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Bachelorettes Gone Wild

Posted by on Monday, September 15, 2014 @ 4:57 pm | Leave a reply

It is going to be like any other Bachelorette party. A girl’s trip to Las Vegas the Grand Canyon for wild partying 46 miles of running, fueled by mojitos and sushi salt pills and packets of gel, ending at 2 am starting at 2 am.

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Cody and Sabina are not your average bridesmaids, Kara Henry is not your average bride, and this is not your typical Bachelorette party. The plan is to run from Rim to Rim to Rim- 46 miles in one day. Their Newton Fates have months of training miles on them after a summer of pounding dirt. Their longest training run is 30 miles, leaving 18 miles of unchartered territory, and the potential for a lifetime of stories and memories. When asked what their back up plan is, Cody responded “Back up plan? Why would we need that?” Their strategy is to finish by any means necessary. For the remainder of September, we will be chronicling their journey to the Canyon, and the journey across it (and then across it again…and then again). Stay tuned!

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Tyler McCandless’s Balancing Act

Posted by on Friday, August 22, 2014 @ 3:19 pm | Leave a reply

With the Olympic Marathon Trials and finishing his Ph.D both on the horizon, Tyler McCandless talks to us about balancing work, running and his drive to give back to the people of Kauai.

 

As the 2014 Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon approaches (it takes place August 31), we caught up with Newton runner, Tyler McCandless, who has won the Kauai Marathon three years in a row. This year, he’ll run the Half Marathon, while also focusing on the Kauai Marathon Kids Foundation.

Catching up with the 27-year-old McCandless in any context (not just running) is not necessarily easy. The former Penn State All-American runner, turned pro, qualified for the Olympic marathon trials at the Twin Cities marathon last October. But in addition to his training, he also is currently working on his Ph.D. through a collaborative research program run between Penn State and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He holds a BS and Masters degree in Meteorology from Penn State.

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Tyler running his way to a first place finish at the Newton Race For The Cure in Eldorado Springs.

 

But being busy is what McCandless prefers. He tried taking a break from school and just focusing on running for a time, but he says, “I actually didn’t improve much in those two years. It took me going back to school to start improving again.” Now, working, running with a new coach (Steve Jones) and giving back to the people of Hawaii, McCandless has found his best balance yet.

Newton: You took time off from academics to run, but then decided to go back to school. Why was that?

McCandless: “I think everyone needs a balance. For some people, the balance is single focus that’s all they do—think about running and what they eat and how they sleep, it’s all encompassing. For me, I tried that and I did the best I could and it ended up being more stressful and taking the fun out of it. With my academics it took the stress off and now the running is the funnest part of my day. It makes me someone who enjoys the sport for the purity of it.”

Newton: You’ve noted your new coach, Steve Jones, has also helped you to enjoy running more as of late.

McCAndless: I officially started the Ph.D. program January 1, 2013. But it’s kind of like 3 things happened at once. I restarted my Ph.D. program and then a few months later I got Steve Jones as a coach and 2 months later I signed on with Newton. It was a great combination: Newton made me feel like I was competing as part of a team and a family again; I had a new coach who believed in me and that I could do great things; and, I was part of a Ph.D program that set my focus not just on running and made me more well balanced.

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Tyler with Newton Running Elite teammate Stephen Pifer at the Pearl Street Mile

 

Newton: You have a special place in your heart for the Kauai Marathon and the work you’re doing there. Can you tell us about this?

McCandless: I have won the Kauai marathon three years in a row. Every time I leave the island, I come back a better person. It’s a beautiful place and people are friendly, it makes me feel very empowered to give back to the people who have been good to me.

This year, I am doing the Kauai Half Marathon to raise money for the Kauai Marathon Youth Running Program. It’s a year-round running program and mentorship between the high school and elementary school. The kids run together, tally their miles, and really get a sense of accomplishment. I set a goal for running the half marathon in an hour and 5 minutes, to raise $13,100 for the program.

The overall goal is to put on a 5K in the spring as a build up to the Kauai Marathon in the summer. With the 5K, we also want to put on a health and wellness expo to teach kids about nutrition and science and full-body wellness. I have been working with Healthy Learning Paths. They work to empower kids to live healthier lives through in-school curriculum and after school activities. One of the top diseases is obesity, and with running, we can be really powerful and make a difference in our communities.

