Category Archives: Uncategorized

Melody Fairchild: So This is 40

Posted by on Sunday, April 6, 2014 @ 9:24 am | Leave a reply

When it comes to running, Melody Fairchild knows what she likes and doesn’t like. For instance, uphills “yes,” downhills “no,” Newtons “yes,” other brands “no.” She should know, she has been running since she was 14. And we’re not talking jogging. She was the first high school girl to break 10 minutes for 2 miles and from there her list of accolades is long.

Last summer she turned 40 and aged up to Masters. She quickly proved she would be a force to be reckoned with in this category with three wins last fall in the space of a month: first place at the USA Masters 5K Championships with a time of 16:51; first place at the 15K Masters National Championship; and 1st female, and 2nd overall at the Project Athena US Trail Half Marathon, which served as the half marathon national championships, in Moab, Utah.

Fairchild started 2014 with a goal to do all of the USATF Masters National Championships and a main goal of doing the Master’s National Championship in the marathon at the Medtronic Twin City Marathon in Minneapolis in October. Obviously, age has not diminished ability nor competitive spirit.

So far this year, Fairchild has taken 2nd in the half marathon in Melbourne, Florida and 2nd at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, both in February. Results most runners would consider great. But, Fairchild doesn’t like to lose. “In the Twin Cities, I plan on being a contender to win and I would like to win. I will have my work cut out for me, there are a lot of really good Master’s marathoners out there, including the two women who I have been beaten by already this year.”

Mel XC 1

Although Fairchild makes running look easy, she has had her share of bumps in the road. Looking back on her career, she credits her ability to still run strong to the fact that she took a break from running from about the time she was 27 to 37. This was at a time when many of her running colleagues were pushing the envelope and taking their careers to another level professionally performance wise. Her body was telling her to do otherwise. “I had to really listen to my body, and it was telling me to stop running. I had massive sciatic nerve pain and my feet were hurting. Rather than getting surgery on my feet to keep running, I went an alternative healing route.” Fairchild focused on getting healthy.

Along the path to healing, Fairchild also found a friend in Newtons. “I’ve been told I have a dropped metatarsal head. I thought it was a neuroma.” No matter how you cut it, it’s painful. “I also have large bunyans, which is why Newtons are great for my feet, because they have a nice wide toebox. With other shoes, I would have to cut them open because there was too much pressure on my feet.”

Fairchild used to race in the Distance Elite and train in the Distance U, which she loves because it’s so light. But then, last summer, she discovered the new Energy—not a shoe you would immediately pair with an elite athlete. “ I ran a half marathon in Costa Rica last summer and placed 2nd. Normally, I would take a racing flat, but I ran the whole race in my Energies.”

Fairchild says, for any Newton lovers with any sort of forefoot issue the Energy is just a fabulous option. ”I still feel the energy return that you get from a Newton, but it’s just so much more gentle on the forefoot, especially if you have a neuroma or a bone bruise.”

            Listening to and looking after your body, especially as a runner, is a message Fairchild now loves to share with the next generation of athletes. When she’s not training and racing—or planning for her wedding this summer (it’s true!)—she’s busy coaching across Boulder County. She runs after school cross-country and track programs, and running camps for girls in the summer. “My girls running camp in the summer is a passion of mine.  I know the pitfalls that befall young women. I help my girls gain a perspective of themselves and their life. It is a long winding road.”

As she runs from job to job and race to race, Fairchild knows that winding road well. But at this stage in life, she’s loving every minute of it. “It’s so awesome to be paid to run. Every day I get up and train and look forward to the next race I have planned. I definitely don’t take it for granted.” She adds, “For someone my age, competing at the level I am, to have the support from a shoe company, is off the charts.”

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Larger than Life!

Posted by on Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Leave a reply

Sculptor Bob Zasadny makes a unique pair of Newtons

 

If you find yourself driving in western Kentucky any time soon, specifically in Madisonville, take a moment to drive by, or even run around the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which sits next to the Baptist Health Madisonville hospital campus. Here, you’ll find something that looks strangely familiar: a pair of Distance Newton running shoes. But these just aren’t any pair of Distance shoes, this pair is four-feet long, roughly 20 inches high at the back and heel and about 20 inches wide—roughly four-times the average sized shoe.

The hospital commissioned Indianna artist, Bob Zasadny, to create the giant shoe sculpture as a tribute for outgoing CEO, Berton Whitaker.  Whitaker, is a runner, who actually runs in the Newton Distance. He also was responsible, amongst other things, for the creation of the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which has 10 different fitness stations and a half-mile walking or running trail. So, the real idea here, says Zasadny, is that Whitaker is leaving big shoes to fill.

shoe6 IMG_7536

 

 

 

 

The other surprising thing about these shoes is that they only weigh about 20 pounds each. Zasadny constructed them out of rigid polyurethane foam coated in fiberglass.  Zasadny worked at a fiberglass company in his early 20s and was always fascinated with the medium. Now, 50 years later he says, at the age of 75, he’s still working with fiberglass. “It’s an alternative material, but not a widely used thing because it’s a unique product. It’s not a pleasant material to work with and you have to be a bit technical to work with it.” But he says, “It was a perfect media for me because I could manipulate it because of my industrial experience with it. I knew how to fabricate it and I could find artistic ways to use it.”

