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Kona For Kenny!

Posted by on Thursday, October 2, 2014 @ 2:23 pm | Leave a reply

It was a plan six years in the making, Newton Running Company employee Kenny Withrow wanted to qualify for Kona, and he wasn’t going to stop until he got there. On August 3rd, Kenny blew through the field at Ironman Boulder to grab his slot for the big dance. How does a person execute a plan so flawlessly when so much is on the line? We weren’t sure either, so we sat him down and asked him a few questions.

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Q: How long have you had your eyes on a Kona slot for? What was your motivation for getting there?

A: I’ve been wanting to race Kona for 6 years now. IRONMAN Boulder was my 3rd IRONMAN. I sat down with my Coach (Eric from EK Endurance Coaching) last October and said “I wanna go to Kona”. Since that conversation every swim, bike and run has been geared towards IRONMAN Boulder and snagging a Kona slot.

Q: What do you think will be the hardest part of the race mentally for you?

A: Being patient during the bike. Knowing that the race will really begin once I get my feet on the ground.

Q: What shoe have you been training in? And what shoe will you be racing in?

A: My shoe of choice post IRONMAN Boulder was the AHA. Leading up to Kona I’ve been training in the Distance III and Distance Elite. My weapon of choice for Kona. Drum roll please…….The Limited Edition Distance III ;) So Fresh!

Q: Number one thing running through your head when you’re mid-way through the bike/run on race day?

A: The Swim: Is that a shark?

The Bike: I swear that was a shark!

The Run: “How far until the next aid station?”

Q:What are your main concerns racing in Kona?

A: The humidity!

 

For more information on Kenny, check out his fundraising page -https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/886/kenny-to-kona

 

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Bachelorettes Gone Wild

Posted by on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 @ 8:56 am | Leave a reply

Part Three

 

What was the best and worst part of running the Grand Canyon?

Kara - The best part was running down the canyon at 4am into complete darkness with a bunch of crazy awesome chicks. There was just this epic sense of adventure and an incredible feeling of excitement. And nothing hurt yet which was a plus. The worst part was the complete loss of skin on the top of both feet. After running in the rain for 7 hours it seems that my skin gave up and abandoned ship. It looks like my feet have been boiled. Seriously…I can’t put shoes on.

Cody – I don’t know if I could pin point that. The day was a total adventure from start to finish, the scenery was epic, the terrain was incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically. I guess the best part is the memories that we have from the entire day. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime.

Sabina – To be honest the day was full of epic highs and major lows for me. The worst part for me was from mile 31-38 lets just say I was in pretty bad shape…soaking wet, in pain, and with 6 hours to go. The best part… well there are so many moments that come to mind but what really made it all worth it was at mile 45 the sky’s cleared and this amazing rainbow shot out from the middle of the Grand Canyon, it was a good friend saying hello. 

Would you do it again?

Kara – Maybe. It was an incredible experience but I’m ready for something new! What’s the next grand adventure going to be??

Cody – You know, I think running the Grand Canyon should be a bucket list run, that said… I checked it off my list and have no plans of going back

Sabina – I think that question is tricky.  If you asked me at mile 40 I would say NEVER AGAIN! But looking back on it now Never say Never. 

Any Advice for someone wanting to run R2R2R?

Kara – Be prepared for changes in weather. We were very happy that we packed rain gear and an extra base layer when 7 hours of thunderstorms rolled in.

Don’t forget to eat! The easiest way to bonk is by forgetting to eat. Even if you don’t feel hungry, keep that food coming. We each packed a variety of snacks from pizza rolls to Fig Newtons, GUs and everything in between. You never know what you’ll end up craving so the more options the better!

Remember, it always gets better. No matter how terrible you’re feeling, things will turn around and you’ll be laughing at the meltdown you’re having in no time.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the views, laugh and have fun. This is supposed to be fun, even if it may not feel like it all the time. If you’re not enjoying it, then why even bother!

Cody – Definitely plan out the route you’re taking. The Grand Canyon is a total beast and if you get down there unprepared you still have to somehow make it back out. Plan on having extreme low points and extreme high points – if you’re expecting that roller coaster of emotions, it’s much easier to deal with. Lastly, know where the water stops are and plan to bring a variety of things to eat so you don’t get flavor fatigue. Oh and definitely bring a poncho. 

