Tag Archives: Races

  • Newton Running Elite Rack Up A Record 100 Wins In 2014

    Boulder, Colo., Jan. 8, 2015 – While 2014 was an incredible year for the Newton Running brand; it was also an important year for a celebrated group of runners representing the Newton family.  The Newton Running Elite team is a group of runners who toe the line at races spanning distances of one to 125 miles across all terrains. The team is comprised of men and women who balance elite running with family, busy work schedules and other commitments.  One thing they all share is the love of running and racing in Newton.

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    At the start of 2014, this group of 15 fearless Newton runners, nine located in Colorado with the remainder throughout the US, established a goal of not only competing in, but also winning 100 races by the end of the year.

    On New Year’s Eve, the team accomplished what they set out to do in record-breaking freezing temperatures, earning their 99th and 100th wins at the Resolution 5K in Denver, Colo.  Throughout the year, there were standout performances including four Olympic Marathon qualifiers and several other team members expected to soon meet the qualification standards, as well as wins at local favorite and world-renowned races.  A few of the athletes with notable highlights are:

    Mike Andersen (Detroit, Mich.) won the 2014 Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank Marathon with a personal best time of 2:24:54. Mike has a goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials and is close to accomplishing it with his fast marathon time.
    Kristen Arendt (Boulder, Colo.) is a Newton team member who has been making running headlines since high school.  In 2014, Kristen earned a big win at the USATF Colorado State Half Marathon Championships.  Up next is qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials and competing at the major U.S. Championship races for road, track and cross country.
    Fernando Cabada (Boulder, Colo.) held the 25K American record for several years and has claimed the title of US Champion three times.  His most recent personal victory came at the 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon with a blazing 2:11:35 performance, which earned him the fifth fastest marathon performance of 2014 by a US male.
    Brenda Carawan (Georgetown, Texas) logged the longer distances setting a new women’s course record by three hours at the 125-mile Nove Colli road race in Italy finishing second overall behind the lead male runner.
    Melody Fairchild (Boulder, Colo.) established herself as a top Masters runner winning multiple USATF National Masters titles in her first year as a Masters athlete including the Tulsa Federal Credit Union 15K in October.
    Tyler McCandless (Boulder, Colo.) is a top American distance runner, PhD student, and coach who in 2014 earned his personal best marathon time of 2:15:26 at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota, which also served as the 2014 USA Marathon Championships.

    The Newton Running Elite team races to help create a connection with the running community and to motivate others to take the first step on their own running journey.  The team doesn’t stop at racing however, as members also volunteer their time to encourage runners at a number of races around the country, host youth running events and also raise money throughout the year to support worthy causes.

    Expect to see great things including new team racing and personal goals from Newton Running Elite team members in 2015.  Kicking off the New Year, Newton Running welcomed its newest athlete just this week.  Jeannette Faber joins the team with a running resume that includes a 2:32 marathon PR.  Jeannette’s accomplishments also include being selected to represent the USA as part of its three-person team at the 2013 IAAF Marathon World Championships in Moscow.

    To learn more about Newton Running and the Newton Running Elite team, visit www.newtonrunning.com and www.newtonrunningelite.com.

    About Newton Running

    Boulder, Colorado-based Newton Runningis the leader in performance running shoes that promote gait efficiency for people at all levels of the sport, from first-time 5k runners to seasoned marathoners. Newton Running’s patented Action/Reaction™ technology provides dynamic shock absorption, energy return, ground feel, minimal heel-to-toe drop, and lightweight comfort. Newton Running form clinics, hosted in partnership with specialty running retailers worldwide, help runners learn their natural running motion. In addition to its devotion to help people run better, Newton Running is committed to corporate responsibility through sustainability efforts and through the support of numerous charitable organizations and has been recognized for these efforts by achieving B Corporation status. Newton Running is the official footwear and run course sponsor for the IRONMAN U.S. Series and presenting sponsor of the Destination Races Wine Country Half Marathon Series. Newton Running shoes are available at hundreds of specialty retails across the country and around the world or at www.newtonrunning.com.

  • Just Tri It!

    As you contemplate your New Year’s Resolution, consider taking inspiration from amateur triathlete Dan Stubleski.

