News from the Field

adidas Celebrates 23 Years of Boston Marathon with Partnership


adidas Celebrates 23 Years Of Boston Marathon Partnership 24/7, Boston365

Twenty three years is a long time to continuously do anything. Yet adidas has been official with the Boston Marathon since 1989, putting the 3-Stripes on the starting line of one of the world’s most famous running comps. In recognition of those 23 years, adidas unveils Boston365, a training program to get you honed and zoned for the big race. Full adidas press release below.

PORTLAND, Ore.  – adidas celebrates its 23rd year as the official footwear and apparel supplier of the Boston Marathon with the launch of Boston365, a new training program designed to help runners achieve the ultimate goal of running the world’s most coveted marathon.

In partnership with Fleet Feet Sports specialty running stores, adidas’ Boston365 program provides assessment, coaching and training to support participants hoping to qualify for and gain entry into future Boston Marathons.

“With elite coaching partners and deep roots in running that stretch back to legends like Jesse Owens, Grete Waitz and current marathoner Geoffrey Mutai, adidas offers a comprehensive and integrated training program for those gunning to get better and faster to qualify for the Boston Marathon,” said Mikal Peveto, director of running, adidas America. “Combining our rich performance heritage with our state-of-the-art personal coaching platform allows us to provide runners with a truly unique vehicle to achieve their personal best.”

Information and registration for Boston365 will be available online at in June and in-store at Fleet Feet Sports in September. The program includes micoach registration, which provides opportunities for runners to improve performance and get faster. Subscribers can participate in Coaching Circles run by local Fleet Feet training group leaders, develop individualized and time-specific programs and create unique apparel to celebrate a group’s quest to qualify.

Participants who don’t make it into next year’s marathon are invited redeem themselves during Run Your Own Boston on Patriot’s Day. The top three participants who capture the best video of their marathon will be entered into winning Boston Marathon entries for the following year.

“Race strategy is so important when it comes to preparing for the Boston Marathon,” said Greg McMillan, adidas partner and McMillan Elite coach. “My one piece of advice is to trust your training and preparation and once you learn what works for you, stick with it and don’t switch it up during the race. In the days leading to the race, don’t over rest or over train. Above all, smile a lot to relieve anxiety and enjoy the experience!”

Like last year’s world record breaking performance by adidas athlete Geoffrey Mutai and near fastest time by Caroline Kilel, the 116th Boston Marathon promises to be another exhilarating year for the brand. Both Mutai and Kilel will be returning to defend their records along with several other adidas hopefuls including Nicholas Arciniaga of Houston and Jason Hartmann of Chicago.

adidas is proud to provide the official footwear and apparel for the 116th Boston Marathon. The Official Boston Marathon Jacket, the adizero Boston 3 and adizero Adios 2 running shoes are available at the Boston Marathon Expo at Seaport World Trade Center, and Boston-area retailers Marathon Sports and City Sports. Fans and runners can also visit a pop up adidas retail store in Copley Square.

adidas running innovates high performance footwear and apparel to help athletes of every level get faster and better for their sport. For more information visit

Fleet Feet Inc. Partners with IMC to Acquire Fleet Feet Sports


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           

Robyn Goby
Director of Marketing and Communications
Fleet Feet, Incorporated

Fleet Feet, Inc. Management Partners with Investors Management Corporation to Acquire Fleet Feet Sports

Raleigh, NC – (April 2, 2012) – The management team of Fleet Feet, Inc., ( the nation’s leading franchisor of running specialty stores, has partnered with Raleigh, NC - based Investors Management Corporation (IMC) to acquire Fleet Feet Sports from Tom Raynor, CEO and majority shareholder.  The private transaction is expected to close in the next 30 days. 

Fleet Feet, Inc. will operate independently, and its management team will continue to run all aspects of the business.  IMC will support the management team both financially and professionally in the ambitious growth goals of the company.  In addition to the IMC investment, the Fleet Feet Inc. management team will invest substantially in the new company.

“Fleet Feet and IMC are united by a common business culture and are both passionate about building and growing great brands,” said Jeff Phillips, President, Fleet Feet, Inc.  “This partnership will allow our team to continue working with our franchisees and vendor partners to move the brand forward and grow the business into the future.”