Shoes 1 shoe5

Typically, Zasadny likes to sculpt the forms we see in nature—sand dunes, leaf patterns, flower petals, things that are more organic. “I’ve tried to incorporate more natural things into my art. It resonates with people, they have to reach out and touch it and run their hands over it. It’s a tactile thing that you want to feel and start touching art with your hands.” But when the opportunity to create the Newtons came his way, he jumped on it. He hadn’t heard of Newton shoes prior to the project, but quickly found a pair to check out. “It was like walking on my socks and a piece of foam, such an airy feeling.” The colors weren’t lost on Zasadny either. He kept the shoes bright, but instead incorporated the four colors that matched the hospital logo.

shoe 2shoe4

 

 

 

 

So what does it take to complete a project like this? Zasadny says when all was said and done, including making the tabletops the shoes are mounted on, it took him “easily 400 hours. For 6 weeks, I worked 60-70 hour weeks. We were making something that had never been made before.” And with that much time invested, you would think he might be worried about the longevity of the sculpture. But, the ultimate beauty of working with the foam and fiberglass materials is that if the sculpture gets a ding in it or is damaged in any way, Zasadny says, “I can go down there and take some material, grind it up and make the damaged area totally like brand new. It’s not as tragic for that to be vandalized as it would be for someone else’s materials.” Long live Newtons!

For more information on Bob Zasadny’s art - http://www.bobzabstractsculpture.com/

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Weekend Warrior

Posted by on Monday, December 16, 2013 @ 2:14 pm | Leave a reply

You don’t have to be a podium seeker, to love to run. We know that time and life (and that little thing called work) does not always allow us to pursue our passions as much as we would like. Hats off to the Weekend Warriors who go after that weekend trail run or 10K road race with undaunted enthusiasm no matter the weather. And those who head out before dawn or after dusk week after week, just for the love of it. The Weekend Warriors know better than anyone that no matter where you are all you need is a pair of running shoes to get your fix.

For the Weekend Warrior in your life, you might consider buying them an entry to a race, which can add up if you’re doing them weekly or monthly.  Some good dark chocolate may also be appreciated by this crowd and we also think they’ll like this group of products we’ve selected for them, with 30% off on each item. Again, we’ll throw in free 2-day shipping on any purchase over $118.99 through 12/20.

Weekend-Men Weekend-Women

EnergyNR, $119

The colors of this shoe alone will energize you to run. Whether you’re racing a 5K or logging a few miles with friends, the EnergyNR offers a seamless transition from conventional running shoe brands to the unique Newton technology platform and ride.

Women’s Short Sleeve Jackie/Men’s Short Sleeve Pace, $35

This performance fit tee is lightweight and breathable, and sleek enough to wear on and off the trails.

Women’s/Men’s Zero Plus Pant, $70

These thermal running pants offer a flattering fit with a loose ankle cut. They’re comfortable running, skate skiing, in a yoga class or a coffee shop. The inner pocket will hold your keys no matter where you are.

 

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‘Tis the Season to Give Back – An Interview with Wendy Lee

Posted by on Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 11:35 am | Leave a reply

“Our company was founded on the principle of helping others. It starts with our commitment to our community and continues with our involvement with a diverse range of philanthropic organizations both here and abroad.”

 

Is this a running company? Yes, it is. And, yes, this is what’s written at the top of Newton’s Global Responsibility page. “It’s my dad,” explains Wendy Lee, whose dad, Jerry Lee, is CEO and cofounded Newton Running together with Danny Abshire, CTO. “Honestly, when he founded the company with Danny, he was at a point where he had been very successful in his previous career. He said, ‘If I’m going to start another company, and particularly a running shoe company, the reason I’m doing it is to help other people.’ It starts with him and he made the philosophy from the beginning and made it understood.” Lee, who is Director of Global Sustainability and oversees Newton’s initiatives in this arena, adds, “Of course, we want to make the best running shoe and provide the best running education, but at the end of the day we want to help the lives of other people.”

And this isn’t just a Jerry and Danny thing. Employees hear about social responsibility in their initial interviews and are introduced to it in the orientation process. It’s also written into job descriptions. “Every employee needs to be involved with social responsibility to whatever level possible. Everyone knows that’s what we stand for and that’s why we exist.  It’s not just something we do on the side, this is why we exist and I find that people really like it and get excited,” explains Lee.

So what exactly does all this talk mean?