Sabina – YES! Knowing what I know now I would have done a lot of things a little different. 1) Don’t underestimate the Grand Canyon and mother nature, ITS A BEAST!  2) Train on the steepest mountain you can find, hike up it and run down over and over! 3) Enjoy every moment of it even if you are miserable because its EPIC! Good Luck :)

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At the top of the South rim the day before running rim to rim to rim. We were shocked and a little terrified at how massive the Grand Canyon really is.

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3am start at the South rim of the Grand Canyon.

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Ready to get rolling on our all day mission of running from the South rim of the Grand Canyon to the North rim… and then back to the South rim. A long day to say the least.

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Hiking up the North rim. A brutal climb that puts you at 8,200 feet.

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Finally a break from running up hill! We made up a lot of time running back down the North rim.

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We quickly realized that around every corner was the perfect photo op, but we had to limit ourselves in order to finish before dark.

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The last 7 hours were mainly spent in the rain. We had to accept it and move on with the fact that our ponchos were our new best friend.

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Words cannot describe how happy we were in this moment to reach the top of the South rim again.

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Kristen Arendt

Posted by on Thursday, September 25, 2014 @ 10:35 am | Leave a reply

Behind the friendly voice of this Newton product support team member are some fast feet.

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If you’ve called Newton Running’s customer service line lately, you might have been greeted by the cheery voice of Kristen Arendt, a member of Newton’s product support team. Or if you’ve watched Newton’s customer corner videos, you might have seen her smiling face. Not only does she know Newton product, but as a member of the Newton Elite team, she knows a thing or two about running.

Arendt grew up in the small town of Bailey, Colorado, which sits about 30 miles southwest of Denver at 7,756 feet in elevation with a population just under 9,000. Here, in the mountains, running came easily for her. Prompted by her mom, a runner, Arendt began running in sixth grade. But it wasn’t until she really started racing that she fell in love with the sport.

If enjoyment shows in accolades, then it was obvious that she liked what she was doing. By high school, she was racking up the accomplishments by winning seven individual 3A state titles and qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals.  She then went on to run track and cross-country at Adams State College in Alamosa, another small town in southern Colorado. There, she was an 11-time All-American and the 2012 Outdoor Track National Champion in the 5,000-meter event.

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But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Buoyed by her successes in high school, she did what many young runners do. Straight out of high school, Arendt found herself running on scholarship for a Division I university in Texas. “Running was very much a business at the school. I wasn’t interested in that kind of pressure for my running.” Injured within her first three months, she lasted three semesters before packing her bags for home.

“It’s sad,” she says, “how many girls have that same story coming out of college. The year that I graduated from high school, there were a bunch of us that were talented and went away to run on scholarships. How many of them run now is slim. Running should be a lifestyle – something you can enjoy for the rest of your life.”

Arendt took a semester off to evaluate her priorities and understand what she really wanted from running. “We get caught up in PR-ing and winning this race for a state or national championships. But it can’t be all about that, it has to be for something bigger than that.”

As she was making the transition between colleges, she emailed Melody Fairchild. She had never met Fairchild, but Fairchild, also a Colorado native, had her own list of record setting and was in the process of getting back in the sport. “I felt my experience paralleled hers a bit and I asked for some advice. She was great enough to respond.”

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After graduating from Adams State, Arendt had hoped to keep running professionally, but not full time. She tried coaching and got involved with various race organizations. She worked at a shoe store in Longmont, and all the while, she kept her eye on Newton.  She began to apply for jobs at the company and eventually found the perfect fit.

Now, at age 25, she is both working for Newton and running on the Newton Elite team alongside fellow team member, Melody Fairchild. “For a little while it was unreal. I would have to pinch myself on runs and say ‘wow this is my teammate!’ But it’s great to have her as a resource.” Noting that both Fairchild and Bob Weiner are Masters runners, and team members such as Kara Henry and Brenda Carawan are hooked on ultra distances, she says she is referred to as the “baby” on the elite team, both for her age and her focus on the 5K and 10K distances. “I haven’t graduated to the longer distances.” And she’s not quite ready to yet.

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“For me, right now, I just want to run as fast as I can.” Although she can see herself doing the marathon in the next few years, she has other short-term goals in sight, “I would love to make the US Olympic trials on the track.” With a 5K PR on the track of 16:11 and 33:52 in the 10K, she admits, “I will have to up my game and have a breakthrough.” But with her Newton Elite team to back her up and her favorite pair of Distance Elites to put in the miles, she is not counting out the possibility.

Even with this big goal in mind, Arendt still likes to keep everything in perspective. Noting the balance she sought when she changed schools, she says, “While running is one thing, for me, the balance of having a full-time job with running is awesome. At Newton, we’re more than just a running shoe company and Newton Elite is about more than just yourself.” Of her day-to-day work she adds with a smile, “I get to talk to runners all day. There are much worse jobs out there. For the most part, runners are really happy people. As long as they have their shoes, they’re good to go.”