     

    While you contemplate your New Year’s Resolutions, consider taking inspiration from Dan Stubleski, who didn’t run, swim or bike competitively until he took up triathlons four years ago at age 34. Although he now rides with a local team (Fraser Bicycle Team Green), he doesn’t have a coach and he works full time. Still, this year, he placed first in his division (35-39) at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and he was the overall top amateur finisher, in a time of 8:50:22. We caught up with him recently at his home in Washington, Michigan, where he lives with his wife (who he describes as “the best Sherpa EVER!!!!”) and two kids, ages 12 and 10.

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    Before you started doing triathlons had you ever raced running? No, no racing before. I just ran for fun. I was competitive in team sports.

    Did you bike or race bikes? My first race was the South Maui Triathlon in 2011.

    What about swimming?  I knew how to swim, for fun, but did not start really swimming until I signed up for the South Maui Tri. I started swimming at the Romeo High School pool.

    So triathlons are quite a bit different than playing basketball. How did you start doing triathlons? Well, I bought my first road bike because I was into watching the Tour De France and thought that riding might be fun. I bought my first road bike and loved it. I discovered Triathlon when looking for a bike race during a trip to Maui with my wife in June of 2011. We were already booked to go and I wanted to bring my bike. I thought it would be cool to do a race while I was there, but could only find triathlon and not just bike racing. I figured why not? I’ll try it!

    You came 2nd in your first triathlon, the South Maui Tri, which was Olympic Distance,  and then went straight to the IRONMAN Steelhead 70.3 in Michigan…were you hooked after the first one and just decided to go for it? Oh heck yeah, I was hooked! I figured I did well at the Olympic distance, and loved it, and Steelhead was within driving distance, so why not?

    When did you set your sites on a full IRONMAN? I did not set my sites on IRONMAN until after I completed the 70.3 (which actually wasn’t a true 70.3 because the swim was cancelled).

    Looking at your resume, it looks like you performed well from the get go and then just got stronger? Were you surprised at your performance?  I was surprised at my performance in Maui. I really just wanted to finish. I never expected to finish second overall! It wasn’t until after like my 3rd or 4th race that I stopped being surprised and knew that triathlon racing must be my thing.

    Was IRONMAN Texas your first full? Yes, Texas 2013.

    When did you set your sites on Kona? After my 2012 race season—I raced well in 2012 and set my sites on a full IRONMAN and qualifying for Kona 2013.

    In 2013, you placed 2nd in your age group and 26th overall at Kona. How did that race rank for you in your list of experiences? I think I have to say my best race experience was Kona 2013, my first time racing there. There is nothing like it! Just the feeling of being in Kona was awesome—the crazy, exciting atmosphere. Just standing on the pier. Crossing the finish line for the first time in Kona, the feeling is indescribable!

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    What were your goals heading to Kona this year? My goal was to win! Isn’t that always the goal? Lol! I also wanted to improve on my marathon time.

    What were you worried about going in? If I could improve on my time from last year.

    Did you know you were the first amateur? I did know I was in first. It was close for most of the race. Toward the end though I knew I had a little time on the second place guy.

    Obviously, you won, so the race went well. What were the highlights? Well, I had a bad swim. I picked a spot that proved to be not good! It was crowded. Everybody wants to be first so everybody wants to start the swim up front. The spot I chose was crowded for most of the swim. My favorite part was the bike. I love to ride. I got a new Specialized Shiv this season and sometimes I just can’t get out of the saddle!!! My bike was descent, considering there was a head wind heading to Hawi and pretty much all the way back from Hawi! I had a PR on the run, 2:58:19. I was excited, happy, proud! I couldn't believe I had done it!

    Was your family there to watch? This year just my wife, but last year for my first Kona, my wife and kids were all there.

    And you raced in Newtons? Yes I did. I raced in the Elites, the green ones. When I first started wearing Newtons I wore Distance S. I sometimes still train in them.

    Why Newtons? Honestly, because Crowie [Newton athlete/triathlete Craig Alexander] wears them! That is how I discovered them. I was wearing another brand for my 2011 season and they were too wide, sloppy. I knew that before my 2012 season I needed to find a new brand. I saw Crowie in Newtons and looked them up and thought I’d give them a try. I have been hooked on them ever since. Love them. The guys that work in the Newton tent at the race venues got to know my wife because we were in there shopping so much!

    So, why do you do what you do? I do it because I love it. I love to exercise. It makes me feel alive! Lol, most people don’t understand that!

    What do people think back home? Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy for me and they want to hear my Kona story, which I am happy to tell!