  • Prostate Cancer Foundation:

    Newton has supported the prostate cancer foundation for many years. Lee’s dad and founder, Jerry, is a prostate cancer survivor (since 2005), so she says, they feel strongly about that one. Newton Running also sponsors team athlete Winter Vinecki, who lost her dad to prostate cancer and races to raise funds to fight the disease.

Memorial

  • Team Kokua:

    Newton has always encouraged athletes to participate in triathlon, while raising funds for causes that hit close to home, such as prostate cancer. In 2013, Newton partnered with the Ironman Foundation to create an ambassador team of 45 athletes. This team of athletes not only raced, but they were charged with raising funds and participating in direct service projects to give back to designated non-profits in the communities in which they were racing. The team has raised $70,000 so far, and Lee is hoping they will break $100,000. Most recently, the team was in Arizona where they organized a track and field day at a school, and then presented a check to the school to go toward a PE program and physical fitness. Next year, Lee says she expects the team will have closer to 60 athletes.

Team 2

  • Trickle Up:

    Newton has sponsored Trickle Up since 2008. It is an organization that provides education, training and grants for some of the world’s poorest people to develop microenterprises. “It’s a small charity, but they do incredible work,” says Lee. “Trickle Up focuses on the extreme poor, who seem to be overlooked by other charities. They are left out because they are so isolated and impoverished. They live on under $1.50 a day. There are a lot of people, especially women with children living under this poverty line. The quality of life is very low.” 

Trickle Up works with local organizations to help train these women how to start their own businesses, usually in textiles or farming. They help these women to establish their own micro-economy and to have a sustainable economy for themselves, which then allows their kids to go to school and to get an education. Each season, Newton chooses a shoe from which a $1 per sale goes to the Trickle Up campaign.

casa guatemala

  • One World Running:

    This Boulder-based, nationwide, volunteer-run organization takes in used running shoes, cleans them up and delivers them to impoverished villages around the world. When they deliver them, they typically host a race in the village the next day. Newton Running has donated more than 5,000 pairs of mostly new shoes to the organization. “We have a constant stock that we donate to them,” says Lee.

owr1

  • Back on my Feet:

    This group is east coast based with offices around the country. Back On My Feet organizes running groups for homeless shelters. They meet once or twice a week in the morning and run as a group. Newton donates shoes for every participant in each of the locations around the country (more than 1,000 pairs).

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Being a company that does the right thing also means that after Hurricane Sandy hit, Jerry Lee spontaneously gave 100s of pairs of running shoes that the company had brought to sell at the New York marathon expo to a group of firefighters who happened to be walking through the expo. They in turn donated the shoes to survivors of the hurricane.  Likewise, shoes have been sent to the Philippines and the company even helped their own community after the Colorado floods sent water gushing through Newton’s backyard this fall.  “We are always ready to help where we can,” says Lee. The company also gives a discount to military members.

Although Jerry Lee won’t toot his own horn, his daughter will, as will Newton employees who have witnessed the giving firsthand. Lee encourages others in the running community to do the same, to look around and see where there is a need. “If there’s any way to help, then do it. Be aware of what’s going on and get involved.” She adds, “We have so much to be thankful for, our health and our well being, particularly when you think about the flooding and the fires that have happened in our own backyard. We’re thankful as a company for our customers and their support of us. We have been fortunate and continue to be so as a company, so it’s our responsibility to give back. It’s what we do.”

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Experience Spartan World Championships With a 14 Year-Old

Posted by on Monday, October 21, 2013 @ 2:18 pm | Leave a reply

I sat on the steep hillside with a 5-gallon bucket of gravel between my legs, protecting it from spilling. This was just a temporary stop to collect my strength as I climbed up the Killington, Vermont ski run. It was a brutal reminder that ski slopes are for skiing down and that is it! This same obstacle was my biggest challenge at my first Spartan Beast several months ago in Utah. The sight of a bucket now makes me cringe. Descending the hillside, with my bucket in my arms, I thought I might actually cry. As I dumped my gravel into the bin at the end, successfully completing the obstacle, I said to myself, “Pull yourself together, you still have a long way to go.”

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-start line

Show Time

I had no idea this race would be so hard. Standing at the start line, I felt welcomed amongst my new Spartan family. I appreciated the cheers and well wishes from my fellow racers as my name was called to the start line of the Spartan World Championships. I found myself standing amongst some of the world’s greatest athletes. There were Olympians from around the globe as well as Xterra, USTAF and Trail World Champions, Professional Obstacle Course Racers, Adventure Racers, triathletes and marathon winners. This talented group of athletes, including the Spartan Pro Team, will be featured in the NBC Sports Network TV special about the World Championships on October 19th.

Given Spartan’s history and the presence of NBC TV, most of us assumed we were about to embark on the toughest, most grueling 13-mile course ever designed by Spartan. Little did we know how humbling the day would be—the steep climbs, cold water and grueling course would sideline even some of the world’s most fit athletes.

