell. “I would say I was big boned. It was a good excuse. But when I lost the weight, I realized I really wasn't.” Finally, a friend with whom he grew up suggested he was out of shape and Pannell says, “I took it to heart.”

    He began to run. “I couldn't run a quarter mile without stopping and walking.” Yet, for Pannell, running took the least amount of time and was the easiest to do on the road when he was traveling for work. He also found the running community much more accepting than the cycling community, whose participants he says can be more competitive and critical. “In running you’re always in a pack and it’s much more community based.” He found the community he needed at Fleet Feet Bozeman. The store offered a plethora of programs to help people like Pannell get started. Pannell found this invaluable. And, he says, “Once I ran my first 5K, the old competitive juices were back.”

    Back in shape, and 60 pounds lighter, Pannell began to enjoy riding again. From there, he set his sights on triathlon. “I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010, and in 2011, I completed my first Ironman Coeur D’Alene.”

    While his training was picking up speed, Pannell’s work moved him to Spokane, Washington. Before leaving Bozeman, Pannell had been dabbling with the idea of opening a Fleet Feet or changing his line of work to training and helping people get fit. Once in Spokane, he and his wife decided that the city presented the perfect opportunity to open a Fleet Feet. They opened Fleet Feet Spokane last summer, in August 2012.

    Spokane County has a population of roughly 450,000 people, and it only had one real specialty running store, explains Pannell.  “It was an underserved market and historically a very running focused community. We send about two or three high schools to national high school championships each year. Yet there was only one main specialty store.”

    With an inventory focused on triathlon more than the average Fleet Feet, Pannell reached out to Newton Running in April, 2013. Ever since, Newton has been the store’s number 2 vendor with the Gravity leading the way, then the Isaacs and Pannell expects the Energy to do well, too. “I’ve been running in Newton for the last five years. Newton is not one of those brands most Fleet Feet’s open with. But we are very tri oriented. A few employees and myself coach a tri group and we were in a tri club with about 250 people. So for our audience it makes sense to find some brands with more of a tri focus.”

    Newton’s message also aligned with that of Fleet Feet Spokane. “As we worked with training people and talking about minimalism and everything people need to do to become better runners, Newton’s education and biomechanical feedback was a nice segue for what we were doing and what we were about,” Pannell explains. “Not only has Newton given us fantastic support with their tech rep and corporate backup, but we’ve probably held five run clinics. Each time we get 20-30 people. I love the drills that Danny gives. And they brought in Chris Legh during Ironman Coeur d’Alene.”

    Pannell says more than 50% of people who come in to his store probably should be introduced to Newton. “It’s the person who wants to run better, more naturally and improve their form, and who likes a lighter shoe or is a triathlete. All of those categories add up to a large portion of our customer base, so it’s a natural fit to bring out a Newton.”

    And it’s not just triathletes and serious runners who like the shoes. Who is his unexpected customer? “We have the unexpected walkers who love Newtons. We fit a fair amount of people who are baby boomers who just want to be in comfortable footwear. I’m surprised at how many choose Newtons. The Energy will be great for that group.”

    Personally, Pannell runs in the Distance. “If you want a shoe to be a stronger, better runner, I can’t think of a better shoe to give you that feedback than the Distance.” And for people who are worried about the transition and strengthening process that accompanies running in Newtons, he says, “You’ve lifted weights before right? Did it hurt? Well, if you’re going to increase your strength in your legs, you should have some muscular discomfort. It’s nothing to be scared of, just manage it properly.” He adds, “Once people commit, they get it. Even those who were skeptical about Newton are now very excited about running in them.”

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 13 Mr. Bo Jangles

    Mr. Bo JanglesSoooo.  My name is Mr. Bo Jangles.  They call be Bo, Bobo Head, MBJ and Sweet Man.   But my name is Mr. Bo Jangles.  I used to live under a dorm in Texas, and my to-be human would sneak me cans of Friskies under a bush.  I’d hiss and spit at her to show her how fierce I am, but I actually was pretty grateful.  Friskies is gross, but not as gross as University trash.  Soon thereafter, I was trapped by the Feral Cat Rescue Program and sent to live with my human.  She didn’t get to actually touch me for about three months; I was a wild cat after all, and she needed to know there would be no cute kitten fluffy snuggles.  We moved from Texas to Colorado five years ago, and now I spend all my time outside hunting the mountains, because I am a mountain lion.  I now have three humans; my favorite is the 18month-old who calls for me at dinner time, hollering “Boooooooooooooo” and kisses my back and tail.  Nobody knows how old I am, but I think I’m about eight.  My game weight is a svelte 15.9 lbs.

