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Officially An IRONMAN!

Posted by on Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 7:59 am | Leave a reply

The  2014 IRONMAN® World Championship took place last Saturday (October 11), and among the more than 2,100 contenders, was America’s most decorated Olympic short-track speedskater, Apolo Ohno. Finding himself in a very different setting than the 40-second sprint races he was accustomed to as a short-track speedskater, the 32-year-old Ohno had put in the hours of training, but hit the course with only one IRONMAN 70.3 and one sprint triathlon under his belt. That didn’t stop him from finishing in 9.52.27 [1:00:29 swim, 5:07:15 swim, 3:36:41 run], blowing away his own expectations for the day.

Friends say Ohno has the ability to step into a very different gear when he competes, and he did just that in Kona. And just like in his speedskating races, his dad was there in Kona to cheer him on.

We spoke with Ohno before the race and then we caught up with him again, after the race.

2014 Ironman World Championship

When we asked you about what might be the toughest part of the race, you said getting through the point everyone talks about, when you think you might quit. Did that happen?

Never. It was very strange. Throughout my entire training, people had told me that you’re going to go through these emotions, and start asking yourself if you can do this. But in my entire life of speedskating, I never woke up and didn’t want to go to practice. So, I didn’t allow that to enter my brain on Saturday. I focused on what I had to do now, at that moment. I was very much in a fighter mentality and ready for anything.

I ran through options in my mind. I knew I couldn’t defeat the island—option 1 would be for me to defeat the island and that wasn’t going to happen. Option 2 was for me to be defeated and I wasn’t going to let that happen. Or option 3, I could strive to be one with the island—you’re out there all alone and you’re so tired and you have nothing left and for me it was a very spiritual experience.

At the start they used these tribal drums before the first wave went off. It was this really cool moment for me and it stayed with me throughout the entire run.

You knew running would be the toughest challenge for you, but you finished in 3:36.41. An impressive finish considering you did 3:25 in the New York marathon a few years back, without the swim and bike.

I knew this was the big stage and I had to give everything I had. The swim was consistent and on the bike I was strong. The run was the most difficult. I think it [my time] would have been better, but at mile 25, I had to take a quick detour [a bathroom dash].

I was very happy with the run but the place I had to take my mind was very interesting. I went through some interesting conversations in my head. I knew I was going to hit the wall, I knew that would happen and I knew sometimes at those moments you can summon the most strength. It was super intense, the fight I had to give, not letting down, telling myself, ‘I can do this. I am going to be strong.’ Crossing the finish line was a very cool moment.

What words did your coach, Newton athlete, Paula Newby-Fraser, have for you before the race?

Before the race, Paula said, your initials “AAO” stand for, “Adapt, adjust, overcome.”

How does this rank in your experiences as an athlete?

Everybody was so incredible and I feed off of people’s energy. It was uplifting and inspiring. While I was out there it got pretty emotional for me, very spiritual, very deep, my brain and body were cooked. There is no other place on the planet that you can experience these things while doing something like that.

This is something I can take with me for the rest of my life and I’m very proud to have this, I have it for life.

How did the triathlete community compare to other athletic experiences you’ve had?

I will tell you the endurance world and the triathlete world is very unique. You have to jump in and experience it for yourself, it’s so exciting. I was very blessed to be welcomed with open arms.

How did the finish feel? Did people recognize you?

There were so many people. It was amazing as I was finishing, everyone shouting ‘Apolo, Apolo.’ And then I went back and saw my friend finish, and then I saw the countdown to midnight, I got the whole deal. I didn’t want to miss a minute.

After the race, do you still love your Newton’s?

I’m wearing them. They are awesome.

In 2013, former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward, completed the IRONMAN. He encouraged you to do it. Who are you going to encourage to follow in your footsteps?

I don’t know. That’s a good question. I set the bar. I’ll get someone else.

Now what?

A week in Hawaii—I’ll do some work, and get my legs recovered and just take it in. Spend some time with my journal— the experience was once in a lifetime.

