Taking Chances With Gear Running

Posted by on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 @ 7:49 am | Leave a reply

 

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 (http://www.gearrunningstore.com), 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 (http://www.teamortho.us), 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.

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Never Give In: Running the Inca Trail Marathon

Posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013 @ 9:16 am | Leave a reply

Never Give In: Running the Inca Trail Marathon

How tough could running the Inca Trail be? Getting to the Inca Trail was much easier than Antarctica. No boats, no hurricane, just a 5-mile hike into the start line the day before the marathon. We arrived on a Saturday, a few days before the race, in a cute, little, town called Cusco, Peru. Here, we would spend several days acclimating to 12,000 feet and drinking lots of coca tea. The locals consider coca tea leaves to be the miracle plant for acclimatizing. Everywhere you go in Cusco, there are coca tea leaves, which you either chew or use to make tea.

Peru Marathon

I didn’t experience any significant issues going from 7,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Some people get nauseated, headaches, decreased appetite and even fatigue. We did several 4-5 mile downhill runs over the next couple days to get used to running in the altitude. Tuesday we hiked into our race camp near the start of the Inca Trail. We slept in tents and prepared for a 4 a.m. race start time. The park entrance into Machu Picchu closes at 3:30 p.m. every day. An early morning race start would give us 11.5 hours to reach this gate, which lies 2 miles from the actual finish line inside Machu Picchu. Those runners who don’t make the cutoff either camp out for the night on the Inca Trail at make shift camps set up by the race organizers, Andes Adventures, or take a path down to a different finish line below Machu Picchu.

Race night was short and not the most ideal preparation for a long running day. A 2 a.m. breakfast cooked by the Peruvian porters consisting of porridge, pancakes and bananas was definitely a good start though! There would be over 30 porters that would assist us on race day. They would carry our 22kg ration of gear we used for camping and assist us along the race course with water stops as well as encouragement and any other issues that might arise.

In the 18-year history of this race, only once had it rained!  We can now make that twice! Within the first hundred yards of starting the marathon, raindrops began to fall, turning the trail into a rocky, muddy mess. The biggest obstacle to navigate in the first couple hours of darkness was the huge “cow pies” on the trail left by the farm animals that inhabited and roamed the first mountain pass. What a slippery mess they were! Once again it was the Newton trainers that served me well. I chose a lighter trainer shoe on the trails over the Newton trail shoe, but that is just my preference.

Peru Marathon 3

The toughest challenge may not have been the climate or the elevation. We would climb about 10,400 feet and descend 11,000 feet over the course of the day. I experienced some swelling in my fingers that was very noticeable as I reached Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,799 feet. After the race, I realized I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. It is common at these elevations to experience swelling in your extremities. My fingers looked like little sausages, but quickly went away after I descended to lower altitudes. The high altitude affected my normal race appetite also. I found myself not drinking and taking in the energy gels as planned.

Each of these marathons has been a great learning experience. I have become much better at listening to my body and adapting to the different challenges I face during these runs. Instead of only consuming my normal nutrition that had served me well in training runs, I had to switch it up and grab a cup of chicken broth. That seemed to work very well for me. My body was probably craving a little more sodium than usual. Despite my lack of thirst, I knew I was behind in my water intake and had to keep up on my hydration. My hydration pack made that much easier, since there was little effort needed to just take sips frequently along the way. Your hydration pack is crucial in these races. I had mine under my running jacket during the race so I didn’t have to remove my hydration pack each time I needed to put my jacket on or off. A hydration pack should just feel like a part of your body. The last thing you need to worry about is something bouncing on your back or chaffing you.

So what was the toughest challenge? The rocks and stone steps that lined the 26.2 miles of the Inca Trail were probably the biggest challenge of the day. Climbing the two-foot steps, which never seemed to end, provided a huge challenge to the hamstrings. I can’t even tell you how many false summits there are on that course. You think you are at the top and you get there and realize, “You’re not!” After all the long climbs, there would then be a long rocky descent, which entailed never-ending pounding to your feet on uneven stones. The descents were a true test of how well you had trained your quads. This was the first marathon that I wore my 110% Play Harder Compression Soxs during the race and not just for recovery after. I think it made a huge difference in how fresh my legs felt at the end of this grueling 9-hour run. You can bet you will see me running the longer distances in them in the future as well.