 

 

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Bachelorettes Gone Wild

Posted by on Monday, September 22, 2014 @ 10:39 am | Leave a reply

Part Two

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Sabina, Kara, Cody from nearest to farthest

Question: How did this not so average bachelorette party come about?

Kara: This is 100% Cody’s idea. Don’t let her blame it on me. She came up with the idea and we all kind of ignored it at first…but she’s not someone who likes to be ignored. After hearing about it for a while, she told us one day that she found a great price on flights so we all caved and booked right then.

Cody: One morning a couple months back I nonchalantly said, “we should run the Grand Canyon.” Working at Newton, it’s easy to talk almost everyone into something crazy, so both Sabina and Kara were like “YES!” and then we booked a flight later that night.

Sabina: It was Cody’s idea… AND I am easily convinced when it comes to any adventure! We were all sitting at our desk one day and she came up with this crazy idea and within the next 10 minutes our tickets were booked! The best part about all of this is on our very first training run she looks back at us and says “I don’t really like trails or lots of climbing….”

*Apparently we remember past events a little differently….

Question: Do you have any concerns about this trip?

Kara: Serious concerns? No. My concerns are more along the lines of: ‘will we be functional enough the next day for brunch and mimosas?’ and ‘how many times will Cody and Sabina use hashtag language instead of real words before I snap at them?’

Cody: My main concern would be that I really prefer running on flat terrain, that is paved. Kara and Sabina have both told me that I need to get over that…quickly.

Sabina: Yes! Cody and I will start singing lyrics to Spice Girls, and Kara will push both of us off a cliff! Oh and the fact we may run out of Tostito Peperoni pizza rolls within the first 10 miles… These are all real concerns of mine.

If you missed the intro to Bachelorettes Gone Wild…check it out here!

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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!

Check out Part 2 of Bachelorettes Gone Wild

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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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Keeping up with Sugarland guitarist, Thad Beaty

Posted by on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 10:15 am | Leave a reply

When a health crisis hit his family, Newton Ambassador Thad Beaty, began to move his musical life toward new ways that mattered.

 

Thad Beaty loves music. Always has. When the guitar player for the country band Sugarland, is not on the road, he’s in Nashville working at his day job, Sorted Noise, producing songs for movies. But in 2009, a curveball was thrown at him, when his mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Since then, his daily routine has involved a lot more than music.

At the time of the diagnosis, the 5’10” Beatty was 34 years old and weighed 230 pounds. He says, “We went into panic mode. My brother, my wife and I and my mom all decided as a family that we could do better at being healthy. So, we immediately started researching the best diet for dealing with cancer,” he says. What happened next, was something he never would have expected.

Thad Beaty, guitarist for country Grammy band Sugarland

“We learned that a raw diet, greatly lowers your cancer risk levels. But we thought, ‘good grief, there’s no way we can do that.’” Yet, he and his wife bought a Vitamix blender and started having smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch. And suddenly, they were 66 percent raw already.

“Before I knew it, I was fully vegetarian a few months out and the only thing left before I went Vegan was Greek yogurt—that was the last stronghold.”

At the same time that his food transformation was taking place, Beaty started exercising.  While on the road with the band, he started to run. “I could take off running in the middle of nowhere.” When he came home there was a pool in his neighborhood, so he started swimming. Next, he pulled out his old mountain bike. “I was doing a little of each and a little more and then something just triggered along the way.”

Before he knew it, Beaty was Vegan, and his training turned to competing in triathlons—not just sprint triathlons, but Ironman triathlons, with his first in Arizona in 2012, then Kona in 2013. His 230 pounds quickly melted away to a stealth 160 pounds. In a relatively short period of time, his very Southern family had completely transformed itself, including his mom, who is now gluten free and vegan.

Along the way, Beaty started reading Newton co-founder, Danny Abshire’s book, Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running. “I started working on all the drills. Then I bought Newtons and hit the road. I was amazed at how my body felt and my times were way faster. I was hooked.”

As Beaty started down the Ironman path, he started to consider the powerful correlation between sport, the music industry and giving back. First, he struck up a relationship with the Ironman organization. Then, he began to look for companies who shared his belief system of giving back.  A training partner and Newton athlete, Shay Eskew, shared with him the non-profit work that Newton was doing. “Once I realized our core values aligned well, I had to reach out.” A partnership was struck, and now he says, “We have done some amazing things together and I think we will do a ton more.”