    What’s next? Well, I had a lot to think about and consider. I kind of wanted to go pro, but with the changes to the pro race that Ironman made, it really doesn’t make sense for me. All of the sold out races that I could have entered and close to home races are no longer pro races. So, I am going to stay amateur.

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    Do you have any advice for newcomers to triathlon? For the newcomers in the sport, start slow and enjoy the journey. It takes a lot of dedication to do this sport. It gets a little easier the fitter you get.

    What about any New Year’s Resolutions? My goal for the year is to go faster each time I race. To win again in Kona would be awesome!! We will see. I think I can still improve in all areas.

  • Running for MS

    Country singer Julie Roberts has seen many ups and downs. Through it all, she’s thankful for a lot, including, running.

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    What are you thankful for? There was a time when this was a tough question for country singer, Julie Roberts, to answer. But these days, she is thankful for a lot. For one, she is thankful for running, but more so, for her ability to run.

    You may be familiar with the blonde country singer through her music, or even through her brief stint on the music show, The Voice. But what her fans did not know until 2011 was that Roberts had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005.

    Although her first album was certified gold, selling more than 500,000 copies, Roberts’ second album did not perform as well and she parted ways with her recording label in 2010. Then, as she began to work on an independent album, the Nashville, Tennessee floods hit and she lost her home. “That was a difficult time. I had planned on being home to work on my record and then the flood came. We lived in four different places as we rebuilt our home.” To boot, in 2013, Roberts was a contender on The Voice, but surprisingly was not picked for a team. “There are ups and downs in life in general. Things are good and bad and you just have to keep going.”

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    The Diagnosis

    When she first started to notice her symptoms, Roberts says, “I had just released my first album and was touring non-stop…while I was on the road, I was holding the microphone like I always had for years and my hand went numb and I couldn’t hold the microphone. It wouldn’t happen all the time but every once in awhile my hands would go numb or my vision would get blurry, like when I was signing autographs.”

    With the symptoms becoming more noticeable, Roberts visited her doctor, who sent her to a neurologist and the diagnosis was confirmed. Not wanting to admit the diagnosis publically, Roberts began to exercise more, and even to eat healthier. In 2006, she joined her first running group, in her hometown of Nashville. “I love this group because some people are in the music industry, but there are a lot of people who do so many other things…We stay in contact throughout the week and every Saturday we meet.” And, they race together—5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons.

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    “Running is definitely an escape for me, whether I’m with someone or alone. I feel like it centers me in my day. And it gives me a chance to see the cities.” These days, Roberts and her Newtons are seeing a lot of cities, approximately one to three a week. In addition to touring for her music, Roberts is also touring with the National MS Society, doing talks, presentations and playing her music. Work, which she says has given her a new purpose. “This work has honestly changed my life.”

    “Most people think they can’t exercise with MS, I tell people how important it is for me physically and emotionally to be active. I say just ‘start walking, walk 10 minutes.’ Whatever your goal is start with small goals.”

    One of Roberts’ goals is to show the world that MS doesn’t have to define your goals in your life. “There are challenges in my business. People are sometimes afraid to book you because you have MS and that you won’t be able to play a show. I want to show my industry and everyone else with MS that they can do whatever their goals are and that MS doesn’t have to define your goals in your life.” She adds, “A lot of people I meet work in the corporate world and they’re afraid to tell their boss they have MS. If I can go out and use my platform of music and show what MS looks like for me, hopefully it will help people around the country that face the same challenges I do.”

    New Inspiration

    “When I look back 10 years ago, I was on my first radio tour, trying to get them to play my music. Now, I’m flying into the same airports, but I’m going to visit people with MS and to try to inspire them to not give up. I know my music also inspires people, but I feel much more fulfilled than I did 10 years ago.”

    As for her running goals, Roberts just ran the 5-mile Boulevard Bolt in Nashville over Thanksgiving with her running group.  And in addition to trying to run in her Newtons in each city she visits, Roberts has a 50-mile Walk for MS, in Savannah Georgia, scheduled at the beginning of March and a half marathon in Nashville in April (as part of the Rock’n’Roll marathon series). “I always like to have goals,” she says. Ultimately, she adds, “My goal is to continue to be active and healthy. It energizes me and makes me happy.”

  • Bachelorettes Gone Wild

    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

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

     “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.