“IMC is excited to partner with the management team of Fleet Feet to expand our rich portfolio of leading brands,” commented Richard Urquhart, COO of IMC.  “We believe in investing in proven management teams and supporting them in the direction they set for growing the business.”

“Our long term goal has always been to both continue the culture of the company and offer ownership opportunities to both franchisees and employees of Fleet Feet,” said Raynor, who had been the majority owner of the company for 19 years.  “This is the culmination of our long term goal of employee ownership and platform for the unbelievable management team to take the brand to new heights,” he added.

Specialty Retail Development Company (SRDC), the company’s largest franchise, will also be acquired in the transaction and integrated into the new company structure.   SRDC was formed in 2007 to purchase existing specialty stores and provide a pathway to ownership for outstanding employees.  The company currently operates 17 franchise stores around the country.

About Fleet Feet, Inc.
Fleet Feet, Inc. is the industry leader in franchising successful, community-oriented, specialty stores serving runners, walkers and lifetime fitness enthusiasts. With 93 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Fleet Feet, Inc. offers support for existing and potential franchises out of its corporate headquarters in Carrboro, North Carolina.

About Investors Management Corporation
Founded in 1971, IMC is a private, closely held company headquartered in Raleigh, NC. IMC is committed to being a long-term owner of a family of companies in partnership with their leaders. 

What Does Foam Rolling Actually Do?


Men's Health Magazine


Think of it as ironing out the wrinkles in your rumpled musculature. Joe Hashey, C.S.C.S., owner of Synergy Athletics, explains: "Foam rolling smooths and lengthens your muscles, and breaks up adhesions and scar tissue." Another benefit is that it helps your muscles relax by activating the sensory receptors connecting your muscle fibers to your tendons. The net effect is better blood circulation, which in turn speeds workout recovery and boosts performance. But don't take our word for it. Grab a foam roller—we like the Grid ($40, because it has three different densities, offering a realistic massage. If you hit a sore spot, hold it there for 15 to 30 seconds—you found a tight area that needs special attention, says Hashey. Yes, foam rolling can be painful, but you need only 5 to 10 minutes to reap the benefit. Just as important as how you roll is when you roll: After a workout is best, followed by a static stretch of the muscle, says Hashey. This helps your muscles return to the proper length and recover even faster because it can prevent the buildup of scar tissue.

A.  Exercise induces microtears and swelling in muscle fibers, which impinge on nerves and vessels. Over time, this can develop into adhesions and scar tissue.

B.  Foam rolling helps smooth out these obstructions and break down adhesions, helping to increase blood-flow within the muscle.

Read more at Men's Health:

You can also find the Grid at your local Fleet Feet Sports store.  Please call ahead to make sure they have this item available.  The staff will provide you with rolling tips to best benefit your pre and post workout.

Starting to Run


As the flowers bloom, so do the numbers of runners on neighborhood sidewalks. Seeing gangs of happy runners can be both inspiring and intimidating. Their presence nudges me to get out there too, but for others they spark self-doubt. “Could I do that?” they dubiously wonder.

My good friend and colleague, Tracy Worrell, is determined to join the growing throngs of runners for the first time this year. Tracy has ambitiously signed up for her first triathlon. She is participating in a trainingprogram through the Y, but she prompted me to offer tips to the many other runners like her who will take up running for the first time this spring.

For backup, I called local expert, Ellen Brenner, co-owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Brighton and Greece. Fleet Feet offers several wildly popular programs for beginning runners. Currently, its No Boundaries program, geared to people of various fitness levels from walkers to those training for a 10K, boasts more than 200 people.

Here are Brenner’s top tips for aspiring runners.

Start slow

It’s OK to walk when you’re starting. “Always start with a plan that is more walking than running, ” Brenner said. Alternating between walking and short running intervals helps your body adjust to pounding the pavement and helps you avoid getting burnt out. Trying to run a full 5K out of the gate could be deflating or dangerous.

Be social

Another trick is to find a partner or group to train with. Nothing is more powerful than sharing your triumphs and setbacks with someone who is going through the same thing.

Have proper footwear

Running is a great sport because it requires so little equipment. That said, take great care and invest in a pair of running shoes that are right for you. Running shoe experts can help analyze your gait in stores and steer you toward a pair that might help you avoid injury, Brenner says.