    Likes:  Playing with creatures, oftentimes until they stop playing back.  I try to bring them in the house to share with my family – two snakes, four lizards, a mole, two mice, numerous birds (the best being a crazy magpie who my manhuman had to catch and release) and I’m spending this summer hunting a chipmunk family in the rock wall next door.  My humans say they’re responsible for eating the tomatoes, peppers and Brussels sprouts in the garden, so I’m looking to take them down.

    Dislikes:  Having my belly petted.  Oddly, my shehuman seems to be magnetically attracted to my belly and tries to rub it constantly.  I tell her “no” by rabbit thumping her arm and biting her hand.  I’ve given her scars.  Grasshoppers I also don’t like.  I chase them, knock off a leg or two, and then eat them.  I don’t like them so much that I hork them back up again, usually in the house.

    Points of Interest:  In one of my hunting forays, I was bit by a rattlesnake in my own backyard if you can believe that.  This is when I first met my Colorado Vet, who told my shehuman that I had a 50% chance of living or dying.  My face and neck swelled up like a bull frog, they had to stuff me in an acrylic box and gas me to pass me out and mend me.  I traded out four of my nine lives for that one.

    I don’t actually get to come into the Newton Headquarters (other than for my photo shoot).  There’s some sort of company policy that dogs are allowed, but no cats, rabbits, ferrets, and so forth.  It’s because dogs are stupid and can’t spend the day by themselves without help – who needs an escort to go wee?  Pretty sure they’re the only ones…   Speaking of the photo shoot, if you’re ever coming in for one of these, know that there’s no Green Room or Craft Services table, and the photographer had the audacity to ask my shehuman if she could make me sit for the shoot.  Uh, no.

    Last bit.  Although I’m a mountain lion of feral heritage, I am most comfortable at night sleeping between my two adult humans, on my own special pillow, with my face buried under Skipper the Bear.  I live the life of Riley.

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 12 Frankie

    Frankie week 12Hello, my name is Frankie. My humans rescued me from the Boulder Humane Society about 7 years ago after spending much of my first year roaming the streets of south Denver and I have been thankful ever since! I’m not exactly sure what breeds I am so your guess is as good as mine….any guesses? I’m dying to know!

    Likes: My favorite activity is chasing the deer and wild turkeys around our house, but I will settle for running, hiking, or swimming with my humans. I also love going to work at the Newton headquarters where I get treats and snuggles throughout the day. If you are ever in need of a hug, come on over.

    Dislikes: Thunder! And fireworks! I hate the Fourth of July and I’m a big scaredy-cat during thunder storms. I usually take cover in bathrooms with my tail between my legs.

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 11 Manny

    MannyHi, my name is Manny and I’m a 2-year-old Beagle. I may be small but my bark is loud (and often heard throughout the Newton office).

    Likes: FOOD! I use my super strong sense of smell to detect any food within 20 feet of me. If you are preparing food in the Newton kitchen I will stare at you until you feel uncomfortable and share with me. I also really like cuddling on the couch with my owners, long walks in the park, sunning myself in the yard and playing soccer with my favorite soccer ball or any other toy that squeaks. I’ve learned to like hiking this summer since it beats staying at home by myself.

    Dislikes: Being left alone, skateboards, rain or sprinklers and spicy food (I’ve learned my lesson)!

    Summary: I’ve got a lot of personality packed into 25 pounds. I’m a good listener since I have such big ears and I like to tilt my head as you talk to me to show that I’m paying attention. I really like hanging out with my family and am never, ever in a different room from where they are when we’re all at home. I’m getting better about making new friends – especially friends with treats!

  • Taking Chances With Gear Running


    Gear Running PhotoIn 2009, Paul Horan took a chance — a big chance. He and his business partners bought the oldest running store in the Twin Cities area. The store, Gear Running (, based in Edina, Minnesota, had been the “it” store in town from 1985-2006, but when the store owner started to step away to pursue other personal interests, the store began to lose its footing in the market. Horan had been an avid runner since high school and had at one point run for the Gear Running store team. He also had worked in clothing retail for most of his career and was looking for a retail opportunity to call his own. When the chance to buy Gear Running presented itself, he jumped on it.

    Horan’s own market research had turned him onto “natural running”. He understood that it wasn’t just a fad, but a trend that would play a role in the future of the running market. “I thought the Newton technology was fascinating, how they spent so much time trying to mimic the barefoot gate, while still being substantial under foot. And we were lucky that our inventory levels were such that we could bring in a lot of it, and bring it in right away.” Horan hoped that a new brand like Newton Running would help him to differentiate his store from his competitors

    Horan’s differentiation plan paid off, Newton became Horan’s number one brand after the first year he carried it. Gear Running has in fact sold more Newton shoes than any other storefront.