Newton is donating 50 pairs of shoes to kids participating ing the program. This is what I love about running for Newton. The socially responsible aspect of the company is something I take pride in. It’s more than a shoe company. They put shoes on your feet and you wear their name, but it’s more like you’re competing for a family that is trying to do good in the world and make it a better place which makes running even more fun and gives you a bigger purpose.

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Giving out shoes to the local schools.

 

Newton: After Kauai, what’s next?

McCandless: I’ll do some Grand Prix races. I’ll go back to Twin Cities this fall. It’s the US Championships and my goal is to try to win. Last year, I had the same goal and I faded over the last 10K or so. I want to establish myself as a contender for the Olympic trials. But even if I make an Olympic team and I look back on what I’ve done in my career, what I’ve done in Kauai is just as powerful to me—that I was able to make an impact in a powerful way.

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The Awa’awapuhi Trail started at ~4200ft and descended down to 2500ft in 3.2 miles at this lookout.

 

Newton: In closing, can you share with us your favorite running-related moment?

McCandless: When I was in Kauai for the second time, the night before the race, I was going to make banana pancakes and I had run out of bananas. I went to this farmer’s market, and I was browsing and some kid starts yelling, “Tyler.” Then, he says, “Thanks for coming to our team and speaking to us about running,” and he handed me bananas. They are expensive. What are the odds that he knew I was looking for bananas? I was blown away by the generosity—I was speechless.

I’m trying to keep a more balanced approach to running, where you’re running the absolute best you can but having the most fun and making the biggest positive impact.

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Tyler enjoying Colorado living!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s good to be 7

Posted by on Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 12:12 pm | Leave a reply

The Truth About Newton Running

Like a carefree first-grader effortlessly bounding across the playground, Newton Running celebrated its 7th birthday in late March at the IRONMAN triathlon in Oceanside, California. My co-founder Jerry Lee and I began living a dream the day we started Newton Running. A dream founded with a revolutionary idea, a small assortment of demo shoes and a resolve to change not only the world of running, but through giving back, perhaps even change the world.

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As I reflect on the past seven years, and Newton’s growing place in the running market, I have never been more proud of the direction of our company or inspired by the uplifting daily reminders of the positive impact we’ve had on runners around the globe. Perhaps most gratifying is Newton’s unwavering commitment to a consistent set of innovative beliefs that have guided the company from its earliest days and led so many runners to find a home with the Newton tribe.

At Newton, we believe in:

Helping You Run Better:

  • There’s a “Right” way to run. This doesn’t mean all runners run alike or that you must run a certain way to enjoy running or the unique benefits of Newton running shoes. Simply that the best-practice fundamentals of posture, position and cadence apply to us all. And when followed, they lead to healthier more efficient running. 

 

  • Every runner can run better. Did you know that running form drills are a standard part of the training regimens for most of the elite athletes who work with Newton? We learn to swim, to ride a bike, to follow a disciplined training plan. A small focus on the fundamentals of running can yield enormous benefits for us all.

 

  • No other running shoe helps improve your running like a Newton. Our lightweight, level platform and patented Action/Reaction technology supports better, more efficient running through maximized ground-to-foot energy transmission. There’s nothing else like it.

 

The lasting power of personal relationships:

  • Virtually every Saturday, I lead a group run form clinic out of the Newton Running Lab in Boulder, Colorado. This opportunity to connect with fellow runners as they experience the Newton difference and discover the feel of efficient running is always one of the most rewarding parts of my week. 

 

  • If you attend a major marathon or IRONMAN expo, chances are good that Jerry Lee or I will be there, usually on our hands and knees fitting customers in shoes. We live for our running community. Personally engaging with new and seasoned runners alike who share our passion is and always will be core to our success.

 

  • Our customer service team is on a first-name basis with an impressive list of Newton runners, many of whom have been loyal Newtonites since our 2007 launch and proudly display a closet full of colorful Newtons from virtually every launch. We are so grateful for their loyalty.

 

In giving back:

  • We founded Newton with the goal of establishing a double bottom line. Profitability supporting the committed team that makes Newton run, while also sharing in our success with those less fortunate, or in crisis. To date Newton has given more than $1.5 million to charitable causes. 

 

  • From trail clean-ups, to food drives to evenings serving meals to those in need, giving back together bonds our team in unbreakable ways.