Climbing & Descending

The first part of the course was mainly a steep never-ending trail climb up the hills of Killington Ski Resort. I was happy with my selection of running this course in my Newton Distance. I knew there would be a lot of serious climbing so I chose to stay on the lighter side with my shoes. I had done my last Spartan Beast in my Newton All-weathers. The unique lug design of Newton shoes is not only great for forefoot running but also provides great traction on these difficult courses. Spartans were once again falling, slipping and sliding on the steep descents and I was able to keep my footing. There were a few walls and round hay bails to climb on our way up, which is always fun.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-wall traverse

Living and training at 7,000 feet in Park City, UT, as well as only carrying 98 pounds on my small frame, was a great advantage on the first part of the course. I was surprised to find myself hanging with many of the elite females for the first six to seven miles. It was only when we encountered the heavy obstacles, that their more adult bodies became a huge advantage for them.

Two-thirds My Weight

Upon reaching one of the few black diamond ski runs at Killington, I peered up the steep slope.  As far up the mountain as I could see, it was just a stream of racers carrying something. As I approached a pile of sandbags, I quickly realized there was only one size. Many of the weighted obstacles at Spartan Races have female and male sized weights. This was the World Championships, though, what was I thinking. There was no time to stop and think. This was a race!

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-60#sandbag carry

As a competitive athlete, you learn to improvise as you go. I wasn’t sure how I would handle this heavy obstacle but knew I just had to get moving with it. I grabbed my sandbag, tossed it up onto my back and began the long trek. I would alternate carrying the weight on one shoulder, then the other. When both shoulders got fatigued, I would place it evenly across my upper back and neck.  The one thought I had the entire time was, “Why is a 14-year-old girl carrying what a grown man is carrying?” At the time, I had no idea I was carrying 60 pounds, literally two-thirds my body weight. All I knew was, “It was heavy”.  It was only after the race, that I had learned the actual weight we were all carrying.

Burpees & Perseverence

The Hercules Hoist gave me my first set of burpees. A cement bucket is hooked to a pulley system.  You must use a rope to pull the bucket up to the top. As I started to hoist the bucket up, I would quickly find myself being pulled up in the air as the bucket returned to the ground. “You got to be kidding me! I’ve done this before. This cement bucket must be heavier than my last race.” After being lifted off the ground several times and only getting the weight half way up, I realized Hercules would win today. I immediately started doing my 30 burpees.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-rope climb

During the entire race I was reminded, “I had it easy.” I was not carrying a tumor, like my new friend, Iram Leon. He is 32 years old and living with an inoperable brain tumor, yet not letting it slow him down. I had two healthy legs unlike the amputee that crawled up the entire Killington ski slope on his hands and knees or like the female amputee who stood at the start line with me. I was able to just be at the event, unlike my dad and many others that left this world too soon. It wasn’t hard to put my pain aside and persevere.

Having previewed the course the day before, I knew the water obstacles would come at miles seven and ten. Seeing all the water on this course, I also knew I wanted a shoe that had great drainage, not one that would hold water. I had poured water in my Newton trainers prior to the race to see how quickly it would drain out. Unlike many Spartans, I was not intimidated by the water, but rather excited. As a two-time triathlon national champion, I had been battling it out in the water since I was five years old. I didn’t take into account, however, how much wearing shoes affected your ability to swim. I was especially glad I didn’t wear a hydration pack like so many did. It would have been yet another thing to weigh me down as I swam across the frigid water and climbed up the rope climbs.

Tarzan & The Tyrolean Traverse

The Tarzan Swing was nearly impossible! I heard of only one female who made it successfully across. This obstacle consisted of ladders and ropes suspended from a bridge in the middle of a lake. After swimming out and climbing up to the top of the bridge, there were about five or six little ropes. One had to swing across these ropes to get to the bell. I made it across two ropes then fell about ten feet into the lake.  As I swam to shore, my only thought was, “I think I’m turning into an ice cube.” As I crawled onto shore, it was burpee time again.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-barb wire

Next up, the Tyrolean Traverse. Imagine a rope suspended across water; a kids dream, an adult’s nightmare! I may have moved slower than Sid, the two-toed sloth, but I made it! I hung below the rope with just my knees and elbows draped over the long rope that spanned the freezing cold, irrigation pond for the ski resort. There was no way I was going to fall off that rope, swim to shore, do 30 burpees and then have to reattempt it again. It was pretty intimidating seeing Elite men wrapped in a foil blanket at the edge of the water, hypothermic and unable to continue on. Today, the Tyrolean Rope would separate the winners from the losers. All I could think was, “Just hang on!” I have some great rope burns on my arms to show for my effort.