Be patient

Brenner’s last piece of advice for beginning runners is to be patient. Being comfortable running takes time.

Spring is an excellent time to take up running. You have months to build confidence and routine before the cold settles in. Fleet Feet’s current No Boundaries program is at its midpoint, but another session starts up in June.

Hickerson of Penfield, an assistant professor of journalism at Rochester Institute of Technology and marathon runner, writes The Fair-Weather Runner blog at

Break Your Bad Running Habits


Break Your Bad Running Habits

By Kara Mayer Robinson
Runner's World

In 2001, Melisa Christian was a 3:30 marathoner plagued by stomach cramps and frequent porta-potty stops. But she never sought a doctor's help. "I thought it was either a normal part of training or race-day anxiety," says the 31-year-old Dallas dentist. Three years later, Christian was diagnosed with food intolerances. After she eliminated wheat and dairy from her diet, her symptoms vanished. In November, she ran a 2:41:57 personal best in New York City. "I no longer have the mindset that because I'm a runner I can't benefit from a checkup," she says.

Running makes us fit, not invincible. When we neglect our bodies' basic needs, we can't go as far or, as Christian discovered, as fast. Breaking your bad habits with these easy fixes will make you a better runner, not to mention a happier, healthier person.

You Are Your Own Medic
We runners are often hyperaware of our bodies, and when something's "off," we're quick to self-diagnose and treat. We'll ice a tight hamstring, pop ibuprofen, and hobble through lingering pain. Big mistake, says Lewis G. Maharam, M.D., medical director of the New York Road Runners and Team in Training. "Minor injuries could turn into serious issues like muscle tears or stress fractures."

When you have a nagging ache or pain, the sooner you see a doctor—preferably a sports-medicine specialist—the faster you'll be back on track. An expert who recognizes that you're an overpronator, for example, could offer better insights on treating your iliotibial band syndrome. If you've been sluggish on runs, schedule a checkup. Asthma, a heart murmur, high blood pressure, or anemia can sap energy levels. Ask your doc to test your blood's iron stores. "Serum ferritin, a protein responsible for iron storage, can become depleted, which is associated with slower recovery and declining performances," says Dr. Maharam.

You Never Stretch

It's hard to squeeze in runs some days, never mind stretching. But tight muscles can contribute to shinsplints, plantar fasciitis, and muscle pulls, which could sideline you for weeks. Improved flexibility also shortens recovery time; looser muscles are more receptive to glycogen replacement, which accelerates healing, says Skip Stolley, director of VS Athletics Track Club in Santa Monica, California.

Your muscles get the most benefit from stretching postrun. Ideally, you'd tack on a 15-minute flexibility routine to your workout. No time? Drop a six-miler to a five-miler and use those leftover minutes to hit your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. "You're not hurting your workout—you're enhancing it," says Stolley. "The benefits of stretching will do your body more good than could be done by running that mile."

You're a Night Owl
Runners who shortchange sleep compromise recovery, immunity, and mental sharpness, which can turn an easy workout into a grueling one. "Sleep enhances the restoration of cells that are damaged from running," says Ralph Downey, Ph.D., chief of sleep medicine at California's Loma Linda University Medical Center. Getting enough shut-eye can also ward off "effort headaches." A 1999 study found that distance runners experienced twice the number of headaches as nonrunners. Downey says this is most likely due to the dilation of blood vessels and sinuses that occurs during exercise. The good news: The headaches occurred less often when the runners got more sleep.

Some people are fine with five hours, others require 10. Runners who put greater demands on their bodies tend to benefit from the higher end of that range, says Downey. Note how many hours you get each night in your training log. Review it and look for patterns. Once you figure out your target number, try to hit it each night, particularly during the week leading up to a race.

You Forgo Sunscreen
In 2007, the Archives of Dermatology reported that runners are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer than nonrunners. Researchers found that the occurrence of skin abnormalities increased with mileage, not only because of increased sun exposure, but perhaps because training can suppress immune function, making the body more susceptible to the sun's ill effects. Another study named sweat as a contributor to UV-related skin damage; perspiration increases the photosensitivity of skin, which makes it more prone to burning. "The sun is definitely a job hazard for distance runners," says Deena Kastor, 2004 Olympic Marathon medalist, who was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma and melanoma in 2001.