I never set out to win the Inca Trail Marathon. I just wanted to have the best possible race for me that day. The number “3” has been following me for a while, 3rd place overall female in Kenya and Antarctica Marathon! I am always thinking to myself, “Is today going to be the perfect race?” We must admit, we all dream of that perfect race or perfect competition. My training is always purposeful; I fuel my body nutritionally and prepare mentally for success as an athlete, especially as an endurance runner. The Inca Trail Marathon wasn’t the perfect race for me, but I was the best female runner given the circumstances on that course, on that given day. That race proved age is not a barrier and certainly, as the 4th place finisher overall that day, gender is not a barrier.

Peru Marathon 2

What do I remember most about that day? It probably isn’t standing on the finish line with my first overall female marathon win. It is the memories of me trying to race the porters on the descents and still not being able to keep up with them as they descended the stone paths with a 100-pound pack on their back. It was the reality that all the hikers I would pass on the Inca Trail that day would take 4-5 days to complete the Inca Trail, something I would complete in just 9 hours and 18 minutes. It was sharing my iphone the night before the race with two young Peruvian girls so they could play games and escape their isolated reality for a while. It was donating my clothing, as well as my brothers’ clothing, to the nearly 40 porters that would assist us on race day so that their families would have clothing. Or maybe it was waiting at the finish to not only see my mom run an 11 hour 20 minute marathon, but also to be on the podium with me as the 3rd place overall female.

The victory on the Inca Trail was not only a personal victory, but more importantly, a victory for prostate cancer awareness! Next stop is the Sunrise to Sunset Marathon in remote Mongolia at the end of this month. Following Mongolia is New Zealand and Athens, Greece later this year. In the end, I hope that I inspire others and teach the world to Never Give In. Never Give In despite the odds, despite your circumstances, despite your age, despite your gender, despite what others might say.

NEVER GIVE IN!

Sig

 

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 10 Shela

Posted by on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 @ 12:20 pm | Leave a reply

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.

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Runners Find their “Sweet Spot’ With the EnergyNR from Newton Running

Posted by on Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 11:20 am | Leave a reply

 

Here at Newton, we’ve always taken pride in designing shoes that help runners find a more natural running posture and discover what it feels like to run more efficiently. The new EnergyNR, which we released last week, does just that. New design features allow you to step right into the shoe and effortlessly familiarize yourself with the benefits of Newton Running.

“Our goal is always to look for ways to expand the Newton experience to a broader group of runners, and the EnergyNR offers similar functionality and ride to all of our products, but in a more conventional design package,” says Newton Running co-founder Danny Abshire. “Runners who are new to the brand and loyal Newtonites alike will truly enjoy the lightweight and responsive ride that the EnergyNR offers.”

Whereas most running shoe brands place their cushioning technology in the heel of the shoe, our trademark impact-reducing lugs are located under the forefoot, which we believe to be the ideal first point of contact with the ground during the run gait cycle.

So what makes the EnergyNR so different from other Newton Running shoes?

To start, it features second-generation Action/ReactionTM technology in the forefoot. Originally offered only in our racing shoes, the more streamlined design employs five low-profile forefoot lugs that provide superior impact-zone cushioning and a smooth, stable ride.

Similarly, the lightweight EnergyNR (weighing just 9 ounces for men and 7 ounces for women) has a heel-to-toe drop of 6 mm, which we found to be the ideal angle for supporting a balanced posture, affording the shoe both the accessibility of a traditional running shoe and the unique functionality of the Newton line.

Designed to enhance the running experience for runners of all types, the lightweight, breathable mesh upper of the EnergyNR has a spacious toebox that provides ample room for toes to splay, while midfoot overlays provide a secure fit.

Don’t take it from us though! The best way to experience the benefits of the newest addition to the Newton family is to step into a pair today and take a test drive in the brand new EnergyNR shoes from Newton Running!

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Just say “Yes”: Winter’s World Marathon Tour for prostate cancer

Posted by on Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 9:14 am | Leave a reply

Very few can truly say they grew up in Newtons. In 2007, the year that Newton Running Company launched, my foot was too small for them. I was just 8 years old and already a seasoned runner, competing in 5K’s and 10K’s. My foot swam inside a size 5. I was left to stare in envy at my mom’s pink Newtons.

I remember my mom coming home from the 2007 Ironman World Championships, where she volunteered in the medical tent as a physician. She had a shiny, new pair of pink running shoes. Little did my mom know that when she bought one of the very first pair of Newtons, she would be supporting research of the cancer that would steal her husband and take my dad. A portion of the proceeds from that shoe benefited prostate cancer, a cancer unfortunately all too well known to the co-founder of Newton Running, Jerry Lee.

