September 15, 2008

New Balance Elite Dealer Conference & More

Moose and Jacoby!
Dave Shelbourne and Dan Green of New Balance
Fenway Stadium!
Maudsley State Park
Surprise Katrina!
Big Pig!

The fine folks at New Balance continue to amaze me at their support of specialty running stores across the country! Last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, New Balance hosted their annual Elite Dealer Meeting in Boston at Hotel Commonwealth. Over 100 elite dealers were there to learn about the new products coming out and how to make their stores that much better and what a success the meeting was!

My wife Jill and I arrived around midnight on Tuesday. I got up and did a beautiful 10 mile run along the Charles River, we had a nice breakfast and it was off to the meetings. Last year I gave a talk, this year I signed beautiful posters that New Balance had made showing me winning the 1981 Grandma's Marathon. I signed posters for about 3 hours while Jill took pictures with me and many of the elite dealers.

Wednesday night we all walked over to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays. What an awesome ball park with so much history! Jill and I feasted on ball park food then took our seats with our good friends Dave and Ivette Shelbourne along with their daughter Katrina, you talk about Red Sox fans, the Shelbournes are the biggest!

What a game it was! It was all tied up at 1-1 after nine innings. Jill and I stayed until the 12th inning and then left as it was getting late. We watched the finish on TV from our hotel room and unfortunately, the Red Sox came out on the short end.

Thursday morning I was up bright and early for a 11 mile run with folks from the elite dealer conference, what a gorgeous morning for a run! After our run Jill and I took the train back to the airport where we rented our car and headed for Newburyport, MA

But before we went there, we stopped off at the New Balance Factory Store in Lawrence, MA; Jill now has more NB clothes than I do!

We stopped in for a quick visit to Whirlaway Sports for a quick hello to the owner, Dave. What a great store!

Newburyport is a splendid small town right on the ocean about 30 miles north of Boston. We checked into the quaint bed and breakfast place called the Essex Street Inn. Newburyport is a big tourist town and has many neat shops to go and browse around! I can see why people think New England is one of the most beautiful areas of the country!

After checking in, Jill and I both went out for a nice run and then off to dinner. We went to Michael's Harborside, it's right on the ocean and we had a marvelous dinner of fresh seafood.

Friday morning Jill and I went to Maudslay State Park for a great run on the trails through the forest, it was beautiful. After a nice breakfast we went over to the Shelbourne's and spent the afternoon with Ivette, Katrina, and their son Justin. Jill and I surprised Katrina by showing up at her elementary school. Jill had bought her a bouquet of flowers, Katrina was thrilled! Katrina and Jill started being pen pals last April, she just loves receiving things in the mail from Jill!

We then went over to Ipswich High School to pick up Justin and talk with Barry the principal.

I signed a one of the posters that New Balance had made just for the high school and gave it to Barry. I met Barry last April when I gave a talk at his school, he does a great job with the kids there!

After picking up Justin, we then went to Russell's Orchard and had homemade pastries and cider, walked through the barnyard area and fed the 700 pound pig an apple, boy was he big! Better the apple then me!

It was then onto Crane Beach. We walked along the beach and collected shells and took many pictures. Back to our B & B for a short rest then onto the Black Cow Restaurant for a great meal with the Shelbourne family.

Saturday morning I was up early to get my last 20 miler in before the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee that I will be running on October 5. I took off from Newburyport and crossed the Merrimac River and ran all along the river. I crossed a very old bridge at 10 miles and then ran back on the other side all the way into Newburyport, I have to say it was one of the most beautiful 20 mile runs I've ever been on!

After a nice breakfast with Jill and a little shopping in town, it was off to the Shelbourne's for a afternoon of visiting and a nice walk down to principal Barry's and his wife, principal Cheryl's house. What a place! Their home is a neat old farm house along with a mill that was built back in the late 1600's! It's incredible! A beautiful small river goes through their property and they are working on getting the mill working again soon and it will generate electricity not only for their home but also will provide electricity for some of the folks that live in the town of Rowley!

Saturday evening we were out to dinner with the Shelbourne's and some of their friends for some great pizza and to watch the Red Sox game. After supper we said our good byes and we went back to the Essex Street Inn for a good nights sleep and up early the next morning for a nice run in the rain and for our flight back home to Austin.

Jill and I would like to give the biggest of thanks to the folks at New Balance for making it possible for us to be there and take part in the Elite Dealer Meetings!

A double gigantic thank you goes out to Dave, Ivette, Justin, and Katrina Shelbourne for making our few days in Newburyport so special! Jill and I are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends like all of you!

Thanks a million!

P.S. Hi to Moose and Jacoby!

Big Pig Eating!

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