Before every run, put on a water- or sweat-proof SPF 15 lotion that shields against UVA and UVB rays, says Rodney Basler, M.D., past chairman of the American Academy of Dermatology's Task Force on Sports Medicine. If you have fair skin or a family history of melanoma, follow Kastor's example: She slathers on sunscreen, wears sun-protective clothing, and avoids midday runs.

You Never Rest
Overtraining can cause persistent soreness, suppressed immunity, injuries, moodiness, and loss of motivation. "Rest isn't the absence of training, it's an important component of it," Stolley says. "During recovery periods, your cardiovascular and muscular systems are restored and rebuilt to a higher level—that's where all performance gains are made."

Every training program should have a rest day in addition to two or three easy days (shorter, less-intense runs following harder efforts) each week. If you didn't have a strenuous week, it's okay to cross-train—go for a hike or swim, take a yoga class, or treat your dog to a long walk. But if you're coming off a high-mileage week, reward yourself with a day of total rest. Schedule a massage or breakfast with a friend so you'll feel like the time off was well spent.

Top Ten Nutrition Myths


Top Ten Nutrition Myths

| Posted March 5, 2012

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.
Her Sports + Fitness

Your colleague at the office fills her gallon jug with fresh water every morning, forcing herself to finish it by day's end. Your gym buddy's been loading up on chicken and turkey to build muscle. And your sister is pleased that she's found cholesterol-free cookies, which she believes provide heart-healthy benefits. If you're thinking about adopting some of their "healthy" habits, think again. Read on to separate fact from fiction.

Myth #1:Eating late at night will make you fat. 
Fact: Calories are calories--no matter what time they're eaten. There is no magic hour in which your body decides that incoming calories must be stored as fat.

If you routinely overindulge after dinner, it's the overindulging that's sabotaging your weight-control efforts, not the hour on the clock. For some people, the "no calories after 8 p.m." rule is an effective diet strategy because it means they take in fewer calories and less saturated fat over the course of a day.

But what if dinner is late or you're hungry before bed? By all means, eat. Feed and fuel your body. No harm is done if you're balancing your calories over the day and not scarfing down junk food.

Finally, if you train in the evening, eating at night is not optional: You must to replace the nutrients you've just lost. Depending on the activity, you'll need water, electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein.

Bottom Line: What you eat--and how much--is far more important than when you eat it. But do make a point to spread your food intake out over the day to sustain your energy.

Myth #2: Eating extra protein builds muscle. 
Fact: "To build muscle, you must have three key components: adequate calories, a good intake of protein and a good strength program," says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Roberta Anding, a certified specialist in sports dietetics. Without enough calories, "some of the dietary protein will be used as an energy source." Likewise, protein intake beyond your needs will either be stored as fat or burned for energy.

The timing of your protein is important. "After resistance training, consuming a source of protein, such as whey, along with some carbohydrate has been shown to build muscle," Anding adds.

Bottom Line: To build muscle, you need to eat a healthy diet, which includes a normal amount of protein, and strength train regularly.

Myth #3: Cholesterol-free foods are heart-healthy. 
Fact: While it's a good idea to limit egg yolks, whole milk, liver and other high-cholesterol foods, it's just not that simple, says Dina Kimmel, New Jersey-based registered dietitian and nutrition counselor.

Even more detrimental to your blood-cholesterol levels are the amounts of saturated and trans fats you eat. There are plenty of supermarket shelves that contain no cholesterol, but are rife with artery-clogging saturated and trans fats. Scrutinize the nutrition facts panel carefully to see what's in your cholesterol-free margarine, shortening, cookies or crackers. Chances are good that they're loaded with either saturated or trans fats, or both.

The FDA allows a product to claim cholesterol-free on its label if there are no more than 2 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams saturated fat per serving, but there's no limit on trans fat. And your portion may be bigger than the listed serving size, so your meal could be serving up a not-so-healthy dose of fats.

Bottom Line: Load up on nature's heart-healthy foods--whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds--to avoid artery-cloggers. And read a product's nutrition panel carefully.

