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Newton Staff Spotlight: Erin Gehlsen

Posted by on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 @ 3:16 pm | 3 Replies

IMG_1273If you’ve ever called Newton Running’s customer service, there’s a good chance that you’ve talked to Erin Gehlsen. The next time you speak to her, offer your congratulations—at last weekend’s Colorado Marathon, running in the pink Universal Performance Racer, Erin posted a 3:39.27 marathon, a PR by over 45 minutes. This finish earned her a spot in the 2011 Boston Marathon (wearing the 2009 Motion All Weather)

Erin started running in high school, thanks in large part to her father Jeff. One day during a period that she calls her “out of shape” stage, her dad dragged her off the couch to go for a run. Though she felt winded and tired, the experience gave her the running bug. Her first marathon was three years ago in Chicago, where she ran with a group of friends to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Iowa.

In 2009 Erin joined Newton Running as an intern right after graduating from Iowa University. She quickly earned herself a full time job with her perennially upbeat nature, drive, and hard work. Today Erin manages the Newton Running wear test program and is a key member of the customer service and expo staff.

When asked to talk about what it is like to work for Newton, she flashes her signature smile. “It’s an amazing place and it’s like a family. Everyone works really hard, but everyone is so supportive.” She enjoys the fact that she is able to spend a lot of time with customers on an individual and personal level. “So often I’ll speak to people who call to tell me they just had a PR in the shoes or got rid of an injury. One of the best experiences is when I’m at an expo and someone I’ve helped on the phone introduces themselves and gives me a big hug!”

Outside of work, Erin likes to hike and snowboard, and she is an active member of the youth group at her church. So what’s next for Erin? Running the Chicago Marathon with her sister and father, and she will of course run Boston next spring. And then? “I don’t know…maybe a 50K?”

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Congrats to Dr. Mark (and all the Boston finishers!)

Posted by on Monday, April 19, 2010 @ 2:15 pm | 2 Replies

This weekend Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (1110) led a panel on running form in front of a packed house at the Boston Marathon Expo. This morning Mark ran a 2:34:21 at the Marathon placing him among the top Masters finishers, and making it the fourth decade in which he has run a sub-2:35 race. That’s what I call walking (running) the talk.

Congrats to all the Boston finishers! It was a great race with a new record time for the men and a thrilling finish for the women!

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A Boston Story: Dave Graves to Tackle the Race with Parkinsons

Posted by on Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 11:02 am | 3 Replies

This story was written by Patty Swedberg, owner of Raise the Bar, a Seattle area running club. The Newton team is proud to be part of Dave’s recent success, and wishes him the best of luck this weekend. Dave, we’ll be cheering you on!


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Forty-five year old Dave Graves has Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease and is headed out of town to run the Boston Marathon on April 19th.  Dave’s Parkinson’s manifests itself with conditions like constant pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, numbness and some loss of muscle control, more so on his left side than his right.  His speech is slower and quieter these days too, but if you didn’t know Dave before his diagnosis in August of 2008, you wouldn’t necessarily notice any of these conditions or guess that he’s ill. Dave would probably even hate the very reference that he’s ill.  Dave is squeezing every healthy moment and activity he can out of his busy life these days – and he’s making an impact along the way.

Thanks to Dr. Monique Giroux at Evergreen Hospital’s Parkinson’s Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, Dave’s diagnosis was made in an atypically short period of time—only one month.  An actively-competing distance runner and marathoner, he focuses his treatment around staying active and running. He began a drug regimen that relieved some of the symptoms, but the disease continued to progress making running nearly impossible.  Further consultation with Dr. Giroux led Dave to choose a more aggressive drug regimen with potentially more serious side effects.  The result has Dave running longer and more comfortably and is giving him the ability to run in Boston next weekend.

Unable to meet the qualifying time for standard entry in the race, Dave petitioned the Boston Athletic Association to allow him to compete as a “Mobility-Impaired” athlete.  In October of 2009, his wife Wendy (an Ironman and Boston qualifying marathon runner) received word from the Director that he was in.

