Behind the Scenes

  • I am Newton: Tor Swenson

    Little TorOriginally born in New Jersey my family and I moved around often when I was younger. See, my mom was a true flower child and my dad was as free and easy as the Colorado winds… OK we were hippies and dad played drums in a band. Yep that’s me in the sweet pants around Christmas.

    We settled down in Raleigh, NC and that’s where I spent most of my youth.  I grew up playing soccer, surfing and swimming. Soccer was my favorite and I ultimately went to college to play. After college, a season ski bumming in Killington and then some more college; I followed my Dad’s footsteps and went into the restaurant/bar industry.  Eventually my wife and I became owners in the industry for over eight years. We had a blast and it was a huge success, but horrible on the midline!

    Five years into the biz…. I saw a picture of myself (that I will not share). With the thoughts ofTor Broder-resized-600 having children it was time to make a change. Our ultimate goal was to lead by example and show our kids a healthy way to live. A little time and several pounds later…. It worked! That’s my son Broder and I training for his first 5K.

    During that time I had been fulfilling a love for competition with triathlon. This is where  the running comes in… soccer players only run when told. Swimming came naturally, cycling is awesome but running? Ugh. But even not being a runner by trade, it wasn’t long before I developed a passion for the trails and longing to tick off the miles. Running became my favorite discipline.

    On a visit to a local triathlon shop I happened to try on a pair of Newtons. They felt amazing  and despite receiving discounted shoes from another brand, I purchased a pair. Not only did they feel great but that end of the season IT band ache disappeared. Needless to say it’s the only shoe I have worn since!

    In July 2011 I was able to marry my lifestyle passion with an opportunity at Newton Running.  As Regional Sales Manager of the Mid-Atlantic I’m able to surround myself with incredibly passionate people and continue to feed that competitive drive.

    Many thanks to my wife Carolyn, Lilla and Broder

    Tor Swenson

  • I am Newton: Tory Oakland

    I was asked to create an “All About Me” post to share on our blog – first thing I thought of was my past life working as a 4th and 5th Grade Classroom teacher… “Okay kids, I want you to create a diorama by next Friday that we can have up for Open House – it should be called All About Me!”  No diorama from me, so if that’s what you’re looking for, boo Tory.

    If you’ve ever sent an email, or called in to Newton Running any time over the past four-and-three-quarter years, you and I have probably communicated.  I came to work for Newton as the Director of Customer Service in June of 2008, and was hired in as employee number ten.  We’ve now grown by nearly six times that, and I continue to hold down the fort here when you Tory Oaklandneed my help.

    I grew up in Northern California, went to University in San Diego, and made the beaches of North County my home for a number of years before returning back upstate to teach elementary school.  From there, I made a transition to Texas, and during a four year layover in the Dallas area, learned about this startup company called Newton Running.  Chris Legh, a professional triathlete and close friend of mine was one of Newton’s first sponsored athletes, and he sung the praises of these odd shoes.  Being highly competitive in the multisport world myself, I thought I’d see what they were all about.  Fast forward about a six months, and I’d purchased a house, and was moving out to Boulder, CO to come to work for the company.

    When I’m not at work, you’ll find me outside.  I’m an athlete by nature, and a competitor by genes, so spending time with an elevated heart rate is at the top of my Happy List.  We added another member to the family about a year ago, so my new running partner is now my daughter Devyn – she’s a champion just like I’d expect her to be, and the one responsible for much of my sanity.  My focus now is to strive to serve as a role model for her as she becomes the next Newton Runner.

    Look for me back on the start lines this race season – post Devyn, I only got in one half IM in 2012, so with goals in place, and training well underway, we’re looking forward to the season ahead.  Cheers!

  • I am Newton: Brandon Wood

    Here on The Running Front we're going to be telling you guys about one of the team here at Newton Running. Since I (Brandon) am the one who handles the blog, I figured it would be the logical place to break the ice would be with myself! I tend to be a bit wordy so buckle up!

    Brandon WoodSo, this is me! I grew up in Hampton, Virginia and was a very active kid. I got involved in all sports but the thing that really stuck was swimming. I began by swimming on a summer league team (shout out to the Wythe Wahoos!) and at about the age of eleven, that turned into me joining a USA Swimming club team. That meant that I was swimming year-round and once I hit about 14 years old, that also meant I was doing some form of two-a-days a lot of the time.