    Thanks to many years spent on the retail side of the clothing industry, Horan says, “I had very good experience in retail and great connections as far as a customer base.” When he changed to Gear Running, many of his former clothing clients, began to visit him at the shoe store. Others, aside from his competitors, were also happy to see him take over the store. Many local runners had fond memories of the store when it was doing well. “People would always say, ‘Gear Running. I love that store,’” says Horan.

    And his customers loved Newton shoes. “Every day, I was open jawed at the number of people who came in because of Newton shoes or who were turned on when they saw the shoe. We did well from the get go. And it kept building and building and building.” And, it’s not always your typical elite runner who is into minimal running. “We have guys all the time, they don’t appear to be the kind of guy who would run in that type of shoe. Suddenly they’re all intrigued.”

    “We have a former NFL hall of famer who has bought about 12 pairs. He thought his running career was over. He’s a bigger guy, but in great shape. He heard about Newtons. He bought one pair and then came back and said ‘I need two more pair,’” explains Horan. “We have a lot of customers who have had great improvement with the Newtons and feel like they can run again. And the 30-day guarantee is a nice safety net to have in your back pocket.”

    Horan says there is another group of 10 to 12 women who walk around the nearby lake. “They all have the pink Newtons. They’re walkers, but they love them.” He adds, “The shoes sell themselves to a degree because they’re so colorful.”

    The other secret to Horan’s success is a partnership he founded with Team Ortho (, the largest race organizer in Minnesota. “We’re their exclusive retail partner. So when we go to their expos, we’re the only retailer there.” Horan explains that every race has a Facebook page, and Horan has run multiple contests on these pages giving away a pair of Newton shoes. “They will simply say, ‘Like’ this page to be eligible to win a pair of Newtons. And just one of those pages gets around 10,000 ‘Likes’.” He adds, “You also get all of these comments. For the most part it’s a love fest, so then other people think maybe they should try them out.” Every time a new product comes in Horan will have Team Ortho give away a pair. “They’ll post the picture and people are just like ‘those are the coolest!’” He sold 200 pairs in December last year as a result of these social media giveaways.

    The next giveaway candidate? The new EnergyNR . Horan, who primarily runs in the Distance, thinks the new EnergyNR will spark even more interest in Newton because of its versatility and potential to be a cross- trainer. “I’m excited about that one,” he says.

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 10 Shela

    ShelaLikes - Shela spends most of her days in the Newton Running Lab. She likes to run with customers to help them with their Natural  Running Form in the Lab. She will always let you know when you need to lift your knees a little more by barking at you. Shela likes to herd everybody and everything- even motorcycles. Ouch!

    Dislikes - Shela is more of a professional runner and doesn't enjoy being cooped up in the car. She is known to jump out of the car window when at red lights. She is timid of the family of raccoon's who reside in the window well at home. It's a problem!

    Favorite places: Shela is a very intelligent dog. She loves spending time helping customers and  assisting Danny, the CTO, in research and design in the Newton Running Lab. When she is not there, Shela spends her free time helping her brothers built roll cages for very fast cars.

    Summary: Shela is awesome. She is a little Australian Cattle herding dog (thus the name Shela). She is a rescue dog made in the shade from Gallup, New Mexico. She is probably about 7 months old and loves spending time with her new family and co-workers. Her breed is known to be a long distance runners so she fits right in with the Newton running clan. Soon she will be able to join the team and go on long trail runs in the mountains of Boulder, CO.

  • Meet The Dogs Of Newton - Week 9 Ella

    Meet The Dogs of Newton - Ella week 9My name is Ella. I'm from the streets of Phoenix, where I spent my puppy-hood homeless, begging on the corner with a cardboard sign. My life has greatly improved since being hired by Newton Running where I  work at the Lab in Boulder. Selling running shoes is a challenge due to my phobia of people and because I have paws.

    My Father says I'm a Stink Hound, but I believe I'm an exotic Pharoah Hound of noble blood line.

    My hobbies include hunting small, cute creatures such as rabbits, squirrels, and prairie dogs and sleeping. In summer I love going on high mountain runs where I play on glaciers and swim in lakes. In moments of great joy, I am compelled to run figure-eights.

    I'm not fond of puppies, babies, or dry dog food and believe that cats are not to be trusted.

    Thanks for reading a little about me and may you enjoy your summer!

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