Jerry and Winter

In 2008, I attended Ironman Lake Placid — my first Ironman! I was just 9 years old, overlooking the Olympic Oval full of bikes. I crossed the finish line with my idol, my mom (when kids were still allowed to cross the line with parents). I was dressed just like her, pink Newtons and all. I knew then, Ironman Lake Placid would be on my bucket list! It was there that I remember meeting a man who slipped that first pink pair of size 5 Newtons on my feet. Newtons have never left my feet since. I now call Jerry Lee and his company “family” and I race for him as well as my dad and the 1 in 6 men affected by prostate cancer around the world.

IM LP

The following year, 2009, would redefine my life. I would now have to live without my dad physically by my side. I made a vow with my brothers, that we would chase prostate cancer to the end of the world and stomp it out like it stomped our dad out! It was the birth of Team Winter. I had completed an Olympic Distance Triathlon just months before my dad’s passing. It was the last race he would hug me at the finish line. It was a race many said I couldn’t finish and that I was too young. Little did the critics know, that was just the beginning for me.

Memorial

Now, at age 14, I have four marathons, on four continents, under my race belt. It hasn’t been easy though. The journey to the start line of these marathons is the real story. Running the marathons has become the easy part! “You’re too young,” “You can’t run our marathon, but you can run our 5K,” “Wait until you get older,” “You must be 18 years old,” “NO!” Over and over, these are the responses that I got when I set out to become the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents.

It is all part of my dream that I began planning at 10 years of age, a World Marathon Tour for Prostate Cancer Awareness. I wanted to achieve this world record in memory of my dad and the men and their families affected by prostate cancer. I guess it’s a good thing my mom taught me “Never take ‘No’ for an answer,” never accept, “You can’t,” “You won’t”, “You shouldn’t”. If I had let these thoughts enter my mind, my marathon tour probably would not have got very far. I honestly can’t even tell you how many “No’s” my mom and I got from race directors around the world. I lost count, but never lost faith and hope.

Eugene Marathon, in April 2012, would kick off my World Marathon Tour. The Newton trainer has always been my favorite distance running shoe. This shoe would help me run my first marathon at age 13 in 3:45:04, just 5 minutes shy of a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Next stop was Kenya, the Amazing Maasai. It was my first trail marathon and despite a strong field of Kenyans, I placed 3rd overall female. I took over 20 pairs of my old Newton running shoes that I had worn over the years and donated them to the young Kenyan runners, many of whom ran in sandals made from tires. It was incredible to run against the Kenyans who have become some of the fastest runners in the world.

Winter Running

 

Winter in Africa

My next two marathons would challenge even the seasoned runners. After consulting Newton, we decided to bring out the retired Newton all-weather trainer. This proved extremely beneficial as I headed to the “End of the World”. My 3rd marathon would take place on the rugged, frozen tundra of Antarctica. What could possibly top that marathon? Well, the cancellation of my original South America marathon, Galapagos, had me now facing the “toughest marathon in the world”, Peru’s Inca Trail Marathon.

Winter in Antartica

How does anyone even train for such a race on the Inca Trail at nearly 14,000 feet? My run coach, Mark Hadley, was not even fazed by the change in races. He quickly put together a running plan filled with hill runs and more hill runs. Never once did he doubt or question my ability to tackle such an extreme marathon.

As an Olympic hopeful for the 2018 Winter Olympics in aerial skiing, I fortunately live in Park City, Utah, where I’m consistently training and running at 7,000 plus feet of elevation. I did as my run coach said and faithfully put in all the long runs. Not to forget, recovering with ice baths and foam rolling! I threw in a lot of cross training with swimming, mountain biking, aerial ski training and lots of weight training to maintain a really strong core. I had just come back from setting a world record for the youngest person to run 26.2 miles in Antarctica in March. How tough could the Inca Trail be?

Sig

Check back here next week to find out!

 

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 9 Ella

Posted by on Monday, July 15, 2013 @ 9:02 am | Leave a reply

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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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 8 Lucy

Posted by on Monday, July 8, 2013 @ 2:05 pm | Leave a reply

LucyLikes: I LOVE running around in the backyard, chewing on all of the grass, sticks, leaves and flowers that I can find.  My favorite game is fetch with my dad, and I trick him by coming back with my toy or ball, then run away and hide in places where only I can fit because I’m so small.  I also like playing in my pool, especially when the sun is out, and it cools me off.  Since I can’t swim, mom and dad bought me a kiddie pool for the backyard so I can enjoy the water without needing a life jacket.   (But I wish I could go to the lake with the big dogs).  I also enjoy a long nap on the couch at any time, especially on Sundays with my dad after his really long run.