    I should also mention at this point that, by trade and education, I am a musician. From the time I was very young (my first solo was on Christmas Eve just after I'd turned three years old) I was involved in church choir and the like. Ultimately, because the school (Virginia Commonwealth University) I chose to go no longer had a swim team, after graduation from high school I stopped swimming. Combined with the fact that I was pretty mentally burnt out from years of swimming so much, I simply let my young-ish metabolism handle my fitness and called it a day.

    As many of us know, however, metabolism and youth can only take you so far. I was soonBrandon Wood pretty out of shape and though I could still hold my own in the water just based on technique and strength, that too was slipping away. (Side note: My dad likes to joke that several of my buddies and I, who could show off 6-packs when we ascended the starting blocks prior to leaving for college, now had kegs instead.) I would go through phases of trying to get in shape with a lot of lifting and some elliptical and the like, but NEVER running.

    Upon finishing school, I was hired as an apprentice at Virginia Opera. Basically, the job of an apprentice artist is to tour around the state, educating kids about opera daily, singing recitals a couple times a week, covering (understudying) main stage roles and performing other roles. It's an oddly busy existence with a lot of time spent in the car and in rehearsals, basically getting increasingly out of shape.

    One day, I'm not sure exactly when but sometime in the middle of 2003, I decided I needed to do something about my fitness (or lack thereof). I decided to start running a bit. I have no idea what shoe I was in, I just know that I couldn't run more than 3 miles without my knees feeling like they were going to explode. I combined my running with light lifting to make sure I got a workout longer than twenty minutes. I managed to drop a few pounds and get into some semblance of shape. Then I moved to New York City. Once I moved, the stress of the city and going to auditions and just the general draining that happens all took its toll on any motivation to work out I had.

    In April of 2004, I got engaged and decided that I should once again, get into reasonable shape for my wedding (which was 13 months away). I did, but as the chaos of planning a wedding in Virgina (from NYC) grew, so did my waistline. I married my wife, Danielle (also a singer), in May of 2005 and we immediately drove to New Mexico to begin working at Santa Fe Opera. As soon as I arrived, myself and a lot of the guys working there decided that we were going get in shape (much to the chagrin of the costume designers since our costumes had to be taken in about once a week). I did this on the eliptical and a tiny bit while running, but still not more than that big ol' three miles. By the end of that summer I had lost twenty-five pounds and was on the brink of something.

    I'll skip ahead a bit because you're probably already half asleep and I don't want you to pass out and hit your face on the keyboard. In November of 2007, my best friend, Bobby Cockrill and I decided after watching the NYC Marathon that we were going to run that race. Never mind the fact that there was a lottery and it wasn't until 2011 that I actually got to run it.Once the reality of entering that race set in, we chose alternate races and started training. Around the same time, my brother-in-law sold me his mountain bike. Now, there aren't too many trails appropriate for a mountain bike in NYC so I began riding the Manhattan West Side Greenway which runs the length of Manhattan on this though it were a road bike. Eventually I got a road bike and the thought occurred to me, "I have a bike. Thanks to technique I can still throw down in the water. I just need to figure out this running thing!" And so I entered my first triathlon, the Redondo Beach Sprint Triathlon in California.

    Brandon WoodWhile breaking the rules by doing a tiny bit of drafting, riding a borrowed bike and slogging through the 2-mile run in 15:37, I was hooked. In about August of 2008, when I was working at an opera company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I began to actually think about why I couldn't run very far (my farthest run to that point was probably about 8 miles). I did some digging and came upon an article by this guy named Micah True (maybe you've heard of him) in the New York Times. He was talking about this new, yet old, way of running. Light and fast feet and landing more on the front part of your foot. After some more digging, I came across this kind of obscure running shoe company called Newton Running.

    I should back up a little bit and tell you that in February of 2008 I started a blog about me wanting to run a marathon. That blog turned into a podcast and that all turned into something pretty large with a good deal of traffic. I got my first pair of Newtons in December of 2008 and went headlong into running WAY up on my toes and overstriding (good times). This resulted in some pretty serious ITBS during my first marathon, but rather than being dicouraged I was energized to figure it out.

    Later in 2009 I went on to complete my first Ironman (Wisconsin) and while I had a tough day thanks to some massive nutrition goofs, I was fine enough to run a reasonable half marathon only 6 days later. Basically, I had begun to figure out this running thing. At the same time, I was eyeballs deep in the Newton culture, figuring out how to better my technique and telling anyone who would listen how this shoe company and the technique that they taught had changed my life.