It’s good to be Seven. Thanks to all of you who have joined us for the ride and here’s to along run into the future.

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Steady Stephen

Posted by on Sunday, June 1, 2014 @ 5:17 pm | Leave a reply

Stephen Pifer’s running genes might just be the key to his consistent success, year over year

Stephen Pifer has running in his genes and it shows. He has been a natural from the moment he stepped onto the track in 1997 at age 13 and broke an 18-year-old school record with a 5:07 in the 1600 meters. Although his math teacher was quick to point out to him that the 1600 meters is not a mile (technically it’s 1609 meters), he’s been breaking records ever since. He has competed twice in the Olympic Track and Field trials for 1500 meters and most recently, the soon-to-be 30-year-old qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials for marathon in February, 2016 with a time of 63.44 in the half marathon. He’s also been consistent. He’s run a sub-4 minute mile for 9 years, and hopes to make a decade of running sub-4s later this year.

You don’t have to look far to see where Pifer’s running genes came from. His grandfather started the running program at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. His uncle was an All American at the same university and still holds the school record for the 800 meters. He went on to run marathons and eventually became Pifer’s high school coach before moving to Colorado to continue coaching. Both Pifer’s parents ran track in high school, too.

But before Pifer could commit to follow in the family footsteps, he had some things to do. He played soccer and basketball. In his freshman year of high school he made the Junior Varsity basketball team and basketball was his passion. But in this same year, his uncle recorded the Footlocker HS Cross Country Nationals.  Pifer watched the race and decided he wanted to go to this meet. His basketball coach was none too happy, when Pifer told him mid Freshman season that he was quitting to focus on running.

By the time his senior year rolled around, Pifer was a five-time school record holder and a two-time All-American in the Distance Medley Relay and the mile. That year, he became only the 6th man in Illinois’s history to win the Cross Country, 1600-meter and 3200-meter State Titles in the same year. And yes, he finally made it to the Footlocker HS Cross Country Nationals where he placed 14th.

This was good enough to land him a scholarship to CU Boulder where despite a rookie mistake that sidelined him for most of his freshman year, he garnered strong results. “Freshman year things went up and down. I got hurt running on the Mesa Trail. It was a Rookie mistake, trying to be a showoff. I watched my teammates go to the Nationals for cross-country.” But things picked up from there.

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Pifer became an All-Conference finisher (Big 12) four times and an All-Regional finisher three times in cross-country. He made Nationals and was an individual All-American four times. Although his team won two national titles, winning the Big 12 Conference in 2008 as a team was the highlight of his time at CU. “Not to take away from the NCAA championships, but winning the Big 12 title as a team was the best. We had a good group. It was a real team effort.” He credits the coaches for fostering this team spirit from the get go. “As Freshmen, we had a dodgeball team to try to tie everyone together. We were the ‘Track Whackers’. We had long jumpers and shot putters, we all knew each other and that synergy we developed led us to win over these powerhouse schools.” It was on the CU track team that Pifer met his future wife, Laura Zeigle “a stud runner in her own right,” he says.

From CU, Pifer headed to Portland in 2009, to run for one of the larger shoe companies. Where some runners struggle outside of college, Pifer still felt he was part of a team and as a result he had one of his best years yet, including a 4th -place finish in the 1500 meters at the USA National Championships. It was during this time, he and his wife started a family. “I was in a position where I didn’t have to work another job. I could train and hang out with my family and then go train again. It was pretty awesome.”

It was also during this time that his uncle, who was still coaching in Colorado, showed him a pair of Newton shoes. “I thought they looked crazy.” He appreciated being up on the ball of his feet, but he wasn’t sure about this new shoe company. But then a college friend went to work for Newton and a few years later as Pifer’s contract drew to a close, he says, “I noticed Newton was still around. I figured they’re obviously doing something right.” The next thing he knew he had landed a job with the company as a tech rep in Florida.

Having become used to getting free shoes in college, he said, “I had to look it as though it wasn’t me buying the shoe, because I go through a pair once every 6-8 weeks.” But now when he considers durability and dollars per mile spent, he says, “I get way more miles out of my Newtons than I did for any other shoe I’ve ever worn.”