Around this time, Beaty founded Musicthatmoves.org to encourage the music industry to give back in ways that are healthy for the community. His motivation was spurred by the fact that in addition to his mom’s illness, the band’s guitar tech, Kevin Quigley, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and lost his battle against the disease less than a year later.

“Health is holistic. It is mind, body and spirit. If you don’t have a good balance of those three, then you are out of whack. I saw how harmonious endurance events and getting involved in social movements were together.”

Now, Beaty and a team of about 20 people from the music industry are training for the Ragnar Relay from Chattanooga to Nashville in October to “reclaim their health”.  Of his teammates, Beaty says, “They didn’t all come from an athletic background and they want to make a change. So we’re going on this journey together.” Each member is doing the relay to raise money for a cause or non-profit of their choice. “What resonated so strongly with them is that endurance events become a beautiful vehicle to affect change. If you do it for a cause, it becomes super special.”

Beaty and fellow Newton Runner, Bo Parrish, have also teamed up to form New Life for Newton, connecting gently used Newton shoes with cross-country and track coaches and inner city kids who are in need of shoes. They have enjoyed delivering the shoes themselves to these young running teams and spending an afternoon or day training with them. The list of initiatives Beaty has taken on is long and this is in addition to work and still training hard. Ironman Chattanooga in September is on his hit list for this year. But now with several races under his belt, he says, “It’s not about the finish line, it’s about everything you learn getting to the finish line and then that’s a place to celebrate everything you’ve learned and to carry those lessons forward.” For now, he’s celebrating the fact that his mom’s cancer is in remission.

 

You can watch Thad Beaty on ABC this Tuesday, July 15, on “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss.” In the episode he worked with a woman who went from the couch to doing a 70.3 triathlon. Beaty says, “We had her rocking some Newtons.”

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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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Winter’s World Record

Posted by on Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 3:33 pm | Leave a reply

A World Record for Dad and the 1 in 6 Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer Each Year

Where did the time go? It seems like I was just 10 years old sitting on the couch flipping through the Guinness Book of World Records. Now 15, I just got the email stating, “Winter, your world record for the youngest person to run a marathon on all 7 continents has officially been recorded into the record books”.  It seemed like such a simple task back then. Run seven marathons around the world. Running was by far the easiest part of realizing this dream, though. The journey? Well that is another story.

At age 13, I ran my first marathon just 50 minutes from my Salem, Oregon home. Marathon great, Meb Keflezighi was there to give me encouragement and some last minute strategy. After all the controversy to get me into my first marathon, I felt I had a lot to prove that day. I still remember hearing my coach’s voice echo in my head as I hit mile 23, “Winter, you can run that course in 3:45:00”. Coach Hadley not only was right but more importantly he believed in me. Just five minutes shy of a Boston qualifying time, this 13 year-old conquered Eugene Marathon in 3:45:04. A precedent had been set. I was serious about my mission and my running.

Marathon #1 Eugene Marathon April 29, 2012 Finish Time 34504- Winter with a Race Pacer

Marathon #1 Eugene Marathon

Running in Kenya

Marathon #2 Amazing Maasai photo credit Paul Ark

Marathon #2 Amazing Maasai photo credit Paul Ark

My next marathon added many elements on top of the pure fact of running 26.2 miles. There was travel, heat, pre-race nutrition issues and much more to consider.

You would think getting into a marathon in Africa would be easy for a 14 year-old, after all, it’s common for kids to walk more than ten miles round trip to school a day. I was shocked when I started getting turned down in South Africa by race directors.  By pure coincidence, I was introduced to The Amazing Maasai race directors who just happened to be two young women with running backgrounds. They had previously been on the Amazing Race TV Show, which is what inspired them to start this marathon to aid in the education of Kenyan girls. Thank goodness they believed in me! After taking 3rd place overall female in 4:04, through tough terrain and heat, my love for trail marathons began. I found the tougher the course; the stronger I performed. Much of my race was captured on film by a Canadian TV Show called Boundless.

“El Fin Del Mundo,” The End of the World

Antarctica Marathon

Marathon #3 Antarctica Marathon

There is nothing like going from the extreme heat of the Maasai plains in Kenya to one of the harshest, coldest places in the world, Antarctica. First you fly to “El Fin Del Mundo,” The End of the World, also known as Ushuaia, Argentina. Waiting for us there was a Russian research vessel to take us across Drakes Pass, know for some of the roughest seas in the World.