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Q&A with Apolo Ohno

Posted by on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 @ 9:40 am | Leave a reply

You know him as a world-class athlete and eight-time Olympic medalist and speedskater (and possibly even from Dancing with the Stars), what about as a triathlete? Only Kona will tell. 

You know his face: brown eyes, the soul patch and signature wavy hair with the bandana tied around his head. Apolo Ohno is a global icon and athlete on the ice and is an internationally known face of short-track speedskating. In 2010, after making sports history by becoming the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all-time, Ohno hung up his competitive skates.

Retirement doesn’t always come easy to such high caliber athletes—Ohno likes to and needs to be busy and always learning or pushing himself.  By the time he retired he already had his hand in many businesses, not to mention he was a brand in his own right traveling the world regularly for speaking engagements. “I live for that pumped state of learning,” says Ohno. So naturally when the opportunity arose to train for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, he jumped at it. And, unlike most of us who train and then maybe try a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon first, Ohno chose the IRONMAN 70.3 Boise (half the distance of Kona)  to be his first triathlon ever. Finishing in 4.57, he has only done one sprint triathlon since then.

With Kona just days away on October 11, we caught up with Ohno at his home in Los Angeles.

Apolo

1.  We know that you ran the New York Marathon in 2011 in a time of 3:25.  What was your experience with cycling and swimming before training for Kona?

Okay, first of all, immediately after the New York marathon I stopped running. At that time I was doing a lot of weight training, kickboxing, and training with some NFL athletes out east.

For speedskating, we would bike in the summers as a team, but nowhere near the volume required for an IRONMAN. We did short bursts. And swimming, that has been nonexistent in my life since I was 12 years old.

 2. We know you’re a busy guy, so what does your training routine look like?     

Paula Newby-Fraser has been my rock. Paula is the queen of Kona and perhaps one of the best coaches I have ever worked with in my life. My training has been dictated by her—she puts me on a weekly schedule. Sometimes I’ll go down and train with her in Carlsbad, but mostly I train by myself because I have such a busy schedule.

Today, I have a 2.5 hour bike ride, followed by a 45 minute run off the bike. The training has cut back as we get closer to Kona. I got really sick about 11 days ago, really sick. So now we’re bringing my body back up. But it’s different every day. Yesterday I had a swim.

I needed this in my life, to re-test myself, to have a change and a challenge that is taking me out of my comfort zone and putting every element of my body to the test.  It was like hitting the “reset” button on my body’s athletic memory, except with different physical challenges.

 3. Have you noticed any big physical changes in your body since you’ve been training?

I haven’t lifted any weights since I’ve been training for this. I’ve leaned down. Do I look like a triathlete? I probably never will. I carry a lot of muscle mass.

 4. Are there any similarities between speedskating and triathlon training and racing?

They both hurt, that’s about it. My speed-skating races lasted 40 seconds long. I trained to produce the most amount of energy in the shortest amount of time, starting from a very static, loaded position. Triathlon is a continuous non-stop aerobic activity. It was a huge change and still is a huge change.

 5. What’s on your training playlist?

I like a wide variety of music—house music when I’m out for a long ride. I like to just get into a rhythm and lose track of time. A Gareth Emery podcast or Above and Beyond podcast.

 6. What is the biggest thing you’ve had to wrap your head around?

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The biggest thing is the fact that the training is so different. On a Saturday morning, getting up early to do a 100-mile bike ride followed by a run and being done at 1 in the afternoon. The time consumption is difficult.

And then, in Kona, what the weather will be like. Everyone says it’s beautiful, but the conditions are very hot and humid and there are 40-mile crosswinds in the bike. There are people clamoring over you in the swim and then running a full marathon after that whole day with ambient temperatures at 120-plus. How do I get through that?

 7. In speedskating there is this unknown, you train and train and then in the race someone can slide into you and take you out…what is that unknown you’re worried about at Kona?

This is the most coveted endurance event on the planet. It puts your mind and physical being to the test. Everyone says there is a breaking point where you think about how you should stop and you have to push through that. There is that potential you won’t finish. I accept the challenge and I have a great team. I’ll give it my best.

 8. You’ve already succeeded at the top as far as athletics go, is there anything you’ve learned from this experience that you didn’t expect?