As with most inspirational journeys, many people, circumstances, and factors that have contributed to Dave’s Boston experience.  One factor takes the form of a running shoe—Newton Shoes.  There’s something in the toe box and design of the Newton shoes that has eliminated a cramping left foot that was keeping Dave from running longer distances.  Whether or not the good folks at Newton knew they were helping a neurologically-impaired marathoner is uncertain, but Dave is grateful.  He’s also grateful to have met and networked with numerous other Parkinson’s patients like former professional cyclist, Davis Phinney.  They share the experience that hard exercise seems to slow the progression of the disease, and Dave will embrace that experience long into the future.

There will be no time goal for Dave at Boston. He’s choosing to enjoy the experience and wait to see how the day unfolds. Too many variables make Dave’s performance impossible to predict.  But rest assured Dave’s wife, nephew, friends, doctor, running team, and fellow Parkinson’s patients will all be enthusiastically cheering him on.  GO DAVE!

You can follow Dave Graves’ progress at the Boston Marathon through the athlete tracking system on www.bostonmarathon.org. His race number is 22163. Follow Wendy too!  Her number: 19139

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Running Boston? Read This How-To Guide

Posted by on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 8:45 am | 1 Reply

boston-marathon-logoFirst of all, for those of you running in the 114th Boston Marathon next Monday, congratulations on qualifying! There are enough pre-race guides and preparation materials out there that I get butterflies in my stomach just skimming them, but we’ve got one more terrific resource you should really check out before Monday. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard us talk about Dr. Mark Cucuzzella before. He’s an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at West Virginia University and an expert in exercise physiology and running biomechanics (to be clear, he is not on the Newton Running payroll). He has run over 50 marathons and competed at Boston 16 times, finishing 5 times under 2:30.

AF Marathon09The good doctor just sent us a detailed and thoughtful document entitled “How to Run the Boston Marathon.” Whether you’re running Boston on Monday, a marathon later this year, or even just a local 5K sometime soon, Dr. Mark’s guide is a very insightful tool you shouldn’t miss. Click the following link to download the pdf guide and by all means, pass this along to anyone you know racing on Monday: How to Run the Boston Marathon.

The team from Newton is on it’s way to Boston right now. If you’re in the area, please come by and say hello at the race expo. It’s free and open to the public. Also, don’t miss Dr. Mark, Dr. Dan Lieberman, Warren Green and Amby Burfoot from Runner’s World leading a seminar called “Shoes, Barefoot, Pose, Chi: How Should You Run?” on Saturday at 3pm presented by Runner’s World. Details here.

Otherwise, good luck to everyone at Boston. We’ll be cheering you on!

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Three-Day Race Hangover (thanks to Boston)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 @ 3:30 pm | 3 Replies

At Newton HQ, the crew is recovering from an awesome week spent in Boston at the marathon. We met lots of terrific folks and had a blast at the Newton booth hanging out with Lorraine Moller and Josh Cox.

A big congrats goes to Newton’s new president, Stephen Gartside, who impressively finished his first Boston Marathon in 2:57! Danny Abshire, one of Newton’s co-founders, also raced and finished the marathon. Nice work gentlemen!

Around the globe, Newton’s pro team also had a great weekend.

First up was the Duathlon Elite National Championships in Birmingham, AL on Saturday, April 18th. On the women’s side, Jessica Jacobs led the women through the first run and never looked back. Her wire to wire win, earned her the title of Elite National Duathlon Champion. On the men’s side, in his first elite duathlon race, Guy Petruzzelli placed a respectable 6th place despite having some nutritional difficulties throughout the race. Congrats to both of these athletes on their great performances.

On the other side of the globe – the Ironman China event was being contested in Hainan China on April 19th. This event turned out to be one of the hottest Ironman events on record – with the mercury hitting levels above 110 degrees F. Despite having to ride a brand new bike out of the box due to his bike being lost in transit, Ironman Arizona Champion Jozsef Major endured the heat and took the final men’s podium slot in 3rd place. On the women’s side, Yvette Grice also gutted it out in the extreme conditions and placed a respectable 7th place in the women’s event.

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