     

  • Nutrition tips for success

    An interview with trainer and nutritionist, Lindsay Christen

    As January came and went, so too went many of our New Year’s Resolutions, sometimes it’s hard to make our lofty goals (I’m going to run faster, eat healthier, drink less coffee) a habit overnight. So let’s press the reset button. We caught up with trainer and certified nutritionist, Lindsay Christen, to talk about changing habits and the most common nutrition question she gets asked.

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    QUESTION:  “What should I eat before or after a workout?”

    Lindsay: Eating the right foods at the right time is essential to getting the most out of your workouts. For pre-workout you always need a little bit of something in your body and you’ll feel better if it’s 45-minutes to an hour before your workout. The general idea is that you’re filling up your energy stores. If your meals the day and week before have been healthy and balanced your glycogen, the storage form of energy in your body, should be good. Those taps should be full, so you’re just topping-off the tank when you have a pre-workout snack—it doesn’t need to be large.

    Right before a workout, a little bit of something like banana and almond butter, or non-fat Greek yogurt, or a couple of eggs are perfect, something small but enough to give the glycogen stores a boost.

    The dinner the night before an event or big workout should be lots of lean protein, chicken or fish—vegetarians can eat beans, lentils, tofu—and lots of veggies and complex carbs (starchy veggies, whole grains, like rice, quinoa). That combination should give your body what it needs for the next day. For an endurance athlete, depending on what they’re training for, 45-65% of total calories should be from carbohydrates. It’s a big window and it’s on the higher end, but they need it for the workouts, otherwise you feel like you’re on an empty tank all the time.

    What’s really important is the post workout snack. The right combination of nutrients and timing can optimize your lean muscle building while minimizing breakdown (soreness and fatigue). But you only have a window of 30 minutes after exercise when the body is most efficiently absorbing much needed nutrients.  If you miss the window, your body will try to replenish on its own by depleting your fat and energy stores.

    Newton: What’s a good post-workout snack? Is there anything to chocolate milk?

    Lindsay: Chocolate milk is not terrible. It’s a good source as long as it’s the good kind and not filled with high fructose corn syrup. A protein smoothie is good. You’re looking for a 2-1 or 3-1 carb to protein ratio in grams. This equates to 1-1.5g of carbohydrate for every kg of your body weight and 0.5g or protein/kg of body weight. This could be a bar that you throw in your gym bag for the way home, peanut butter and apple or a peanut butter banana sandwich really works well, or fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder.

    Now, if you just finished an Ironman, or marathon, you can eat whatever you want. You’re going to be depleted no matter what. You need to get nutrients in as soon as possible after the race, and then continually. Usually liquids work well, you want electrolytes, and then carbs and proteins.

    Lindsay’s Caveat: No matter what you do, start early. Incorporate these changes into your routine months and months beforehand. It’s not going to work for you if you start on race day. Eating well has to be a habit. You need to build your body into the machine you want it to be in race season. You also don’t want to add everything in at the same time. It’s February, so this is the perfect time to add things in if you have a race in June, July or August.  It’s about developing the right habits to weave into your lifestyle. It shouldn’t just be, “It’s race season, so I am going to stop eating hamburgers.” Our bodies are machines and the more quality fuel you can give it now, the more efficient it will be in performance when you need it.

    Lindsay Christen, is a certified personal trainer (CPT) and certified nutritionist (CNS). She holds a Masters of Science in nutrition. You can find her at Boulder’s Colorado Athletic Club or email her at: lindsaychristen@gmail.com.

  • A Holiday Salute

    To Our Military, Police & Firefighters

    To our military, police and firefighters, we salute you. Words cannot express how much we appreciate what you do. In recent years, we’ve been through our share of fires in our own backyard here in Colorado. We have watched as firefighting squads have fought around the clock to save lives, homes and land. This year, the fires were followed by the flood — 17 inches of rain in just a few days, when Boulder County’s annual average is just 20.7 inches. As damage spread across an almost 200-mile range covering 17 counties, we were in trouble. Relief came as Army and National Guard soldiers were brought in to help. What a mess we were in and how much we appreciated your efforts in search-and-rescue operations and flood relief and recovery. We know that hard work continued long after the rains stopped.

    This is just Colorado. Across the country, our men and women of service work hard to keep our homes, communities and children safe. From Hurricane Katrina, to the Boston Marathon tragedy, you were there. And, there are those of you who aren’t at home. You’ve been stationed abroad once, twice, perhaps many times. You’ve sacrificed time with loved ones and friends to protect our country, to protect others and to help rebuild global communities. Your work makes the world a better place.