Myth #4: Eating fish is the best way to get heart-healthy omega-3 fats. 
Fact: The omega-3 family is credited with myriad health benefits, ranging from promoting brain development in infants to improving cognitive function in the elderly, but it is perhaps most recognized for its role in shielding the heart from disease.

Fish and marine-based supplements are the only ways to get EPA and DHA, two important omega-3 fatty acids. However, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans and some other plant foods offer ALA, a third omega-3 fatty acid. You need all three types of omega-3 fats for optimal health.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids offer distinct benefits you won't get from fish. Without ALA, you'd have scaly skin and problems with hair growth and wound healing. There is even evidence that diets rich in ALA decrease the risk of fatal ischemic heart disease (the result of narrowing or hardening of the arteries, which impedes blood flow).

Fish or marine-based fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are recommended by many organizations, including the American Heart Association, to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease because of their strong triglyceride-lowering effect, says Penny Kris-Etherton Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. In addition, it appears that the marine-based omega-3 fats are especially important in aiding cognition.

"Based on the evidence we have at this point, I recommend that people include all omega-3 fatty acids in their diets," says Kris-Etherton.

Bottom Line: For optimal health, include both fish- and plant-based omega-3 sources in your diet.

Myth #5: Athletes don't get osteoporosis. 
Fact: "Your sport may determine your risk for osteoporosis," says registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Cathy Leman, owner of NutriFit, a nutrition and fitness consulting company in the Chicago area. Osteopenia--low bone mass, which precedes osteoporosis--is fairly prevalent among women who participate in sports that place a significant emphasis on low body weight, such as gymnastics and dance, Leman says.

When female athletes over-exercise and limit their calorie intake, they frequently lose their menstrual cycle. When these three things occur together--called the female athlete triad-- women are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis and calcium won't do any good, says registered dietitian Lisa Dorfman, certified specialist in sports dietetics. The triad has been reported to occur in 12 to 15 percent of elite athletes and at least 5 percent of normally active females. Although both running and strength training decrease the chance of osteoporosis, they won't protect against the disease if the triad occurs.

Also, there are many nutrients beyond calcium important to bone health including vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium. "Adequate diet, regular exercise and normal hormonal levels all work together to support healthy bones," says Leman.

Bottom Line: It's all about balance. Avoid over-exercising, and eat a healthy diet with enough food and calories to fuel your body.

Myth #6: If you're craving certain foods, it's because your body needs the nutrients they provide. 
Fact: If this were true, more people would be craving fruits and vegetables, your best source for many vitamins and minerals. Rather, women tend to crave sweets, says Kerry Neville, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

Ask yourself what could be contributing to cravings. Consider biological signals like hunger and environmental cues such as smells and television commercials, suggests Malena Perdomo, an ADA registered dietitian. Many women experience more cravings around their menstrual cycles, a result of shifting or surging hormones.

Craving something sinful? "Select something healthy first, and if you're still hungry for that piece of cake, then have a piece and move on," says Perdomo.

Bottom Line: We have cravings for all kinds of reasons. If you focus on those good-for-you foods first, a little junk every now and then won't hurt.

Myth #7: Dark breads are more nutritious than white breads. 
Fact: "You can't judge a bread by its color. You need to read the list of ingredients and look at the nutrition facts panel," says Neville. "Wheat bread isn't whole wheat bread," she adds. You have to dig a little more to discover just what your sandwich is made of.

The first ingredient listed should be 100 percent whole wheat or other whole grain (such as barley or oats). "Enriched wheat flour" is the long way to say white flour. Sometimes darker breads will have caramel or other coloring added, so you're getting nothing more than a colored white bread, says Neville.

Bottom Line: Choose breads with the first ingredient listed as 100 percent whole wheat or other whole grain--such as barley or oats.

Myth #8: Since herbs are natural, all herbal products are safe. 
Fact: "All-natural certainly does not mean all-safe," warns Anding. "Cocaine, opium and tobacco are all examples of plants that have serious side effects. In fact, many of our powerful drugs, like digitalis (a heart medicine), are plant derivatives."