Tyrolean Traverse- Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

Pushing Beyond

The Spartan World Championships pushed me farther, mentally and physically, than I have ever been pushed before. However, with this being said, I know I have not reached my limit. There is always a take home lesson I learn from every race; whether it is a triathlon, a marathon, an aerial skiing competition or a Spartan Race. Spartan reminded me how crucial the mental component of a sport can be. Even if your body wants to give up, you can usually mentally keep pushing on and many times your body will recover. If you give up mentally though, it is over immediately.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-fire jump

For many, crossing the finish line on Saturday was the end of their race weekend. Placing first in the world in the 19 & under open division and 28th amongst the elite females was perhaps my greatest accomplishment ever. However, the most important race to me was actually the next day. For the first time, Spartan offered a charity race. Beat up and exhausted but willing to do it all again, my team of five athletes, Team Winter, set out Sunday morning to try to capture the Spartan Charity Race Title. Our team raced for the 1 in 6 men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the cancer that took my 40 year-old-dad from me when I was only 9-years-old.

We were expected to navigate a two- to three-mile course, with the fastest three times from each team counting. Seeing some of Spartan’s best obstacle course racers smiling at the start line Sunday and getting their “Spartan On” for something bigger than themselves was a great sight. These guys and gals went out with revenge and were ready to give everything they had left for their cause. Although Team Winter took 2nd place by only a few seconds, we were proud to stand on the podium as one of the top five teams in the world. Each team took prize money home for their charity and most importantly raised awareness for their cause.

Finish Line Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

Spartan World Championships was great training as I headed into my sixth marathon on October 12th on New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island—my second to last continent on my world marathon tour for prostate cancer awareness. Keep following Newton for my next race report!

Never Give In!

Sig

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 15 Chuck and Bella

Posted by on Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 1:26 pm | Leave a reply

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!

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Masters of Mileage

Posted by on Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 9:18 am | Leave a reply

We love sharing stories that illustrate how deeply “we live this stuff”.  Hopefully you caught Kara Henry and Stephen Gartside’s pre-Leadville 100 interview. Their results and post-race comments are a source of Newton pride.

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Newton: Describe your experience at the Leadville 100?

Kara Henry: Looking back, I’ll tell you I had a blast the whole day…but during the race it was a different story.

I definitely had a few moments of ‘WHAT AM I DOING??’ but luckily those were few and far between. I had an awesome crew who bullied me out of every aid station and never let me sit down. It’s because of that alone that I ran an hour faster than my goal.

kara

Stephen Gartside: For me, the Leadville 100 has been a new challenge after years of road marathons. You can’t beat the big open country that makes up the 100-mile route. It gives you some road and plenty of trail, with all kinds of elevation. I find that quite the challenge.

The day unfolded with 50 miles of pretty easy running, then the 50-mile trip home with pacers, which goes all night. It’s kind of like a party with everyone out there running, pacing and volunteering.  My kind of party and it takes more mentally than just about anything else you can cram into a day.

gartside

What was your highest high?

KH: Absolutely hammering the last mile when I realized I could get under 24 hours. Actually, the reason I started pushing was because I saw what I thought was another female racer in front of me…I even made my pacers be super quiet so I could sneak up on ‘her’. When we got close I realized it was a dude with long blonde dreadlocks. I was bummed but at least it got me moving.

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

SG: The highest high is when you know you are done with Hope Pass. Or, anytime a good song hits the iPod as you down some fresh caffeine. Of course, seeing that finish line is pretty sweet.

Stephen running down Hope Pass

Stephen running down Hope Pass

What was your lowest low?

KH: I hate climbing Hope Pass at mile 55 more than anything ever. HATE IT. I told my pacer to stop talking and ‘get me off this f**#$ing mountain.’ (Sorry Thom)

SG: The lowest low for me in 2013 was losing everything in my stomach at mile 63.  Thank goodness I bounced back pretty fast, which is what you learn running ultras. You can come back from a low point!

What would you tell someone who is thinking of running an ultra?

KH: Don’t. Just kidding…I would tell them to find a training partner. I had so much fun training for Leadville this year because I had a great group to run with. Last year I trained on my own and too many hours on the trails alone is NOT good for your social skills.

karafinishline

SG: If you are starting out with ultras my advice is slow down and you will be amazed at how far you can travel.  Find friends that share your interests and thus the journey. The Leadville 100 for me each year is more like a 6-month journey of getting ready, leading up to the actual race day.

gartside finish3

If we asked you the day after the race, would you have said you would run it again?

KH: Yep! Because I’m a dummy and apparently a masochist.

SG: After 3 straight years at the Leadville 100, I may need a few years off which means probably returning as a volunteer or pacer for at least 2014-15.

post race

What about now, two weeks later?

KH: Now I’m thinking that I definitely won’t run it next year, but I’ll definitely do it again. I’d like to try a 100 closer to sea level.

Kara Henry with her pacing team

Kara Henry with her pacing team

Editor’s Note: If Kara has lead you to believe that her recovery is all about pizza and beer, she has you fooled. Kara is currently running from hut to hut in the Alps in preparation for the U.S. 100 Mile Champs this winter. Shhh…don’t tell her that we told you!