    In 2011, after arriving back from a gig with my wife and our 1 year old daughter, I had one of those Earth moving moments. I realized that I was done living the life of a nomadic musician and struggling to live in the big city. The next day, I went on Newton's Facebook wall and wrote the following:

    Brandon Wood, Newton Running Social Media

    About 6 weeks after talking to the right people and having some pretty amazing folks here believe in me, I joined the Newton family and on June 20th of 2011, moved to Colorado. This company started by changing my life by being a huge part of my impetus to get fit and continues to change it every day by giving me the opportunity to connect to the infinite world of the Newton social media channels. So, if you're on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, this blog or any other Newton Running channels, you're talking to me so say "hi!" and join me in spreading the love!

  • Retail Spotlight: DEKA

    During 60 Days of Better, not only are we trying to put Newtons on the feet of those who've not tried us yet, but we want to get you into our amazing network of retailers. One of Newtons biggest advocates and strongest retailers is DEKA. I had a chance to chat with owner and founder of DEKA, Jim Whitlow and it's easy to see why DEKA is so successful and has now been able to expand its influence to a second location in Chicago. Jim's passion is larger than anything that could ever fit on a page so be sure to visit DEKA if you're near them in Atlanta or Chicago!

    How did DEKA get its start?

    Jim spent many years in fashion retail and saw an opportunity for something different and better. Noticing that women were spending a lot of time in workout clothing even when they were not going to or from a workout but just for everyday clothing, the idea began to take shape. The goal was to start a store that offered a different environment than women shopping for workout clothes were used to. Pushing aside the potential overwhelming and intimidating feel that a traditional running specialty shop can have, Jim wanted to create a more upscale and inviting experience. Not just leaving that feel to the merchandise, DEKA went all in with decor and ambience and created a one of a kind look and feel.

    DEKA began as DEKA Athletics but soon dropped the word "Athletics" from its name. The motivation for this was that they were striving to be a store that appeals to everyone, including those who may be scared off by walking into an "athletics" shop. That type of outside the box thinking and challenging the accepted thought process of what makes a fashion store and what makes an athletics store has garnered DEKA an incredibly diverse and loyal customer base.

    How does Newton fit into the DEKA mentality?

    A large part of Jim's goal at DEKA is to give shoppers a place where they can come and see merchandise that is always on the cutting edge. Each piece in the store(s) has been extremely carefully selected for its quality, design, feel and functionality so that if someone wants to see the best of the best and not have to deal with sorting through things they won't want, they can trust that has already been done for them. DEKA's customers want to be shown the best and that's what DEKA does.

    Where does Newton fall into that? DEKA sells Newtons because they fit the bill of being über-fashionable and a premium product. If a shopper wants a fashionable shoe, here's a pair of Newtons. If a shopper wants the most progressive shoe technology, well, here's a pair of Newtons! If you walk into DEKA and ask "Why Newtons?". Well, in Jim's words:

    "We only sell the best products and quite simply, Newtons are the best running shoes you can buy."

    Probably one of DEKA's most amazing qualities is its deep knowledge and understanding of its customers. They know who wants to see what when they walk through the door. Each person on the sales floor has an in-depth understanding of the products so they can cater to a shopper's taste without having to waste time separating the wheat from the chaff. During our conversation I was constantly amazed with Jim's innate ability to pinpoint what limits he could push with which customers. That knowledge and understanding is a cornerstone of DEKA's success which cannot be overstated.

    What's next for DEKA?

    Having just opened their second location in Chicago, Jim and DEKA are not a company that is looking to spread itself too thin. Rather, the dedicated staff of DEKA Chicago is working to learn and understand a new community in its new digs. Looking forward, once the Chicago store is well in hand and crushing it then, Jim has an eye on other "active" communities around the country that fit the bill. A few cities on his radar are Los Angeles, Dallas and New York.

    Speaking to Jim, you would think you were speaking to the most gun-ho-for-Newton person around...and that's because you are! The enthusiasm and genuine care for Newton and what we're doing is what makes DEKA such an effective retailer. After our conversation, Jim shot me a note:

    "Enjoyed our talk! Thanks for all of your support with DEKA!!!"

    I wrote back, "Our support of you guys is striving to be as supportive as you are of us. It's really awesome (from my perspective) to see a shop/owner/staff who is so incredibly behind a brand and believes in it so strongly that they go all in!"

    If you're in the Atlanta or Chicago area, please swing by and say hi!