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Having recently relocated to Colorado for Newton. Pifer was psyched to be chosen to run on one of the Bolder Boulder elite teams with his fellow Newton teammates Tyler McCandless and Fernando Cabada. Now, as he looks toward the ensuing Olympic marathon trials, he says, “Consistency is definitely something to be proud of. People get injured if you’re overdoing things. I am not getting faster, but I’m not getting slower. Hopefully, I can PR, I’m not ruling that out.”

As for his boys, between his wife and him, one can only assume the running genes found their way to them as well. But Pifer will let them find their own way to running, just as he did. “If they want to do it, I think they’ll have the talent,” says Pifer. For now, he says, they’re doing jumps on their scooters, rock climbing and hiking, and taking advantage of everything Boulder has to offer. Pifer adds, “We’re just having fun.”

 

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Breakfast On The Go

Posted by on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @ 11:32 am | Leave a reply

Let’s face it life is busy. We get it. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you’re moving in a hundred different directions (or at least it feels like it) between work, family, friends, and, getting that daily workout in. But on top of all of those daily activities, we sometimes neglect to refuel our bodies with the right nutrients to keep us going. So here’s an easy solution: a quick-and-easy breakfast that you can take anywhere (at anytime…we won’t hold you to breakfast). It can even be prepped over the weekend for the week ahead. Give it a whirl…and then let us know what you think!

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Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

What you’ll need -

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa

 

Now for the cooking -

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine brown sugar, agave nectar, egg, egg white, Greek yogurt, oil and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, add the dry ingredients and the quinoa; mix until combined.
  • Drop batter into a lined muffin tin filling the cups ⅔ full, and bake for 18 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

* Transformation – Add in ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

* Muffins can be made in advance and stored in the freezer.

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Run Hard. Pray Hard: Danielle Duhon & The Boston Marathon

Posted by on Sunday, April 20, 2014 @ 5:41 am | Leave a reply

 “Run fast. Pray hard.” That’s Danielle Duhon’s running motto. It’s what got her to the Boston marathon in 2011 and what is taking her there again this year. “Boston is like the average runner’s Olympics,” she says.  “Running Boston in 2011 was one of the greatest running experiences I’ll ever have. The crowd support and the privilege of having qualified and getting to run that course, is something I’ll never take for granted.” She adds, “It was such a blessing and an honor to be there, even if I never qualified again.”

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            The 43-year-old has qualified for Boston every year since, but traveling for a race can be expensive. Not to mention she works the night shift as a nurse and has three young daughters, the oldest of whom is disabled. But this year, is different. “I didn’t go back in 2012 or 2013. The reason I’m going back this year is because of the events of last year. I decided it was important for me to go back and show my support for the city after the events of last year.”

Aside from running alongside the more than 35,660 participants who also are running Boston this year, she’s headed to the race with her sister and seven of her girlfriends. All of who qualified. “It’s amazing we all qualified and got in. I think it will be really special and an honor to run for the people who can’t run this year. For those who lost their lives and to say ‘thank you’ to the city.”

But Duhon hopes this won’t be her last time running Boston. She has another goal in mind for which she will rely on her motto again, as well as the words of triathlete, Jessie Thomas, “Your best performance can come in spite of your biggest doubts. Always give your self a chance to succeed.” Duhon would like to run Boston again pushing her 14-year-old daughter in her new running chair. “My oldest daughter is handicapped and we just raised money to buy her a pushchair. My goal is to qualify for the push chair division. I am small and she weighs more than me, so it will likely take me more than a year to get there. I think she would be ecstatic. She just waves like she is in a pageant when I push her in races. It will be a tough road, but my goal is to give her that experience, however long it takes me to get there.”

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As she looks toward her next goal, and even her ensuing race, Duhon credits Newton for her ability to still run at all. When she first began to marathon train, she would get injured every time she increased her mileage—stress fractures, IT band issues, Achilles tendinitis—you name it, she had it. In March of 2009, she ran her first marathon in New Orleans in a time of 4:07. “I was injured again afterward and went in search of a new shoe.” That’s then she was fitted in the Newton Distance. That summer, she began to increase her mileage and remained injury free. In December 2009, she ran her second marathon in a time of 3:41, giving her the qualifying time for Boston. “Nine months later and 26 minutes off my time. What? The only thing I changed were my shoes.”

