On Friday I teamed up with Runner’s Alley, New Hampshire’s only specialty running store, to host the first NH Running Blogger Meetup. We gathered at their new location in Concord for a run around the capitol, a little post-run noshing provided by Stoyfield and Health Warrior and then some networking and gear-chat.
Runner’s Alley has long been my go-to place for shoes and running accessories. It’s where I bought my first pair of running shorts when I finally made the switch out of wearing my high school mesh basketball shorts. And when I was in shoe limbo in 2012 (between shoes because Asics discontinued my favorite shoe) their knowledgeable staff helped me look around at all the options and ultimately fitted me with the perfect shoe. Practically every running accessory I own comes from their store: my Garmin, The Stick, my Feetures socks, my pepper spray, my GU stash. Not to mention a good portion of the apparel I own I’ve snagged at their incredible sidewalk sale during Market Square Day at their Portsmouth, NH location.
Not only is Runner’s Alley a great store, it is a community hub. Out of each of their locations they host weekly runs, training clubs for every distance from 5K to the half marathon, a Winter Warriors group that’ll keep you running on the bleakest days and educational events like PT night where a local Sports Physical Therapist comes in to chat about running and injury prevention. Jeanine Sylvester, the stores founder and owner is also incredibly supportive of the local racing community and sponsor countless races including Reach the Beach which I’ll be running at the end of the week.
Our meetup group had the pleasure of checking out the newest addition to the Runner’s Alley family, their Concord store. Located right on Main Street in the state’s capitol, it’s hard to miss with the bright red awning. And the store has a fantastic wall of shoes, not to mention great gear and accessories from all your favorite brands. I seriously walked in and thought: “I want to work here!”
To put the event together I contacted Jeremiah, social media coordinator for Runner’s Alley and member of the Concord store team. We actually go way back, we were RA’s together at the University of New Hampshire in our college days It took a bit of time to get the ball rolling and a lot of NH bloggers were very interested but ended up with conflicts so we had a smaller turnout that expected (as in one other blogger and me). Despite the small turnout we had a fantastic evening!
Jeremiah did a fantastic job leading us on the run around Concord. He took us up past the State Capitol Building out towards the hospital and then along a parkway that led us past cornfields. Who knew their were corn fields just two miles out of downtown Concord? It was a beautiful evening and the sun was setting over the fields as we ran past them. We looped back into town and finished back up at the store.
Thanks to Stonyfield and Health Warrior we had some excellent post-run snacks. Stonyfield, a New Hampshire based company, provided us with the newest addition to their product line, the super creamy and delicious Petite Creme. Health Warrior also provided a sampling of their chia bars.
While we refueled Jeremiah gave us a tour of the store and highlighted some of the new fall gear, pointing out some of the great new jackets from The North Face. He has been working in the field for ten years and has a broad knowledge of shoes, shoe brands and gear. He’s also witnessed the changes in the shoe industry in the last few years with a move towards minimalism and can really speak to the history of the shoe industry. We chatted about some of shoe brands that have been making changes and coming out with new stuff, most notably New Balance. They are a shoe that I have never tried until recently and am particularly interested since they two are a “local” company based out of Lawrence, MA with two factories in Maine.
After our gear chat Jeremiah awarded Christina from CrazyMamaRunner with a gift certificate for a free shoe fitting and new pair of running shoes! We each walked away with a great swag bag from Runner’s Alley with a hat, gloves and water bottle as well as some gear from Stonyfield including some Preserve products and a copy of Gary Hirshberg’s book Stirring it Up.
It was a fun night and hopefully the just the beginning of the NH Running Blogger Meetup!
If you’re local have you been to Runner’s Alley? If not what’s your favorite local running shop? Have you met up with bloggers in your area?
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