    DEKA Atlanta on Facebook
    DEKA Atlanta on Twitter

    DEKA Chicago on Facebook
    DEKA Chicago on Twitter 

  • I am Newton: Stephen Pifer

    As he gets ready to head to the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 1500 meters, one of Newton's newest additions takes a second to let us into his life and training!


  • I Am Newton Running: Juda McGannon

    I grew up playing every sport and game imaginable; Skateboarding, boxing, kick ball, kill ball, running bases, soccer, softball, basketball and rugby.  I wore Converse, Adidas, Puma, Etonic, and Nike.  My feet were a topic of conversation often because they are so wide, and I had tremendous pain in my teenage years due to a bunion on my right foot.  It was surgically “repaired” when I was 21 years old, which left me with limited range of motion in my toe, but gratefully no pain.  I packed on some weight after college, and managed to max out at 155 lbs.  Just after I got married in 1989, I set out to change my lifestyle and regain the level of activity I had in my younger years by joining Weight Watchers, lifting weights and running.

    I worked the 3-11 shift as a reservation sales agent for Northwest Airlines, so every day before work I ran a 1.1 mile loop by my house.  It took me 11-12 minutes.  I ran my first 5K in 36:00.  My first triathlon was in the summer of 1990, a Danskin sponsored sprint.  I loved it.  I was miserable at my job and wanted to do something involving fitness and my new healthy lifestyle.  I went back to school for three years and received my M.A. in exercise physiology from Adelphi University in New York.  That 1.1 mile run became 2, and then 4, 6, 13, and finally my first marathon, New York City 1996.  I continued in triathlon as well, competing in St.Croix in 1995 and Ironman Canada in 1998.  I had the best jobs in corporate fitness, running wellness centers for JP Morgan Chase and Philip Morris (yes, the cigarette company).  I grew tired of the toxic lifestyle in New York City and made a move to Scottsdale Arizona, just 12 days prior to 9/11.

    We left Arizona almost 4 years to the day that we arrived, moving back East in order for my husband John to take a sales position with his company, PING Golf.  Determined to do something different, I took a part-time position at a local running store.  It kept me busy, but more importantly gave me an opportunity to meet people in the running community.  I started getting involved again in coaching individuals and large groups for 5K, as beginning runners were always special to me.  I also attended school again, and earned another degree and a license in massage therapy.  Seven years there… Following a three hour bike ride in June, I gave notice.  I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I couldn’t stay there anymore.  I had to clear something out of my life, to let something in.

    I tried Newton running shoes for the first time in July 2008 at Ironman Lake Placid.  John bought a pair of Motions from Tom Curran!  I put them back on when we started to carry them at Charm City Run, but I was happy enough in whatever I was running in, so I didn’t switch.  Finally in the early part of 2011, my training partner wanted out of his Brooks Beasts and was on me constantly about Newton’s and Natural Running.  If I was to help him, I needed to know more about them so I started to run in the Gravity.  With a week left at my job at Charm City, another employee advised me of the Mid-Atlantic Tech Rep opening.  My strong exercise physiology background and my retail experience was a perfect combination, and Tom hired me in the parking lot of our Fleet Feet Baltimore store.

    I have always been a positive, ebullient, and energetic person by nature, and was often told by my father to “cheer down” as a child.  I love what I do, I believe in what I do, and I give my best every day.  Since running in Newton shoes I have been injury free, able to run more mileage, and I’m running faster.  At 46 years of age I have run a PR at 5K, 10K, 8 Miles, 10 Miles and Half Marathon distances.  This year I plan to PR at DC Rock and Roll Marathon, finish the Northface 50 Miler and add two more Ironman events to my resume with Canada and Arizona.

  • One Boulder Plaza Broomball Tournament with Team Newton

    For the past two years, the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza holds a broomball tournament to raise money for Community Food Share and each year Team Newton takes to the ice with high hopes. In case you're not sure what broomball is, it's like hockey but played with shoes instead of skates, a size 1 soccer ball instead of a puck and a "broom" instead of a stick.


    Team Manager, Rich Miyamoto, watching from the sidelines has written an excellent play-by-play of Team Newton's road to the championship game:

    Last night was the broomball extravaganza we have all been anticipating and Team Newton was amazing!!!

    In the first game we played Reuben's Burger Bistro, who were huge! Rumors were they were stacked with hockey players and would likely crush us...  Coach Dan "I love Grills" Grundy (dressed in his best Bill Belichick hoodie impersonation) fired the team up with a pre-game perspirational speech that would have definitely made the difference for the Pat's in this years Super Bowl...