Fast forward to today and she’s gone through about 12 pairs of the Distance U and is headed to Boston for the second time. For the next few days, she’ll tuck away her thoughts on running it a third time with her daughter and try to just savor the moment—a change from the first time she ran Boston. “Last time I ran Boston, I wanted to run my fastest time and I didn’t enjoy the race as much as I would have liked, because I was looking at my watch and trying to PR. I missed my PR by 3 seconds and I came home disappointed.” She adds, “This time I promised myself I wouldn’t run for the time, but would enjoy myself more and soak up every single moment of this race. Especially with everything that happened there last year, we owe it to that crowd to enjoy every single second.” Then, she’ll get back to running fast and praying hard to make her next goal happen.

 

 

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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.”

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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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Kara Henry

Posted by on Sunday, March 9, 2014 @ 8:16 am | Leave a reply

Don’t be fooled by Kara Henry’s relaxed nature. At the start of a race, it’s a different story.

 

Bacon. Check.
Gummy Bears. Check.
Coca Cola. Check.
Pretzels. Check.
Frozen pizza. Check.
 

These aren’t your ordinary race snacks, but then again Kara Henry isn’t your ordinary runner. One minute the 29-year-old is doing 6:20-minute pace in a half marathon, look again, and she easily falls into a 15-minute pace for the Leadville 100, where she placed 6th last summer in a time of 23:50 (four hours faster than her first attempt in 2012). But truth be told, 50-mile and 50K races hit her sweet spot. In 2012, she ran her first 50-miler, the Bear Chase 50, in Lakewood, Colorado. She not only won the women’s division, she set a course record. “That was a shock,” she says. But it also showed her (and others) what she was capable of.

Kara is the first to admit she has a competitive side. “I learned the hard way that I can’t do a race as a training run. I go into every race wanting to win whether I’ve trained or not.”

Growing up in Elmhurst, Illinois, Kara joined the cross-country team in 8th grade. She had never participated in competitive sports before and it wasn’t really the running that drew her to the team. Rather, it was the fact that her tough science teacher was the coach. She thought if she joined the cross-country team she could get in his good books and get a better grade. But that didn’t mean she came to practice ready to run, “I would show up at practices and walk and chat with my friends.” That was, until her very first cross-country race. “I couldn’t sleep the night before. All I could think about was winning the race.” And win she did. This set in motion a strong high school cross-country career that earned her multiple all-state honors and landed her a scholarship to Butler University.

After moving west after Butler, Kara notes, “running took a back seat to paying my bills for a few years.” But then, a friend convinced her to run the Quad Dipsea, a 28.4-mile annual trail run in Mill Valley, California, and surprise, surprise, that old competitive nature kicked in without hesitation. She placed second in the women’s race. “It’s a pretty prestigious race and no one knew who I was.” The ultra community would know who she was soon enough.

Shortly after that first race, Kara moved to Boulder, Colorado, in the Spring of 2012 to take a job as the marketing manager at Newton. Since she didn’t know anyone in town, she spent a lot of hours running the trails by her self. Then came the Bear Chase 50. “That first 50-miler was the best experience. It went so well for me. I think if it had gone poorly, I wouldn’t have kept on with the ultra thing.” It was at that race, where she realized what she was made of, “I had such a fun day and really learned to dig from the deepest depths of my own personal hell and get out of it. I learned when you think you can’t take another step, you can all of a sudden run 8-minute miles again.”

Although Kara knew she had great potential for the distance races, it hasn’t been totally smooth sailing.  “In 2012, I screwed up every week. One week I was vomiting, the next race I fell off a cliff, and I got lost. I am really bad with a sense of direction. Some people can look up and know where the car is, if you spin me around in downtown Boulder, I’ll get lost. If I’m not paying attention, I’ll go left, when I should have gone right.” Which is what she did when she went to Texas for the US 100K championships. She took a wrong turn and the next thing she knew, she was tumbling head over heels through cactus. “It’s a long way to travel to end up all bloody and in the car before the race was over.”

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At Leadville in 2012, she entered simply with the hopes of finishing, which she did, but not without hallucinating and falling asleep while running in the wee hours of the morning. “It was about 4am or a bit later. I had been out there for 24 hours and the sun was about to come up again. It’s really rough watching the sun rise twice. My friend was pacing me and she was just super chatty, chatty and she would ask me something and 10 or 12 minutes later I’d say, ‘what?’ She realized I was falling asleep, so she started breaking up Honey Stinger bars and she would make me eat these bites of sugar every 15 minutes. It woke me up.”