 

 

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Giving Back To Kids In Kauai

Posted by on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 1:27 pm | Leave a reply

In the last two years of visiting the island of Kauai and winning the Kauai Marathon I felt a connection to the island.  In 2011, I stayed in a family’s guest bedroom and felt like I was a member of the family. I could not afford to stay in a hotel so this was the most affordable place I could find off of AirBnB.com. This ended up being a “blessing in disguise” because I was able live like a local for a week.  Sadly, I noticed the poverty was prevalent across the island.  As a runner, I became immediately aware of the lack of proper shoes.  I learned that there was not a running specialty store on the island and many are therefore only able buy their shoes at K-Mart, Walmart, or Costco.  This year I wanted to make a positive difference to the island and I thought it would be very beneficial to get the kids on the island in Newton shoes.  If you’ve ever browsed the Newton Running Website, you’d find a global responsibility page that highlights a lot of the great work being done across the world through Newton Running. When I proposed the idea to Newton, they liked the idea to donate shoes to the Kauai youths and I went to work with the Kauai Marathon to organize it.  The Kauai Marathon loved the plan and a few months later we had nearly 100 pairs of sizes for elementary and high school students shipped to Kauai.

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This year was the first year the Kauai Marathon added Keiki (kid’s) races.  The toddler trot was for kids up for 4 years old (100m dash), the 4-7 age group will race 1/4 mile and the 8-12 age group will race the 1/2 mile.  The course was planned on a beautiful section of grass next to the Grand Hyatt. We also did a ‘fun run’ on a dirt cane road near the Grand Hyatt.  In addition, Bart Yasso (CRO at Runner’s World), Dean Karnazes (ultramarathon man), Michael Wardian, and myself would be at the expo for presentations and Q&A.  Since the high school runners rarely have the opportunity to learn about running, this was a great opportunity to get the high school kids excited for cross country season. The big goal of the two weeks: get kids inspired to run and live a healthy lifestyle while providing shoes to the kids that need them.

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The Kauai Marathon decided to make a $500 donation to the school that brought in the most participants to the Keiki races.  This was publicized and the marathon public relations director Robin Jumper went to work on organizing the elementary schools for me to give a presentation.  I gave presentation to full school assemblies at four elementary schools and ran with three high school cross country teams. The goal was to get the kids excited to run the Keiki races, inform them what running is all about, and to share my experiences traveling across the US and the world. I learned that kids are very brave and love to ask questions.  Some of the questions I received were…

“What the longest you’ve ever run?”

“How many medals do you have?”

“How many race have you won?”

“Have you ever raced Usain Bolt?”

When asked if I have ever raced Usain Bolt, my response was “No, but I guarantee that if he shows up on Sunday I can beat him in the marathon!!”

On Wednesday I had a meeting with the mayor where he was shocked at the generosity.  He said that I was his “braddah” and I was blessed for helping with the kids. He explained how the island is building bike and walking paths to give kids and parents the opportunity to walk or bike to school/work.  He was hopeful that the Kauai Marathon youth program and Newton Running would inspire more kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.  This meeting with the mayor lead to a newspaper article (“Students Score Newtons”) in the Garden Isle that spread the word about the Kauai Marathon Youth Program and Newton shoes donation.

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On Saturday morning, the course that race director Bob Craver and I designed, was fortunate to have an impressive 171 kids running around it with their parents and spectators cheering them on! To put that number into perspective, I talked to all schools within a half hour drive and that was about 750 kids less than 13 years old. Some of the kids came from the mainland, but that’s still over 10% of the keiki’s came from local elementary schools! I spent the morning cheering on the kids and taking pictures with them and their parents. It was a fantastic morning and a very successful event. I took so many pictures with families where I had spoke to the kids at the schools. My favorite was the registration form that came back saying they signed up because the daughter heard me speak in school. A picture says a 1,000 words so here are a few gems mostly from Jo Evans of Dakine Images of the event…

All Keiki races were led by a giant rooster. Yes, he is undefeated (121-0 in fact) in his career leading keiki races.

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Photo posted by Brennecke’s BeachFront Restaurant after the Keiki Races! http://www.brenneckes.com/

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JT Service (http://www.soulfocussports.com/), Dean Karnazes and I getting the kids warmed up. JT did a wonderful job getting the kids moving, warmed-up, and excited for the races!

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One of the proudest moments of my life was reading this…inspiring kids to run and lead a healthy lifestyle is so important.

When I walked back to my room and laid down after the event, all I could think about was how incredible this event was.  This was by far the most rewarding experience in my life.  Immediately I started thinking… “How can I get more kids to participate?  How do I help more kids have proper footwear?  How do I inspire more kids to run and lead a healthy lifestyle?  How in the world do I properly thank the Kauai Marathon and Newton Running for allowing me to be a part of this incredible experience?  How do I spread the word to other runners about what an amazing family event the Kauai Marathon weekend is? How do we get more high school kids in Kauai to do cross country and participate in the events?