I have been surprised at the entire triathlon community and how people welcome you with open arms. I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I had no idea how big triathlon is and how many personalities are involved in it—it’s awesome.

 9. So you run in Newtons—how long have you been running in Newtons and why Newtons?

I have been wearing Newtons since I started training for triathlon. I wore traditional shoes before. As soon as I started to run more, people encouraged me to try them. When I put them on, I said, ‘Why haven’t I heard about them before?’ Newtons make sense. The Newton team established themselves as a premier running company based on performance, dynamics, and relationships with athletes. They have this cult following. They care and understand the science of running and are interested in making you run better. I plan on running in Newtons for the rest of my life.

10.You visited the Newton Running Lab and worked with Newton Co-founder Danny Abshire. How did that go?

When I went to the running lab in Boulder, it was awesome, talking to everyone who works in the store, doing the running analysis. Danny makes running seem like walking, like it’s natural. He has a way of explaining running that makes you want to run.

11.You noted that you have been working with Newton athlete and coach Paula Newby-Fraser as well. How has that been?

It’s been amazing. Her ability to transfer her knowledge as an athlete to a novice like myself, and her database of knowledge is incredible. She is a great coach. She understands the body, the physiology of training, recovery, and nutrition. She has all of the elements locked in.  She could coach any sport – she is that good and that smart!

12.What’s the most valuable advice she’s passed on to you?

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Adapt, adapt adapt—whatever the situation is always know you have to adapt and make small adjustments along the way.

13.What advice do you have for others who are considering doing a triathlon, an IRONMAN or otherwise?

I think nutrition is a huge part of it and consistency of training. You can’t make up training if you miss it, you can’t just jump back in and be back where you were, you have to put in the time. There is time on your feet, on the saddle, and in the pool, and you can’t replace that.

It has been hard and eye opening. A lot of people who do this sport have normal lives. There is only a small amount of athletes that just train. I have a whole lot of respect for the people who do this who have kids and families and work, that’s the thing that is inspirational about triathlon, and to see how much they dedicate to the sport. It’s cool.

14.When it’s done will you hang up the bike and your swim trunks or keep going?

I don’t think I’ll just hang it up right away, I’ll continue to do some training. I really enjoy the IRONMAN triathlon world—I like being a part of it. I don’t see myself going away, but I will definitely look for new challenges.

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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 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.

R2R2R

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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Steady Stephen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Breakfast On The Go

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

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

muffin

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

What you’ll need -

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

 

Now for the cooking -

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

 

* Transformation – Add in ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

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

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Fleet Feet Store Partners with Newton to Put the Special in Specialty Running

Posted by on Monday, March 24, 2014 @ 9:02 am | Leave a reply

Every New Year’s Eve, Stephanie Blozy and her sister set goals. In 2005, with both of them looking for a change, they agreed they should go into business together. Next, they considered what kind of business. “We listed our passions, and we only had 2: chocolate and running. We liked to bake, but it never looked good, so we decided we should open a running store,” Blozy explains. And they were serious.

Three-and-a-half years later, the sisters took over Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford, Connecticut (coincidentally located just a mile and a half from their parents’ home). “The world still doesn’t think women are the most capable business people for one reason or another. We wanted to show them that 2 sisters could do this.” They’ve never looked back. Blozy is the extrovert, who loves mingling with customers. Her sister runs the backend of the business and their dad, who is 67, runs the kids’ program.

Blozy’s dad has run 30 marathons, including Boston every decade since his 20s, her sister 12, and Blozy has now run 7. “But I have done a 50K, so I’ve topped them all.” And that competitive nature is what brought Blozy to Newton.

Blozy admits she was initially skeptical about Newtons and the benefits of the lug system.  But then, Blozy put a woman in her beginner program in a pair. She returned to the store raving about the shoes and talking about how she was running 2 minutes a mile faster in them. Then a family friend came into the store talking about how he was faster in these shoes.