    We also recognize that our men and women of service represent some of the toughest and strongest athletes around. Sure, people love to get out and do a Tough Mudder race or a Warrior Dash, but try doing those events year round, in bitter winter conditions or without warning or notice. Floods and fires aren’t planned, catastrophes don’t happen on cue. While many of us covet our daily routine, our eight hours of sleep, healthy meals, and workouts, you just keep doing what you do.

    In support of our military, firefighters and police offers, Newton Running offers special discounts and promotions for members of the United States military, state and local police and fire departments and their families. To qualify, simply go to our community military page and provide proof of military status or current employment. A “.mil” or “.gov” email address counts as proof of status. It’s easy to do. On top of this discount, we’re also offering 20% off on these select items, inspired of course, by you:military

    Terra Momentum, $149

    An all-terrain shoe, the Terra Momentum serves as an everyday base-training shoe from roads to technical trails. Lightweight, yet cushiony, this shoe is ready for action. And we know you’re sayin’, “bring it!”

    Camo Mid Height Compression Sock, $15

    We know, you’re wary of the hot pink and lime green. They’re not the stuff that stealth is made of. That’s why we made these for you.

    Newton Race Hats by Headsweats, $20

    Everyone needs a hat, whether to run in or to be incognito every once in awhile. Made with an adjustable clip in back, this hat is made with Coolmax and nylon, which means it’s lightweight, breathable, and fast drying rain or shine.

    Whether you’re home or abroad, we hope this helps to make this holiday season a little brighter. Thank you again for all that you do.

  • On The Podium

    Podium Seeker

    If you spend time reading about our athletes on the Newton Running Elite site, you’ll see that we like to be on the podium. There’s Melody Fairchild, who turned 40 this fall and subsequently took first place in the women’s category at the USA Masters 5K, the 15K Masters National Championship, and the half marathon national championships. Not bad. Newton marketing manager, Kara Henry, prefers the longer distances, taking first at the Bear Chase 50 Mile, Collegiate Peaks 25 Mile, and North Fork 50 Mile races earlier this year (eating chocolate and bacon en route to help her win, of course). Jeremy Freed won the Bolder Boulder Citizen’s race for the second time this year, no small feat, considering a mere 50,000+ runners sign up for this event. And we could keep going, but you get the point.

    It’s not so much the podium that we’re after—it’s simply that we love to run. And we like to run fast. We like to run with goals, and to push ourselves to do our best. Sure, it feels great to cross the finish line first, to feel the ribbon at your waist, even second and third can feel good, as you stand on the podium at the end of the race. And the ribbons and medals can be a little addicting. But really, it’s a good day when we run, and in fact, not many days go by that we don’t run. We’re kind of grumpy when we don’t run.

    If you’re reading this and nodding your head, you know what we mean. Whether it’s for you or someone you love, we’ve created this package for the podium seeker with up to 30% off each item. With a purchase of $118.99 or more, we’ll even throw in free 2-day shipping in case you’re too busy training to shop!

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    Distance, $155 (men’s or women’s)

    Fast is your game, and you’ll be fast in this lightweight neutral performance trainer, which was originally designed for the elite racing team. A go-to shoe for high or low distance training and racing.

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

    Lightweight, quick drying with a streamlined fit, this shirt will quickly become a workout favorite. And we think you’ll love the blue, too.

    Women’s Jackie Run Short/Men's Titan Run Short $35

    This loose fit short has a featherweight liner and inner key pocket. What more do you need?

    Neon low-cut socks, $10

    Just in case you sometimes take your running a little too seriously, we’ve added these socks to bring a little levity to your life and your toes.

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

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

     

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

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

    So what exactly does all this talk mean?

    • Prostate Cancer Foundation:

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

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    • Team Kokua:

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

    Team 2

    • Trickle Up:

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

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

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    • One World Running:

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

    owr1

    • Back on my Feet:

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

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

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

  • Experience Spartan World Championships With a 14 Year-Old

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-start line

    Show Time

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

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

    Climbing & Descending

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-wall traverse

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

    Two-thirds My Weight

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-60#sandbag carry

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

    Burpees & Perseverence

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-rope climb

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

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

    Tarzan & The Tyrolean Traverse

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-barb wire

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

    Tyrolean Traverse- Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

    Pushing Beyond

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

    Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-fire jump

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

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

    Finish Line Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

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

    Never Give In!

    Sig

    Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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