The next morning was the Kauai Marathon and my turn to run.

The next morning was the Kauai Marathon and my turn to run.  I woke up at 2:45AM, had breakfast, and was browsing the newspaper to kill time.  I found a ‘letter to the editor’ from one of the high school coaches who applauded me for being a role model for young kids. At that point I knew that I couldn’t lose the race.  After speaking to the kids about setting goals, working hard towards your goal, and then the joy of sharing your success with others, I knew I had to be a living example for them. Two hours, twenty-one minutes, thirty-three seconds, and 26.2 miles later I achieved my goal of winning the race and setting a new course record.  I was motivated by the dozens of handmade signs on the course that said “Go Tyler” and the number of volunteers that cheered me on by name.

Pomaika’i is the hawaiian word for good fortune/good luck.  When I was doing my last long run on the island before the race a white owl flew in front of me for nearly a mile.  The owl is a symbol of pomaika’i and the white owl is the rarest of all.  Without the fear of sounding cheesy, Newton Running is going to experience a lot of pomaika’i for the generosity this year.  Thank you all for letting me be a part of it!

Enjoy the photos below…

Tyler 9

With the Island School XC Team

Tyler 10

On my way to a new course record at the 2013 Kauai Marathon!

 

 

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Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset

Posted by on Friday, September 6, 2013 @ 8:19 am | Leave a reply

My Newtons and I Run Mongolia — Continent #5

Winter Mongolia 2

 

Getting There

In August, I spent a week in a Ger—the Mongolian term for a Russian yurt—in remote northern Mongolia. Morning views were of the sunrise over Lake Hovsgol, the “Mother Lake”.  Reflections of the distant mountains were painted across the still water. The mornings were so quiet, that if one looked hard enough, they might envision Chinggis Khaan and his men roaming the countryside on horseback. His legend lives across Mongolia. I knew the journey would be long, but the rewards of visiting a country with so much history would be worth the challenging travel.

The journey to Mongolia took two days. I left Portland, Oregon and made a quick stop in Seattle, before the long flight across the Pacific Ocean. Spending several hours on a layover in Seoul, Korea was a very surreal moment for me. At just 14 years old, I live away from home and my family. My days are spent training at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, with aspirations of making the 2018 Winter Olympics in aerial skiing. It just so happens, that those Olympics will be held in South Korea. I walked through the airport that day knowing that I will hopefully return here in 2018, with my skis in tote, chasing my Olympic dream. Many people don’t realize, the many purposes my running serves. Running is great cross training for so many sports, especially skiing. I believe my cross training as a triathlete and runner give me an added advantage as a skier.

A three-hour trip from Seoul put us in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. I would later learn to call it UB, as it is known amongst the locals. We spent one evening in UB, where I witnessed how underdeveloped the area was. Many of the main roads were dirt with patches of broken up concrete.  A layer of dust rose above the city and mixed with the pollution from the four coal power plants used to power the city. The total population of Mongolia is 2.8 million with more than 1 million alone living in UB. Childhood obesity is as much an epidemic here as it is in the U.S. The major contributing factor is felt to be the lack of vegetables and outdoor activities, which is compounded by the extreme cold temperatures.

Yet another early morning flight, one-hour north, put us close to the border of Russia. Russian minivans took us on a three-hour drive to Camp Toilogt. For the past 15 years, this camp, mostly visited by fishermen and avid horseback riders, has had about 70 runners converge on it from around the world to run the annual Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 42 km and 100 km trail run in Hovsgol National Park.

I have been to remote areas in Kenya and Peru, but wasn’t quite prepared for what I would face in Mongolia. Most of us faced nutritional challenges the week leading into the race. We did not anticipate such a lack of fruit, vegetables, and the protein rich food that most athletes live on the days leading up to races. Refrigeration was limited, the dairy products were unpasteurized and rice was the main staple. The main water filter for the camp had broken so keeping up with fresh water meant boiling the water. Many of us tried to keep up on hydration by drinking the warm water or trying to cool it in our water bottles, which we submerged in the lake. Camp was at 5,000 feet, so runners needed to pay close attention to staying hydrated. I normally try to pack dried fruit, oatmeal, and bars, but was limited due to weight restrictions from the airlines. I definitely fell way short on my stash of pre-race food for this event. Luckily my stomach tolerated the change of nutrition fairly well, but others were less fortunate.

Winter Mongolia

Despite not having ideal conditions leading up to race day, everyone’s spirits remained high. Fourteen of the 70 race entrants were runners from all over the world who I had previously met at my second marathon in Kenya, the Amazing Maasai. We developed friendships and a running bond. We had decided to all meet up again in Mongolia, almost a year after the marathon in Kenya. We were also reunited with the Canadian filming crew, Boundless. They had filmed a segment with us in Kenya as part of their first season debut. Intrigued with my story in Kenya, the filming crew was kind enough to put together a great video about Team Winter. Having them join us in Mongolia and include us in their second season of filming was so much fun. The filming crew added a dynamic to camp and even caught my first “Hash Run” on film. (Hash Runs have now been modified so that non-drinkers and young people like me can participate as well.)