Dislikes:  Cats.  I don’t understand them—they hide, they hiss, and they don’t like to play fetch.  I also don’t like the yellow monster which hides in the closet and comes out to clean the floors.  It’s so noisy, and it is so funny looking!  There is squirrel that comes by while I’m in the backyard, and he just stares at me.  I’m not so sure about him yet.

Favorite places:  Newton, the backyard, doggie day camp and any place where there are people and dogs.

Summary:  I am a 9-month old Frenchie, and I am the runt of the litter, so I’m much smaller than most Frenchies.  I love to be outside walking, running and sitting outside in the sun.  I love to make new friends with people and dogs, and I will always try several attempts to be your friend—just ask Stella.  She didn’t like me at first, but I know she’ll warm-up to me.  I like to be around everyone and watch what’s going on.  Mom calls me the ‘supervisor’ because I’m so curious as to what everyone does.  I really want to become a faster runner and be able to go a little farther than a mile so I can go for a bit with my mom and dad.  My current mile PR is 10:10 with a potty stop.  I’m starting to do more sprints in the yard to help make me faster, which are fun, but they wear me out!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 7 Indy

Posted by on Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 9:27 am | Leave a reply

Dogs of Newton IndyLikes: Getting belly rubs, chewing on shoes (have only destroyed a few Newtons), going for car rides and sticking my head out the window!

Dislikes: Don’t let my size and big paws fool you- anything unfamiliar scares me: strangers, loud noises, new places! But once I get to know you we’ll become best buds! I also dislike running; my owners try and take me but I protest by stopping to lay down!

Favorite hangouts: My backyard and anywhere my owners are!

Plays with: Any dog I can get to play with me! Especially my litter-mate sister Mabel- we found each other again at a doggie camp when we were a few months old and have been inseparable ever since!

Summary: I’m a 1 ½ year old Lab/Shar-Pei mix (this is my owner’s best guess). I was a scared little puppy when my owners adopted me but I’ve grown up to become a handsome confident man. I still have some fears to get over but hopefully I’m done growing at about 75lbs. I’m a pretty laid back guy and love coming into the Newton headquarters where I get lots of lovin’!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 6 Saddie

Posted by on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 7:15 am | Leave a reply

saddieLikes: ice, pumpkin, peanut butter, squirrels, digging holes, chewing through the wires to the sprinkler system

Dislikes: soda cans, exercise balls, getting my nails trimmed, thunder, snakes

Favorite Hangouts: the couch, anywhere in the sun

Plays With: soccer ball, frisbee, sprinklers

Summary: I’m a one year old German Shepherd mix and I love people! My owners adopted me from the local humane society and I couldn’t have been more excited. My favorite thing to do is pretend I have an itch right at the very moment my owners tell me to do something I don’t feel like doing. They have recently caught onto my trick, so now I sometimes pretend I don’t hear them until they offer peanut butter. I’ll do anything for peanut butter!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 5 Pilot

Posted by on Monday, June 17, 2013 @ 11:14 am | Leave a reply

Dogs of Newton PilotMy name? Pilot. No Biblical reference, so put Pontius out of your head because I love all humans. Think Pilot project. Pilot a ship. Pilot light. Pilot experiment. Pilot chute. Pilot a plane (or maybe a parachute?). Think Jayne Eyre and Mr. Rochester’s loyal companion Pilot.

My breed? Portuguese Water Dog. I came before Bo Obama but I’m still proud of one of my own getting into the White House. Although I bet he has  never rolled in a dead animal (unless the NSA buried a two-legged creature somewhere in the White House lawn which today seems a strong possibility but risky during the Easter Egg Roll), so I’m pretty sure Bo always smells like lavender dog wash and not my personal faves, deadrabbitsnakewormsfishprariedog.

My favorite activities? Running the Mesa Trail or Marshall Mesa with my mom, swimming, making snow angels, chasing rabbits, turning into an insane devil around skateboard and snowmobiles, rolling in horse poop with my sister Hazel, working as a therapy dog with my dogsitter, and looking for tummy pats in the Newton Running offices. Oh, and I’ve got the Newton CEO wrapped around my paw. I look at him and wag my tail and I’m sure to get a treat.

My “meh” list? All the other dogs in the office.

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