2013 was a different story. She took a different tact: she trained. “I really focused on a training plan and on the races leading up to Leadville. I was good with nutrition, everything that could have gone well went well.” In other words, she won all of the 25-mile and 50-milers she entered, and garnered 6th at Leadville.

So now what? “I’m going to take a year off from running a 100 miler. I’ll do a few 50s. I’ve had this marathon monkey on my back for a couple of years. I’ve never really raced a marathon. I’d like to get one real crack at a marathon and call it a day.” That marathon will be the Twin Cities in October and then she’ll focus on Rocky Raccoon, the Trail Running 100-mile championship 100-mile in January, 2015 in Huntsville, Texas.

Oh and about that nutrition thing. She did focus on good nutrition while training last year, but seems like anything goes in a race. Kara’s secret weapons are in fact gummy bears—she ate 5 packs of them in Leadville—“a lot of pretzels, some bacon…and cold frozen pizza is this excellent running food, too.” And that 8th grade science class? She got an A.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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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Form, Function & Education

Posted by on Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 8:34 am | Leave a reply

The Treadmill’s owner, Chris Cleary, was selling Newtons long before he was selling Newtons.

 

When Chris Cleary moved with his wife, Janice, from Toronto, Canada to Carmel, California to be near his sister and her husband, he was very active in the running and triathlon world, but working in construction. Still, motivating and inspiring others was just something he liked to do, almost like a hobby. “I was running and doing triathlon and leading an active lifestyle. In construction, my goal was always to get the guys who weren’t health conscious to think about it.” And then, the Treadmill running store came up for sale and his life changed.

“One of my coworkers said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale. Then my sister called a couple of days later and said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale.’” The seed was planted. The owners were retiring after 29 years in the business. Cleary and his wife had just had their first child (they now have two), and he debated, “Should I do something crazy, or do something smart?” He and his wife decided to go for it, they bought the store in April 2012, and they’ve never looked back.

One of the first decisions Cleary made as the new owner of The Treadmill was to bring Newton running shoes into the store. “I was a Newton customer long before we bought the store,” he explains. Several years prior, Cleary and his wife had postponed their honeymoon until after they ran the Big Sur Marathon, whose course runs 200 yards from the Treadmill’s front door. Cleary had been running a lot of ultra races and he ran the Big Sur race in another popular shoe. “I was in so much pain when I finished, I couldn’t walk for days. It ruined our honeymoon, because neither of us could walk.” As Cleary got more into racing, he started to read more about form and stumbled upon Newton.

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“I started reading about Newton and then I looked up the local store that sold them, and started running in them. I was 2-3 weeks in when I had that ‘Aha’ moment that I should have been running like this forever. That’s how you create a cult following, people have that ‘Aha’ moment.” As a result of his enthusiasm for Newtons, Cleary adds, “I was selling Newtons, long before I was selling Newtons.”

When Cleary bought the store, Newton’s weren’t in the store. Cleary jumped on bringing them in because the “local” store where he had been buying them was actually an hour-and-a-half drive up north. But selling them, he admits, was a bit of a difficult transition at first. “We have an older demographic—a lot of walkers. We only have a few runners on our staff. We have a lot of people who do adventure travel. We had to do a lot of teaching as to how this shoe makes a difference in your running.” But the education process is partly what attracted Cleary to Newton shoes in the first place. And the concept of teaching form, helping people understand how they are moving and offering tips to make the running experience more enjoyable for his customers is key to Cleary’s overall business plan. “We have to stand out. We want people to like us and support us and think there is nowhere else to go because we know exactly what is going on.”

The education focus is working for him. “We went from selling five pairs a month, to 35 to more than 50 pairs a month.” This past year, the store started a tri-club as well. Cleary himself, is now a Level 1 Newton Natural Running Instructor.

Realizing the road to success is going to be bumpy, Cleary’s vision is clear, “I want to create a store that I would want to go to.” And although everyone on his staff saw Newton as Cleary’s shoe, he says it’s not his efforts alone that have made the shoe a success in the store. “Newton has been 100-percent supportive. They have come and done clinics for us. Ian Adamson spoke on our behalf. They stand behind us with the 30-day guarantee. It’s nice to have a company that is really aware of where they’re at in the industry and doing the best for everyone trying to sell the shoe.”

 

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