Because herbal and other dietary supplements are not regulated, different batches and different brands may have varying levels of purity and concentration. Without standardization, they may not be as safe as you think, advises Perdomo. And, they may not actually do anything to improve your health.

Bottom Line: Before self-dosing with a supplement, seek medical advice.

Myth #9: Water is all I need to rehydrate after exercise. 
Fact: If you sweat a lot during exercise or other work, then you'll likely need extra sodium along with your fluids. "The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams sodium per day is a good rule of thumb for recreational athletes, but if you're an endurance athlete--like triathletes or marathoners--you may need to experiment with replenishing the sodium you lose through sweat," says Leman.

Since sweat contains water, sodium and other electrolytes, rehydration requires more than water. Sports drinks provide small amounts of sodium--roughly 50 to 200 milligrams in 8 ounces--and are often critical during activities lasting an hour or more. But they will not suffice for recovery. Make some of your recovery foods salty like pretzels, crackers and soup. Sometimes even the saltshaker is a good idea. But don't take this as license to go overboard. If you're not training or competing, stick to lower- sodium choices most of the time.

Bottom Line: Drink small amounts of a sports drink throughout a workout lasting longer than an hour, and consume salty foods and water afterward.

Myth #10: I should drink eight glasses of water a day. 
Fact: There's no need to measure your water intake. Under usual conditions, let thirst be your guide, says the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. IOM's 2004 report sets a general recommendation of 91 ounces of water--from food or beverage sources. You can meet your water needs from plain water, flavored water, sodas, juices, milk, as well as fruit and cooked pasta and rice.

And there's good news for all you coffee and tea lovers. Caffeinated beverages contribute to our water needs. According to the IOM, previous thoughts about the dehydrating effects of caffeine were overstated. The water in coffee and tea compensates for the caffeine.

Hydration during endurance exercise is a different story. If you do not drink enough during exercise, you do risk dehydration. To gauge your hydration status and your fluid needs during exercise, weigh yourself before and after. Your post-exercise weight should not be more than a couple pounds lighter than your starting weight. If it is, you're not drinking enough appropriate fluids during activity.

Bottom Line: All beverages and even food contribute to your fluid needs. Drink to your thirst except during intense exercise and after. Then you may need to drink according to a schedule.

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for the Hampton Roads Center for Clinical Research in Norfolk, Virginia. 


Got Morning Heel Pain?


Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?         

Plantar fasciitis is the most common injury occurring at the hind foot.  An irritation and swelling of the fascia on the plantar aspect of the foot.   Pain generally located at the posterior and medial aspect of heel.


  • Plantar fasciitis can be found in both rigid and hyper mobile feet.
  • With excessive pronation the plantar fascia is overstretched as the medial longitudinal arch collapses.
  • In a rigid foot, the calf muscles might be tight, limiting the dorsiflexion and putting more strain on the fascia as the foot moves into toe off.
  • Other contributors are obesity, sudden weight gain, shoes with poor cushioning or support, occupations with prolonged standing/walking and a sudden increase in activity intensity, time or type.


  • Burning pain at the attachment of the plantar fascia on the heel.  Pain is usually worse in the morning and with push off. 
  • May develop into a heel spur if chronic.

How can Fleet Feet Sports help?

  • Visit your local Fleet Feet Sports where the staff will educate you on products to reduce the pain of the symptoms and help to treat the cause.
  • Superfeet - Athletic and Dress insoles for arch support
  • Supportive footwear
  • Strassburg Sock
  • Trigger Point - Losen the muscles that connect your calf to your achilies tendon
  • Runner's Remedy - Ice and Compression