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“My sister and I are pretty competitive. We were going to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. I needed any advantage I could get,” she says. She started running in Newtons. But much to Blozy’s chagrin, her sister caught wind of how well Newtons were working for Blozy, and changed, too. “She beat me by 30 seconds.” Now her dad is running in them, too. “The Newton shoes make you so much more efficient in the turnover/gait cycle,” she enthuses.

As Blozy continues to see customers have success with the shoes, she says, “I think Newton puts the special in run specialty. As a specialty store, we’re always trying to differentiate. To be able to offer a solution like Newton, when it’s appropriate and works for them, it’s an amazing thing.”

Seems like Blozy and her sister have also put the special back in specialty with the community they have created around the store. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, they collected shoes for survivors. “We were hoping to donate a couple hundred pairs of shoes. We ended up with 20,000 shoes.” Then, more than 100 people showed up to help match shoes and load the truck. And after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the store put together more than 100 care packages for families. Last spring, more than 500 participants showed up for their run for Boston.

To boot, their kids program has a robust offering for kids with autism and every four years they give out a college scholarship to a local high school runner. They do it every four years, so they can support a student through college, not just for one year. In all of this, they expanded the store from 1500 square feet to 3500.

Who knows what’s next. If they set out to show the world two sisters could do it, they have.

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Larger than Life!

Posted by on Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Leave a reply

Sculptor Bob Zasadny makes a unique pair of Newtons

 

If you find yourself driving in western Kentucky any time soon, specifically in Madisonville, take a moment to drive by, or even run around the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which sits next to the Baptist Health Madisonville hospital campus. Here, you’ll find something that looks strangely familiar: a pair of Distance Newton running shoes. But these just aren’t any pair of Distance shoes, this pair is four-feet long, roughly 20 inches high at the back and heel and about 20 inches wide—roughly four-times the average sized shoe.

The hospital commissioned Indianna artist, Bob Zasadny, to create the giant shoe sculpture as a tribute for outgoing CEO, Berton Whitaker.  Whitaker, is a runner, who actually runs in the Newton Distance. He also was responsible, amongst other things, for the creation of the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which has 10 different fitness stations and a half-mile walking or running trail. So, the real idea here, says Zasadny, is that Whitaker is leaving big shoes to fill.

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The other surprising thing about these shoes is that they only weigh about 20 pounds each. Zasadny constructed them out of rigid polyurethane foam coated in fiberglass.  Zasadny worked at a fiberglass company in his early 20s and was always fascinated with the medium. Now, 50 years later he says, at the age of 75, he’s still working with fiberglass. “It’s an alternative material, but not a widely used thing because it’s a unique product. It’s not a pleasant material to work with and you have to be a bit technical to work with it.” But he says, “It was a perfect media for me because I could manipulate it because of my industrial experience with it. I knew how to fabricate it and I could find artistic ways to use it.”

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Typically, Zasadny likes to sculpt the forms we see in nature—sand dunes, leaf patterns, flower petals, things that are more organic. “I’ve tried to incorporate more natural things into my art. It resonates with people, they have to reach out and touch it and run their hands over it. It’s a tactile thing that you want to feel and start touching art with your hands.” But when the opportunity to create the Newtons came his way, he jumped on it. He hadn’t heard of Newton shoes prior to the project, but quickly found a pair to check out. “It was like walking on my socks and a piece of foam, such an airy feeling.” The colors weren’t lost on Zasadny either. He kept the shoes bright, but instead incorporated the four colors that matched the hospital logo.

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So what does it take to complete a project like this? Zasadny says when all was said and done, including making the tabletops the shoes are mounted on, it took him “easily 400 hours. For 6 weeks, I worked 60-70 hour weeks. We were making something that had never been made before.” And with that much time invested, you would think he might be worried about the longevity of the sculpture. But, the ultimate beauty of working with the foam and fiberglass materials is that if the sculpture gets a ding in it or is damaged in any way, Zasadny says, “I can go down there and take some material, grind it up and make the damaged area totally like brand new. It’s not as tragic for that to be vandalized as it would be for someone else’s materials.” Long live Newtons!

For more information on Bob Zasadny’s art - http://www.bobzabstractsculpture.com/

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Form, Function & Education

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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