RACE DAY

Race morning was a 2 am wake up call. My mom had the usual morning fire already going. She would have a pot of hot water on the tiny stove that warmed our four-man Ger. The hot water would be used to make my pre-race oatmeal, which I had rationed specifically for race morning. Generators were used only two hours each evening to recharge phones and computers, but an exception was made race morning to provide early morning light. The weather was a runner’s dream, low 50s no wind and slightly overcast. The clouds would chase us up the mountain passes all morning, but never catch us.  About 70 runners, 33 for the 42 km and 35 for the 100 km lined up for the 4 am start. I was running the marathon, or 42 km.

By the pace of the first 100 yards of the race, you would think we were competing in an 800-meter sprint. The first 2.5 km’s of the course was very technical singletrack through the woods. The roots, low hanging trees, and stones made the trail—lit only be our headlamps—difficult for us to navigate in the darkness. Most of the top runners knew it would be difficult to pass during this section so there was definitely a race for positioning at the beginning. To my amazement, as I navigated the darkness with the lead pack, I would catch glimpses of the camera crew running the woods parallel to us trying to capture vital footage. The next 12 km were still in the dark along a rocky road next to Lake Hovsgol. The clouds hid the morning sunrise as we began our first ascent.

After a rewarding first climb we were greeted with a steep rocky descent with much loose stone, making for a difficult downhill run that didn’t allow for much recovery. There had already been many early morning falls by most of the runners, but luckily no serious injuries. By mostly pure luck, I managed to stay on my feet for the entire 26.2 miles.

The second climb humbled many of us, including myself. It was a steep climb through a mossy, dense forest that never seemed to end. I would occasionally find myself glancing around hoping to catch a glimpse of an area that might be the location of Chinggis Khaans’ burial site. To this day, no one has been able to identify the exact location of his tomb. At the summit of this second climb, stood an Ovoo, a spiritual triangle of stones and flags that are found throughout the land and especially at the highest points of elevation. These are sacred areas thought to house the spirit of the dead. It is good luck to circle them clock-wise either once or three times and place offerings. Of course, I made my offering and circled three times before continuing on in the race.

Winter Mongolia 4

Three aid stations filled with water, potatoes, tomatoes, and homemade donuts would be the only source of spectators on the course. An occasional sighting of the filming crew in the most obscure, remote locations would be the only other sign of life. There wasn’t a single time during the race that one couldn’t think about their foot placement due to the rocky nature of the course. The course proved a challenge to many runners. One person got lost for several hours and many of the 100 km runners quickly realized at the 42 km mark that the course would be too much to continue on. In the end, only about half of the 100 km runners that set out that morning actually complete the entire course. Many realized the 18-hour cut-off would be difficult to achieve and were happy to settle with 42 km. The last 42 km runner crossed the finish line in about 10 hours.

The course lived up to its name, “The Most Beautiful 100k” and definitely can be considered one of the more challenging races. I was pleased with my 5:55 finish and taking second place overall female. I have fallen in love with the challenges that trail running offers. I continue to learn much about running and most importantly about myself. Through my running, I’m not only able to raise awareness for prostate cancer, but to show that age and gender are not barriers! I am now just two continents away from setting a world record for the, “Youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents”.  I will be headed to New Zealand in October followed by the completion of my World Marathon Tour in Athens, Greece in November.

As with every race, I learned afterwards of the unsung heroes that had run amongst us. Running in the Mongolian Sunrise to Sunset, were some of the 1 in 6 men I run for.  After the race, they came to me and shared their stories of family members affected by the disease or their own personal story of battling prostate cancer. I learned that prostate cancer survivors had been out there running the 42 km and 100 km in silence, a silence broken only by the presence of a 14 year-old girl out there running with them and for them. May they “Never Give In!”

Winter Mongolia 3

*** Although one in six men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, awareness and screenings remain extremely low. Help me to bring attention to this disease that affects almost every family worldwide during September—Prostate Awareness Month—by joining Teamwinter S1X, a month-long charity “run raiser” to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer and research by converting daily running or walking miles into dollars. Like run/walkathons, S1X participants invite friends, family, and colleagues to pledge dollars (or cents) per mile they log running or walking throughout the month of September. Activities are tracked on www.athlete.com/s1x and all proceeds benefit prostate cancer research and awareness.

As a bonus, S1X participants receive a “S1X Pack—with over $200 in swag,” and Athlete.com is awarding the top six men and women with the most money raised, most miles run, and first to six hundred with awesome prizes. There will also be great random raffle drawings—and participants can increase the odds by getting an extra raffle ticket for every $10 they raise. It isn’t too late to still register! Register here.

Never Give In!

Sig

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

Posted by on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 2:14 pm | Leave a reply

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.”

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