Several day’s later, blustery weather prevented us from going on shore. Instead, we found ourselves on land, for the first time in days, just minutes before the start of the marathon. No one really talked about what “getting your sea legs,” meant, but several miles into the marathon I realized the ground appeared to be rolling like waves under my feet. By not having spent any time off the ship prior to running on land, I had not gotten rid of my “sea legs.”

But without a single fall (the ice was another challenge), I finished in 4:49:45—another 3rd place finish. I was now the youngest person in the world to run 26.2 miles in Antarctica.

Tough & Tougher

Marathon #4 Inca Trail Marathon- Finish Line Winter 1st place female

Marathon #4 Inca Trail Marathon

Next, I headed to the Inca Trail, which I documented here in an earlier blog. At this, my fourth marathon, I captured my first overall female marathon win. If you are a runner and up for a challenge and adventure of a lifetime, the Inca Trail Marathon should definitely be on your bucket list.

Half Trail/Half Road

Marathon #6 New Zealand

My fifth marathon was across the diverse terrain of a small island called the Great Barrier Island, off the coast of New Zealand. Running the first half of the marathon through the interior mountain trails and then finishing the last half on the paved coastline was an interesting mix to say the least. Even at my young age, it was definitely a transition my legs and feet felt, going from the soft surface of trails to the pounding of pavement. It definitely gave me a reminder of why I had fallen in love with trail running.

The Trails of Genghis Khan & Ogres

Marathon #5 Mongolia August 7, 2013 photo credit Fredrik Koerfer

Marathon #5 Mongolia Photo Credit : Fredrik Koerfer

The second toughest marathon I traveled to was definitely Mongolia’s Sunrise to Sunset Marathon, which I also documented in an earlier blog. Despite the remoteness of this marathon, the incredibly athletic and talented crew from Boundless was able to capture amazing footage for their TV Show. The crew ran alongside us through the dark forest, down the steep ravines, all the while carrying heavy cameras and microphones. I was truly in awe as I caught glimpses of the TV crew at random places on the course.

A World Record

Panathinaikon Stadium- Photo Credit- Athens Classic Marathon

Marathon #6 Athens Classic Photo Credit- Athens Classic Marathon

I learned a lot about history from the places I traveled over my 18-month journey. Completing my marathon tour in Athens, Greece, on the original course of Phidipiddies, was a fitting place to set a marathon world record. A place where women where originally shunned and even killed for watching the Olympics. Where only “winners” were called athletes, others were just mere participants. It was my first full road marathon since Eugene and I cherished every footstep across the 26.2 miles. The spectators that lined the course all shouted “Bravo” as we ran by. In Greece, runners are still considered highly respectable athletes and are praised. Crossing the finish line in the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics, was an unforgettable moment. I pointed to the sky, symbolically to my dad, as I always do at the finish line, and thought to myself, “Dad, we did it!”

Back to Snow

Immediately upon returning from Greece, I exchanged my running shoes for ski boots. I had only a few days to reflect on my five-year journey to setting this world record. I think it will take me years to really comprehend what I was able to accomplish. My aerial skiing has now taken precedence in my life as I pursue a spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Several weeks ago I concluded my 2014 aerial season with a Jr. National title and 5th Place podium at the Jr. World Freestyle Championships in Italy. Some great steps toward my next big dream have been taken.

Winter NorAm Cup 2013 Mid Air Closeup Photo Credit- Trev Mozingo

Photo Credit : Trev Mozingo

Will there be an Ultra?

Many are asking what is next with my running. I definitely plan to tackle my first ultra marathon in the near future. As of today, my Newton running shoes are back on as I train for two big events in June 2014. I have been asked to join the winning team from last year’s Ropa Run in Europe. This is a well-known relay running event in Europe that raises money for cancer. I will join a team of seven men, with a total support crew of 26 people. We will run a 330-mile relay from Hamburg, Germany to Rotterdam, Netherlands. I will run roughly 80, one-kilometer sprints over a 30-hour period.

Then, I will join Simon Donato and a crew of elite runners and searchers to explore the high Sierras of California in search of a missing, downed military plane. We will hike up to 15 miles a day in harsh terrain at elevations of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, camping in tents and supported only by supplies brought in on horseback. Follow me on this great adventure with Adventure Science!

Obstacle Course Racing & More

I’m currently planning the rest of my summer events. Aside from my aerials training, you will definitely see me challenging my Newton’s on the Spartan Race courses, including the Spartan World Championships—and why not throw in a few triathlons as well!

Never Give In!

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