    The pumped up Newton team lead by The Jerry took the ice and calling The Jerry panther-like would be a complete understatement.  If you can maybe visualize a Crazed CEO with years of pent up energy from working at his desk 100 hours a week with the unthinkable idea of building a company to make running shoes to compete with the big boys (now that would be a crazy man!!) and then releasing it all one night on one poor unsuspecting broomball team...I know that is a picture too frightening to even imagine and makes you want to close your eyes or look away, but that is exactly what would best describe The Jerry last night! The poor Burger giants were faced with their worst nightmare and by half time The Jerry took himself out of the game to spare them total humiliation.  All who were there will forever have the story to tell their children of the night they witnessed the Crazed CEO...Final score: 6-0!!!!

    The next game was against Occipital who just destroyed last years runner-up team and you could hear them calling out actual plays during warmups!!!  They were also giants. (Does everyone except Newton eat at Rueben's Burger Bistro everyday?).

    The Jerry decided it was unfair to the other teams for him to continue to play so he retired from the tournament, leaving a huge gaping hole in Newtons chances...  How would we compete?  Coach Grills had the solution...he would be a player coach and play goalie!!! Later he would confess that he went into that zen state of mind and imagined the ball was chicken, hamburger, got it...all things to grill!!! Brilliant!!! He gobbled them up and the frustrated Occipital giants could not score!!....but unfortunately neither could we.  Shootout!


    Team Newton finally met its match in the championship game against the host The Rink team.  This is definitely a team that was stacked with actual skilled hockey players, many of whom play on the University of Colorado Hockey Team.  Sort of like if Newton wanted to host a Team Triathlon Relay competition among the One Boulder occupants...  Still, Team Newton fought their hearts out and gave them a much, much tougher game than they obviously expected as they crushed the other competition and you could hear them chirping at the refs to the very end...  SATISFACTION!!!!

    It was an exciting, fun night for everyone and we can all certainly be proud of the way Team Newton represented us! Thank you to all who participated making it a most memorable night in Newton lore!

  • Newton Running Receiving $20M Investment from Fireman Partners



    The rumors are true! Newton Running just signed a deal to receive a substantial investment from a Boston-based investment firm, Fireman Capital Partners.

    “Combining FCP’s expertise in sales and marketing with our innovative technology will allows us to continue our rapid growth and maintain our position as the leader in natural running footwear and education,” says Newton Running CEO Jerry Lee, who retains a controlling interest in the company.

    Read more about this new partnership in this article published in today's Boston Globe.

  • Broomball Night in Boulder

    Broom 004 Last night, the ice rink across the street from Newton Running HQ was the scene of a fun yet "fierce" broomball tournament to raise money for Boulder Community Food Share, Boulder County’s food bank.

    Newton Running won the first round easily, beating their rival, real-estate firm WW Reynolds, 4 to 1, thanks in large part to the great goal-tending skills of Newton Running Regional Account Manager Tim McCulley, and the stick-handling skills of hockey star Hawk Wathen, the man who keeps the shoes moving out of the warehouse.

    Newton fell in the title round to a bunch of smack-talking pros, but a good time was had by the rookies, and more importantly, no one incurred any injuries that would interfere with today's run!

  • Newton Retail Summit Recap

    If you happened to be around Pearl Street in Boulder at the beginning of this week, you probably noticed lots of neon green Newton bags on people's shoulders. (A couple of people tweeted asking what was going on) Or perhaps you saw colorful armies of runners all wearing our new green or aqua trail shoes taking over the Boulder Creek bike path.

    Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 12.15.27 PM

    Good looking group of runners!

    At the start of this week around a hundred of Newton's retailers descended on Boulder for three event-packed days. Amidst breakout sessions, form clinics, runs, and lunchtime discussions, the highlight of the week was definitely the Natural Running Industry Panel.

    Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 12.14.17 PM

    The Panel included Irene Davis, Mark Cucuzzella, Danny Abshire, Zola Budd, Danny Dreyer, and Jay Dicharry and was moderated by Brian Metzler.

    Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 12.14.01 PM

    Zola recounted her childhood where it was normal to walk barefoot to school, the mall, etc. She suggests keeping your kids out of shoes as long as possible so that their feet have time to develop correctly.

    Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 12.15.03 PM

    The clinics involved plenty of barefoot drills on the track.


    Thanks to all who attended this weeks events, it was even more of a success than we had hoped for!


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