She's better off in the long run

Posted  | by She's better off in the long run |

FinalBernadette Cooper - Fleet Feet Sports Huntersville
by~ John Deem

Bernadette Cooper decided not to wear her wedding ring Saturday morning.  Though she and her husband separated months ago, Cooper had continued to wear the band. But Saturday, as Cooper got ready to run the Huntersville Half Marathon, she left the ring behind. The band had been loose on her finger, and she didn’t want it to fall off while she was running.
Saturday's race wasn’t Cooper’s first halfmarathon, but it turned out to be an unforgettable one, an exclamation mark on what has been one of the most difficult of Cooper’s 42 years.  She first put the ring on her finger on Oct. 10, 2010 — her wedding day. “Things started falling apart soon after that,” she says. Cooper soon discovered a side of her new husband she hadn’t experienced during their courtship. She quickly learned — the hard way — that he was bipolar and verbally abusive.  Cooper, her now-13-year-old daughter, Savannah, and her new husband moved from Virginia to Huntersville in July. The move was stressful enough, but her husband’s behavior soon complicated Cooper’s
life even more. “The day that his behavior escalated from verbal abuse to physical abuse, I was done,” Cooper says. “There was no turning back for me, especially since I have a daughter to raise. He didn’t seem at all remorseful over his actions and I’m not the type of woman to stand around for something like that.”  Her husband’s work had brought them to Huntersville, so now Cooper found herself in a new place, with no job and a teenaged daughter to raise. Just a couple days after moving here, Cooper wandered into Fleet Feet Sports, the running specialty store in Birkdale Village.
She soon enrolled in Fleet Feet’s 10K (6.2-mile) training program and, after completing that, signed up for the store’s half-marathon (13.1-mile) program.  Saturday’s Huntersville Half Marathon was the culmination of Fleet Feet’s half-marathon program.  For Cooper, though, the run was a baptism of empowerment.  Though she’d been a runner for years, Cooper hadn’t been running much before moving here, so she wasn’t sure what to expect Saturday.  What she got, she says, was “an emotionally charged run.” As she ran, Cooper felt the curses of the past year loosen their talons. The doubts that had dogged her now escaped as surely as the sweat that beaded on her face before evaporating into the cold morning air.  The Old Testament words of Isaiah played on a loop in her brain. ... those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  “With each passing mile, I just starting getting more emotional,” Cooper says. “I am doing this. I AM DOING THIS.”  But the “this” Cooper was doing was more than running, and the real contest extended beyond 13.1 miles.  “I was conquering some real demons out there,” she says. “I found out I’m tougher than even I thought I was.” 

As Cooper approached the final miles Saturday, her Fleet Feet coach, Christina Eicher, ran with her.  “When we were running the last
few miles of the race, we were talking about how much she has been through this past year and how great she felt to have worked the
program and now run the race,” Eicher says. “Throughout the whole process, I was inspired by her because no matter what people say, you have choices. When life challenges you, you have a choice to do something positive or you have a choice to give up and complain about how unfair things can be. She is a great example of someone living life through the good and the bad, and having an infectious, positive attitude.”  And Cooper is living. She’s working as an administrative assistant at Dixon Hughes Goodman, an accounting and financial advising firm in Charlotte. She’s made new friends, found a church family, and feels like she and Savannah have found a new home.  As Savannah joined her for the last mile of the race Saturday, Cooper saw her life for what it was. She wasn’t just enduring. She was thriving. And she was doing it on her own.  And that wedding ring?  “I haven’t put it back on,” she says.  She’s better off in the long run  Bernadette Cooper finished an hour behind the first-place woman in the first Huntersville Half Marathon Saturday, but ‘I feel like a winner,’ she insists.

Some stuff a Turkey - Fleet Feet Sports Stockton stuffs a Jeep!


Fleet Feet Sports Stockton, CA has taken their food drive to the next level.  Their yearly Run & Walk Against Hunger will take place on Thursday morning.  Anthony, the Brooks Guru, handed over the keys of his Brooks Jeep for the community of Stockton.  Today is the last day of "Stuff the Jeep" with canned food event.  Last year Fleet Feet Sports owner, Tony Vice, and the local running community collected 2,000 lbs for the Emergency Food Bank and Family Services.  This year the goal is to double it.  Head to Facebook to tell us how you are giving back this Thanksgiving.





Why - How great leaders inspire action

This 18 minute video by Simon Sinek has recently been shared with the owners throughout the country.  When an individual or a couple decides to open a Fleet Feet Sports store it is all about the WHY.  Many want to share their knowledge of a healthy lifestyle with their communities.   What drives us is a hug from a customer who can walk for the first time without foot pain.  The customer that joins a 5K training program and sticks with it until they cross the finish line of a marathon 2 years later.  The lives that we touch, the friends that we meet, the amazing staff that truely loves what they do.  We hope this video helps you answer the question, why do you do what you do?